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Fundamentals of Fashion For 40 Years Old: Expectations vs. Reality

men's fashion for 40 year olds

Dressing up as a teenager is easy. As long as it isn’t something completely inappropriate, you can wear pretty much anything, and no one will bat an eye. Things change a little as you transition into adulthood, but it is still fine for the most part. 

There are plenty of brands making stylish clothes for your age group and just as many popular trends to follow. The real issue with choosing clothes arrives when you pass the 40-year mark. This guide is all about men’s fashion for 40 year olds.

Getting over 40 doesn’t make you a senior or part of the elderly, but you aren’t “young” either in the eyes of the world. So, your outfitting choices need to reflect this change. But here lies the issue of not knowing what is and isn’t okay. 

Can a man over 40 wear suspenders? Who knows? Clothes for this age group are often neglected by fashion brands and even stylists tend to not talk about it.

If you are already past the 40-year mark and are looking to improve your sense of style, or a young man who just wants to be prepared for the future, this guide is for you. Here’s how to achieve the ultimate style for a 40 year old man in 2022.

Fashion for Men in Their 40s Explained in Less than 280 Characters

Fashion for men past the 40-year mark can be summed up in one word, maturity. Your fashion choices should consist of outfits that a gentleman with emotional maturity will choose, not something chosen by a hormone-filled, attention-craving, trend-following teenager.

Clothes for 40 Year Old Man: Dos and Don’ts

There are a lot of ways to understand and learn about what to wear in and after your 40s. You can look at a list of the best-looking outfits or specific clothing items like leather vests that might suit you based on your age. 

These are all great methods, but they tend to ring a bit hollow. This is because not everyone likes the same clothes no matter how old they get. So, a better idea is to understand the underlying rules of men’s fashion for over 40 year-olds. 

You can then filter your clothing choices based on these guidelines and find the things that you would like to wear. Without further ado, these are the dos and don’ts that you should be aware of.

Dos of Fashion for Men Over 40

Look for A Good Tailor

Access to a good tailor is something that every man should have, no matter their age. But, the importance of this grows alongside your age. As mentioned earlier, a large majority of the major men’s fashion brands focus solely on late teens and young adults. 

So, having a good tailor will allow you to get custom leather jacket clothes or get store-bought altered to fit your build.

Get A Well-Fitting Suit

Staying on the topic of well-fitting clothes, a suit that fits your body is a must-have for everyone. The key aspect to focus on here is the fitting, as it will completely make or break your suit-wearing looks. 

Celebrities look fantastic in suits, not because their suits are made out of expensive materials, but because their suits are tailored to fit perfectly. Besides, owning a formal suit will come in handy more than you might initially think.

Embrace the White Tee

A lot of people mistake mature clothing for button-ups and suits etc. While those items are a part of it, they are not everything. Fully casual clothes can be mature as well, such as the simple crewneck white t-shirt or Hawaiian shirt

If you’re building your over 40s wardrobe from scratch, then buying half a dozen high-quality white tees is a fantastic idea. You can wear them almost every day with all kinds of different pants and upper.

Keep A Firm Focus on Comfort

Comfort plays a bigger part in your final looks than you might think. You can wear an outfit crafted by one of the world’s best designers, but it will not look as good as it can be if you’re comfortable in it. 

So, remember, you do not have to wear anything that makes you uncomfortable. On the other hand, choosing clothing based on its comfort level is a completely acceptable and encouraged option.

Don’ts of Fashion for Men Over 40

Don’t Go Too Vibrant

The first “don’t” of fashion after 40 is rocking outfits that are a bit too lively. Your primary color pallet should be light or dark but never too vibrant. Colors like black, brown, and blue are your best friends, while tones such as light blue, light green, etc. are a fantastic option as well. 

If you really want to have some vibrance in your look, then consider integrating an accent piece into your outfit. Stuff like colorful pocket squares, a vibrant scarf in the winter, or a colorful fedora in the summer are prime examples.

