'I'm a fashion stylist in my 40s. Here are 5 ways to rediscover your personal style.'

Shopping for clothes in midlife can be a confusing affair. 

While on the one hand, it is 2023 and we know there is no such thing as 'fashion for the over 40s', on the other, we browse the shops and see trends like 'cut-outs' or baggy jeans and we wonder, can I really do this style, again

Sometimes we simply need to call on the experts and 'stylist for the people' Nat Baker is Mamamia's kind of expert.

While she helps women of every age to find great clothes from her base at Charlestown Square Shopping Centre in NSW, Nat consults with a lot of midlife women who are juggling kids with work and busy home lives and need style advice.

"I get it, I have teenagers," Nat laughs.

"But I love fashion and I really love the feeling of helping women feel good about themselves in great clothes."

Watch: Mamamia reviews non-family-friendly fashion. Post continues below.

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Nat explains that she doesn't have a 'cookie cutter' approach, rather she works with the individual to find out about them and their fashion needs. 


"I like to establish what the client actually does with their day and find out about their lifestyle, because as much as I love fancy flares or cute dresses, if they are home with little kids all week, this might not be all that useful!"

While she always sits down and has a chat before taking her clients' shopping for their individual style needs, she has noticed the same questions coming up time and time again with women in midlife. 

Here are the 5 most common questions Nat gets from women in their 40s, 50s and 60s, and this is how she responds.

1. 'Help! I've lost my sense of style - how can I wear trends without looking dowdy?'

Nat says that with all the '90s and Y2K trends coming back around again, women over 40 are not sure how to feel.

"The clothes we all wore in our teens or twenties are back in the shops and so many women I work with are confused about whether they want to wear them again!

"I don't have any concrete rules for midlife women, because your style is very individual, but what I often say is that you can absolutely wear something on trend, but maybe with a fresh 'over 40' perspective.

"Whereas a teenager might wear baggy jeans with a baggy tee, I suggest you pair baggy jeans with a fine knit or a more glamourous silky blouse. Add a heel if you want to elongate your legs, or go for a platform sneaker for comfort."

Nat says it's an idea to consider trends not just in fashion, but with your accessories, hair and beauty too.


"I always tell clients to think about adding contemporary jewellery pieces to elevate a look and to consider the whole look and not just the clothing. If you have a great outfit but still have the same hairstyle from your twenties, it can make it appear outdated. Consider booking a re-style next time you are at the salon.

"I also have some great contacts at Sephora and Mecca who understand mature skin and what makeup trends work for women over 40. While this is not my area of expertise, if you want a full style refresh, I always recommend taking beauty into account as some cute on-trend makeup can really elevate your look to a whole new level."

2. 'What brands or stores should I shop at or avoid?'

Nat says that many women play it safe with brands and stores they know or feel safe with, but that the youth-centric stores can occasionally offer some goodies. The key is to keep your mind and eyes open and then start looking!

"Stores like Glassons or Supré might have a lot of short and tight options geared towards the teen market (and if this is your style – I say you do you!) but they can also be great for some on-trend items like basic staples, knits and blazers that work no matter your age or style.

"If you find a gem, then you can always mix it up with a classic from Country Road or Witchery to make your outfit really unique."

She says that department stores are a great way to shop for variety in style and also if you are time-poor as so many brands are all in one spot.

"I often take busy clients into Myer and they are surprised at how many great brands are available in-store. I also take a client's budget and lifestyle into consideration as some shops and brands are great for activewear and others for evening attire." 


Listen to Mamamia's podcast for women over 40, 'The 456 Club'. Post continues below.


3. 'Help! I've gained weight and don't want to shop for my size.'

Nat says she has so many clients book in for a style session and then cancel or reschedule because they 'want to lose weight first.'

"I feel sad about this as while I understand the motivation, I want to help women feel good in clothes, no matter their size. Women are so hard on themselves and I hear it too often. 

"I believe that your body is perfect as it is and I encourage women of every age to celebrate and shop for your shape it as it is now – not in two years' time. The women that are hesitant but come and shop with me, rather than wait for a future self to emerge, always get a lot out of the experience and feel better afterwards. 

"So, if this is you, I say book in the stylist appointment now. Don't wait!" 

4. 'I am addicted to shopping but have nothing to wear – why is this?'

There are many women Nat believes who, after putting the kids to bed and finally sitting down at night, will get on the apps and go shopping. She says it often ends with a lot of panic purchases and guilty confessions when they finally book to see her.

"I hear this a lot where women say they have a lot of clothes but nothing to wear! Maybe they buy the same white shirt in all different styles and then don't like any of them or send them back. Apart from being a huge waste of money, I suggest shopping more mindfully. 


"I think a lot of us are guilty of having 'heart eyes' over a pretty piece of clothing and buying it, but having nowhere to wear it. This is definitely a case of thinking before automatically 'adding to cart' about where you will wear it and how many wears it might have. Do you have the shoes to go with it, the bag? Ask yourself some quick questions and then consider what you actually need. 

"I am doing a lot of wardrobe 'clean-outs' with women at the moment and this is such a common issue! It doesn't mean throwing all your clothes out and starting again, but looking at what you already have at home and what you need to add that BEORE you shop is very useful."


5.'I don't feel confident anymore, help!'

When we are young, clothes and fashion trends all just feel so easy and wearable but as we age, for some, there is a big loss of confidence, Nat says.

"I tell a lot of women that being older doesn't have to mean you must dress conservatively. 

"You might not be clubbing every weekend in a sequined top these days, but can you wear it under a blazer to work? Or with jeans and sneakers for Sunday brunch? Find the pieces you love and work out how they could fit into your lifestyle now.

"I love helping women feel braver and more comfortable in their style while wearing the colour or the print they love. 

"Fashion should be fun and age is not a barrier to being a bit playful with your outfits!"

Find out more about Nat Baker via her Instagram @natbakerstyling

Laura Jackel is Mamamia's Family Writer. For links to her articles and to see photos of her outfits and kids, follow her on Instagram and TikTok.

Feature Image: Instagram @natbakerstyling / Canva.

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