How to Dress in the Summer If You’re Over 40

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With the onset of summer, the hot, sticky weather can present some questions around how to dress. Should I wear shorts? Do I show off my arms? Do I wear a short, flirty summer dress? And if you’re over 40, it can seem near impossible!

But being over 40 doesn’t mean that your personal sense of style or preferences should go out the window. Here are some helpful tips for dressing appropriately while still staying cool this summer!

You Can Still Wear Shorts

First thing’s first: shorts are a great way to stay cool in the summer, and being over a certain age doesn’t mean you can’t wear them anymore. But if you’re still rocking the daisy dukes, it might be time to retire them. Look for crisp, clean shorts with longer inseams (6 inches is flattering on all body types – and you can cuff them if they’re a bit too long for your liking). Avoid denim, and stick to fabrics like linen and cotton and spandex blends. These will keep your legs cool, and some can even be styled to wear to the office!

Look for Simple Tops with Coverage

Looking pulled together is easy with the right top. But try to keep the skin to a minimum when dressing your age. If you’re going for a tank top, look for one with a higher neckline so that you’re not showing off too much cleavage. Look for simple cuts, but feel free to get a little playful with patterns and colours. If you don’t like tank tops, look for sleeveless blouses with a bit of a ruffle on the shoulders to give you more coverage.

Say Goodbye to Mini Dresses

Like shorts, it’s important to look for dresses and skirts that have a bit more length to them than the ones you wore in your teens and 20s. But there are tons of options out there for longer lengths, with midi and maxi dresses and skirts coming back into fashion in a big way this year. A good general rule is to look for items that hit your legs just at your knee. Again, the trick here is to look for fun, colourful patterns that keep it young and fresh but still age-appropriate.

Look for Classic Pieces

A good rule for shopping at any age is to look for classic pieces that you can wear over and over again. White button downs, tailored trousers and a classic shirt dress are great places to start. By investing in these pieces, you can mix and match them with other items in your wardrobe and really extend how far your wardrobe goes by creating dozens of outfits with a handful of pieces.


There’s no better way than accessories to keep your wardrobe updated and versatile throughout the summer. You can repurpose outfits and make them look new simply by adding a cute handbag, some statement earrings and some strappy sandals. By pairing simple, classic pieces with fun and trendy accessories, you can make your wardrobe last for way more than one summer, without having to spend too much money.

At Ideal Fashion, we offer in-store wardrobe consultations to help you look and feel your best! Contact us to learn more.

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