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The key to looking fabulous at any age

The key to looking fabulous at any age
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Coco Chanel was great at reminding us that age is just a number. “The age of a woman is not important: you can be wonderful in your 20s, amazing in your 40s, and stay fabulous for the rest of your life,” the iconic designer is quoted saying. Fashion can help us do that at any age, though the rules change slightly as we get older. That said, those rules aren’t about avoiding certain things when we’re no longer in our 20s or 30s. They’re about knowing how to maximise our look – something that’s also true when it comes to makeup.

With that in mind, we’ve assembled the 15 best fashion tips to help you play up your best assets during your fourth decade. From well-fitting undergarments to smart silhouettes, here is your cheat sheet for looking great at 40 and beyond.

A well-fitting bra is essential

A well-fitting bra is essential
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“I know it sounds simple, but you must invest in a high-quality bra that fits,” says Silvia Campello, co-CEO of an Italian luxury lingerie brand. “Your bra is the foundation of your wardrobe, and if it fits correctly, it will make you look and feel your best.” While bra shopping can be a jarring experience, understanding your body and how it changes over time can be a powerful exercise. “It can impact how we view ourselves,” she explains. That’s one of the reasons Campello thinks bra fittings are so important: they help women embrace every milestone their body reaches, as well as provide them with immediate feedback on what bra styles will accentuate their figure in the best way possible.

Most brands offer virtual bra fittings on their websites with easy-to-follow instructions. If you prefer to visit a store, undergarment experts will take your measurements and offer up the best styles to accentuate your assets. While you’re shopping, find a comfortable wireless bra to add to your undergarment arsenal.

Only wear athleisure that hugs you in the right places

Only wear athleisure that hugs you in the right places
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The temptation to live in our leggings and sweatshirts is very real, especially in coronavirus times. Just follow one golden rule to ensure that your choices make your body look its best at 40 and beyond. “You need workout pants that hug you in all the right places,” says Laura Berens, owner of an activewear line. “High-waisted, non-slip workout pants help keep your leggings comfortably and securely above your hips with no sagging, slipping, or awkward shifting.” She also suggests good-quality materials that help smooth out and hold everything in.

Don’t miss these sneaky fashion tricks to look 5 kilos thinner.

It’s still OK to be sexy

It’s still OK to be sexy
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“We need to break the stereotypes that society attaches to women as they get older,” says Sapna Palep, luxury lingerie brand, co-CEO. “When you’re in your 40s, you have a better understanding of who you are than ever before, and you should express that boldly.” She would know a thing or two about that: Palep’s brand is made for women by women, and it’s been making wearers feel sexy for years.

Palep encourages women over 40 to embrace sexiness through one of the biggest trends this year: exposed lingerie. “Try wearing your lingerie as outerwear, layered with more tailored pieces to achieve the perfect balance,” she suggests. “In your 40s, give yourself permission to live by your own rules – it’s time to embrace and express what makes you you!”

How can you do this without making a fashion misstep? Don’t expose too much. For example, if you opt for a low-cut top and have a hint of lacy black bralette peeking out from underneath it, make sure your skirt is capped at a demure length. On the flip side, if you’re looking to rock a mini-skirt, go with a top that isn’t too revealing.

Don’t miss these style secrets of women who always look put together.

Only wear comfortable shoes

Only wear comfortable shoes
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Nothing can cramp your style more than ill-fitting shoes. Wearing shoes that fit properly will translate into a more confident walk, and confidence is truly your sexiest accessory. As we age, our threshold for foot pain changes. Remember rocking sky-high stilettos at 25? Now kitten heels might be more our vibe. In addition to paying attention to heel length, pay special attention to shoe width, since our feet tend to expand as we get older. But before you start tossing your narrow shoes, see if you can resize what you already own. There are gadgets available that will stretch a shoe’s length and width up to half a size. Comfortable shoes will do wonders for the way you are perceived when you sashay around a room.

Check out these smart tricks to keep your shoes smelling fresh.

Opt for stretchy fabrics that hug your curves

Opt for stretchy fabrics that hug your curves
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Gone are the days when women of a certain age had to hide their curves under tunics and oversized pieces. Hugging your curves with quality, stretchy, fabrics can help you achieve a more stylish and slimmer look. This combination also offers comfort, which should score high on your fashion list.

Not sure what colours suit you? This is how to figure it out based on your skin tone.

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Don’t assume shapewear is only for a big night out

Don’t assume shapewear is only for a big night out
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Don’t assume shapewear is only for a big night out

Sure, we don shapewear under our fanciest dresses and cocktail attire, but who says we have to reserve them for special occasions? You can – and should – harness the magical smoothing and tightening powers of shapewear for everyday outings, too. Brands are coming up with novel solutions that are perfect for daily life. Play around with a few shapewear styles for your various fashion issues.

Don’t be afraid of relaxed silhouettes

Don’t be afraid of relaxed silhouettes
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This rule isn’t about hiding under oversized clothing, which actually tends to highlight the things we are trying to minimise. This is about being comfortable and chic, says textile designer Amy Voloshin. But you should be strategic about your choices – and when to wear them. “I love a slightly oversized silhouette or cut when I’m at home,” Voloshin explains. “Some traditional loungewear can look dishevelled or overly casual, so I prefer something that has a crisper look to it.” This is especially important if you’re having company over or you’re considering an outing in your comfiest clothes. A cosy, well-made cardigan can pull together and elevate your basic leggings-and-T-shirt combo.

As you get to a certain age, it’s also smart to consider what material your clothing is made out of. “Natural fibres help to keep your body temperature regulated, and wearing something cooling and lightweight can make hot flashes more bearable,” Voloshin adds.

Don’t swap comfort for lift

Don’t swap comfort for lift
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As we get older, bra shopping can be a tricky negotiation. Sometimes it feels like a toss-up between comfort and lift – but it doesn’t have to. These days, bra designers better understand women’s bodies and have found novel ways to address those issues simultaneously. Thick and stretchy straps and customised back zones are just a few of the many attributes a well-designed bra can bring to the table.

Say yes to adventurous swimwear

Say yes to adventurous swimwear
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It’s a common misconception that after a certain age, women have to hide behind cover-ups or wear a boring one-piece at the beach or pool. Not so! There are new rules for women 40-plus, and these include looking sexy in and out of the water. Look for styles that play with dimensions and have a peek-a-boo factor; cut-outs can play with the eye and accentuate your best assets. Just make sure to apply (and reapply) sunscreen so that you don’t end up with some very strange tan lines.

Check out these swimming workouts that burn fat quickly.

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