Beauty & Fashion

Ageless style

Ageless style

When it comes to post-forties fashion, the fundamentals are taking your body into account, dressing to your strengths and style. With our focus this month on women in their best years, we asked image and fashion consultant, stylist and speaker, Lynne McMaster, to help us take what we’ve learned over the past two decades, filter out some of the more questionable purchases and focus on what’s more age appropriate and feminine.

“With my experience dressing people for 14 years, I have found women in their 40s sometimes lose their self-confidence when it comes to what they can and can’t wear, and how to decode age-appropriate fashion. Dresses, skirts and ruffles and colour are big for Summer 18 and you really can wear them all. So often we stick to our ‘safe’ clothes – jeans, T-shirts and blouses or the mom ‘mode’ t-shirt and ¾ length pants.”

“With female fashion role models now hitting older age groups (think Maye Musk – Elon Musk’s mom and accidental icon, Lynn Slater) more women are starting to realize that they can be fashionable at any age. It’s all about how you put the look together.”


Here are some guidelines for dressing in your 40s:

  • Dress to your strengths and take your body into account.
  • Buy clothes that flatter you.
  • Look at fabrication and drape – avoid too cheap fabrics.
  • Less is more. When we have less clothes we have more variety and choice, vs when we have lots of clothes and are overwhelmed by the variety and choice.
  • If you have the onset of early menopause i.e. hot flushes, look to natural fibres and avoid 100% polyester (or if it is included opt for a polyester/viscose blend rather)
  • The recommended dressing principle is always: volume on top, fitted underneath and vice versa.
  • Know and trust your style.
  • Keep current with age appropriate fashion trends – if your teen daughter is wearing it then it’s probably a no-no.
  • There are some common items you can share i.e. a striped T-shirt, a parka jacket.
  • Invest in great fitting underwear – see a professional bra fitter. Great underwear equals well fitted outerwear.
  • Looking stylish requires repeated calibration of nuances and a certain degree of  letting go.
  • With animal prints like leopard print, less is more. Have a statement blouse or shoe but don’t wear both together.
  • Don’t let items compete.
  • The older you get the more you can do defined, striking, architectural and subtle.
  • Look to classics with a modern twist for eg. a draw string dress, shirt dress, the light weight trench coat, gillet (look at Meghan Markle she often wears this) and collarless long lightweight coats.
  • Kimonos, which are very on trend, are fabulous for hiding arms yet still feeling lovely and cool.
  • The older we get the harder it is to wear black near our face. You should always try to bring colour to your face as this will enhance your complexion.
  • Women over 40 shouldn’t show their arms – bingo wings.
  • A lot depends on how you feel about your arms (your comfort level). It’s a personal and practical choice.


If you are Petite:

Keep to small prints, because bold prints can overpower you.

Opt for fitted shaped clothes instead of very loose and boxy (as these will make you look shorter or wider).

Clothes should be fitted not tight.

A wrap dress suits a petite figure.

High waisted skirt or pants will make your legs appear longer

Avoid turn up pants as these shorten the legs.

Avoid oversized handbags as they can over power your look.

Monochrome colours and outfits with a colour accent suit the petite silhouette.

Match your shoe to your hemline to create height e.g. light skirt/pants light shoe.

Opt for a heel or wedge to create height.

Look to Victoria Beckham as a role model for petite size models.



If you are Medium:

This silhouette allows for the most versatility, as generally small, medium and big prints suit them.

Layering of tops and jackets is a way to slim this silhouette if need be.

Fitted shaped (not tight) clothing works for this silhouette.

Volume on top, narrow underneath or vice versa.

Experiment with various looks from dresses, to tops with culottes (if tall).


If you are Plus size:

Wear the correct underwear.

Patterns really suit this silhouette as they make you look slimmer.

Darker colours are always slimming.

Strong blocks of colour help define your silhouette.

Opt for V-neck or low round necklines to make the bust and tummy look smaller.

The deeper the V, the taller and slimmer we look – opt for a one, two button or no button (on trend) shaped fitted blazer.

If you have narrow hips, opt for light colour bottom e.g. pants/ skirt and darker top (if tummy, bust and shoulders are broader).



Really short shorts.

Mini skirts.

Really torn jeans (you can wear ripped jeans, just not the kind with huge big gaps or missing parts).



Contact Lynne on 082 520 1412


Facebook: @DressSouthAfrica

Instagram: dress_SouthAfrica



Venue:  Santana Hair

Hair: Belinda Santana from Santana Hair

Make-Up: Marianne Visagie from Make-Up By Marianne Visagie

Image consultant/stylist: Lynne McMaster from D R E S S (formerly known as DRESSBYLYNNE)

Photographer: Lara Baker from Lara Baker Photography

Furniture – Supplied by Tarryn Tait from Basics

Models: Jacqueline Warner (petite), Anisa Ussuph (medium), Lesley Goolam Hoosen (fuller figure)








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