As we get older, our style may need adapting to fit in with our changing lifestyles, and whilst that doesn’t mean we have to throw out our entire wardrobes, or that we will become inherently “unstylish”, some of us may find it increasingly challenging to know how to dress as the years pass.
It can feel like there is some emphasis on dressing in an “age appropriate” way, and with over half of women feeling pressure to dress a certain way there are many obstacles to navigate when deciding on what to wear as we get older.
When it comes to adapting our wardrobes, many look to celebrities for inspiration, and so we surveyed 2,000 UK adults to find out what exactly Brits consider stylish, and which celebrities aged 40+ have wardrobes we would most like to raid.
What makes someone stylish?
When it comes to style, there are many factors that make an outfit, and each person’s taste will naturally differ. But when creating an outfit, what are the elements we deem to be most important?
It may come as a surprise to some but following current trends may not make your outfit more stylish. Achieving a more timeless look is the most important aspect when it comes to being stylish, according to a fifth of Brits (20%). In fact, just 2% deem wearing trends to be an essential part of looking our best.
And it’s not all down to your clothes, as having self-confidence (16%) and feeling comfortable in your own skin (14%) were also deemed important when it comes to being considered stylish. Knowing what flatters features such as your height and body shape (11%) was also seen as an essential factor by Brits.
According to Brits, less is also more, as keeping your outfit simple (6%) is also seen as an important part of being stylish.
When buying items for your wardrobe, you don’t need to splash out on labels too, as just 4% of UK adults stated that wearing designer clothing helps to make us look more stylish.
Does age matter?
A fifth of UK adults believe that we look our most stylish between the ages of 35-40, proving that style and taste doesn’t fade with age. Three out of ten Brits (29%) believe people can look their most stylish “at any age” though.
When asked which celebrities we see as the most stylish, Dame Helen Mirren came in as is the most stylish UK celebrity aged over 40, according to our survey findings. Despite 76 years old Mirren claiming the top spot on the list of most stylish UK celebs over 40, just 1% of those surveyed thought over 60s typically look most ‘stylish’.
But why do we think Helen Mirren won our poll? Well, while she’s known for being one of the celebrities with the most sophisticated style ever, and she isn’t afraid to go for bold or edgy outfits either. Earlier this year, she wowed the public walking the catwalk at Paris Fashion Week in a printed power suit paired with statement geometric jewellery, super high heels, and a graphic eye make-up look.
When it comes to red carpets, her looks are usually more on the “classic” side, however you may see her sporting a blazer and jeans combo in her candid shots. If looking to emulate one of her more edgy outfits, opting for a bold animal print midi dresses paired with ankle boots and statement sunglasses is the way to go.
Who else do we look to for our style inspiration?
Other celebrities cited for their style influence includes Dame Judi Dench (17%), Emma Thompson (15%) and Catherine Zeta Jones (15%).
Dame Judi Dench is often seen photographed wearing a caftan or tunic top and trouser combo, both on the red carpet and off. In her street-style snaps, you can usually see her wearing a uniquely printed scarf or foulard, making her the perfect inspiration for those looking for boho-inspired yet classic ensembles.
At just 46 years old, Kate Winslet was the youngest actress to appear in the top 10, with one in six voting her to be one of the UK’s most stylish celebrities. Winslet’s street style is great for those wanting a casual and relaxed fit but with an edge. Paparazzi snaps usually see her sporting total black ensembles with comfy chinos or loose fit jeans, paired with leather jackets or simple black coats.
Equally voted Catherine Zeta Jones and Dame Emma Thompson both love bold outfits, Thompson is no stranger to a sleek power suit on the red carpet, often paired with some extra-cool designer trainers something that Catherine Zeta-Jones is well versed in.
Emma Thompson has mastered the perfect blend of stylish and quirky. She’s not afraid of prints and colour-blocking or opting for bold jackets. She is often spotted wearing jeans, graphic jumpers or t-shirts and dungarees, opting for the perfect casual look that is easy to add to your own wardrobe.
If you’re looking for less casual outfits, Catherine Zeta-Jones’ style may be more to your taste. Known for being uber-stylish both on the red carpet and in her street style shots, she’s often pictured in sleek power suits and flared trousers. She’s not afraid to rock a pair of pleather leggings paired with fedora hats and stylish sunglasses when out and about.
When looking at men’s fashion, it may come as no surprise that we look at James Bond actor Daniel Craig as 12% consider him the most stylish male celebrity over 40.
Known for looking impeccable on red carpets, Daniel Craig’s street style is no different. Craig knows how to do the basics just right: he mixes easy fit, neutral-coloured t-shirts and jumpers, with jeans and tailored coats or jackets, often topped off with a flat cap walking the streets of London.
