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Holiday Style Guide for women over 40 2023

Nov 20, 2023

We are really in the thick of the holiday season now! I remind you every year, and this one is no different, try to plan your holiday outfits early!

Planning early can ease your stress tremendously by ensuring you know ahead of time what you’re going to wear, and if it’s not in your closet already, you have (a little) time to find a few new comfortable and stylish options (and yes, there really are stylish, AND comfortable options!). This will allow you to focus on family and friend festivities without last-minute wardrobe emergencies, making the holidays more enjoyable for everyone, not just you! How many times have you stood with the closet door open, staring inside panicking, while a partner/child/husband, etc. is standing by saying, “I just don’t get this. Your closet is full of clothes, you have more clothes than anyone I know. Why in the world can’t you find something to wear, we’re going to be late!” And you know where it heads from there… **I curated a shoppable holiday style guide for women over 40 which can be found at the bottom of this post!

Sometimes women tell me that they have simply decided not to go to the event or the dinner or the game etc., because they could not figure out what to wear. That is not acceptable- life is meant to be lived to the fullest! We need to get out and experience or make holiday joy, in all its forms, and feel beautiful and festive doing so.

There are so many pieces now that literally feel like pajamas, but have embellishments that add a dash of glam. People are wearing sequins and feathers for dressed up and dressed down occasions. Take a sequin top or a sweater trimmed with feathers, you can wear it with a pair of jeans, or you can put it with a pair of cocktail pants or a skirt for dressier events. This is the modern way to dress for the holidays. Many women are saying to me, “We don’t go out that much anymore”, but even if you’re staying in, or you’re going to a very casual gathering with friends, why not add a little sparkle? Red, as I’ve said before this fall is THE color for the season. You don’t like to wear red? What about a pair of red earrings? What about a red shoe?

Classic clothing is also in vogue right now, so pull out that tartan plaid skirt or blazer that you thought was a little dated, and wear it again with a cashmere sweater or silk blouse. 

As mentioned above, you probably have things that you’ve worn in the past, and if you’re counting on wearing them again, don’t wait until the last minute to check them out. Make sure they still fit! Make sure they don’t have stains or a loose hem etc., there is no better feeling than crossing this job off your list. We’re so busy at this time of year, why not do yourself a huge favor and get organized now? 

We have created a holiday style guide, and I tweaked it a little bit for people who are celebrating life over 40 these days (curated shoppable selection below)

I know you’re super busy because the holidays are in full swing, but I wanted to tell you about a recent experience that The Style That Binds Us team had that was very special to me. I was a dancer growing up and spent many, many hours taking class, rehearsing and performing, and after ninth grade, I spent the summer of 1978 taking classes with the School of American Ballet at Juilliard, which is the school for the New York City Ballet company. I was invited to continue with S.A.B. through high school, but this was 1978 and the decision was made to go back home for 10th through 12th grade. I was acutely aware that the life of a dancer is intense, and that only a few make it to the pinnacle. 

That time continues to have a huge influence on my life; Balanchine was alive and very present at the studio, I was living in New York City by myself for the first time, along with the other dancers chosen from across the country, and it was the most thrilling thing I had done in my life up to that point. The magic of spending the summer at Lincoln Center watching the dancers in the company that I had read about and adored from afar for years in my Dance magazine was like a dream come true, my dance teacher was the legendary Mme Danilova and so on. That was the summer I fell in love with New York City. 

Fast forward to today. We recently had the opportunity to interview Marc Happel,  the Head Of Costumes for City Ballet (the name “New York City Ballet” is sometimes shortened to “City Ballet” or “NYCB”), because he has written a book called “New York City Ballet: Choreography & Couture“. About 10 years ago, Sarah Jessica Parker (who has always been a major supporter of NYCB) came up with a unique and exciting idea for the yearly New York City Ballet Fall Gala, which is a major fundraising and society event each autumn in New York City. She thought it would be interesting to match fashion designers with choreographers. I think it was brilliant, because the designers were able to see their clothes in motion, something they don’t usually consider when they are designing their collections, and the people who love ballet would learn more about fashion designers, and the people who love the designers would come and fall in love with ballet, etc. etc. etc.! The first designer was Valentino, and the list continued from there, with a mix of established and up-and-coming designers chosen each year to participate. We have had the opportunity to go to several of these galas through the years, and each was an extraordinary experience, especially for someone who adores both fashion and ballet. 

Along with recording the podcast episode, Marc let us come to the NYCB costume shop! It was an emotional experience for me, because when I stepped off the elevator, all of these memories came flooding back, it was like stepping back in time. I wasn’t expecting to have such a visceral reaction, but it was an important reminder of my love for Dance. We get so busy in life dealing with the “stuff” that we put the things that mean the most to us on the back burner. Needless to say, it was a very poignant day.

Marc’s book is gorgeous, the photography and artists’ renderings are magnificent. It would be the perfect holiday gift for someone on your list who loves either fashion or ballet or both. I think you will love our conversation with Marc, and hopefully it will inspire you to come see the New York City Ballet perform soon! As I write this, they are in the thick of Nutcracker season! 

On to my suggestions for the month:

My hands continue to be dry, even though I am constantly putting lotion and hand cream on. This hand mask really works to soothe and soften hands and cuticles. I will probably be using it two times a week through the winter. It would also make a great stocking stuffer!

The other product I have truly fallen in love with is Jones Road Beauty’s Miracle Balm (if you’re not familiar with this brand, it is Bobbi Brown’s new makeup line). It gives the perfect hint of color to your cheeks and lips, and you just tap it on with your fingers. My shade is called “Flushed”.

If you’re looking for a good book to read that’s not too serious, and would make a nice distraction from all the “busyness” of the holidays, I have three to suggest, in addition to the book I mentioned above, “New York City Ballet: Choreography & Couture

There are so many wonderful articles in the November Mini Mag, if you missed it, you still have time to read. For example, you can learn about the founder of the Clean Beauty brand that makes the Hand mask I mentioned. I love learning about the people behind products that I buy.  I know a lot of people who are playing pickleball these days, and there is a great interview with an Orthopedist about what to do if you get injured, and how to avoid getting hurt.

There are many more gems inside this month’s Mini Mag, you can check it out here, and the December Mini Mag will be heading to your inbox very soon as well!

So I’ve gotten you prepared to look fabulous during the holidays, I’ve suggested a few products that you might find useful, and I’ve suggested a couple of books, so that you might squeeze in a little time for yourself to rest and refresh during the season. 

If you have thoughts you want to share with me, suggestions to make, etc., you can always comment below. I would absolutely LOVE to see any photos that are taken during the holidays of you in your festive attire, I’ll be sharing mine as well; we’re all in this together! 

I’ll end with this by Dolly Parton-

“I don’t think about my life in terms of numbers. First of all, I ain’t never gonna be old because I ain’t got time to be old. I can’t stop long enough to grow old.” — The Oprah Conversation, November 2020

Happy holidays!

Another fabulous option for holiday style is the bow turtleneck from Fallon & Ava! *Use code THESTYLE for 10% off

Here’s a shop section I curated for you – Holiday 2023 Style Guide for women over 40

Alison Bruhn


  1. Jacqueline says:

    Absolutely love all of the pieces selected. They are beautiful and look like pieces of art, exquisite!!

you said:

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