About 40 Whatever

  • BFF's Bad Kitty of Wishbone Clover and Stefania of CityMama are turning 40 this year and we're milking it to death, just like Jennifer Aniston. Will John Mayer write us a special 40th birthday song? No? Whatever.
  • Already part of the 40w Club?
    Care to share your experiences? We love guest posters, especially those bearing wine. Email us, we'll get drunk together.
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Okay, so, I totally dress young, but.

I have a few pieces that are from nicer/more mature brands.

BCBG [sometimes w/ the Max Azria] has some great stuff. I got the softest & cutest tank tops at their Camarillo outlet years ago! Also, super flattering. They had great ruching that kept belly hiding! :P

Off 5th [Saks 5th Avenue outlet] is great for getting nice stuff too.

Also? Ann Taylor! I'm not "really the type" but I've got a couple of gorgeous paisley items there! :P

I got a nice Calvin Klein dress at TJ Maxx last summer.

I got some sweet jeans at White House Black Market. Normally I like to dress like a rainbow exploded on me & wouldn't have gone in, but I was hangin' with mom and found the jeans on the sale rack! :D

Express has good velour pants. :P

My mom still likes some Target clothes & she's totally fashionable and stuff so I think that is no prob! :P

Susan Getgood

Well I have a few years on you & actually like some of the stuff at Chico's, but the answer is, and you know it -- you keep wearing what makes you feel good.

If they can't take a joke....

That said, I only wear shorts around the house or hiking. I'm with mothergoosemouse, capris are better. But I still occasionally wear a short skirt :-)

Miss Behavin

Girl, haven't you heard that 40 is the new 30? Whatever you have in your closet is good for AT LEAST another 10 years! :) I don't think you have to start shopping for the "mom jeans" quite yet!

I turned 40 in December and haven't changed my wardrobe much at all. But, I've never been one to follow trends either. I've always purchased quality pieces that are classic and fashionable.

I was really pissed when Casual Corner closed up shop because that was one of my favorite stores. I also shop at TJ Maxx, Ann Klein, Ann Taylor Loft, Jones New York, Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, and e-Bay (for designer duds at a huge discount). I'm also frugal; love yard sales, Goodwill, and I never pay full price for clothing at the store.


A) You can almost see the 2nd designer cringing when she says 'Fit 3'

B) Seven years ago I introduced my mom to non-mom jeans.

It was a revelation for her that jeans didn't have to be some sort of high-waisted denim corset for her stomach. She's in her 50's and dresses fabulously for her attitude about life. I'm really glad to be able to say that my mom is stylish and hasn't given in to the weird idea that 'older' women need to look drab and dowdy.

Dress your personal style. And if your style is um, Fit 3, then rock it.

C) I'm still a year away from 30 and I already love this blog.

One Chic Mama

Hi ladies,
Great post - and great question! I turned 41 this year, so welcome to the club! You are so right about how turning 40 does change what you can wear. As an image consultant who answers this question all the time, I have some great tips for you:

First of all, turning 40 does not in any way, shape or form mean you are over the hill as far as fashion goes. It just means that you're moving into a new decade where you may find yourself confronting the term "age-appropriate" more often. Embrace it.

If you find yourself wondering if you're too old to rock a trend, the answer is probably yes.

If you wore it the first time around (i.e. 20 years ago), fuggedaboudit!

Turning 40 does not mean you are sentenced to wearing pastels. Quite the contrary, it becomes more important that you wear color, especially around your face. Have your colors done so you know which ones enhance your eyes, your hair or your skintone.

Nudes and neutrals are hot right now and are great for women in their 40's. Try a skintone with a bit of sheen or in a patent leather.

Remember, shapewear is your friend and is made for women like us.

You can still shop at Target, just steer clear of the juniors section (this is true for any shop) because the clothes just aren't cut for our bodies anymore.

Know your personal style and wear it well!

Good luck, ladies!

One Chic Mama

cat/bad kitty

Hey Michele,

Thanks for your comment, but I have to tell you -- Stefania and I are ALL ABOUT wearing too much eye makeup and our clothes from the 80s and being as age-inappropriate as possible.

