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Spring 2020 Trends & the 40+ Woman

Building a Wardrobe that Works
February 12, 2020

Hello and welcome to Dressed for My Day. My goal here is to inspire and help women like you and me to dress beautifully and appropriately for our unique days so we can engage authentically and gracefully with those around us and influence them well. To that end, today I’m giving you the scoop on a few of the spring 2020 fashion trends. But I’m also sharing specific pointers for how the 40+ woman can best participate (or not participate!) in these trends.

Let’s get started!


Of course, there are dozens and dozens of trends we could talk about. But let’s focus on those that the 40+ woman can participate in with the least effort and the most fabulous results.

When we wear fashion forward clothes or accessories we want to be careful that we:

  • don’t appear to be trying too hard.
  • don’t look childish or even clownish.
  • stay true to our personal style essence.
  • spend our wardrobe budget wisely.
  • look chic and beautiful.

Spring 2020 Trends

Trends in Denim

First let’s look at what’s trending in denim this spring (and probably into the rest of 2020). Honestly, almost anything goes! You’ll continue to see and look fashionable in your skinny jeans, but other silhouettes are taking center stage.

Expect to see more:

  • wide leg denim (both cropped and full length)
  • high rise jeans – hitting right around the belly button and just below
  • straight leg ankle or cropped jeans
  • distressing and rips

I think the best silhouette for many of us gals may be the straight leg cropped or ankle jeans, especially as we move into the warmer months. You’ll see these in both a slim but not skinny, skinny leg and a fuller, relaxed jean.

Spring 2020 Jeans
Wedgie Icon Fit Ripped Straight Leg Jeans

The benefits of wearing these straight leg ankle jeans include being able to pair them with most any shoe. Also while you can (and I will) continue to wear other silhouettes, I think these will actually look the most current.

Trend Tip for the 40+ Woman – If you choose to wear jeans with rips and distressing, pair them with otherwise “clean cut,” tailored and well-fitted clothing, such as a classic white tee and blazer or a feminine blouse and structured cardigan (styled in the new modern way, of course).

Here are a few jeans I’ve gathered into a shopping widget for you. Like I said, you’ll continue to find all kinds of jeans available, but these are the more modern silhouettes.

Denim Skirts

No, denim skirts have never been really “out of style,” but they have bordered on looking a little dated in previous years. This spring, denim skirts are slated to surge in popularity and wearability. One reason for this is that denim-on-denim or double denim is also predicted to trend. So you’ll actually be in step with the current trends if you pair your denim skirt with a denim jacket.

Spring 2020 Denim Skirt
Denim Button Front Skirt

Trend Tip for the 40+ Woman – You’ll find denim skirts offered in every length this spring, so choose the length that works best for your body proportions. Generally, a knee length skirt is most flattering on most body shapes and proportions.

I recently bought this traditional zip front knee length denim skirt from Talbots, but I also love this button front skirt from Ann Taylor. Watch for both of these to go on sale soon. Here’s a shopping widget with more choices in varying lengths, colors and styles.

Polka Dots

Polka dots, of course, never really go out of style. But this cheerful fabric print is trending high this year. The key to wearing it will be to pair it with modern looking pieces. That doesn’t necessarily mean wearing your favorite polka dot tee with something really out there. It just means you want to wear that dotted t-shirt with fashion forward shoes, modern jeans and a current hair style.

Polka Dots this Spring
Modern Classic Shirt – Ivory And Navy, Brand Spot

Trend Tip for the 40+ Woman – Don’t just “phone in” this trend by pairing it with ill-fitted jeans or frumpy shorts. If you do, you’ll look like you’re wearing a polka dot shirt you’ve had in your closet too many years. Instead, wear that polka dot shirt from the back of your closet with distinctly modern jeans, shorts or skirt so that you look up-to-date. Add flats in a contrasting color for a truly modern vibe.

Spring Polka Dots
scarf // flats

Trend Tip for the 40+ Woman – One of the easiest and safest ways to add trending polka dots to your wardrobe is with polka dotted accessories, such as a scarf, shoes, belt, handbag or jewelry. This way you can keep the rest of your outfit more neutral and chic. Beware of overdoing this trend.

