Polka Dots, Pom Poms and More Summer Trends To Avoid

This column is usually dedicated to what to wear and how to wear fashion trends when you’re over 40. This time I’d like to focus on the summer trends to avoid when you are over 40. I keep coming across trends I am attracted to and actually love … only not on me. At least not any more, now that I am (way) over 40. I feel there are certain summer trends to avoid when you’re over 40. Take a look at these and I’m sure you’ll understand why.

Summer Trends To Avoid When Over 40

One thing I must add is when it comes to fashion I never say never! There are ways to rock most trends at any age so if you can do it well and own the look, I still say “go for it!”

That’s why I’m going to show you “No Way” and a “Way” to wear these summer trends if you are a women over 40.


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Polka dots were actually the first trend that inspired me to write this post. I have been seeing a lot of them lately, and find my head automatically shakes back and forth “oh, no!” I adored polka dots as a little girl…and in the 80s! So maybe that’s why today I have a strong aversion for the print. I feel polka dot patterns are simply too juvenile looking for women over 40, or remind me too much of the (bad Krystle Carrington part of the) 80s. Double the cringe if you wear a polka dot hair bow. (I’ll save hair bows for scrutiny at a later date).

polka dots summer trends to avoid

The puff sleeves and the large spaces polka dots on this Valencia & Vine Polka Dot Blouse, $128 are a “No way” for me, but the mixed prints and irregular shape dot pattern on this Diane von Furstenberg Exotic Clutch, $268 is a great way to wear dots when you’re over 40.


Pom poms are for cheerleaders. Cheerleaders are young and an old lady screaming for her team at a sporting event is not so cute. Thus pom pom trims are best worn by teens or 20 to 30 year olds. It’s true, pom pom trim on summer dresses from Lily Pulitzer may work on 40 year olds in a classic vintage sort of way, but even those may be better suited for 70 year olds.

Summer Trends To Avoid pom poms

This Sundress Loulou Dress, now $73.50 is way too young-looking, even if it is meant for the beach. You can still have fun with pom poms in small doses on hats like this Hat Attack Natural Braided Pom Pom Sunhat, $98.


Lately I am super attracted to fashion in gorgeous, bright neon colors! Only sadly, not on me. Neon colored pieces are cool for the kids but not on women over 40. We need to soften things up a bit and command a little less attention. However, for trim on sportswear or in very small doses, you can certainly wear neon colors.

Summer Trends To Avoid neon colors

Any other color of this 3.1 Phillip Lim Nano Pashli Leather Satchel, $550 would be fine for women over 40. And you can always go for a hot colored trim like the orange on this Burberry Medium Reversible Leather & Check Canvas Tote, $1,450 at any age.


The jury is still out on tiny floral prints for women over 40. I personally think the retro styling looks too youthful, or worse yet, becomes too “old lady.” I can’t say you must avoid all tiny floral prints, just pick your prints wisely. If your daughter would wear it, or your great-grandma would wear it, avoid it!

summer trends to avoid tiny floral prints

This ASOS Design Mini Sundress In Ditsy Floral Print, $45 is too junior for women over 40, even if you’re body can wear it! (They even call it a ditsy floral.) Luckily, it gives us an excuse to invest in a classic like this colorful Erdem Louisa Ruffled Floral-print Ponte Dress, $995.


I don’t need to explain much about why women over 40 should avoid smiley faces and emoji motifs. Especially when you may be too old to even understand the message they convey! Yes, the Fendi monster faces are more sophisticated and well made, but the look of a face peeking out on handbags and shoes still makes me crazy. Again, if you want to make a statement and want to sport a particular emoji, I’m sure you can find a subtle way to wear one.

Summer Trends To Avoid smiley faces and emojis

This ASOS x The Emoji Movie Poo Cross Body Bag With Detachable Chain, $12, is just plain icky, and by its sale price it seems the young ladies don’t like it either! But you may like to wear a tiny face on a pendant like this Alison Lou Medium Joe Cool Enameled 14-karat Gold Necklace, $570 to make your own little statement.


Take a look at a few summer trends we think women over 40 should wear like How To Flip For Fishnet When You’re Over 40 and Not Just Another Pretty…Pair of White Jeans.

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