fall outfits for women over 40

Best Fall Trends + Outfits For Women Over 40 (2023)

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Updated 8/26/23

If you’re a fan of timeless classic pieces then you’re going to love the latest trend called “Quiet Luxury”. It’s a wardrobe built on high-quality beautifully tailored lasting staple pieces in neutral and solid colors that you can mix and match for years to come. Think of understated refinement. 

You may be thinking it’s odd that this needs to be called out as a trend when it’s just a practical approach to building a lasting and hard-working closet. I’m right there with ya. It’s essentially a trend that gives the thumbs up to building a minimalist closet with well-done classic basics. In my mind, you get to determine what price point “luxury” means to you. For me it’s buying from J.Crew, for others it may be splurging on more spendy designer brands.

As midlife women, we’ve seen trends come and go. We know the value of having a closet full of staples and then adding in the trends we love to keep our look feeling fresh and current. 

My goal for this post is to share with you the most wearable trends. My seasonal trends posts are my most popular posts. Normally I share the fashion trends and seasonal wardrobe essentials in the same post, but to spare you from reading a super long post, this season I’m sharing a fall capsule wardrobe in a separate post. You can also read my fall shoe picks in this post, 70+Best Fall Shoes, Boots, and Ankle Boots (2023).

In this post, I’ll share what’s trending with the fall color palette, jeans, pants, skirts, sweaters, jackets and vests, and dresses. In the past, I’ve shared details about how the new styles work for each body type. That makes for a very long post and is starting to feel redundant. Instead, I’ll sprinkle in some thoughts about how the trends work for different body types here and there. Along with some fashion tips and outfit ideas for styling pieces.

As always, I only share information about body types to offer you a way to discover pieces you feel confident in. Take only what resonates and disregard the rest. Wear what you love, regardless of whether or not it’s “right for your body type”.

If you’re not sure what your body type is, check out my post, How to Look Good in Your Clothes by Dressing for Your Body Type

A quick word about how this post is organized. For each section, I’ll describe what’s trending. Then you’ll find examples of the styles in the shoppable image carousels at the end of each section.

Ready to get started? Let’s dive in!

What’s New With Clothing Colors, Styles, And Silhouettes For Fall 2023 

The fashion trends for fall and winter emerge from fashion weeks held in January and February. Designers show their lines. The brands interpret what’s on the runway and those styles show up in the stores. When I write this post, I research what’s in the stores that you and I are likely to shop at. While I love seeing what’s being shown in Vogue and Who What Wear and with the high street designers and luxury lines, my fashion budget is very modest by comparison. I survey the most approachable brands and pull my examples from there for the everyday woman. 

Ready to look at what’s trending in colors, and clothing styles? Let’s dive in!

The colors of Fall 2023

Fall always brings with it a darker color palette with deeper colors that reflect the change in seasons. Scroll the carousel at the end of this section to see examples of the colors I mention here.

We’re seeing brown tones with names like “Heather Acorn”, “Fresh Pumpernickel”, and “Iced Espresso”. And also leopard print. Some people are calling brown the new black for fall.

>>Outfit idea: Try pairing brown pants with shades of gray or blue, dusty pink, lavender, burgundy, and of course, black or white. 

For green, we have “Vintage Kelly” green and muted greens like “Mountain Laurel Ivory” and moody and muddy “Wild Moss”. 

For yellow it’s “Antique Brass” and uber upbeat “Texas Sun”.

>>Outfit idea: If you’re ready to wear yellow, try pairing a yellow top with navy, gray, or even black denim. 

For blue, it’s “Heather River”, “Brilliant Cove”, and “Deep Space Blue”. 

Purples include “Fresh Orchid”, “Dark Iris”, and “Magical Plum”.

Prepare to see a ton of bright red in colors like “Red Moroccan Sand”. In case you feel red should be reserved for Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and July 4th, I feel you. But it was all over the runways and is showing up for everyday in the stores now.

>>Outfit idea: Style your red top with khaki, blue, gray, brown, and even black trouser pants or denim.  

If bright red isn’t your thing, you may like deep reds like “Deep Bordeaux” and my personal favorites, “Bright Brick” and moody “Cabernet”.

If you’re loving Pantone’s color of the year, Viva Magenta, don’t worry, it’s still in the stores. With “Granita” and “Neon Fuchsia”. 

There are just as many bright colors trending this fall as muted and moody colors.

Tone on tone is another trending color combination, stemming from the Quiet Luxury trend. Pair shades of cream and winter white. You’ll even see those neutrals in shoes, boots, and loafers. 

