How to Dress in your 40's

 man wearing a navy blazer with a white tee underneath, khaki chinos, and white converse


As we get older, everything changes. We’re wiser, more experienced, and more secure with ourselves. Yes, you’re not a twenty-something or in your thirties but there’s honor in aging. Lifestyle shifts may occur—if you’re a proud parent, your kids are getting older or you’re growing to higher positions at work. Aspects of your life may be heavily routined at this point. While there’s comfortability in standard cycles, that shouldn’t negate your wardrobe upkeep. You want your clothing to reflect your maturity without making you appear older than you are. There’s still more youth in your outfits and style has no age limits. Your forties are only your thirties with interest! Let’s start with some style tips, then we’ll venture into what items you should always keep in your closet.

Quick tips and tricks:

  • Proportions are crucial. Always ensure that your sizes are up to date. If the last time you took your measurements was 10 years ago, you’re overdue and definitely need to make your way to a tailor or measure yourself from guides online. We want to steer away from oversized fits. 

  • If you tend to like prints, always go with a button-down shirt. It’s time to retire the graphic tees to maintain a mature style.

  • Avoid denim shorts. Cargo styles are okay but denim can age your look. Sticking with cotton or woven material is ideal for comfort and appearance.

    Closet essentials: 

    man with a grey blazer, white button-down shirt, dark wash jeans, and brown dress shoes


    1. A classic blazer instantly elevates any style.

    By this point in your life, your fashion is likely drastically different from what you wore a decade ago. You’re probably drawn to a more sophisticated style. Picture this: you have an important dinner with a client you’ve been yearning to connect with—big win for the company. You understand the importance of making this first impression impeccable. Of course, a suit is an option but for a more personal approach, business casual is the way. It shows formality while still being relatable. I recommend pairing a sport coat with dark wash jeans. The best part is it doesn’t really matter what you wear underneath—button-down, polo, tee—the blazer does all the talking. Dress shoes and formal accessories are welcome but the sport coat is the most important factor. As someone with an extensive career and broad number of relationships, having the perfect multifaceted item can save a lot of time on outfit decisions. Another example would be for your wedding anniversary, a beautiful moment shared between you and your partner. You definitely want to look the part but you don’t need to be as fancy as your wedding day. The same outfit layout can actually fit for either occasion. Remember the blazer serves as the upscale key to your look.


    man standing wearing a palm tree pattern button-down shirt with gray chinos by the water.


    2. A short-sleeve button down reinstates life to your wardrobe. 

    Another must-have is a nice short-sleeve button down shirt. Operating on a tight schedule, there’s never really a chance to skim through your closet for the ideal ensemble. At times, the easiest way to bring together a look is by letting your shirt speak for everything. This doesn’t have to be overly flashy, just something that can catch attention without appearing flat. It’s date night with your person and your kid has left the nest. It feels different having the house to yourselves and time you can now redirect to you. All the wardrobe decisions you considered but could not explore due to focusing on other priorities. This type of shirt is typically on the casual side, so introducing any type of pattern is welcome. An important takeaway would be to pair a short-sleeve shirt with chinos or denim and a trench coat. For example, a multicolor shirt can assist in coordinating with your other items. 


    man golfing with a blue polo shirt featuring a floral collar and sleeve trim.


    3. A polo shirt provides the comfort and ease you need. 

    In your career, you’ve worked hard to get to this point. From business meetings to presentations, you always want to look the part. As we approach warmer seasons, a sweat-wicking polo shirt is vital. A button-down shirt will always suffice but quite frankly it may not be what you want to wear, especially if you have a relaxed dress code. If you live in Florida and have the option of wearing a long-sleeve shirt and a polo, the spring appropriate item is the best choice. Polos are versatile and comfortable for most. This is an item that can be loosely dressed up or down which is what makes it desirable. You don’t want to spend most of your time deciding what to wear—this should be the easiest part of your day. For leisure, let’s say you and your childhood friend are out golfing. One of your favorite activities. Between work and your family, an opening in your schedule allows for time to sink a putt. The easiest costume oftentimes includes a polo shirt. This stresses the importance of a wicking material because, let’s face it, as time goes on the more you choose comfort over trends. Pair them with a visor, chinos, and cozy loafers.


    older man with a green tee, white shorts, and a black hat, walking his dog on the beach


    4. Activewear keeps you young. 

    As you get older, staying active is your best friend. For those with children, it’s quite easy to be in a constant cycle of work and family. The health of your loved ones becomes top priority. While rightfully so, getting in the habit of prioritizing yourself is just as important. Simply walking thirty minutes a day can be helpful. In cases where on a whim you want to take your dogs to the park or go to the beach, shorts are a staple. Having a quality, breathable pair of shorts are always needed especially if you live in an area that’s already experiencing hot weather. Another scenario is for vacation. Approaching the season of cruises and resort stays, it’s non-negotiable for your leisure wear to be comfortable. Linen shorts can appeal to the theme and feel of a summer vacay.


    Building a solid wardrobe of key pieces is so beneficial to your everchanging schedule. With last minute obligations, it’ll pay off to have that one item that sets the tone for your look. Take a second to look into your Stately box for any of these key staples and note all the ways they can keep you looking distinguished and alleviate your stress of what to wear!







    Kayla Washington
    Stately stylist, writer, and designer based in Los Angeles, CA