What Not To Wear In Midlife

What Not To Wear In Midlife

A friend recently sent me a picture of a jumpsuit with large floral prints. She asked, “Can we still wear big prints like this?” I looked at the outfit. The print wasn’t the problem. It was the silhouette. But also, it got me thinking about this idea of what not to wear. Whether it’s because we’re too old, too big, or just too something…women believe that certain items are off limits to wear.

So I decided to break it down in this post. 

Here’s 3 Things Women Should Never Wear

Outdated Clothes

When I say outdated clothes, I’m not referring to what the fashion industry says is “out”. My definition of outdated is about YOU. I’m more interested in how you feel in your clothes. When you put something on — like a pair of jeans from 5 years ago—I want to know how you feel. 

Physical fit is important. You must be able to zip them up and move around. But do they still fit your style? Do these jeans from 5 years ago look like YOU today? Or are they more like you from 5 years ago?

Your clothes have an expiration date. As your life shifts and changes, you evolve. Your clothes must support you. Similar to how an actor’s costume must support the role she’s playing on stage. Your clothes must support your current roles in life. What were your roles 5 years ago? Specifically, what role were you playing when you bought those jeans? Was it your “mom of young kids role”? If yes, and that’s not your role anymore…it’s time to get some new jeans that support you as mom with older kids now. Or whatever current roles you assume. Because when we wear clothes from a previous role, it feels off. It’s outdated.

Energy Draining Colors 

I know many women who are obsessed with knowing “Their” colors. And I get it! Understanding which colors bring out your natural coloring in true harmony is a great tool to have in your back pocket when getting dressed. It helps you look more vibrant and alive. Just as wearing the colors that work against your natural coloring will drain your energy. It can make you look sick.


In my styling work, I’ve found that most women over 40 have an idea of what colors suit them. They’ve been getting dressed for so many years, they naturally gravitate towards their palette. Wear those colors that you know highlight your skin, hair and eyes!


But there’s something else I want you to consider when choosing color— how does each hue make you feel? Because there are certain colors that energize and others that bring us down.


When I wear bright orange or red, I feel in my power. I also always get compliments. On the flip side, once when I was doing a client’s color palette I saw brown was in her wheel. When I presented this to her she said “brown makes me feel like poo!” My immediate reaction —don’t wear brown! So even if a color is in YOUR palette, it must energize you. Don’t wear colors that make you feel like poo. 

Someone Else’s Head To Toe Look

Have you ever had hair envy? So you bring a photo of the sought after haircut into your salon and say, “Give me this!”

I used to do it all the time. The problem is that my hair is thick, wavy and kind of unruly. These photos that I’d bring in always had women with thin, straight styles. My hair person would say “That’s not happening for you!”

It’s the same with other people’s outfits. You see another woman and you’re like, “I want that outfit!” Even though she’s completely different from you.

I’m all for seeking outside yourself for inspiration. But copying someone else’s head to toe outfit is never a good idea. 

Instead, look closer at her outfit and decide what is truly calling you in. It may not even be the actual garments. It could just be the feeling that woman emanates…that’s what you’re responding to!

And if it is something in her outfit, figure out exactly what it is. It could be the way she carries her cross-body bag higher up on her hip. Or maybe it’s the asymmetrical angle of her blouse. Rather than steal her look from head to toe, borrow some inspiration… then make it your own.

What Not To Wear

If you’re concerned about what not to wear, ask yourself why you’re worried about this. Is it because you’re concerned about what other people will think? Or is it that you genuinely want to look your best? If it’s the former, know that you’ll never impress everyone and you’ll waste a lot of energy trying. And if it’s the latter, remember that your best style comes from making confident choices about what to wear.

Confidence comes from trusting yourself. Trust is built by getting your outfits right. And you get your outfits right by experimenting to see what looks best. Part of developing your style is getting it wrong sometimes so you feel what doesn’t work. Because once you discern what feels off and what works, then you’ll look your best.

Freaking out about how you look on video? Worried that you’re not coming across in your best light? Take the quick quiz to discover your on-camera style so you show up more magnetically in life.

Elysha Lenkin
I help women over 40 feel unforgettable in their clothes.

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