You are currently viewing Best and Worst Fall Trends for Women over 40
Ray ban blue frame sunglasses, Longchamp marigold pliage de cuir, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Futuro bandage, gemstone thin belt (all own), color changing sneakers c/o SUNS and sun-protective tunic paisley print dress c/o Coolibar

This post review the autumn/winter 2020/21 fashion with special focus on the suitability for women over 40.

  1. Colors, fabrics, prints and It pieces
  2. Metallic and sequins shine at day
  3. Argyle and tartan in bright and muted colors
  4. Capes including wrap scarves and blanket capes
  5. Fringes
  6. Ruffles, bow ties, lace, puff sleeves and embellishment
  7. Shearling coats and vests
  8. Knit dresses
  9. Worst trends

Disclosure: This post has affiliate links.

Colors, fabrics, prints and It pieces

Trendy fabrics are satin, velvet and tweed as well as colorful leather. Now we are talking! My marigold leather skirt and burgundy leather dress will be in good rotation. Stock up on a high quality wool tweed skirt when your primary or secondary style is American Classic or your work dress code is Business Casual. Don’t know your primary personal style? No problem! Use this free online style finder to find out.

The It prints are floral, geometric and paisley. Here especially floral blazers and geometric print pants are on top of the list. Paisley isa n eternal classic. Thus, when you love this print or you have British Classic, Bohemian or Eclectic Style, stock up on pieces with a classic with a twist cut. Tartan and plaid as well as leather remain in fashion.

Marigold, rust and blue are the It colors for the upcoming season.

Knee length (leather) shorts and pleats are having a moment (again). Zipped leather jackets are a Must-have. Riot your closet to give your motorcycle jacket some love (again). I am so excited that puffer skirts are back. They are great when temperatures drop into the negative double digits (lower than -23.3oC). Multi-tone pants. Fake the look with a pair of (fake) tuxedo pants (see photos later in this post).

post banner showing woman in tweed jacket with leaves for best and worst autumn fashion


Velvet is still having its moment. Thus, you can recycle your pieces from last winter when you had jumped the band wagon on velvet last year already. A velvet blazer in a neutral color is perfect with jeans and a T-shirt or layering top on Casual Friday. Wrap dresses are an evergreen classic and look great in velvet.

over 50 years old blogger in paisley print tunic dress

fashion blogger in pink, purple, blue dress, matching sneakers and pliage

stylist modeling an autumn trend
Ray ban blue frame sunglasses, Longchamp marigold pliage de cuir, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Futuro bandage, gemstone thin belt, DIY snail earrings (all own), pearls on leather band necklace c/o Wendy Mignot, color changing sneakers c/o SUNS and sun-protective tunic paisley print dress c/o Coolibar


When you love velvet and often need at classic evening gown in winter, you may think about investing in a classic tailored velvet gown with bolero or little jacket. Also an evergreen investing in, a velvet wrap dress.

fashion over 50 woman in office outfit
Shein high low velvet dress after shortening styled with Ray Ban Jackie O. sunglasses, Salvatore Ferragamo pumps, Coach bag, Banana Republic silk coat (all own), and scarf c/o Uno Alla Volta

Gloves! This accessory is perfect given the pandemic. And it goes well beyond just black and brown. Worried about colored gloves? No problem. Check this guide on how to accessorize with gloves.

Metallic and sequins shine at day

Major runway trends were metallic and and sequins, and not just for night. Metallic blazer and camisoles or clothes in fabrics with a metallic foil weaved in are hot. Style metallic silver and golden-hued clothes like neutrals. This tip sounds easy. However, recall that everything that is shiny makes you look bigger than you are in that area. Thus, pick strategically where you wear your glitter. Read more about how to best wear shiny pieces in fashion over 40. The next photos illustrate the trend.

midlife blogger in silver skirt, scuba cropped jacket, open-toe pumps with shark Pippa bag
T. Tahari jacket, DIY brooch, Chanel leather skirt, blue graphic tee, Anne Klein pumps, Modalu Pippa bag (all own)


Sequin pieces are inspired by the 1970s Disco Style. Think blazers, skirts, dresses and color sequins. Wear a sequin skirt with everyday wear for a cool fashion forward look. Or just go with a stripe of sequins along the legs of your trousers or a sequin embellished collar. Both of which are major fashion statements this season too (see sections below). The sequin stripes on your pants or sequin embellishments also work for the office when you keep everything else classic and you skip wearing a necklace. In other words, avoid over-bling. Go for a styling that clearly stays away from a date night or evening wear look. For more tips on how to wear sequins at day see the guide at the link.

mature style woman in floral trend

stylist in sequin striped jeans
Aeropostale colored jeans with sequin trim detail, GNW polka dot socks, Jones New York silk pleated blouse, dyed Notations floral blazer, and 3.1 Philip Lim tote (all own)

When you like any of the outfit inspirations, please feel free to pin them.