No Denim on Denim

Denim is great, both in the form of pants and jackets. Both of these will make an excellent addition to your after 40 wardrobes. Denim pants, in particular, are a top-tier item (we’ll talk more about them later). 

However, denim pants and jackets are great individually; wearing them together is not recommended at all. Better combinations are leather jackets for denim pants and chinos or khakis for denim jackets.

Shiny Shoes and Jeans Don’t Go Together

Shiny leather shoes are not a good match for jeans, period. It still looks odd if a teenager rocks this combo in order to appear more “professional,” but it is not that big of a deal. A mature 40 plus man, on the other hand, should never make this mistake. 

Shiny leather shoes are for chinos, khakis, and dress pants, while jeans are better suited for leather sneakers and sports shoes.

Say No to Cargo Pants

Cargo pants are the perfect combination of comfort and practicality. The only issue is they do not look good on lads over 40. You’ll look like you’re trying way too hard to appear younger if you wear them. 

It might be hard for you to ditch cargo pants if you’re already accustomed to them. But you will have to do it if you care about how you look.

Best Jeans Fashion for Men Over 40

Jeans are the world’s most popular type of pants and for a good reason. They are incredibly versatile as they work with almost everything. More importantly, they look good on everyone, no matter their gender, size, or age. So, it goes without saying that the perfect pair of folks over 40 as well.

The Right Type of Jeans

Jeans are an essential part of men’s wardrobe, but not all jeans are the same. There are over forty different types of jeans available, but only a few are the right match for men over 40. For starters, ripped and skinny jeans are a big no-no. 

Instead of looking, these will look like a desperate attempt at looking younger than you actually are. So, avoid these at all costs.

As for what to wear, classic straight-leg jeans are the way to go. They are the epitome of simplicity and effectiveness. You can also rock dad jeans, but they are better suited for when you are home or going out for stuff like grocery shopping. You’ll look much better in well-fitted straight-leg jeans in every other scenario.

What to Wear With Jeans?

As mentioned earlier, jeans are the undisputed kings of versatility. They will work anything and everything you can pair with them. However, there are two shirts for 40 year old men that have a level of their own.

First is a plain black shirt. These button-ups are a quick method of looking sharp without putting in much effort. A pair of blue jeans combined with a black button-up and a pair of black low-top sneakers will get right up to the peak of preppy style. 

On the other side of the coin is the casual queen that we talked about in the “Dos” of fashion for men over 40; the white t-shirt.

Why Leather Jackets are an Integral Part of Middle-Aged Men’s Fashion

Layering is one of those things in fashion that an average person doesn’t pay much attention to. Many see it as a way of staying warm in the winter, and that is it. However, jackets, leather coats, uppers, etc. are some of the most powerful tools in a man’s fashion arsenal.

Outerwear and layering allow you to create tens of unique outfits with very few actual items of clothing. But the thing is, not all jackets are as compatible with everything, so you might have to own a few different types to cover all of your shirts and pants. 

That is unless we’re talking about the coveted leather jacket. They work with everything. This universality is what makes the leather jacket an integral part of over 40 fashion.

Young folks often have a lot of time to craft the perfect outfit every single day. However, as you get older, this time spent on outfitting starts looking like a massive waste of time. But you still want to look presentable. 

Luckily, leather jackets allow you to do just that with effort. An outfit as simple as a white t-shirt with blue jeans can be elevated to the next level, just with the addition of a basic black leather bomber jacket.

Outfit Ideas for Men’s Casual Wear Over 40

Now that you have a better idea of what does and does not work, it’s time to look at a few of the best examples of what to wear over 40, from casual male styles. You can recreate these outfits one to one or take fashion inspiration from them to craft something of your own. Either way, these will most likely be a massive help to you.