Trend Tip for the 40+ Woman – Black and white or navy and white polka dots are classic and elegant, but still fun. They’re a great option for pairing with the bright, saturated colors of spring, such as yellow, pink, green or red.

Polka Dots in an Outfit
black jean jacket // polka dot skirt // graphic tee // red Vans slip ons // shoulder bag // earrings

Trend Tip for the 40+ Woman – Keep your polka dots fresh and modern looking by pairing them with more contemporary and playful pieces, as in the look above.

Here’s a shopping widget with some polka dotted styles to spark your imagination.


Hip, hip, hooray! It looks like flat heeled shoes are edging in front of heels to take the lead this spring and summer. Of course, it will never (???) really be out of style to wear a pretty heel, but this year flats are simply very “in.” I think, for instance, you’ll look a little more fashion forward if you wear flats with those straight leg ankle jeans instead of the platform sandals that have been trending in past years.

Spring Flats

Trend Tip for the 40+ Woman – When selecting flats that you’ll be walking in or standing in a lot, remember to look for shoes with some arch support and padding in the soles. I like brands such as Cole Hahn, Naturalizer and Vionic.

Specifically trending in the flats department, are loafers, mules and sandals. Speaking of sandals…

Square Toe Strappy Sandals

The platform sandals and the chunky hardware will still be around, but they’re giving way to the more delicate strappy sandals, specifically those with squared toes. I think we’re seeing a shift toward more feminine sandals to balance out the popular menswear inspired fashions, such as oversized blazers, cropped and boxy sweaters and tops and polo inspired shirts.

Strappy Sandals for Spring
snake faux leather strappy heel // tortoise faux leather strappy sandal

You’ll find strappy sandals in all heel heights, but kitten heels continue to be a popular choice. They’re very feminine and manageable to wear.

Trend Tip for the 40+ Woman – As we age, we sometimes develop thicker ankles. If that describes you (as it does me) you might want to steer clear of sandals with ankle straps that accentuate the ankle.

Head to Toe Neutrals

Tonal dressing (as explained in this fall post) continues to trend this spring and summer. And so does dressing in neutrals head to toe. You’ll see denim on denim, white on white and blends of off white, camel and brown as well as white, grey and black.

Head to Toe Neutrals
Shop this grey look // Shop this white, brown and tan look

Trend Tip for the 40+ Woman –Tone on tone dressing is perfect for us over 40 gals because it looks chic and sophisticated, but also slimming and somewhat effortless. Simply layer on pants (or shorts or skirt), top and a top piece such as a jacket or cardigan in the same color family.

Polo Shirts & Sweaters

Now here’s a trend I’m excited about. Unfortunately I don’t see a lot of examples in the stores yet. But supposedly the partial button up collar of the iconic polo shirt is going to be trending this spring and summer in shirts and sweaters.

Everlane Italian Merino Rib Sweater

I like this neck style because it adds a little structure and interest to a top but still keeps it looking casual and sporty. Plus, forecasts indicate that we’ll be wearing these both unbuttoned or buttoned up, giving us the opportunity for versatility.

Trend Tip for the 40+ Woman – If actually takes off, pair these partial button up sweaters and tops with a denim skirt or straight ankle jeans. Strappy sandals will keep this structured top feminine and soft.

Bermuda Shorts

You’ll either love or hate this trend. Right??? Personally, I’ve gone in waves with Bermuda length shorts. A couple of years ago I’m pretty sure I gave away several pair. But recently I purchased this pair to wear in Florida this past week. In fact, I wore them yesterday!

Bermuda length shorts
Railroad Stripe Bermuda length shorts

At my age I’m enjoying wearing shorts less and less, so these are definitely a viable option for me. I like that when I sit down in them my bare thighs are not staring back at me. Ha!

Trend Tip for the 40+ Woman – The trick to looking classy in your Bermuda length shorts rather than frumpy is to stick with shorts that are simple and clean. Go for solids in your favorite neutrals – white, navy, black, etc. – or pinstripes or gingham (still trending), but steer clear of fussy florals or other prints that are more likely to look dated next season.

Boardwalk Bermuda Length Shorts
Boardwalk Shorts

Trend Tip for the 40+ Woman – One of the reasons Bermuda length shorts are difficult to style is because they mess with our proportions. More than likely you’ll want to wear a cropped sweater or top with you long shorts or you could partially or fully tuck in your shirt.

