The 7 Accessories Every Woman Should Own By 40—Including 1 You Probably Didn’t Expect
Rumor has it that 40 is the best decade for women and honestly, we’re not going to argue with that. Because who really wants to relive their 20s (roommate drama!) or even 30s (toddler drama!) forever? But when it comes to style, this era of your life should be all about showing the world that you’re confident in your skin—from the sleek leather sneakers on your feet to the everyday watch on your wrist. Here, the seven accessories you should have in your arsenal by the time you hit the big 4-0, including the one purse staple you probably haven’t considered replacing in years.
1. Statement Earrings
Our favorite jewelry box pick for your 40s is the statement earring—because it’s exactly the kind of piece that can go with jeans or a formal dress, depending on the day. These big, blingy baubles draw the eye up and across the face, making you instantly look fresh and young, even if you got two hours of sleep last night. Just make sure the hoops, chandeliers or button styles you choose won’t visibly weigh your earlobe down or stretch out your earring hole.
Splurge: Elizabeth Cole Elliott Earrings ($108); Sylvia Toledano Rain Drops Multi-Stone Earrings ($250); Mateo Duality 14-Karat Gold Pearl and Malachite Earrings ($725)
2. A Carryall Tote
Whether you’re busy juggling kids or running from one work meeting to another, you probably understand the importance of having one nice bag that fits it all. We’re talking wallet, hand sanitizer, an extra change of shoes, maybe your laptop, a few snacks and three different lipstick shades. The good news? You can choose whichever carryall design that best suits you, whether that’s a polished tote or a relaxed boho silhouette. As long as it looks good on your shoulder and can be zipped (or snapped) shut, you’re good to go.
Save: Sole Society Faux Leather Satchel ($80; $48); Street Level Reversible Faux Leather Tote & Wristlet ($49); Rebecca Minkoff Studded Smooth and Textured-Leather Shoulder Bag ($295; $88); Urban Originals Lioness Tote Bag ($98)
3. Sleek Leather Sneakers
We’ll put it frankly: You’re too old to be wearing your gym sneakers with a cute outfit! Mostly because you know better than that. Instead, treat yourself to a pair of kicks that are just as comfortable as the shoes you wear on the treadmill, but look a million times nicer. And you don’t have to go with basic white leather; we love a pop of snakeskin with jeans or a hint of glitter with leggings. With one simple swap, you’ll notice that you’re actually excited to run an errand or two.
Splurge: Thousand Fell Lace Up ($120); P4448 John Ginerva Glitter ($285; $143); Loeffler Randall Keeley Leopard Sneakers ($275); Alexander McQueen Women's Suede Oversized Sneakers ($540)
4. An Everyday Watch
Sure, a strand of pearls is nice to have, but we think your money is better spent on something both stylish and functional. Opt for styles that are a bit heftier in size (making sure the watchface is no bigger than ⅔ of the width of your wrist) instead of delicate, evening-ready designs. And you’ll want one that features a relatively hardy watch band, like a bracelet style or a pebbled leather material, that won’t be harmed by dishwashing or any other daily activities. The right timepiece can tell the world you’re an expert multitasker: It’s a conversation-starting piece of jewelry that just so happens to keep you on time.
Save: Casio LQ-400D-1AEF Vintage Style Watch ($37); Skagen Freja Quartz Blue Dial Ladies Watch ($71); Breda Visser Watch ($90); MVMT Dot Spin Black Stainless Steel Mesh Bracelet Watch ($115; $92)
Splurge: Gomelsky by Shinola Women's Agnes Varis Bracelet Watch ($795; $300); Movado Swiss Bold Stainless Steel Mesh Bracelet Watch ($550); Michele Sidney Mother-Of-Pearl & Stainless Steel Chronograph Watch ($2,895); Cartier Panthère de Cartier Small Stainless Steel and Diamond Watch ($8,000)
5. Black Ankle Boots
Wear them with a work dress. Make them your jeans’ BFF. Put them on with leggings. The versatility of basic black ankle boots cannot be beat, as they can easily be dressed up or down depending on your destination. And whether you prefer sidewalk-friendly Chelsea boots or stiletto booties made for a night of dancing, is totally up to you (and the condition of your feet). Just make sure this undeniable closet staple is in good condition before you step out of the house; if your kicks are showing visible wear, worn-out soles or tarnished hardware, you’ll want to seek out your neighborhood shoe repair shop STAT.
6. A Wallet You’re Not Embarrassed By
It’s time you treat your money with care, and spring for a wallet that has a slot for cash, room for every card you own and maybe even a little pocket for coins. It seems like such a small detail, but pulling out a nice wallet when you need to make a big purchase (or when you’re catching up with your college roommate over coffee) is a subtle way of letting the world know you’ve got your shi*t together—finances and all. And you don’t need to spend a ton on a designer wallet either, just make sure yours isn’t threadbare or totally worn out.
Save: JW Pei Stella Wallet ($29; $25); Madewell The Post Wallet ($68); Raven + Lily Addis Slim Leather Wallet ($88); Gigi New York Mini Python-Embossed Leather Bi-Fold Wallet ($90)
Splurge: Tory Burch Eleanor Mini Wallet ($198); Gucci Marmont Petite Textured-Leather Wallet ($420); Bottega Veneta Intrecciato Leather Wallet ($640; $448) Valextra Brera Textured-Leather Wallet and Cardholder ($895)
7. Sunglasses That Actually Fit
It’s time to toss the frames that slide off your nose, fit wonkily (because of that one time you sat on them) or those guys that are simply too big for your face. A pair of sunnies that frame your cheekbones and stay in place while you walk will not only look better than any other pair, but you’ll be more likely to reach for them every time you step out the door. While you can definitely go with gradient, colored or playful lenses, we’re all about the timelessness of classic black or tortoiseshell.
Splurge: Chloé 52MM Gradient Square Sunglasses ($335; $100); Ray-Ban Highstreet Round Sunglasses ($144); Garrett Leight x Clare V Women's Cat Eye Sunglasses ($340); Celine Square Cateye Sunglasses ($410)