1. Rule #1: White After Labor Day
Why you should wear white after Labor Day: This outdated concept has kept a firm grip on women for years (even though Coco Chanel herself championed white year round.)
White looks amazing any time of the year, from white pantsuits (a great look over 40) to soft winter white and creams. Another great year-round white item: white jeans, which work beautifully with brights and neutrals.
Afraid that white pants make you look too heavy? Try these tips for not looking fat in white pants.
2. Rule #2: No Short Skirts After 35
Why you should wear short skirts after 35: For petite women, an above-the-knee skirt is the only way to carry off a dress without looking overwhelmed by fabric. And for women of average height or taller, shorter skirts are a great way to show off toned legs.
While micro-minis (that just cover the butt) are no-nos for grown-ups, a shorter skirt (a few inches above the knee) is just fine. If you like the leg-lengthening aspect of a shorter skirt but don't want to show your legs, wear tights.
The key to showing skin at any age is to follow a good style guide and cover up more on top when you go show a lot of leg.
3. Rule #3: No Long Hair Over 40
Why you should wear long hair after 40: Hair length should be a personal preference, although it helps if your hair cooperates by looking healthy and flattering to your face shape. At any age, longer hair should be healthy looking and lustrous.
A great cut, regular maintenance and flattering color are even more essential when you go long in middle age.
Need celebrity inspiration? Cher, Madonna, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jerry Hall, Brooke Shields. These over-40 icons prove that long hair is something that is ageless and timeless.
4. Rule #4: Don't Wear Horizontal Stripes
Why you should wear horizontal stripes: Horizontal stripes get a bad rap for making women look shorter and broader, but when done the right way horizontal stripes can be extremely flattering and balance out body flaws. For example, a wide horizontally striped skirt on a top-heavy figure balances out the body visually.
Another way to wear horizontal stripes that works on many body types: skinny horizontal stripes that are closely spaced together (like classic navy and white nautical stripes.)
What you don't want to do with horizontal stripes is wear them on your largest body part: broad shoulders with a horizontally striped top will just make you look broader.
5. Rule #5: Tattoos are for Kids
Why you should get a tattoo: Classy 60-something actress Helen Mirren sports a cool tattoo on her hand and same-age Susan Sarandon is also a proponent of late-in-life inkings. Tattoos have become mainstream and are a great way to express yourself, regardless of your age.
That said, there are some tattoos that don't translate as well for grown-ups, like neck or knuckle tattoos. A tasteful, meaningful tattoo, however, is something that works well regardless of age or lifestyle.
Not convinced? Get a tattoo in a place that you can easily hide like a shoulder or a back so you have the option of covering it up if you want.