Woman wearing black blazer with text overlay.

Trends are fun, like icing on a cupcake. But your style essentials? Those are the actual cakey goodness, the reliable foundation for the pop of color or texture that goes on top.

Your fashion essentials are the tried-and-true pieces you wear on repeat. They bring your whole closet together by standing in with multiple outfits. Chosen wisely, your collection of neutral, versatile fashion staples keeps you from overspending — because you can wear these pieces in so many contexts.

Building out your essentials collection doesn’t have to drain your bank account, either. Remember to employ the usual budget fashion hacks: Stack your savings with sale prices, loyalty rewards, and credit card cash back. Typically, this means shopping at department stores, which are ideal for fashion essentials anyway.

Woman wearing black blazer with text overlay.Woman wearing black blazer with text overlay.
Source: Canva.

For example, my Australian fashionistas can hit up Myer through Qantas Shopping to earn Qantas Points with every purchase. U.S. shoppers can shop Macy’s for amazing styles and the opportunity to earn Macy’s Star Rewards. And U.K. lovelies can use their Virgin Atlantic card and the Shops Away program to earn points at Harrods. 

But what pieces will be on your shopping list? Let’s get straight into this list of the top seven fashion essentials for women over 40 in 2024.

White t-shirt

The white t-shirt is a timeless classic, a wingwoman who steals no glory. Its sole purpose? To make everything else in your wardrobe shine, be it a pencil skirt, faux leather moto jacket, or your favorite jeans. A well-chosen white t-shirt looks amazing as part of a carefully curated outfit or thrown on in a rush on a busy morning.

You have many options in shape and material. Let your body type, tastes, and lifestyle guide you. If you dress casually often and you can’t stand fabric clinging to your curves, opt for a structured t-shirt. If you never leave home without polish, a lightweight floaty t-shirt may suit you better.

The dark-neutral blazer

A black, navy, olive, or dark gray blazer is like a secret weapon in any woman’s wardrobe. At a shrug of the shoulders, you can turn a plain or patterned outfit into a force to be reckoned with. Important meeting? Blazer. Weddings you can’t afford an expensive new dress for? Blazer. New date you want to impress? Blazer (atop a slinky cami of course).

Every woman over 40 needs a blazer, because it is the ultimate harmony of style, comfort, and functionality. This garment is great for any season, works into many types of outfits, and immediately adds a power dynamic to your style. Get one.


Catherine Brock styling chunky loafers with a midi skirt.Catherine Brock styling chunky loafers with a midi skirt.
©Speak LLC.

The loafer is the new ankle boot. This slip-on shoe style steps beautifully into any lifestyle. Love your athleisure? Opt for a sneaker-style loafer with a chunky sole. Climbing the corporate ladder? A black leather loafer is the perfect anchor for your power look. Own a closet full of floral dresses? A cream mule-loafer will be your new best friend.

Your best jeans

I know jeans are a nightmare to shop for, and heartbreaking to replace. Probably because a well-loved pair of jeans outlives SOs and best friends. They’ll also carry your pocket-sized stuff and cradle you when you’re too tired to change into pajamas.

If you don’t have that special jean now, you’re missing out. It’s time to embark on the journey to find the perfect pair. And yes, jean shopping is the same as looking for love. It can take time and emotion, but you’ll eventually find the one.

Remember that your best jeans aren’t a trend buy. Jeans are a longtime commitment, so go for the style that fits and flatters.

White dress shirt

Not to be confused with the white t-shirt at the top spot, a collared, crisp, long-sleeved white shirt is another versatile staple for all women in 2024. This season, style it with trendy tartan pants or skirts, or keep things classic with smart suit trousers.

Invest in quality materials like cotton or linen for that easy-going, Parisian nonchalance. Perfect for work, a girl boss brunch, or a stroll along the beach, a white button-down exudes effortless elegance and serves up confidence on a plate.

Black leather belt

Even the simplest outfits get a boost of luxury from a thick black leather belt. A luxe belt, real or faux, jazzes up a t-shirt and jean combo, adds some punk to a floral maxi skirt, and overhauls the personality of a patterned dress.  

As well, belts do a great job of adjusting bottoms that may not fit perfectly. Find a deal and the belt could stand in for a pricey tailoring job and make a fashion statement at the same time.


Sunglasses are the queen of accessories, able to add abracadabra-y razzle-dazzle to anything you wear, ever. Even a tracksuit and hoodie. If you’re having a bad day, but some torrid force of necessity compels you to go outside, pop on your sunnies. I promise you’ll instantly feel a touch better.

What kind of sunglasses to buy will depend on your face shape and personal style. Lean into styles that provide full UV protection. For the investment, your sunnies should do double duty, protecting your eyes and fashion while delivering a style statement.  

Final thoughts

None of these fashion pieces are exceptionally unique or outlandish, nor should they be. For fashion (and finance) conscious ladies, the key is to invest in quality staples that transcend trends — so you can wear them confidently season after season.

2024 is the year of the ever-stylish, ever-confident woman. Get these seven essentials into your closet and you’re on your way to confidence that’ll outlast the trend.

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