When researching for this article, I was taken aback by the amount of articles claiming there was a certain way for over-40 women to dress.

To stay relevant and ‘fabulous at 40’, you are apparently required to say no to safe shoes, reject minimalism and purge your wardrobe of anything vaguely ‘old’. The inner freedom fighter in me was ignited. Loafers and high collars are darn amazing! And Gucci thinks so too!

I am a massive advocate for dressing for you. Not your partner, not to satisfy societal expectations and certainly not because an article on the internet suggested otherwise. Instead of bombarding you with another do-and-don’t guide, I want to present you with 4 concepts to approaching fashion that make styling & dressing in your post-20s a lot more fun (and a lot less stressful).

Maybe all four resonate with you, or maybe none of them do. There’s no right-or-wrong way to do fashion, and guides aren’t necessarily there to be followed.

1. Valuing Comfort Doesn’t Mean Subtracting Style

If you were marooned on a desert island and you were offered: 1) loose, comfy clothes or 2) sky high manolo’s and bodycon, chances are you are going with the former.

But first things first: comfortable clothing does not mean tennis shoes. Throw that notion across the artificially-green court. Comfortable means leaving the house in the morning without packing band-aids for blisters. It’s being able to work, run errands, and generally live your life without mentally repeating the draining mantra: “It’s okay, keep going, you can take off these toe-pinching shoes when you get home.”

Your daily energy levels are exhaustive – and in between the office, your partner, children or demanding bosses – there just isn’t enough time in the day to drag yourself through unnecessary pain & discomfort. So, as you get older – get wiser. Invest in things that you not only love, but feel as snug as a hug from Pierce Bronson.



From left: Frill Sleeve Peplum Top – Cue ($209); Pinstripe Pleat Skirt – Miller’s ($35); Click Loafers in Taupe – Novo ($70)

2. It’s the Little Things

Even if you were a disciple of the ‘deliberately dishevelled’ fashion and beauty movement, showing yourself a little love and care is never a bad idea – at any age. Take some time to devise a skin routine that suits your needs, start showing those tresses some love and keep those pearly whites shining. If these are areas you’ve never really delved into, don’t fret – just visit the experts! Jurlique at Myer can de-mystify serums, mists and masks; and Lifecare dental will keep you smiling for years to come.

Over-40 dressing


From left: repairwear laser focus wrinkle correcting eye cream – Clinique ($65); age-defying firming face oil – Jurlique ($69); Coconut Oil Hair Mask – Organik Botanik ($14.95). All available from MYER.

3. It’s Never Too Late To Try Something New

Did you miss disco? Were you a no-show to the noughties? Whatever the reason, if there is a trend you never got around to trying, it doesn’t necessarily mean you never will. That’s the marvellous thing about fashion – what is old soon becomes new again. Case and point: embroidery and hooped earrings.

It’s easy to find yourself following the mentality “I am too old for that trend“. If this sounds like you, try this mantra on for size: reinvention doesn’t have an expiry date. Look at Vera Wang; who only started designing wedding gowns at 40. Just imagine how unruffled and undazzling Sex and The City would have been without Vera’s creations.

Over-40 dressing

PIPER Leather Jacket ($239.95) and Embroidered Dress ($149.95); Both from MYER.

4. Understand The Golden Rule

That fashion can’t be limited to 4 defining rules. When I first started writing up this article, I was tempted to title it “The Rulebook for Dressing Over 40”. Thankfully, I stopped in my tracks, removed myself from my laptop and walked down the street to grab a latte. When my order was ready, the cheery barista asked: “How is your day?”. I stared and replied: “Fashion doesn’t have rules.”

Firstly, I apologised to the kindly cafe staff that I left bemused. Secondly, I stand by my statement. Fashion is up to the wearer. If – at 40 -you decide that it’s the perfect time to start wearing heels casually, then great! On the other hand, if you reading this at age 16 thinking ‘those Novo slides look comfy’, then go grab yourself a pair! Your life isn’t measured by what’s in your wardrobe.

I do, however, have one tiny exception to no-rules fashion.

Leopard print leggings never end well.


x Johanna Borger