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How to wear a suit and not look old

#styleover40 mature woman mixing pattern
#fashionover50 woman in needle stripe skirt suit with a twist
Needle stripe skirt suit with front zipper, Kieselstein Cord belt and buckle, sequin top, GNW Luxe sweater, GNW tight, and Valentino boots (all own)

The fashion model Tatjana Patitz once said

Suits are so easy to wear, whether in a casual or dressy way, a woman in a suit is the sexiest thing.

Well, I agree when she would have started the sentence with “For twenty somethings.” Once you are over 40, a suit becomes tricky. We have to compete with those twenty somethings, and in many jobs, we have to wear suits.

#styleover40 woman in skirt suit with a glam and edgy twist
Side view of skirt suit, GNW Luxe sweater, Kieselstein Cord belt and buckle, sequin top, GNW tight, and Valentino boots (all own)

In the 80s, we wore cheap suits with a shirt to look professional and/or older and to be taken seriously, especially when we had jobs in a men dominate field. We added a faux pearl necklace and 2.5 inch (5 cm) high pumps and a structured work bag or briefcase.

While we had success with this outfit back then, such an outfit would look old-fashioned even when we would go for expensive instead of cheap items. Such an outfit would make us also look like an Old Lady. For us women over 40, Audrey Hephurn’s statement

Givenchy suits gave me “Protection” against strage situations and people, because I felt so good in them.

becomes a farce. Most of us can’t even afford a Givenchy suit, not to mention that in most jobs, which require a suit, such an expensive suit would look over the top. In other words, your supervisor, colleagues, and clientle would wonder about your touch with reality.

#styleover40 woman in festive work outfit
Back view of needle stripe skirt suit, GNW Luxe sweater, sequin top, GNW tights, and Valentino boots (all own)

While on a twenty something a suit indicates “I am serious and professional”, on a forty something it may indicate “I am conservative, I am plugging the same old road over and over again, I am stuck in old times.” Thus, we over 40 women have to be creative to look professional up-to-date, and not conservative and stiff in a suit.

Here are some suggestions how to look modern, and up-to the tasks in a suit over 40.

  • Choose suits that have unexpected details like a zipper instead of buttons or an asymmetric skirt hem.
  • Go for a suit in colors beyond the usual neutrals, but not too bright. For instance, blue instead of navy, chocolate brown instead of tan or camel, hunter green instead of loden green.
  • Pair a suit in neutral colors with bold colors instead of further neutrals.
  • Add an unexpected piece to show off your personal style.
  • Wear the peices in an unexpected modern way like untucked, rolled up sleeves, chopped up sleeves.
  • Go beyond the court shoe and higher than 2.5 inch (5 cm) to look tall, slim and healthy.
  • Unmatch your suits, i.e. go for a fake suit.
  • Never wear a suit with items from the same designer.
  • Have the suit altered for perfect fit if needed.
  • Only wear double breasted suits if your frame can take them. Be aware that they add weight. looking heavier than you are can give wrong perceptions about your health. You don’t need that.
  • Be aware that pink and red add weight, while darker colors have a slimming effect.
  • Avoid suits that look trendy (e.g. wide or thin lapels, ruffles on the skirt hem, strong shoulder pads). They look dated faster than you can get them below a dollar per wear.
  • Flappless pockets look better one everyone.
  • Stay away from linen suits as they wrinkle. Instead go for lined cotton suits in summer.

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Other suit styling inspirations

mature woman in skirt suit work outfit Glenn check patterned skirt suit, Oliveo button-down shirt, Gucci belt (all own), and wooden chronograph c/o Jord
midlife woman looking posh in skirt suit Work outfit with apt9 sweater, Jay Jacobs skirt suit, statement belt, Calvin Klein block heel pumps, Festina watch (all own), and pink tata necklace c/o Wendy Mignot

Fake or unmatched suit outfit inspirations

The easiest way to look great in a suit over 40 is to go for an unmatched suit. Below are some examples for inspiration.

mature woman in festive outfit Festive outfit with blazer, Kieselstein Cord belt and buckle, GNW tight, Harley Davidson booties, Tucker brocade skirt, silk scarf (all own) and statement necklace c/o Happiness Boutique
over 40 year old in a fake suit in leather Lookbook Store motorcycle style inspired leather jacket with Sienna Studio leather pencil skirt, Jeanne Pierre sweater, Russian scarf, GNW tight and Harley Davidson booties (all own)
over 50 old woman in tweed skirt with blazer as unmatched suit Ann Taylor tweed skirt with a blazer as an unmatched suit for the office. The floral weave of the tweed skirt looks unexpected and modern
midlife woman in fake tweed skirt suit Fake skirt suit with Halogen skirt, Jacket Society motorcycle jacket, GNW Luxe sweater, GNW tights, riding boots and statement necklace (all own)
mature woman in sweat pants plus blazer Work look with Adidas sweat pants, hounds tooth blazer, black turtleneck, Harley Davidson booties, BCBG statement belt, three string different size pearl necklace (all own) and Akoya saltwater pearl necklace c/o The Pearl Source
#over40fashion woman in unmatched leather suit Oliveo leather skirt with leather jacket, hat, scarf tied as a bow, and pumps (all own)

Don’t forget to style your outerwear

I wore a shearling coat over the suit. I styled my outerwear with a Russian scarf. The gloves and tight pick up colors of the floral print of the Russian scarf.

midlife woman in winter outerwear with studded boots
Side view of outerwear with shearling coat, GNW tight, Valentino boots, gloves, Russian scarf, and Camel bag (all own)

When you liked this post let your friends know by tweeting them to have a look at this post on ageless style in a suit!

#styleover50 woman in stylish winter outerwear
Shearling coat, Russian scarf, GNW tights, gloves, and Valentino boots (all own)

How do you wear a suit? Do you wear “fake” suits? Do you have to wear a suit at work? What are your styling challenges when you have to wear a suit? Let me know I am curious how I can help you. Just drop an email. Thanks. 🙂

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Photos: G. Kramm

Copyright 2013-2017 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved

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