Last updated on December 15th, 2023 at 09:53 am
So, you’ve hit the big 4-0, and now you may be wondering whether your tried and trusted shoe and fashion choices still ring true? Over 40, style becomes less about trends and fast fashion, and more about timeless elegance, but that needn’t mean massive changes. If you invest in the classics, these will go with what you already have in your wardrobe and see you through your 40s in style.
So where do you start? What are the best flat shoes? Casual shoes? Men’s shoes? Well worry not, here’s some advice on how you can get that timeless style and continue to look your best. Ladies first …
Shoes for women over 40
Women’s shoe fashions are ever-changing, but there are many classics that have stood the test of time (smart and casual), and are great on women of all ages. Every woman should have a pair of these in her wardrobe.
Smart shoes for the 40+ woman
Smart shoes can be tricky as you get older – you want to look stylish but the wrong heel height can affect everything from the way you hold yourself, to how comfortable you are. And you don’t want that!
For work, you can’t go wrong with black or nude court shoes. These will look stylish when paired with everything from skirt suits to (if your office environment is more casual as many are these days) skinny jeans (and yes, you can still wear these!), and will work in both summer and winter months. For a bit of added interest, you could always go for a style with straps –try a T-bar or Mary-Jane. The straps will help provide a bit more support by stopping your feet slipping round in the shoe, so helps avoid rubbing. They’ll also provide a bit more security by helping keep the shoe on your foot, so no “Cinderella” moments!
For going out, you can be a bit more daring. Try a neutral outfit paired with a gorgeous, brightly-coloured heel. In colder months, shoe boots are always a good choice. They look great with both trousers and skirts. In the summer, sandals and mules are always a good bet. Just make sure that they’re comfortable enough for dancing! 40 might be all about sophistication, but that doesn’t meant that you can’t have fun!
Can I wear flat shoes over the age of 40?
For several years now, flat shoes have been all over the catwalks. Which is good news for those who want a little bit of comfort (and who doesn’t?). And, of course, you can wear flats once you hit 40. It’s just a matter of picking the right styles.
For a smarter look, ballet pumps are a perennial style favourite. They’re comfy, they come in a huge range of styles and colours, and they suit all ages. They can also be dressed up or down: whilst they look timeless and elegant paired with slim-fit trousers and a simple top by day, a glitzier pair are great for evenings and look just as glam as a pair of heels.
For something a bit more casual, loafers look good with both trousers and skirts. Try a classic, neutral, pair which will go with everything. Tan, beige, nude, and navy are all great all-round colours.
Men’s shoes for over 40s
Men’s shoe fashions may not change as much as women’s but that just highlights the importance of the classic styles. For men, it’s all about the details and the finishing touches. So here are our top shoe tips for men in their 40s.
Smart shoes for the 40+ man
If dressing smartly, the key is to make sure your shoes go with your suit. It’s a good idea to have a couple of pairs of smarter shoes in your wardrobe to go with different suits, and so one pair doesn’t suffer too much wear and tear. Try a leather brogue or Oxford in black, tan or brown.
For going out (or even work) you may be able to be a bit more smart-casual, so again you could go for a brogue or Oxford, but in a different material or colour. Suede is great for a smart-casual look, and you can try navy, khaki, grey, burgundy or whatever you feel good in!
How to do casual for men over 40
Your casual wardrobe should no longer consist of cargo pants, old T-shirts, hoodies and sportswear. And unlike for women, men over 40 should avoid skinny jeans (unless you’re in a rock band, and even then; it’s touch and go!). Instead, use turning 40 as a time to figure out your own style, and take that through everything you do.
Shoe-wise, turning 40 means ditching the old, battered trainers for casual loafers (in warmer weather), classic-style trainers (all-year round) and chunky boots (in colder months). Keep colours neutral (think variations of tan, brown, navy and grey) as black can be a bit too heavy with more casual clothes.
Team these with a well-fitting pair of jeans or trousers, and a shirt. This could be long-sleeved, short-sleeved, polo or tee; the important things are quality (good) and fit (not too loose and definitely not too tight). Your choice will depend on your own personal style.
Whilst trends may come and go, your 40s should be the time when you’ve honed your personal style. This doesn’t mean you can’t still wear the things you wore in your 30s, or even your 20s, but you need to think about how you wear them.
This goes for shoes too. You can still have plenty of fun and remain stylish, but by investing in classic, never-go-out-of-fashion styles, and matching them to the right outfits (and what’s in your wardrobe already), you’ll develop a timeless style that’s all your own.