The 10 Things No Woman or Femme Should Wear After They Turn 40

There is a saying that if you are old enough that you wore something when it was last in fashion, you are too old to wear it when it comes back around again. This is commonly applied to things like jelly sandals and hair scrunchies, because things like bikinis and little black dresses seemingly never go out of style anyway. A lot has been said about what career-minded women hitting 30 should toss from their closet, and the rules get even harsher when you turn 40 (and then harsher again when you turn 50!) As someone who is comfortably living in my non-binary femme body at 43, let me tell you the things I agree no woman or femme should wear anymore after they turn 40.

  1. Anything that doesn’t feel comfortable — why should you tolerate itchy wool or shoes that give you blisters or a skirt you feel you can barely move in?
  2. Anything that doesn’t feel safe — this varies for individuals. If you still feel safe in 5 inch stilettos, don’t let anyone stop you! I however can barely handle a 1 inch block heel anymore.
  3. Anything that you just don’t like — you’ve more than earned the right to dress yourself and not be forced into something your mother, girlfriend, or employer thinks you should wear.
  4. Anything that makes you feel awkward — ditto to all the above.
  5. Anything that makes you feel unattractive when you don’t want to be unattractive — obviously this is open to interpretation, but your interpretation is the only one that matters here.
  6. Anything that makes you feel like you are drawing “too much” or “the wrong kind” of attention when you don’t want to be — see number 5 again, as this functions the same way. On another occasion, that outfit might be just the perfect thing that makes you feel great.
  7. Anything that you hated the fit/cut of the first time you wore it but didn’t get rid of because you felt like you spent too much on it or that it would somehow magically work better the next time you saw it in your closet — if you really didn’t feel good in it, for whatever reason, the first time around you aren’t likely going to feel better this time either. Sure, try it on, hang around the house for a half hour to prove this to yourself. Then get rid of it.
  8. Anything that produces an initial reaction in the mirror that is a wince, horror, or bile — yes, you should challenge your comfort zones and be willing to try new things, and you should definitely work on getting comfortable with your body, but if your first reaction is outright negative, you’re probably not going to be able to fix that. And you aren’t required to force yourself to like something you just don’t like.
  9. Anything that you now realize/have learned is actually offensive — that bindi? Stop wearing that. That “ironic” t-shirt that uses a racial slur? It’s not flattering and you don’t want to be that kind of person.
  10. Anything that feels like a burdening external expectation rather than the real, authentic, and true to yourself you — you can go braless. You can challenge what a “suit” looks like. You can mix patterns and you can wear all the colors. You can wear big patterns on your big body. You can wear heels even though you’re 6' tall, or flats even though you’re 4' 8". You can even wear a scrunchy in your hair and jelly sandals on your feet, with a skirt above the knee and a crop top, and a bunch of tattoos and a nose ring. Because really, truly, what you should never ever wear after 40 (or before it, for that matter) is anyone else’s definition of you or arbitrary expectations.

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artist/historian/poet/culture critic — http://aaminahshakur.com — Gratuity: CashApp $aaminahshakur or http://paypal.me/shakurarts

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Aaminah Shakur

Aaminah Shakur

artist/historian/poet/culture critic — http://aaminahshakur.com — Gratuity: CashApp $aaminahshakur or http://paypal.me/shakurarts