FALL 2023 COLORS

You’ll also see monochromatic outfits and matched sets continuing this fall. And also denim worn with denim. That’s right, chambray shirts with blue jeans and even the Canadian Tuxedo with denim jackets with blue jeans.

MONOCHROMATIC LOOKS

Of course, there will be tons of plaid! 

PLAID

Ready to look at the most wearable fall trends? Let’s dive in starting with jeans!

Jeans

Fall is undoubtedly jean season. You probably wear them for everything from Saturday errands to apple and pumpkin picking to college football games and sporting events. And there’s a cornucopia of jean styles available for casual wear. Pun intended. That means you can wear what you want to wear and find almost any style in the stores. From kick-crop jeans to long wide-leg jeans to 90s mom jeans, straight jeans, flare jeans, boyfriend, and even skinny jeans and black skinnies.

You may recall that skinny jeans were declared dead by Gen Z on TikTok. Straight-leg styles and wider leg long styles were their favored replacements. Then they were all over the runways for this fall and winter. Wear them with knee high boots and current pieces like a Chanel-inspired sweater.

If you’re getting whiplash trying to keep up with what’s happening in the world of jeans right now, you’re not alone. Just as we get settled in with a new pair that fits and feels great, there’s another new style on the scene. And that’s true again for fall. 

Before we look at the newer styles, the good news is that if you invested in flare or wide-leg jeans, they are here to stay. And from what I’m seeing, these are the two styles that will be most prominent this fall.

If you’re devoted to your bootcut, straight, or kick crop jeans you can also keep on keepin’ on and wear them without a second thought. 

When it comes to trends, we’re revisiting Y2K with low-rise and cargo jeans. While low-rise jeans are awful on me and are a recipe for showing my crack since they can’t contain my curvy lower body, I’ve heard from readers who are relieved they’re back. If you are short-waisted or petite and are looking for jeans that don’t come to your bra line, low-rise jeans are the best thing ever. If you’re very tall and want to shorten the look of your legs, low-rise jeans are a good choice since they remove a few inches of height at the waist so your leg line looks shorter overall. 

You’ll also see low-rise puddle jeans out there or jeans with a bunch of extra material at the hemline. Whenever I think of them I have flashbacks of ratty shredded jean hems. If you don’t want to go all in on puddle jeans, there’s a trend that I’m liking and that’s wearing wide-leg jeans so the hem nearly kisses the ground. You’ve got legs for days in these. 

chambray shirt and jeans

>>Outfit idea: Don’t be afraid to try your wide leg, loose, flare, or bootcut jeans with low heels, flat shoes like sneakers, ballet flats, or Mary Jane ballet flats to create this look.

When it comes to cargo, utility, or carpenter jeans, extra pockets on the thighs and hips draw the eye to that spot. If you’re smaller on the bottom and want to draw the eye down as an inverted triangle or add some curves below the waist as a rectangle, they’re worth a try if you like them. If you’re trying to downplay your bottom half like me as a triangle who is larger on the bottom or like the oval body type, they’re a pass. Simple styles on the bottom are better. 

There’s another style we’re revisiting from days past and that’s barrel jeans. Or balloon jeans, as we called them back in the day. You can think of them as tapered wide-leg jeans or baggier straight-leg jeans with curved legs. With a high waist, they’re very roomy and oversized in the leg and then nip in at the hem, stopping at or above the ankle.

>>Outfit idea: Since barrel jeans are so roomy, you want to be strategic about the proportions of the top you wear. Tight tops tucked in or a shorter sweater are preferable for creating a proportional look. On your feet, anything goes really. Choose ankle boots like Chelsea boots, loafers, retro sneakers, and even ballet flats.  

Should you run out and grab these jeans? For the inverted triangle, they can add balance to your upper half. For the rectangle, they can add curves down below. The round and triangle body types may like how they offer an easy fit on the bottom. However, because of the shorter leg, they’re more likely to create a short and stumpy appearance.

They are super trendy and you may not have much time to wear them. They are not likely to be around long. If you decide to try them, don’t spend a lot of money on them since they may be gone in the blink of an eye. 

One last thing, pleating is sneaking back into jeans now. And we’re also seeing denim trousers. And even pleated denim trousers. I’ve always been a fan of flat-front denim trousers for work wear and casual Fridays. As for pleated wide-leg jeans, I’m starting to soften my negative attitude about pleats. They add an extra level of tailoring to create an even more elevated look. The notes I share in the next section about pleated styles by body type apply here. If you’re not haunted by bad memories of pleated jeans from days gone by, give them a try. 

Curious about the best jean styles by body type? Read, How to Find the Best Jeans for Your Body Type Every Time.