Drawing even, 12% also consider Idris Elba to be the most fashionable UK man aged 40+. Idris Elba loves tailored coats and suits on the red carpet but knows how to do street style too. Elba often sports a leather jacket in his day-to-day ensembles and will sometimes go as far as rocking leather trousers! He does, however, keep it simple most of the time, with relaxed fit jeans, simple t-shirts, and a pair of cool trainers.
It may come as no surprise that one in ten (11%) voted Kate Moss as our most stylish celebrity. Supermodel Kate Moss has been hailed as one of the most stylish celebrities ever since her career took off in the 90s. If you’re looking to emulate Moss’s candid street style shots, opt for bootcut jeans, wider legged trousers (or even a flowy dress) paired with an edgy leather jacket or an extra-cool tailored blazer. The supermodel isn’t afraid of animalier either, and she often rocks a leopard or zebra print in her street style looks.
Helena Bonham Carter was voted equally as fashionable as Kate Moss (11%), however many wouldn’t consider their styles similar, proving that what is considered stylish is definitely not the same for each individual.
Without a doubt one of the celebrities with the most unique style, both on and off screen, on the red carpet Helena Bonham Carter likes to maintain her retro vibe, from 50s ensembles to over-the-top Victorian-inspired outfits. In her street style candid shots, she’s often photographed in printed midi or floor-length dresses, which she pairs with unique retro coats. She is definitely not afraid to mix and match patterns and materials either!
If you’re a fan of clean-line, sleek outfits then Claudia Winkelman’s style may be your perfect source of inspiration. 9% of Brits felt that Winkelman is the most stylish celeb over 40, favouring her tailored, chic looks. She often pairs slim fit trousers with tailored blazers or trench coats, sometimes adding a pop of colour with her shoes. Her outfits usually have a darker colour palette, favouring darker shades such as black, grey and deep green in her street style, however she’s not afraid of bright red and optical white from time to time.
Commenting on how to be stylish at any age, Hannah Hill, Personal Stylist and Personal Shopper at LIFESTYLISH said:
“At any age, being comfortable in our clothes is the key to feeling confident in them but this is even more important as we get older, and our lifestyles change. Well-fitting clothes in cuts that flatter our individual shape are a great place to start. So firstly, take the time to discover what that is for you.
“Some of the pieces we used to love to wear when we were younger will no longer provide the functionality required for the day-to-day realities of our lives as they are now, and nothing is less graceful than struggling with a simple task because you’re not dressed appropriately for it.
“Less parties and more school pick-ups don’t have to mean compromising our own individual style as you get older though, just adapting it accordingly. Giving a nod to your love of all things shiny can now take place on the school run with a great pair of metallic Chelsea boots as a statement piece instead of going all out like you used to on a Friday night in top-to-toe sequins years ago.
“The most important thing is to stay true to your own style personality. Rather than thinking about what’s “age appropriate”, it’s about your clothes being lifestyle appropriate.”
Finding your own style
When considering what makes someone stylish, it’s clear that we take more than trends and labels into consideration, with Brits also thinking about what makes them feel good, as well as how well clothes fit and suit them. If you’re struggling to define your personal style, looking at celebrities’ outfits can be a great way to discover the kind of looks you’d like to try, and which aren’t to your personal taste.
It’s also clear that style is timeless, with Brits voting 76-year-old Helen Mirren as the most stylish celebrity over 40.
Each of the celebrities that made the top ten have distinctive looks, that play to their tastes but also complement their colouring, shape, size and height too. And they certainly don’t let their age dictate their attire!
From the variety of stylish celebrities we’ve examined, it’s clear that style is not one size fits all, and it is important to remember that when choosing your own wardrobe. Rather than focusing on labels, trends or whether something is “age appropriate” consider how an outfit makes you feel, as that is the best indicator.
A rather fashionable puzzle
In keeping with the topic of stylish celebrity wardrobes and in a bid to test the nation, we’ve created a series of tricky puzzles for you.
All you have to do is to guess who the outfits belong to. On average it takes 1 minute 4 seconds, but will you crack this quicker? Don’t worry, we’ll leave you with some clues to help you on your way.
1. This rather regal calendar girl is both super stylish and extremely talented
2. From Hogwarts to Wonderland, this starlet is renowned for her unique style, and eclectic taste in clothing.
3. It doesn’t matter if he’s fighting crime or taking some much needed time off to sample wine from his very own label, he‘s certain to do so looking suave.
4. Whether she’s rubbing shoulders with Hollywood A-listers, or sailing the Atlantic to a new life, his multi-award-winning leading lady is eternally well dressed.
5. This blue-eyed film star certainly has a distinctive style and won’t let international criminals get in the way of his dapper looks – even if he is no longer a OO.
How did you do? Did you guess them all? Let us know via our Twitter page
- Dame Helen Mirren
- Helena Bonham Carter
- Idris Elba
- Kate Winslet
- Daniel Craig
Survey of 2,000 UK adults completed in November 2021.