Women in their 40s are just a little bit older but a whole lot wiser! Though some women dread 40, I found turning 40 freeing, enlightening and empowering. We are women who are old enough to perfectly understand what we want, and we're young enough to get it. Part of the wonder of being women in our 40s is that we likely have our personal styles down to a science; we understand exactly what works for our frames and figures. We finally grasp how to purchase only what we truly need or want, when and how to try a trend and we generally have the wherewithal to purchase quality pieces.
We have compiled a list of 15 summer basics women over 40 never forget to buy, because we really know how to look our best and live our best!
While a quality T-shirt can last for years, if you want a perfectly crisp white tee or a fresh-looking black tee for nicer outfits, springing for a new one each summer is a great idea. T-shirts are perfectly acceptable under a blazer for work or with a casual skirt for social occasions, as long as it's in great shape. A couple of new tees each summer keep you looking polished!
Capri pants can be quite dressy if they are styled properly, and they keep you cool and comfortable at the same time! We know to select a new pair of capris to wear with a favorite cotton twinset and kitten heels. It's effortless chic.
It's that time of year again! In your 40's, nieces and nephews, friends' children and even—gasp!—your own children may be getting married, to say nothing of the friends who may be making a second trip down the aisle. Consider whether you need a new dress to wear as you attend these happy occasions! Nuptials are a terrific reason to get a pretty dress, and it enhances your own fun to show off a new ensemble.
It's hot. It's getting hotter. You want to attend concerts and charity events and barbecues… get a hand fan. Look for one about 10" long, with sturdy ribs and a fabric leaf to really get a breeze going on your face. It really will help keep you comfortable, and about one season of knocking around in your purse will make a hand fan look a little tatty. A fresh one each summer will keep you chic and cool at outdoor occasions!
Whether you prefer a T-shirt dress, a sleeveless maxi dress or a slip of a sundress, choose well-made casual dresses to add to your wardrobe. Focus on wardrobe-building with this piece and try to select something that you can wear for many seasons to come.
Swimwear can be investment-level shopping, so at the beginning of each summer, evaluate your swimwear wardrobe and decide what, if anything, you need to add to maximize the comfort and versatility of your swimwear. Ready to try a rash guard? Ready to step up the tummy control or bosom support of your everyday bathing suit? Take these things into consideration as you decide if your current swimwear wardrobe is working for you.
Especially if you decide you don't need any new swimwear, choose a swimsuit cover up that makes you feel like a proverbial million bucks! This is a less expensive part of your swimwear wardrobe, so it's a great place to lean into trends or try something new. A glamorous or sexy swim cover will also help you feel your best, and if you struggle with bathing suit anxiety, a really fabulous cover up can make a big difference!
We were born before sunscreen was ubiquitous: we remember older sisters "laying out" covered in baby oil, we distinctly remember the pain of a sunburn, and we don't mess around. Choose an SPF of 15 to 30 for everyday wear, and remember that outdoor activities are different. I like to crank it up to SPF 100 when I go to the beach, but many dermatologists are now suggesting the best course of action is an SPF 40 reapplied every 90 minutes to two hours when you are at the beach or pool.
This is one of the things we've learned. Need new riding boots? Buy them when it's hot outside. Always wanted a cashmere dress coat? Comb clearance sections in June. If there is a specific cold-weather wardrobe item you want or need, try shopping for it off-season. Even if you are prepared to spend to get the look and quality you want, your clothing dollar will generally go farther off-season. No guarantees, but it's a good rule of thumb.
If you enjoy following the trends in handbags, you may have noticed that summer bags are more likely to be constructed of cloth, straw or wicker. It may be more cost-effective to splurge on the trendiest bag of the summer rather than the trendiest bag of the fall. Further, these materials lend themselves to fast-fashion far better than leather, so you may be able to embrace a trend for a song.
I drive a convertible, and my sun hats take a real beating. If you spend long days at the pool or out in the garden, you probably face a similar situation. Select a fresh sun hat as soon as yours looks faded, tattered or stained. For many of us, that means each summer.
Sandal styles come and go nearly every season. This is a fabulous place to try a trend! Of-the-moment sandals add a fresh element and youthful vibe to your summer basics, and if you choose wisely you can wear them with many different looks. Espadrilles are still trending right now, and we think they are absolutely darling with everything from jeans to sundresses.
Each summer, get a new pair of extremely comfortable, very supportive slip on sneakers that you can throw on with almost any casual outfit. You need a new pair each season because shoes can look good on the outside long after the interior support has broken down, and summer is the time when taking your child to the park can turn into a long walk with another mom. Stopping by the local flea market can turn into an all-day-on-your-feet adventure. Walking the dog can become an hour visit with the neighbors. Be prepared with supportive, comfortable but still streamlined shoes you can pair with any casual clothing.
Keep it in the fridge if you want to! A light mist anytime keeps you fresh and your skin dewy-soft. If you have skipped makeup for the day, heavily mist and pat dry at bedtime for lightning-fast skincare when you're tired.
Maybe you'll find the time this summer?
These are the summer basics women over 40 never forget to buy. We've lived, and we know how to get the most out of every season, whether it's by leaning into a trend, sticking to the classics or committing ourselves to the maintenance of our style. Take advantage of our experience and think about getting these summer basics for yourself.