We pretty much only wear black clothes, except when we're wearing white flip flops -- you should have heard the bitching and moaning about wearing a (very pretty but BO-RING) royal blue top on a recent adventure.

Also, Spanx hurt like a mofo and are so not worth it, usually.

But yes, we do agree that everyone should embrace their personal style. So at least we agree on that.

- Cat/Bad Kitty


I totally think footwear is a great way to keep up with trends. Frankly, I love buying shoes because they don't care if I gain five pounds. Same goes for jewelry.

I still maintain that skirts (or capris - wide or straight leg capris, none of those stupid-looking tapered legs) are far more flattering and comfortable than shorts, no matter what your body shape. And not even twenty-one year olds should be shopping at Forever 21. Bleah.

Pamela Hornik

I think that being 40, or older gives you the right to wear what you want w/ confidence however-- there are some rules. Not too much skin not matter how skinny you are (not my issue) and no spandex, so we really need to see that ? We should act our age. No longer have to dress for anyone else.

I was in Nordstrom and realized that I was now too old for not only Brass Plum, but TBD. I saw mothers/ daughters shopping together, if my daughter is wearing it, I should not be. Hey, any mother/ daughter gets up are a NO, especially a mini and a tank.

I have found that J Crew seems to have a good balance of clothes that my sitter will not be wearing, or my mother in law. Eileen Fisher makes me feel too old...not ready for that yet.

My advice is wear something that makes you feel good without offending anyone else.


I will never, ever give up my ironic tees. If I live to be 95, I'll still be ordering from Random. That said, I think if you put something on and feel good in it, it's yours. If you immediately feel a crisis of confidence ~ whether that outfit is "age-appropriate" or not ~ it's clearly not for you. I'm 5' tall, so I still shop in the juniors section, but my clothes are pretty neutral; lots of jeans and long-sleeved tees. (And ironic tees over them.)


The only people that worry about changing their style at 40 are the ones who belonged to some subculture as a youth (punk, goth, whatever) and they let that define their dress style, or those people who always dressed like they were going out to pick up guys at the club (short, tight, glittery).

At one time there was a uniform for women of a certain age, because most women back then had no choice but to let time ravage their faces and bodies. This has changed for many women. They have cash, independence, gym memberships and skin doctors who administer microdermabrasion and botox.

The rules about how you should dress don't really apply anymore for those who have stayed firm and slender. So what should you wear? What suits you! Don't worry about age. It's about body type and shape. Unless you're truly a senior citizen with the face to match, or blatently copying young people trends from head to toe, age is irrelevant.

I'm hear to tell you you can wear flip flops, and any trendy shoe, message T-shirts, miniskirts, bikinis, and most clothes that are fun and vibrant as long as you wear them with imagination and class. You can even continue shopping in Juniors if you want. I did up until I was 42. I just got basic, less flamboyant stuff. I loved their buttom up shirts because they were more shapely and less boxy than the ones for women. I liked their jeans too, because they was no way I was going to wear boring-ass tappered moms jeans.

Older women who want to continue to feel sexy and look vibrant do best by NOT dressing "their age" Which is really a code for cover up any sign that you were ever a woman in dull, boring clothes. You might as well put on a burqa. If that's what you want to do, go ahead.