Argyle and tartan in bright and muted colors

On the catwalk you saw, argyle everything from skirts to sweaters and cardigans. Invest in lasting classics like a sweater or cardigan in a high quality material. There were also punky plaids (read extreme colors or pink), checked leggings and gingham dresses. In the latter case, black replaces the white we use in summer.

Tips: When you have a gingham dress with long or 3/4 sleeves that you barely wore this summer, up-cycle it for fall by dying it with a darker color (but not black, unless you want to turn it into a LBD). Fake the look with a buffalo plaid jacket or shirt.

Plaid shirts and dresses come in a new cut. Personally, I prefer the straight classic sleeves and a fitted cut for plaid shirts. In my opinion, puffy sleeves in plaid or plaid with ruffles are the best candidates to become the entertainment of as a fashion victim at a future family reunion. Just imaging how embarrassed the wearer will be when the future kids find photos of her in this trend when browsing albums of past family reunions on the computer. 😉

#advancedstyle woman in plaid trend

midlife woman looking posh in the plaid trend
Work outfit with plaid trend: Burberry pink plaid skirt, Adidas jacket, Isaac Mirazhi top, GNW tight, 3.1 Philip Lim tote, snake buckle statement belt (all own), Musse & Cloud wood leather fall sandals c/o Coolway, and Akoya pearl necklace c/o The Pearl Source Inc.


Go for plaid skirts in fall in a classic cut – pencil, straight or A-line – whatever flatters you best. It’s a great piece for the office. A classic plaid shirt that doesn’t read cowgirl is also always in style for the weekend and running errands.

I will give my plaid wool skirt another round this cold season. This time around, it will be two-in-one. Pleats are back again as well.

tartan sheath with leather coat
Ruby Belle tailored dress with sheer panty hose, pumps, structured office bag and cocoon leather coat as outerwear (all own)
style book author in plaid sheath
Halftee layering top under plaid sheath dress with sheer hose, structured bag, statement brooch and black pumps for a classic office look

Capes including wrap scarves and blanket capes

When you live in a cold climate region, you will love this trend. It means you can layer your outerwear for thermal comfort while looking incredibly stylish and up-to-date. Thus, get your blanket and wrap scarves out of the storage. Always remember outerwear is an outfit. Thus, style your outerwear.

Tip: A short wool cape looks great over a wool winter coat.

Never worry again what to wear when. Just look it up in my style book How to Dress for Success in Midlife. Buy the book now.


Fringes are everywhere, but be aware of their bulk factor. On coats, skirts, bags, jackets and jeans. On the skirts as hems or all over. On skirts, the fringe hem version is better as it doesn’t add weight to the tights or hips. Resist to style your fringe piece like in the 70s Flower Power style. The safest take on this trend is a fringe bag.

This trend is perfect for the Western gal and when you have Bohemian Style. In both cases, invest in a fringe leather jacket if you don’t have one already. I saw a nice one at LeatherCoatsEtc this summer.

Saving tip: When you are a DIY turn a fringed blanket scarf into a skirt or sheath with a fringe hem.

style blogger with Uno Alla Volta artisan made clutch
Ralph Lauren polka dot pleated skirt, Gucci belt, GNW top, Christian Louboutin pumps (all own), and Florentine fringe suede clutch c/o Uno Alla Volta

Ruffles, bow ties, lace, puff sleeves and embellishment

The Romantic Style woman can stock up on great pieces with ruffles, floral prints, bow ties and lace. Ruffles are everywhere, at the neck,, on the dress hem, and the sleeves. Many pieces take their inspiration from the Victorian Era. Thus, when you love Steampunk or Gothic Style look for pieces in fabric you can dye black. Drawstrings are an It detail and produce instant ruchings as strong or light as you like.

