As soon as a woman hits the Big 4-0, it feels like the fashion police come out in force to tell her what she should and shouldn’t be wearing as if she’s just crossed some invisible sartorial line. Not only are these so-called “rules” hopelessly outdated, they no longer make sense in today’s world. After all, some of the most powerful influencers and most popular trendsetters on social media are in their 40s and beyond.

There’s no reason you have to feel any less than fabulous just because you’re over 40, but there are plenty of reasons to ignore unsolicited fashion tips that won’t do you any favors.

Banish the bikini

If Helen Mirren can rock a two-piece swimsuit at age 60, what’s stopping you? Looking good in a bikini is more about attitude than anything else. And, by the time we hit the big 4-0, we're more self-confident than we’ve ever been in our lives. Now’s the time to harness that confidence and check “wear a bikini in public” off the old bucket list — something most women in their 20s struggle to do!

Bikinis after 40 LarsZahnerPhotography / Getty Images


Forget the fancy footwear

Just because your age is going up doesn’t mean your heels have to go down! While most women over the age of, say, 20 tend to prefer comfort over blisters and twisted ankles, that doesn’t mean it’s time to pull out the granny loafers once you’ve stepped over the four-decade threshold. Just remember the old saying: “don’t skimp on anything that touches the ground: your bed, your tires, and your shoes.” Comfortable statement shoes are a worthy investment for any wardrobe.

Statement shoes after 40 grinvalds / Getty Images


Don’t wear leggings as pants

You’ve reached your 40s, and you deserve to be comfortable — you’ve earned it! You also deserve to enjoy as much freedom of movement as possible, which is why we're so lucky that leggings have finally earned their rightful place as pants this past decade.

To avoid the stuffed sausage look, it’s important to find a pair that fits properly. Most brands these days have a bit of built-in shaping. Feeling modest? A tunic-length top will disguise a multitude of sins down south. Just make sure you stick to seamless underwear to avoid VPL (visible panty lines), which creates extra lumps and bumps that don’t need to be there.

Leggings after 40 Justin Case / Getty Images


Cut your hair short

Just because you’re over 40 doesn’t mean you have to chop off your luscious locks. If you love your hair the way it is, there’s nothing wrong with keeping it that way. The only reason you might want to change things up is if you’ve been sporting the same hairstyle since you were in your 20s. Chances are, you’re overdue for a new ‘do — but again, it’s up to you.

Cute healthy and tanned blonde women in her fifties living the good life. martinedoucet / Getty Images


Cover your legs

Proud of your pins? If you’re lucky enough to have shapely legs, show them off! You aren’t doing them any justice if you keep them under wraps. As long as the inseam of your shorts measures three inches below your butt and your skirt is five inches above your knee, you're going to look enviably elegant.

Showing off legs after 40 NeonShot / Getty Images


Hide your figure

Just because you’re over 40 doesn’t mean you have to switch over to shapeless sacks. The more volume you add to your silhouette, the more volume you add to your figure. While too tight from head to toe is never a good look for anyone, a well-tailored wardrobe is a tactical way to highlight your assets and disguise your trouble spots.

Shot of a woman, looking at camera and smiling Giselleflissak / Getty Images


Avoid bright colors

Sure, all black from head to toe is slimming, but it can also be a little stifling. Wearing a pop of color that complements your skin tone can wake up your complexion and take years off your look. The secret for some is to stick to solids. Adding a bold accent to a neutral palette is like a beam of sunlight bursting through the clouds.

Colorful funky woman blowing soap bubbles AlenaPaulus / Getty Images


Steer clear of distressed denim

Most women think it’s time to hang up their faded jeans after 40 in favor of grown-up dark wash denim, but thankfully, that rule has had its day. Distressed jeans no longer have an age limit, as long as they don’t look like they’ve gone through the shredder. The lived-in look is free-spirited, fresh, and fun for everyone.

Bottom line: if your favorite well-loved jeans make you feel happy, by all means, keep wearing them!

Distressed denim after 40 MamikaStock / Getty Images


Leave the leather behind

Feminine prints and floaty fabrics might be flattering; they end up looking a tad excessive in large doses. A fitted leather jacket, real or faux, instantly adds a much-needed edge to any outfit. It also looks right from day to night, so you can keep it on from your morning coffee straight through to your evening cocktails later.

Leather after 40 Willie B. Thomas / Getty Images


Pick practical underpants

Sure, beige granny panties are comfy and all, but having a drawerful of fun underwear to choose from is one of life’s small pleasures. The secret joy of wearing lacy lingerie under your clothes never gets old, no matter how old you are. Speaking of underthings, it might be time to get fitted for a new bra if you haven’t done so in a while. You'll be amazed at how much lifting your bustline will lift your spirits!

Fun underwear after 40 margostock / Getty Images


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