i am 39, but i LOVE fashion. i never really got into fashion until i was about 31. in my 20's, i wore whatever i wanted- denim cut offs, super short dresses and skirts in all prints, cuts, materials and styles, and half naked halter hippie tops. at 23- i wore skirt suits made for older women. today, almost daily, i am constantly reminded of my age at work with people reminding me that i should act and look a certain way. i am a size 2 to 5- depending on the style/clothing brand. i still get attention even when i'm not really trying- i get a kick out of it. i am very active. i still love to do the things i loved doing 19 years ago...singing in my car, laughing at myself, laughing at others...i don't feel 39. i'll be 40 in september 2010. i am not crying over it. what do i wear at 40 or in my 40's? chanel suits are not affordable to the middle class working group. but i think they are more appropriate to sylish ladies in their 50's and beyond. i could be wrong. i do not like target fashion or jcpenney. i do have an idea of many clothing designs that are out there that are exclusive and stylish, creative and made with quality- thanks to fashion mags -all of them-mentioning the designers and boutiques scattered all over the country and overseas. there is a certain mag for 40 somethings i saw a few years ago in my eaarly 30's and knew eventually i should probably start looking at those fashion rules as i looked at glamour fashion rules in my late teen to early 20's-when i couldn't AFFORD fashion! in my late teens and early 20's i didn't need the lift or glamour of 4 inch heels or more makeup and more glamorous accessories- i was young and cute. i didn't need the extra help. so why is it when u do need those fashion lifts, you are told you aren't dressing your age or following "the rules"? at 39, i feel human and i am loving life, living it to the fullest. i still have 40 or so more years til considered elderly. why not live colorfully? i am not by any means immature. i love to have fun and my personality- quirky, funny, loves fun. i love color, i love fashion and i do not feel its time for me to hang it up and wear high waist pants or lime green polyester- ew.


Well, I think when you have a really adolescent-like style that’s fun, experimental and whimsical it will be difficult for you at 40 and beyond. I’ve got six years on you, but I’m still pretty much wearing what I always did: hoodies, jeans, boots, and big ass earrings. My advice is to concentrate on the classics that you love, love, love. And wear the newer versions of those as they come along. I can tell you what I wish I could wear at my age: iconic tees! I love them. I want to wear a Led Zeppelin shirt in the worse way. I think thigh high boots are pretty cool, too. I also wish I didn’t have cellulite so I could wear a bikini again. I was 32 the last time I wore a bikini. Other than those three items, I could care less about not wearing a micro-mini or a color streaked hairdo. But I didn’t care for those kind of looks in the 80s. I was more conservative in the way I dressed as a younger woman. I was a straight up preppy and now I’m preppy with an edge. LOL. I don’t think after 40 you have to go to dowdy land. In fact, you should stay as far away from there as possible. By all means continue to shop at Anthropologie. A shirt here, a few accessories, are good to mix into a wardrobe with well-fitting classic pieces. Don’t EVER get “old lady” accessories unless they’re timeless things like pearls, diamond studs, broaches, and gloves.

Older dressing is learning to balance classic with trendy. Too classic and you look stuffy. Too trendy and you look like a fashion victim. Buy well-fitting, not too busy clothes mostly in solid colors. They should be colors that suit you, not the OL greatest hits like soft pastels or whatever.

Stay the F* away from boxy jackets in crazy patterns, boring straight leg slacks, loose pants in crazy patterns, anything that covers you from head to toe, and overly clunky funky looking jewelry. These are all the supposedly “hip” looks they sell at Chicos, J.Jill, Eileen Fisher. Not that you shouldn’t shop at those places, but I would avoid the looks I mentioned that they tend to have there unless you want to look like a 75 year old going to Vegas. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

I like some of the basics those places sell, but I avoid whole outfits from stores targeted to my age group because I want to look like a timeless, ageless individual. Not a member of the soccer mom army. I’m guessing the same goes for you.

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40 Whatever Approved

Things to Do When We're 40 (The Not Bucket List)

  • A barbecue tour of the South
    We'll start in the Carolinas and end in Texas and sample the best barbecue America has to offer. Why? Because we like meat.
  • Hotel Living
    We like: mini bars, movies, and lounging around in our pajamas with our laptops right where they are supposed to be. We'll bring running shoes to pretend like we're going to work out, but really, who are we kidding. You see where this is going?
  • Knock some sense into dumb people
    We'd love to be the camp counselors on a show like the Real World or Rock of Love.
  • Eating Dinner in a Vineyard While the Sun Sets
    You know those scenes of a dining table set in a Tuscan or Sonoma vineyard dressed with beautiful linens and people sitting around it drinking wine and eating and laughing while the sun goes down? We want to be those people.
  • Yoga Retreat in New Mexico
    Some of our fondest memories are of spending time doing yoga together. Do other wannabe yoginis spend the entire class laughing together? We do.