Be aware that shiny lace looks cheap. Typically, lace in silk and cotton looks high quality.

Note the drawstring detail also works great for Casual Style.

pleated romantic ruffle blouse
Shein Romantic pleated ruffle blouse. Search for Pleated Ruffle Trim Keyhole Back Blouse
Ruffle Cuff Puff Sleeve Allover Floral Print Dress
Shein Search for Ruffle Cuff Puff Sleeve Allover Floral Print Dress

Shearling coats and vests

Faux or real shearling is hot for A/W2020/21 in all lengths. They are also hot with a patchwork, but buying such a piece will date the piece. If you adopt the shear, go for a coat or jacket. I bought a shearling in 2000 and it is still in pristine order. A high quality one lasts about 20 years. Go for a classic cut to never look yesteryear. I found a nice, affordable one at LeatherCoatsEtc this summer. I also bought a fake shearling pair of sandals.

Tip: When you live in a cold climate region, look for a piece where the animal lived in a cold climate. These pieces provide the best insulation. When you live in a warm climate the faux versions are best. When you want to go for a real, look for hide origin in warm climates like Italy or Australia.

Knit dresses

Especially, cable knit. This trend visually adds weight and the vertical lines of the cable knit can’t set it off. Thus, only go for a cable knit dress when you are tall and slim like a light pole. Otherwise go for a loose version that hugs you just in the right places. Best in a dark color of you pallet. I found this Diane von Fürstenberg beauty at Value Village. You can find a more on how to look great in a knit dress over 40 in the guide at the link.

Are you often in a hurry to go somewhere and need a quick outfit idea? Then my style recipe book How to Dress for Success in Midlife will be a great resource and Go-to.  Buy it now.

Worst trends

The following list are the worst trends for the upcoming cold season in my opinion. I elaborate why I think so.

  • (Baby-) Doll dresses (at any age). Aren’t baby-dolls by definition too fat? Moreover, these dresses easily look frumpy. Read they are hard to style or to pull off.
  • Tiered dresses. Again, this is a style that doesn’t do anything good for your shape. It may easily look like you are trying too hard to hide your mid-section aka midlife tummy or your love handles and/or hips. Unless you are straight up-and-down, skip this style.
  • Cropped knit tops. This style hides your waist and draws attention to it. It has to be worn with a sleek skirt, dress or jeans to show that you are not fat. Most of us menopausal or post-menopause ladies have that midlife tummy. You know where there is a horizontal line there goes the attention. We don’t need it there, right.
  • Cropped blazers. See comments above. But if you absolutely want to jump the bandwagon, go for a simple blazer that’s long enough for the office, but still short enough to count as cropped. Since this fashionable item most likely is short lived, look for an inexpensive, but well sewn version or cut a blazer that fits well in the shoulders, but is too tight around your hips.
  • Strapless tops. They look great on top-heavy women for going out, but where can we go at the moment. Unless you work from home and only do zoom meetings, they are not for work. And they are a recipe for catching a cold in cold climate regions.
  • Patchwork. It was a war solution to create blankets for soldiers when fabrics were rationed. Why would you want to wear a coat, jacket, skirt or pants in this style? It’s not even the solution of fashion industry to cope with late delivery of fabrics due to COVID-19 lockdowns.
  • Everyday lingerie (at any age). Wearing it would make you look like a fashion victim unless you are a music star. After a certain age, it would look like you have dementia.
  • Skirt suits. Great for Millennia, bad for everyone older than these women. If you go for the look, read this guide on how to wear a suit and not look old Lady.
  • Built-in hardware. Unless your style is Rock’n Roll and it’s about studs on bags and shoes, it’s best to skip. Just imagine how some of your clothes will look like when you would wash them with a piece that has metal chains or studs! And I assume that hand-washing your clothing isn’t your hobby either. Especially in winter, hands tend to be dry. In plain English: Built-in hardware on clothing makes you look stupid.
Leather suit trend over 40
Harley Davidson booties with hardware (work), GNW tight, Sienna leather pencil skirt, leather jacket with statement sleeves, GNW printed cardigan worn as top, and Highland Jeans tailored denim shirt (all own)


Which of the autumn trends will you adopt to up your style? Which one is your favorite? Which one would you like to adopt, but struggle how to style it? Let me know, so I can help you to look your best ever in midlife.

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Photos of me: G. Kramm

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