How do you dress...

(33 Posts)

...in your late 30's / early 40's?

I don't necessarily have a problem with my own 'personal style', but I'm really curious about a few things. I look a fair bit younger than 39, slim with longish hair, and feel ok about how I look, but I keep wondering about skirt length, and how others might perceive it. I don't go by 'rules' and tend not to judge anyone else for how they choose to dress at any age, but at the same time I don't want to come across like I'm trying to look younger - does that make sense?

I prefer skinnies and skirts to dresses, so if I don't want to wear jeans all the time I opt to mix it up with skirts. But I'm having a problem locating skirts that aren't super short. It's like most of them would require tights, and I feel that mini skirts with black tights was how I dressed at 19, and I kind of don't want to do that anymore. I am so sick of opaques!

So how do others negotiate this?
Do you just say to hell with it and wear the mini, tights or no tights?
Try as I might, all of the knee length skirts I see in the stores are really frumpy, boxy and make me look a but odd. If I wear a mini I suddenly look 'pulled together', they suit my legs and my proportions really well. I wold love to find a knee length skirt that was a stylish as the shorter ones but it ain't happening.

Any thoughts on this crazy, overdone topic?
If it helps, people whose style I admire include Isabel Marant, Clemence Poesy, Emmanuelle Alt, Sophia Coppola, etc. Many of them older than me and they don't seem to care about skirt length - but then we have vastly different lifestyles!

Sorry it's so long!

Remus those links are lovely, I should try some skirts like that on but still can't see them working for stomping around on school run or taking kids to the park, think I would have to take more ladylike steps than normal and then I'd regularly fail to save DS2 from certain disaster on his scooter be late for everything grin.

Having said that I'd be much happier to slap on a bit of light fake tan and go bare legged with a below the knee skirt, if it was warm enough.

scarlet76 Sun 31-Mar-13 17:31:54

OP- I'm 37 and people tend to assume I'm younger. I think largely cos I am 5ft and size 6/8.
I struggle with finding skirts that fit well. It is getting the right length that's hard. I have a cord above the knee one that I wear with tights. I tend to dress down with heeled ankle boots or brogues.
In summer I wear maxi skirts with low wedge sandals.

Kione Sun 31-Mar-13 17:21:03

I am 34, I wear skirts and dresses with tights all the time, with riding type boots or flat shoes. I have a black dress wirh white at the bottom which is quite plain and wear it with patterned tights and flat shoes.
I bare legs in thw summer but always with wedge sandals and put tan lotion, the one that goes when you shower.
A line skirts are my favourite, knee length or shorter and dresses.with 60's vibe.

bunnymother , that's lovely, if only it had sleeves!

Remus, you know, I like the idea of wearing shoes with socks but would never do it. I'd feel like I was trying to imitate an Asos model ;) I do like boots with bare legs, but would depend heavily on style of skirt.

I'd wear opaques. I don't like boots with bare legs.

And oddly, I am a lot more open to ideas at 39 than I was at 20.
I always dressed to hide myself back then and rarely experimented. I tend to be a lot more at ease with myself these days - for instance, I would never have gone near skinnies or bared my legs in summer when I was younger.

So for any so-called restrictions growing older may entail, I'm certainly having a lot more fun now!

Hah! I actually like those boots, and would never have thought to wear them with a skirt that way. I love how these look, but can't imagine me doing this for day to day wear. I would also feel the urge to wear tights, which might not work?

How do the rest of you deal with the issue of 'when to wear tights'? I can only dare to go bare in summertime, and even then I get a tad paranoid about my legs looking too white (I know, it's sad). Do you just say 'fuck it' and go bare anyway???

bunnymother Sun 31-Mar-13 15:24:39

I haven't tried this on, but have seen it in RL, and am quite tempted. Its a white cotton rich dress from Dorothy Perkins. Not as thick as I would like (I like very thick), but its quite lovely and looks to have a charming shape: www.dorothyperkins.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?beginIndex=1&viewAllFlag=&catalogId=33053&storeId=12552&productId=9794563&langId=-1&sort_field=Relevance&categoryId=758148&parent_categoryId=226988&pageSize=20

Yes, they are quite bodycon. I wear them with a loose-ish top (one that comes to just below my stomach) and a fitted denim or biker jacket, plus opaques and either heeled ankle boots or biker-esque boots. It's v 80s though!

