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40 Worst Accessories for Women Over 40

Haul these to a consignment store, stat.

The point of accessories is that they're supposed to be fun. Nothing brings more joy, or visual interest, to an outfit quite like a funky belt, an artsy earing, or a playful bag. And now that you're 40, you're able to step up your game in the accessories department. After all, you can afford better quality duds, and you've got years of fashion experience to draw upon.

But before you start adding a stack of bracelets here and a colorful pair of tights there, you'll want a refresher on the fashion accessories no woman over 40 should own. Your days of fishnet tights and bedazzled sneakers are over (thankfully!), but your decades of classic bags and perfectly styled ensembles have only just begun.

Fishnet Tights

Fishnet stockings

Fishnet tights are perfect for a Halloween costume, a gothic punk event, or a frisky night in the bedroom. And that's about it. Wearing them on any other occasion just cheapens the rest of your outfit.

Printed or Brightly Colored Leggings

Printed Leggings, 40s

Leave the fun leggings to the kids, and incorporate festive and bright patterns and colors in more mature ways, like in a chic scarf or pair of gloves.

Loud Jewelry

big jewlery

Some bold jewelry can be tasteful, but too many loud pieces—like oversized cuffs, or rings with mixed-and-matched gemstones—can draw unwanted attention. And to learn what you should keep, check out these 50 Essential Accessories for Women Over 50.

Thigh-High Boots

blake lively in thigh high boots

Yes, thigh-high boots are definitely on-trend for 2019. But trying to keep them upright and around your thighs just isn't worth the struggle. They're either constantly falling down, or are impossible to squeeze into. And now that you're 40, you just don't have time for dysfunctional footwear.

Printed Purses

Hermes Kelly purse

Handbags adorned with images of the Eiffel Tower are not only unattractive, they're cheap-looking, too. Instead, take an actual trip to Paris and invest in a timeless leather classic. Believe us, you won't regret it.

Bedazzled Anything

a teenage girl bedazzling a white pair of slip on shoes

Sometimes, a little bedazzling can look grown-up, but too much can quickly become major overkill. If you want to rock rhinestones, stick with jewelry.

Platform Sneakers

high heel sneakers never buy

You might as well wear heels if you're going to wear platform sneakers. They serve no function (other than being hideous and uncomfortable).

Cutesy Hair Bows

Scrunchies, 40s

Hair bows are a hit or a miss. Go too small, and and it looks juvenile. (This happens with some medium-sized bows, too.) A better, easier-to-pull-off bet is to go with a slouchy, thin bow around a ponytail.

Cheap Jewelry That Turns Your Skin Green

cheap fake silver rings with fake gemstones

Cheap jewelry is one thing. Cheap jewelry that leaves a mark on your body is another entirely. Toss it. And here's a pro tip: use rubbing alcohol when faced with a green-finger dilemma. It'll set your skin good as new.

Little Girl Shoes

Jellies Shoes 80s Jokes

Mary Janes, jelly shoes, and Crocs should only show up on children's feet. Not only will you look like you're trying too hard, you'll probably look pretty ridiculous, too.

Big Headbands

Headband, 40s

There are some chic headbands on the market that work for an older crowd, but stay away from any headbands with super crazy patterns, small bows, butterflies, or—and this should really go without saying—cat ears.

Body Chains

Wallet Chains, 40s, what to give up in your 40s

Unless you're in Vegas and really feeling yourself, body chains should never been worn outside of Sin City.

Slouchy Beanie

Woman Wearing Funny Hat Craziest Corporate Policies

Even if it's practically Antarctica outside, wearing a slouchy beanie won't do you any favors—in the style or comfort departments. Stick to a tight-fitting cap or a warm, shearling trapper winter hat.

Charm Bracelets

Charm Bracelets, 40s

Swapping charms with your BFF in 6th grade was indeed a blast. But times have changed. Now would be a good opportunity to pass down any beloved charm bracelets to a younger female family member.

String Bikini

Woman is looking at a price tag, buying a bikini.

It may be a beach staple for women in Brazil, but string bikinis should be worn with caution, mainly because they're so uncomfortable to wear. You'll be too worried about discomfort (or wardrobe malfunctions) to actually enjoy the sand, sun, and sea.

Anything Sequin

things no woman over 40 should own sequined denim

Let's leave the sparkly dresses and shimmery heels for a festive New Year's Eve, yeah?

Extra Large Hoops

girl posing for photo in grass wearing large hoop earrings and a gray top

Keep it classy with small to medium-sized hoops in different thicknesses. Hoops come in all shapes and sizes these days—so it should be easy to avoid the oversized ones.

Costume Jewelry

worst fashion trends

It's pretty easy to spot costume jewelry from a mile away—it's big, it's gaudy, and it couldn't look more cheap. This type of jewelry might have been fun (and budget-friendly) in your 20s and 30s, but it's high time to retire those pieces that aren't worth a penny.


