The Classy Guide to Sexy Clothes for Older Women

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How to Look Sexy at Any Age

Goldie Hawn, Julia Roberts and Gwyneth Paltrow attend the 3rd annual Sean Penn & Friends HELP HAITI HOME Gala benefiting J/P HRO presented by Giorgio Armani at Montage Beverly Hills on January 11, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California.
Getty Images / Joe Scarnici

There are so many style icons over 40 now that it's hard to even choose our favorites. From celebrities we love to super models from the 90s who still look incredible — there's inspiration everywhere.

One of the biggest lessons we've learned from women like Julia Roberts, Gwyneth Paltrow and Goldie Hawn (pictured above) is that looking sexy at 40 and beyond is about two things:

  • Having a lot of confidence
  • Playing up your best features

Celebrities have the advantage of personal trainers, expensive beauty and wellness products and professional makeup artists — but looking sexy and feeling amazing after your 30s is about so much more than how much money you can spend on Spanx and airbrushing.

Ahead, we'll share our best tips and style advice for finding sexy clothes for older women that are inspired by women we love like Julianne Moore, Sandra Bullock, Meryl Streep, and Naomi Watts. Their red carpet style can teach us a lot about mastering a sophisticated take on sexy later in life.

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Julianne Moore: The Sexy Way to Sparkle

Julianne Moore on the red carpet
Julianne Moore. Getty Images / Mireya Acierto, Jeff Vespa, Jason Merritt

We have just one word for Julianne Moore: flawless. While wearing this much sparkle and shimmer in your 50s might seem counter-intuitive at first, take note of how Julianne makes it work. She sticks to rich tones and monochromatic looks, and keeps her hair and beauty very simple.

Each of these looks is also rather covered — which is important. If you're going to draw the eye in with sequins and gems, play down the exposed skin and focus on getting a great fit. That way your look will feel more fashion-focused than overtly "sexy." 

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Jennifer Aniston: The Queen of Girl Next Door Sexy

Getty Images / James Devaney

We've had a girl crush on Jennifer Anniston for decades now! Since she made her debut on Friends in the 1990s, we've obsessed over her style endlessly. Now that friends is done and she's a bona fide movie star, we've kept a close eye on her off-duty style for constant inspiration.

When it comes to casual outfits, the most classic look just happens to also be the sexiest. Tuck a white shirt into your favorite blue jeans (that fit like a dream) and voila! — you're done. This look is timeless and the sexiness is in its simplicity. While you may have surpassed the age of tank tops and tube tops with your tight jeans — the white shirt is an ageless option that will always look good. Everyone from Diane Keaton to Kendall Jenner looks good in this combo — it signals to the world that you're not trying that hard. Effortless = sexy.

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Susan Sarandon: Classy and Unapologetically Sexy

Susan Sarandon. Getty Images / Kevin Winter, George Pimintel

Can you believe this woman just turned 70? The truth is that for many women her age, wearing nothing but a bra under your blazer isn't a realistic outfit. However, on the right we see her in a wide-leg jumpsuit and long coat that have a sexy, 70s vibe without being too revealing or retro-feeling.

The lesson to take away from Susan Sarandon is that at the end of the day, you can't let anyone else tell you what you can and cannot wear at a certain age (remember how fabulous she was in Alfie?). If you feel amazing, if you feel confident and you look in the mirror and you're happy with what you see? That's all you need. That attitude is sexy.

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Meryl Streep: The Understated, Glamorous Take on Sexy

Meryl Streep. Getty Images / Jason Merritt, Kevin Mazur

Ah Meryl, how we love thee. At 67, this world class actress is a force to be reckoned with both on and off screen. She (and her stylist, most likely) have been working hard to create a style for the red carpet that is sexy and glamorous while also being almost so classy it hurts. A black and white palette (similar to Susan Sarandon) is a good place to start, especially if you're going to a formal or dressy event.

The simple color combo isn't flashy or even fresh — it's unfussy and elegant. Take cues from these two looks and be sure to play up features you love, whether that's your décolletage, your arms, your calves... Whatever part you love, show it off!

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More Tips for Dressing Sexy at Any Age

Getty Images / Gregg DeGuire, Jason LaVeris, Anthony Harvey

Gwyneth Paltrow, Sandra Bullock, and Naomi Watts are masters of playing up their best features. Gwyn's got the legs, Sandra has the abs and Naomi's got the arms. While looking fashion-forward and age appropriate, these women have been able to incorporate elements of sex appeal to their wardrobes in a way that really inspires us. Here are a few more tips to keep in mind when you're dressing sexy at a slightly advanced age:

  • Black will always look best in every silhouette
  • Choose one feature to highlight, like arms, legs, or shoulders
  • Use sparkle and bright colors with caution
  • When it doubt, wear Spanx!
  • Sexy dresses don't have to be tight. Look for dresses, jumpsuits, and separates that show off your individual body in the best way.