Trend Tip for the 40+ Woman – For a more modern appearance, choose Bermuda length shorts with flat fronts and stay away from pleats or tucks. Pleated fronts are actually coming back in style (???) but they could look more dated on us older gals.

Other trends to watch:

There are some other interesting trend forecasts to note. For instance, we’ll continue to see lots of florals, puffy sleeves, animal print and gingham. Also be looking for “spring leather.” You could see colorful, lightweight leather in skirts, jackets, dresses and tops through summer. But I wonder how wearable this trend is.

As I mentioned in Monday’s post, you’ll look modern and in style in your chain link jewelry, 60s and 70s inspired prints, trench coats or jackets and baguette bags. We’ll also potentially see more tropical prints, plaids and tie-dye. If you scour the trendsetter websites, you’ll find mention of bra tops, hot pants, corsets and short suits. I think I’ll pass on those. (!!!)

Final Thoughts

While there are style and fit rules that help us look our best, there are no fashion rules that can’t be broken. So don’t get hung up on advice such as “If you wore it before, don’t wear it again.” You absolutely can wear Bermuda shorts, polo shirts and menswear inspired styles, even though you wore them first in the 80s. Ha!

But as we get older, we do need to be mindful of how a particular trend affects our overall style essence. If you prefer to look classic and chic, then don’t forfeit that essence just to participate in a trend that doesn’t really work for you.

Also, remember to invest the bulk of your wardrobe budget in classic wardrobe essentials that will stand the test of time. If you just want to put your toe in the water on a particular style trend, so to speak, start with an accessory and spend as little as possible.

Most importantly, have fun with fashion trends. If you just don’t like it, don’t participate! You absolutely do not have to wear a particular trend in order to be stylish. There are plenty of trends to go around, so choose those that you love and go for it!

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Blessed for My Day

Today as we rub shoulders with people around us who are different from us, let’s remember to treat them with love and respect. Let’s choose to be kind when someone else is gruff. Let’s show a little patience even when we’re inconvenienced or treated poorly.

And when we have opportunity for conversation with others, let’s make sure that we listen more than we talk. Maybe we should resist the opportunity to one-up someone else’s story with our own. And when someone else shares their good news, let’s just congratulate and let it be all about them rather than taking our own turn in the limelight.

It’s not that we don’t have rights or stories to tell or time worth saving. It’s not about us at all. Today let’s show the world a glimpse of a God who loves us so very much that we don’t need to demand anything else from anyone else. We can love this way because He first loved us.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

Spread the love
xoxo, Kay
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10 thoughts on “Spring 2020 Trends & the 40+ Woman

  1. This is a terrific post, full of great style information! I really learned a lot. AND Blessed for my Day really touched me. This needs to be a daily goal. Thank you and safe travels!

  2. What a great post! It is obvious you have done your research. I am so glad the straight leg jeans and flats are hits this season. I have the tortoise shell sandals in my Nordstrom cart as we speak. I also ordered the chain link necklace you showcased in a previous post! So glad you enjoyed your time in Florida with your parents. I have a request. In your Blessed For My Day, would you allow me to post that on my facebook page. I will certainly give you credit for it. My husband and I are involved with a group that is working for school tax relief for Seniors in our community and sponsoring school board candidates. We ‘preach’ respect for everyone when posting on fb. I think your BFMD would be so appropriate. Have a great day Kay. Thanks for sharing with us.

  3. Kay, This was a FABULOUS post! I am saving it for future reference. Thank you for putting it together for mature women. I pray that your flight home is smooth. God bless!

  4. I love those straight leg jeans and flats! And, those polka dots are really cute too. I love skirts in the summer! Great post! Thanks for the suggestions on how to wear the looks for those of us over 40! ?

  5. The great news is my basics are hi rise, straight jeans, flats, denim anything and I even have a couple of polka dot shirts. Common sense dressing is trending. I love tortoise shell. I have sunglasses but those shoes! I love those. I’m looking for a necklace now. It’s another “trend” like leopard that is always around. Fashion is so much fun if you keep it in perspective.
    Your post points out a problem I have. I need to listen more and talk less. Always a blessing.