Now, we know age is just a number, and 40 is arguably the new 30 for all intents and purposes. But, once you’re over 40, no matter how young you feel (and look), you need to step away from certain style statements.
Not to worry, you can still have plenty of fun with fashion while playing nice and a bit more grown-up with your wardrobe. After all, many of the items on this list are really a fashion faux pas for people of any age. So, let the closet cleaning begin.
1. Ill-fitting clothes
If you are 40 (or older) you no longer have any excuse for wearing clothes that don’t fit. It’s high time you invest in some quality pieces that are nipped and tucked in all the right places. And the rule doesn’t just apply to sharply tailored suits that are worthy of the corner office. Your off-duty looks are equally important, too.
Just because you’re not on the clock doesn’t mean you should be slacking. You never know who you’ll meet in that coffee shop down the street. Also, if you’ve recently gained or lost weight, don’t try to wear the same clothes you did before. Get rid of them, or at the very least, get acquainted with a tailor.
2. Bare midriffs
While this rule may be more relevant to females than males, a bare midriff is certainly a faux pas past 40, no matter how much of a six-pack you’re rocking. Crop tops and low-slung jeans spell tween-dom and just look rather try-hard. And, for the gentlemen, a crop top is always a crazy idea. The bigger offenders, though, are the shirts that used to cover the stomach but an expanding belly has made them ride up a bit. If it doesn’t cover your entire midriff area, just say no.
Unless you’re braving the rain or a severe arctic cold front, a hoodie worn with the hood up is not going to serve you well — or make a good first impression. It screams of high school angst or street-inspired urban swagger, both of which look more wannabe than wow once you get past the age of 30.
4. Baseball caps worn backwards
What was once a fashion statement on the entertainment scene, a backwards baseball cap draws all the wrong kinds of attention to you and what may or may not be a receding hairline. A frontward-facing cap can be OK if worn on appropriate occasions, as in at a baseball game or to block the sun from your face. Just make sure it’s a grown-up cap and not one with some silly message displayed across it.
5. Baggy or saggy pants
Baggy pants or ones that are hanging off your bum are strictly off-limits for anyone past the age of 40. Arguably, they shouldn’t be worn by anyone. At best, they look plain silly, not to mention sloppy. So, if you could squeeze two of you into your jeans or your pants are around your knees, it’s time to trade them in.
6. Fanny packs
Fanny packs are most generally a faux pas unless you want to look like the consummate tourist with a capital “T.” Sometimes the younger generations can get away with wearing one as a fashion statement that comes across as cool rather than crazy. But at the end of the day, your fanny doesn’t need a pack — no matter how convenient it is.
7. Band, graphic, or logo T-shirts
No matter how much you love Jurassic Park, head-bang to Metallica, or still have a never-ending crush on the Beatles, you simply cannot wear your heart on your sleeve. Band and logo T-shirts have juvenile written all over them and end up looking cliché rather than cool.
8. Full-on prints
This is not the time to break out the bold-faced patterns and prints you might have rocked in previous years. Too much animal print can look intentionally cougar-esque — literally and figuratively. And too much pattern action can be distracting rather than dapper. Moderate bursts of bright prints in accessories such as handbags, scarves, ties, and pockets is the best way to go. For apparel, stick to more subdued patterning. One caveat: Guys, this doesn’t give you free reign to wear silly ties that are supposed to be “funny.” Let your personality speak for itself.
9. Shredded denim
The ’80s called and they still want their distressed denim back. This is no time to be resurrecting all those rips and shreds. Faded, torn jeans or jean jackets look rather immature in your more mature years. It’s time to retire these duds.