JEANS

Pleated pants

Tailored pleated trouser pants were around for spring and they’re not going anywhere. Initially, I felt like they were an unwelcome blast from the past. But I’m starting to warm to the wide-leg styles and their tailored look for creating stylish outfits. You’ll find them in a variety of colors and fabrics. You’ll see wide-leg and flowy straight-leg styles with single pleats and double pleats. Double pleats offer extra draping and most people will want to steer clear of them and choose a single pleat for less fullness. 

The rectangle and inverted triangle body type may appreciate how wide-leg pleated trousers add curves to your lower half. Interestingly, I’ve seen some people with a round tummy loving them as a better way to conceal a stomach if the pants have a wider leg and enough drape that the pleats hang straight down concealing the stomach. But definitely skip them if you have a tummy and short torso.

If you want to play down your curvy bottom half as an oval, triangle, or hourglass body type, try flat-front pants instead. I’m a triangle body type and prefer flat front wide leg trousers. Unfortunately, they’re starting to be harder to find in the stores.

I’ve also started to see tapered styles with pleats. If you have any curves on the bottom, they can create an ice cream cone shape on the bottom half. 

PLEATED PANTS

Cargo or utility pants and patch and flap pocket pants

Cargo or utility pants and pants with patch pockets on the hips and legs are still around this fall. Visible pockets on the hips and thighs draw the eye to the spot they’re placed. That could be good or bad depending on your body shape. For me as a triangle body shape and someone who is larger on the bottom, I prefer to have the eye fall up top so I steer clear of them. 

The rectangle with a smaller bottom half will like how they create curves on the bottom. As an inverted triangle, patch pockets on the front of the hips, thighs, and flap pockets add dimension to your lower half. 

The triangle, oval, and hourglass body types may have trouble wearing them. If you want to create a slimming effect on your lower half and take the focus off of your bottom, skip patch and flap pockets. If you’re an hourglass you have a better chance of being able to wear them but wear a fuller top up top to keep balanced proportions.

CARGO PANTS

Leather pants

Wow, leather pants are having a moment! First, it was faux leather leggings, which many people love but I experimented with last year and found extremely unflattering on my body. But now there are more styles to choose from. There are also bootcut, wide leg, straight, flare, and slim cuts. You’ll find them in brown, black, taupe, and even gold. 

Flare and bootcut leather pants will be the most flattering styles for all body types. If you’re larger on the bottom like I am, you’ll love the flared leather pants since the flare kicks out the hem and provides balance to a rounder rear. 

If you’re a rectangle or inverted triangle try the wide-leg pants. For the inverted triangle, a wide leg balances your upper body. For the rectangle, the wide legs create curves for your lower half. 

If you want an edgier pair of pants but aren’t sold on leather or faux leather, coated jeans are a good alternative. 

>>Outfit idea: Pair your leather pants with a textured cream or white sweater or a two-toned sweater like this one and a pair of strappy sandals, heels, or ankle boots.

LEATHER PANTS

Skirts

Let’s talk skirts. 

Ribbed and satin midi skirts are still going strong. Midis hit at the shin or several inches above the ankle. 

Pleated skirts both short and long are showing up more too. These can add bulk to the lower half, which may be good or bad depending on your body type. 

Long maxi denim skirts are also lurking out there. I wasn’t sure that I could wear a long denim skirt without feeling super frumpy but found a compromise that I’m happy with in a slitted skirt that hits below the knees. 

denim skirt outfit

Leather skirts are also in the stores. They come in a variety of lengths and create an elevated vibe. 

Best skirt styles by body type:

In case you’re wondering about the best skirt styles for your body type, here are my thoughts.

Triangle body type: Choose simple A-line skirts without tiers, pleats, ruffles, or shiny fabrics. Try shapewear with bias-cut satin skirts to smooth lumps and bumps in hips and thighs.  

Rectangle body type: Bias-cut slip skirts are a great option, as are flowy swing styles, and A-line skirts that add curves to your bottom half. Pleats and box pleats are another good option. Skip straight-cut skirts and ribbed knits that reveal a smaller rear. 

Inverted triangle: Bias-cut swingy skirts can work for you as can pleats and box pleats. Have fun with bold prints and colors on the bottom. Avoid heavily ribbed knit skirts and straight-cut skirts that reveal your smaller bottom. 

Hourglass body type: Go for fitted knit skirts and bias-cut slip skirts that embrace your curves. Try pleated skirts and fit-and-flare skirts. Avoid very full skirts.

Round or oval body type: Embrace simple maxi skirts without pleats, tiers, prints, and ruffles. 

Wondering how to style long skirts? Visit my post, 20 Looks: How to Wear Long Midi + Maxi Skirts All Year.