Remus, I always imagine a stretchy pencil skirt to fit like a sort of bodycon (???)! I would love to see how people style these. I do have a couple of pencil skirts, but like Sleepwhenidie says above, they feel really odd for my lifestyle.

Sleepwhenidie, I never bare, so I guess I'm safe! My issue with mini's and opaques is that they make me feel like the indie kid I was in my teens, so the association probably bugs me. Oh god this makes me realize how much i love my jeans, haha!
Your style reminds me a bit of my own, to be honest. I love my ankle boots!

There are lots of stretchy jersey pencil skirts around now (Topshop again!) that can be worn casually, eg with ankle or biker boots.

Toasted, it's not a skirt but this broderie dress is gorgeous in RL.

I am 40 and wear short skirts with opaques and bikers/pistols, usually with chunky knits or loose fit t's. I am SAHM, like the look of longer (knee or just below) pencil skirts but they seem too formal and restricting for my life IYKWIM.

I agree that as you get older you can't get away with crap quality the way you can in your 20's, also you need to avoid looking as if you are trying too hard or exposing too much, however great your body might be, lots of cleavage or minis with bare legs (unless tanned and holidays) for example, IMHO just doesn't look great.

Thanks everyone.

Remus, they sound great, I love the idea of a gingham skirt.

QueenCadbury, I have a really decent Fatface skirt for summer, one of my favourites! They always create good lengths. I really wish they'd offer more plain colours though and more variety in the shapes.

Oh, and I spotted the Topshop skirt last week, it's really lovely, even with the bizarre half slip. If the model is 5'9 and it hits her lower knee then it would definitely be calf length on me!

Bodicea Sat 30-Mar-13 20:34:40

I wear minis all the time but as have got into my 30s tend to wear more expensive makes: np I am not talking super expensive. You can't get away with cheap materials anymore. I like french connection, reiss and hobbs and nw3

Not sure why it says calf length, unless the model is ten feet tall!

They are comfortable to wear and the Topshop ones do stretch a bit. Not tried running in it though! It deffo stretches more than the Japanese style hobble ones I used to wear in the 80s. smile

QueenCadbury Sat 30-Mar-13 20:09:36

toasted is this any good fatface. Not sure what length it'll be on you though?

remus can I ask a silly question? I really fancy a long column skirt as you describe but are they easy to walk in or run after a toddler in?

My white broderie skirt is actually a dress (Espirit) which I cut up and put an elastic waist into. My skirts are from all over the place - a black silk ancient Oasis one, a mad gingham one from a boutique in Bath years ago, an old full chambray Hobbs one, an ancient cut out Whisltes linen mix etc. I haven't bought any nice new ones for at least three years and just dig out the old ones tbh. I must admit, I spend v little on summer stuff and just tend to drag old things out each year.

Remus, I love the way you describe your summer style! Do you mind if I ask where you get your skirts?
In fact, if anyone can recommend a decent place to find stylish knee length skirts, please do!

MrsCampbellBlack It's finding that elusive length isn't it? I'm average height and many knee length skirts just look boxy on me, or travel a fair bit below the kneecap. I wouldn't mind this so much if the cuts and colours were nice, but they're generally very formal (often pencil) and when informal they'll often have hideous patterns/colours.

I really want an above-the-knee white broderie skirt for summer, in a full shape. Every time I find a decent style it's in super mini length. And I've been searching for a decent quality navy wool skirt for years now.

QueenCadbury Sat 30-Mar-13 19:37:33

I don't really have any skirts as I find them hard to style with tops (I just look silly with things tucked in and otherwise I find it hard to get the right length of tops to match the skirt iyswim) but I do have black wool shorts which are relatively short that I wear with opaques for going out. In the summer I wear shorts when it's really hot otherwise dresses just above the knee or on the knee.

I wear whatever I want tbh. I'm 43 and a size 12. I wear a lot of dresses and skirts for work.

For casual, I tend to wear skinnies more than anything else, although I will occasionally wear a casual over the knee dress with opaques and ankle boots and I wear skirts a lot in the summer (if we ever get one!) generally with bare legs and wedges or ballet pumps. I quite like a 50s style skirt and ballet pumps, with a cami and a little cotton cardigan or denim shirt worn open and in the summer I tend to wear White Company jersey dresses a lot too.

In Spring/Autumn I quite like a column maxi skirt (Topshop) with ankle boots and a biker jacket, but that is probably my inner grunge-girl coming out!

Oh and I still wear quite short skirts/dresses but only with tights unless I'm on holiday!

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