Stylish Sweater

Starting things off is an outfit that is simple in theory but endless in its possibilities. All you need is a pair of dark chinos (charcoal looks fantastic), a white button-up, and a pair of shiny black leather shoes. This on its own is a neat smart-casual option. Now, finish this outfit off with a crew neck woolen sweater.

The key attribute to focus on here is the color of the sweater. Since everything else in the outfit consists of fairly universal colors, you can match them up with a sweater of your choosing. Everything from navy blue to light pink would look fantastic.

Cozy Comfort

Looking sharp in the middle of winter can be a difficult task since you also have to worry about staying warm. This outfit lets you do both with ease. The base of this ensemble consists of a pair of blue jeans and a checkered blue button-up. 

The shirt is topped with a gray cardigan sweater which is then topped by a mustard winter coat creating a nice contrast of wintery colors. Tying the whole outfit together is a pair of brown suede boots.

Summer Style

Your summer capsule wardrobe, unfortunately, completely eliminates the possibility of any meaningful layering, effectively handicapping a man’s options. Luckily, it is still possible to exhibit utmost panache and reach the heights of summer style for a 40 year old man in 2022 with this simple outfit. 

The lower half of the outfit consists of a pair of khaki shorts and a pair of low-top white sneakers. On top is a plain black Henley t-shirt. You can also integrate a white trilby hat into the mix for added style and sun protection.

FAQs – Mens Fashion For 40 Year Olds

How Should A 45 Year Old Man Dress?

The age of 45 is considered the start of the “middle age” in many cultures. This title, however, does not carry any fashion guidelines alongside it. Everything we discussed regarding style for men over 40 is applicable to any 45-year-old man. One thing to keep in mind, though, is to avoid anything associated with the infamous midlife crisis like leather biker jackets with chains and spikes.

How Should a 60 Year Old Man Dress?

Most people start feeling the effects of old age at 60, so the outfits at this time should focus heavily on comfort. Getting in and out of clothes becomes a chore, so wear stuff that will not cause any discomfort throughout the day. So, cotton shirts, woolen sweaters, chinos, smoking jackets, etc. are the way to go.

How to Dress in Your 30s?

Your 30s are the transition period between your young adult and fully adult stuff, and your clothes should represent that. So, stuff like graphic tees, tight-fit and ripped jeans, and cargo pants have to go. On the other hand, items like blazers, leather jackets, quality plain sneakers, and straight-cut jeans should start becoming a part of your closet.

How Can A Man Look Good At 40?

A man can look good at any age, be it 14, 40, or even 80. The trick is to wear clothes according to your age. Do not try to pass for an age you are not. 40-year-old men, in particular, can look like the most stylish gentlemen just by getting the right haircuts and growing facial hair.

How should a 40 year old man dress for semi-formal events?

First off, follow the dress code for the event, no matter if you’re 20 or 40. If you have more choice, go with well-fitting suits in gray tones. Also hats like the Homburg or Ivy Cap will be a great addition to your style as well. 

What is in style for a 40 year old man?

The most stylish 40 year old men’s fashion in 2022 consists of button-ups, polo t-shirts, suits, plain leather jackets, and knit sweaters. For pants, jeans, chinos, and khaki shorts are the way to go.

What Should You Not Wear After Age 40?

In short, men’s clothes for a 40 year old should not include anything that will imply that you are trying to look younger than you are. This includes stuff like skinny jeans, graphic t-shirts, and vibrant sneakers.

Final Words:

Dressing up past your youth can seem like a daunting task. You have so many things to juggle at the same time. You want to look decent but also don’t want to dedicate hours upon hours to crafting the perfect outfits. You want to wear stuff that is currently in style but doesn’t want it to look like you’re trying too hard to look younger than you are.

Luckily, men’s fashion for 40-year-olds can be condensed down to a number of guidelines, a few dos and don’ts, and a handful of essential clothing items. Understand these, and you will be rocking a dashing look in no time.

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