By the time you reach 40, you’ve likely figured out exactly what you like to wear and what you don’t. Cozy cashmere sweater dresses? Yes please. Cheap, polyester rompers? Not so much. You know your personal style best, and you’re not about to repeat the fashion mishaps of your 20s or 30s—but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few staple pieces we think every woman in this age bracket should own. We’re not talking about trench coats or classic pumps that likely come to mind, but chic accessories that will show the world that you’re confident in your own skin. Here, the nine accessories you should have in your arsenal by the time you hit the big 4-0, including a purse staple you probably haven’t considered replacing in years.
The 9 Accessories Every Woman Should Own by Age 40—Including 1 You Probably Didn’t Expect
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1. Statement Earrings
Our favorite jewelry box pick for your 40s is the statement earring because it’s exactly the kind of versatile 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 fresher and younger—even if you only got two hours of sleep last night. Just make sure the hoops, chandeliers or button styles you choose don’t visibly weigh down your earlobes or stretch out your earring holes.
2. A Carryall Tote
Whether you’re busy juggling kids or running errands all over town, you probably understand the importance of having one nice bag that fits it all. We’re talking your wallet, hand sanitizer, an extra change of shoes, maybe your laptop, a few snacks and three different lipstick shades. You can choose whichever carryall design suits you best, be it something that’s more polished, like Cuyana’s classic leather totes, or a more relaxed boho silhouette (see: Stella McCartney’s Falabella bags). As long as it looks good on your shoulder and can be zipped or snapped shut, you’ll be good to go.
3. An Everyday Watch
Sure, a strand of pearls is nice to have, but we think your money is better spent on something that you’ll wear on the daily. The right timepiece can tell the world you’re an expert multitasker: It’s a conversation starter that just so happens to also keep you informed of the time. Opt for styles that are a bit heftier in size, making sure the face is no bigger than two thirds of the width of your wrist, over delicate, evening-ready designs. You’ll also want one that features a relatively hardy band, preferably in a bracelet style or a pebbled leather material, that won’t be easily harmed by dishwashing or any other daily activities.
4. Black Ankle Boots
Wear them with a work dress. Make them your jeans’ BFF. Pull 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. Whether you prefer sidewalk-friendly Chelsea boots or stiletto booties that are practically 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.
5. Sunglasses That Actually Fit
It’s time to toss all the frames that slide off your nose, fit wonkily from that one time you sat on them or 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, they’ll entice you 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 a classic black or tortoiseshell pair.
6. Sleek Leather Sneakers
Chunky athletic sneakers may be the trend du jour, but we don’t expect it to last forever. Instead, you’re much better off investing in a pair of sleek, classic kicks with a more minimalist vibe. You don’t have to go with basic white leather, either: We love a pop of snakeskin with jeans or a hint of glitter with leggings. With this one simple upgrade, you just may find that you’re actually excited to run an errand or two.
7. 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 your coins. It seems like such a small detail but pulling out a nice wallet when you need to make a 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 sh*t together—finances and all. You don’t need to spend a ton on a designer wallet either—just make sure yours isn’t threadbare or totally worn out.
8. A Chic-yet-sturdy Umbrella
That old, broken tiny umbrella you bought in a gift shop on vacation because you suddenly found yourself caught unprepared in a drizzle may have worked in a pinch, but by age 40, you should really upgrade to something sturdier. Look for one that’s wide enough to truly protect you from the rain (not just your head and shoulders), with a sturdy pole and an easy-to-grip handle. Trust us, you’ll feel much more confident walking into that job interview/bank loan meeting/parent-teacher conference with this sleek tool on your arm instead of a clear plastic number that says “I Heart Mickey Mouse” on the brim.
9. A Pair Of Nice Winter Gloves
OK, so this one’s less applicable if you live in Miami or San Jose, but for anyone living somewhere where temperatures even occasionally drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, owning a pair of gloves that both look good and actually keep your hands warm is an absolute must. Leather and suede will only look better as they age, and there are plenty of vegan options that will also do the trick. And yes, you can definitely find sleek mittens too, if that’s more your style: Just opt for a neat black, brown or neutral dark hue instead of an intarsia knit pair for a cleaner look.