Uggs, 40s

Unless you're traipsing around the house or enjoying the brand's incomparably comfy slippers, Uggs really shouldn't be seen in broad daylight.

Cheap Handbags

bunch of handbags at a thrift store.

Like a fine wine, a nice handbag gets better with age. Similarly, like a bottom-shelf wine, a cheap handbag only gets worse—and quickly, too.

Ankle Bracelets and Toe Rings

These two pieces of jewelry should have stayed in the '90s, but, for some crazy reason, they're back on everyone's feet. Treat your feet to a luxe pedicure and skip this frightening fashion faux-pas.

Festive Socks

socks on a heater next to books and a cup of tea in a home in winter

It's fun to wear brightly-colored socks for Christmas, Halloween, or Valentine's Day. But sporting festive feet too often might make you appear a bit kooky.

Oversized Purse

dressing well 50s

You're not Mary Poppins, therefore, you won't be needing an oversized purse to pull out a giant lamp or a spoonful of sugar when needed. Stick to something that can carry what you need (with maybe a little bit room for some extras).

Face Piercings

Woman with Lip Piercing Things That Would Horrify Your Dentist

We get it. Defying your parents with a nose, lip, or brow piercing—or, for the true punks, an industrial—was exhilarating when you were 18. Getting one after 40? Who are you standing up to?


a pile of green, yellow, pink, orange, and multicolored scrunchies

Scrunchies really don't do anyone any favors, especially older women with thinning hair—which can come across as even more thin with a scrunchy pulling it.

Choker Necklaces

worst fashion trends

Choker necklaces are a major trend among women in their 20s. Going with a longer chain—one that directs attention away from the neck and towards the chest—is the more tasteful move.

Knee Socks

a woman in bed wearing white knee high socks

These would be age-appropriate if you're wearing boots up to your shin, but sporting knee socks with sneakers or flats might come off as a try-hard schoolgirl costume.

Animal Print Anything

Instead of trying to incorporate an animal-print bag or shoe into your wardrobe, pair a subtle leopard print pant with a black top or a cheetah-printed coat with your classy, solid-colored ensemble. Mixing too many prints will be too distracting.


Woman on the steps in high heels.

Let the 20-somethings wince in pain and tend to blistering wounds after spending hours in these heels. Once you hit 40, give your feet a rest.

Tiny Sunglasses

worst fashion trends

Small sunglasses might have been super groovy years back. And while they are technically on-trend again, it doesn't mean you should wear them. They're unflattering on most face shapes and really don't do much in terms of protecting your eyes and the surrounding eye area from sun damage.

Accessories with Disney Characters on Them

woman wearing a necklace with a mickey mouse charm and white top

Leave the Minnie Mouse backpack for your niece or daughter.

Platform Shoes

a woman wearing white platform shoes carrying a blue bag

Though relatively easy to walk in, platform shoes are still hazardous for your ankles and feet. Oh, and they also look ridiculous. Toss 'em.

Oversized Rings

a woman wearing a black bow ring and red heart ring cover her face with her hands

If it's an investment piece or heirloom that you can't live without, feel free to keep it. Just make sure you don't ever wear it in tandem with other rings. As for the inexpensive, meaningless rings? You know what to do.

Inspirational iPhone Cases

a phone case with the saying "never stop dreaming" on top of a beach sunset photo

You don't need the back of your phone to remind you that "you're beautiful." You can do that yourself!

Over-the-Ear Earrings

cork jewelry board storage hacks

These types of earrings are hard to pull off, no matter what age you are. Stick to studs, small hoops, or tasteful, dangly pieces.


Woman with a Louis Vuitton Bag {Shopping Tips}
andersphoto / Shutterstock

You spent a lot of money on that bag and you want people to know—we totally understand. But after age 40, flaunting a ton of logos becomes a bit of a faux pas. Buy as many designer items as you'd like, but choose ones that are more understated than they are flashy.

Trendy Backpacks

woman wearing a striped shirt and holding a white leather backpack

There are functional backpacks, and then there are trendy backpacks, which tend to be too small to hold anything, really. Stick to the functional ones.

Oversized Sunglasses

a woman trying on oversized red sunglasses in a store

Don't do the Paris Hilton look. Trade in your buggy sunglasses for a pair that actually fit your face.

Cuff Bracelets and Big Bangles

Bangles bracelets accessories

Rocking one beautifully designed cuff bracelet can work, but piling on a bunch of jingly bracelets can quickly get excessive and overcrowded.

Outrageous Cowboy Boots

novelty boots never buy

If you want to rock trendy cowboy boots this season, stick to ones that are a solid color. By sporting cowboy boots with bright colors or crazy patterns, you'll look like a rodeo clown. And for more sage fashion advice, learn all about the 30 Fashion Trends That Will Never Go Out of Style.

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