SKIRTS

Sweaters

Nothing is more exciting than the arrival of sweater weather! And there are some good looks out there. 

Classic Chanel-inspired lady sweaters, ribbed half-zip sweaters, Breton stripe sweaters, and collared sweaters are still going strong. 

We’ll still be wearing V-neck cardigans buttoned up like shirts or layered and left open. You can layer them over a matching shell top for a sweater set.  And you’ll also find crewneck cardigans in the stores being worn the same ways. 

Two-tone sweaters with a contrasting color edging the sweater is a fresh take on cardigans.

>>Outfit idea: Pair a black and white two-tone sweater like the cardigan below with a pair of two-tone loafers and a two-tone bag.

You’ll see that many sweaters are shorter in length, which makes them easy to pair with high-rise wide-leg trousers and jeans. If a sweater looks super short, try it on with your high waisted jeans before you rule it out. You may be pleasantly surprised.

An oversized sweater is always a comfy and cozy option. Just give them a front tuck to reveal your waistline. 

Puff sleeves and ruffle sleeves are sticking around too, perfect for anyone who is smaller up top. 

Pullover knit vests or sweater vests and button-front waistcoat vests were around last fall and they’re re-emerging again this year.

>>Outfit idea: Layer a sweater vest or vest over a classic and trendy white button-down shirt or a t-shirt or wear one alone. 

SWEATERS

Blazers, jackets and coats

There’s one thing that can quickly make an outfit more stylish and elevated. And that’s adding a third piece. Your top and bottom are one and two, and a blazer, leather jacket, trench coat, utility jacket, vest, poncho, cardigan, or statement long coat is the third piece. This is the year for having fun and experimenting with them and it’ll be trendy to add them to your everyday look.

In blazers, you’ll see comfy sweater blazers, relaxed fit blazers, tweed blazers, double-breasted blazers, leather blazers, and denim blazers. 

In short jackets, there are quilted jackets, tweed jackets, bomber jackets, puff sleeve denim jackets, and leather or suede moto jackets. 

In jackets that go below the hips, there are belted denim jackets, cargo jackets, utility and field jackets, wrap coats, trench coats and long statement coats.

BLAZERS, JACKETS + COATS

>>Outfit idea: Wear longer coats like trench coats and double-breasted long statement coats with everything from sweats and retro sneakers to jeans outfits and skirts and dresses. 

Dresses

There’s no need to retire dresses as the weather cools. You’ll see the usual sweater dresses. I’m loving the trendy classic Breton stripe sweater dress from the Gap. Choose the “tall” length so it comes to above your knee if you’re 5’6” or over.  

sweater dress outfit

Flowy midi dresses are sticking around.

Layerable silk slip dresses are still going strong.

>>Outfit idea: Wear slip dresses layered under a leather jacket, blazer, denim jacket, or cardigan sweater with strappy sandals or ballet flats. Or dress them down with sneakers.

Ribbed dresses are a great alternative to sweater dresses. Clingy ribbed collared polo dresses in short and long lengths are new to the scene.

>>Outfit idea: Wear ribbed midi-length dresses with a short hip-length jacket like a denim or leather moto jacket and ankle boots, sneakers, or ballet flats. 

The leather trend has extended to dresses and you’ll see leather dresses to try.

>>Outfit idea: Try a faux leather shift dress with an ankle strap pointy toe pump with a block heel and a wrap coat or with retro sneakers.

Plaid dresses channel fall flair! And feel festive to wear as the leaves change.

>>Outfit idea: Wear plaid dresses with ankle boots or knee-high boots or retro sneakers. 

Embrace the classic Chanel-inspired shift dress with a pointy collar.

>>Outfit idea: Wear shift dresses more classically with pointy-toe or ballet flats and a wrap coat. Or give them an edgy vibe with a leather jacket and clogs. Or retro sneakers. 

Shirt dresses or “utility” dresses have a tailored vibe that you can dress up with heels or down with sneakers and a denim jacket. 

DRESSES

You’ve made it to the end of the post. You get a gold star for making it this far!

Sprinkling trends into your wardrobe keeps your look current and fresh. Follow the trends you love and pass on the others. Wear what makes you feel like the best version of yourself!

Hi, Friend. I'm Marya. I'm so glad you're here!

I’m here to help women feel good inside and out through approachable everyday style inspiration and encouragement for midlife. Once upon a time, I worked as a therapist and coach. Now, I’m a holistic style blogger studying style coaching! Be So You celebrates leaning into who we were meant to be! 

Read about my  journey to self-discovery at 40. Follow me on Instagram here and Pinterest here. Send me a quick question through my contact page here.  

Fit Note: I’m midsized at 5’6″, 160 pounds, with size 12 jeans.

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