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Mid 30s Style Wilderness

(28 Posts)
PrimaBallerina Fri 02-Sep-11 17:48:34

I have just come back from the shops with four more long, plain vest tops in neutral colours. These will be worn with skinny jeans or leggings and a longish cardi, also in a plain, neutral colour.

I am soooooooooooooooo bored with myself!

I'm 34, 5'9" and a 14 (quite slim at my height?). Have a post-baby wobbly tum, which shows through anything too clingy but otherwise ok. I couldn't find a thing to wear in the shops I went in - Topshop, H&M, Zara. I felt like an old elephant in everything I tried on.

It's occurred to me that maybe I'm just too (gulp) old for these shops now. Do I need to look elsewhere? I don't really like smart workwear shops - always hated Next - and I think the Wallis type shops are for 40+ women.

Any ideas?

pink4ever Fri 02-Sep-11 17:57:48

I posted a thread about this a few weeks ago. Am same age and size as yourself but a lot smaller-would love to 5'9!envy
Basically I was told I could shop where I like as long as I was happy. But like you I just dont know where to shop! new look,warehouse,oasis all seem to young now. I also agree wallis,next seem to aimed at slightly older so we are in limbo!
I do like zara but dont think they suit my figure. I love Monsoon-did you try there? sadly I can only afford their stuff in the sale.
Sorry I havent been that helpful but just wanted you to know you are not alone in this dilemma!

Fuctifano Fri 02-Sep-11 18:15:48

Try Oasis and Warehouse, the quality is better than H&M, I like Zara tops but can't wear their bottoms as they are far too short. Sadly after slating Next as the uniform of the school run mum for years the odd sale item is sneaking into my wardrobe. Red Herring in Debenhams can throw an occasionally good curved ball. Are you happy with your jeans, leggings, vest tops and cardis? I'm sure with your height and build you look great but now that autumn approaches would you consider some of the lovely short dresses with cardis, leggings/skinnies and boots?

LaGuerta Fri 02-Sep-11 20:14:03

I have the same vital statistics as you and feel exactly the same. I am a SAHM with a 3yo and a 9 mo so feel as though I can't justify expensive stuff as I am frequently covered in grot within 20 mins of getting dressed. I also struggle to find time to shop for myself. DH is v good about me going to the shops at the weekend, but I find it hard to spend on me guilt free. Oh, and, I am still breastfeeding DS2 so when I look at stuff I am constantly thinking "can I get my boobs out in that". It rules out dresses and tighter stuff.

On a more positive note I have equalled my lightest ever adult weight in the last month as a result of feeding ds2; running around after both boys, and trying to keep the house tidy as we are trying to sell. confused In theory I should look good in stuff at the moment if I only knew what to buy.

KMidd Fri 02-Sep-11 21:48:10

Great Plains is brilliant.

RussAbbotDancer Fri 02-Sep-11 22:07:52

Yep, I'm with you. I've been aiming for the "a bit French" look for a while, to justify the neutrals and limited range: skinny jeans, vests, pumps/sneakers, lots of stripes, the odd check shirt. I cut a blunt fringe to make the dullness look a bit edgy. I'm 5ft 5" and 10-12 depending on shop.
I like Warehouse Definitives (bit dull, but reliable basics), like Mango, like some Zara knitwear, some French Connection. I like shorts (nod to youth). If I had the budget, I'd spend more in Whistles.
I'm thinking about getting these: youth trousers

PrimaBallerina Sat 03-Sep-11 00:20:13

Ooh Russ, I LIKE the youth trousers! You see I'd never even think of looking at stuff like that, esp not in burgundy.

Fuct - I guess I think my current uniform is flattering and simple if not exactly 'chic'. I'd like to try dresses (would have to be with leggings or tights though). What sort of thing? I've seen a lot of floral short blousy types about that are pretty.

PrimaBallerina Sat 03-Sep-11 00:21:18

Oh and Russ grin at 'a bit French'. This is what I tell myself too!

RussAbbotDancer Sat 03-Sep-11 08:25:40

Funnily enough, Prima, I would never have gone for them myself but I was in Topshop to try on a soulless beige jumper and they were right beside them and I had a "fuck it I'm only 33" moment. If I buy them - in negotiations with my thighs at the minute - I was thinking a light-ish grey t-shirt or jumper to satisfy the "bit French" requirement.

On topic of which, I have a French-raised niece who since I started to aim for "bit French" has been complimenting me on what I wear, while saying how boring the French style is. So I'm failing! <insert philosophical French phrase>

Walnut8 Sat 03-Sep-11 08:36:33

my v stylish friend in her 30s also sticks to neutrals ... what i've noticed is that she often mixes it up with different shapes and good cuts and textures. So instead of just skinnies and breton top, will wear say, cropped skinnies and a stripey bat-wing knit. She often wears all black or all navy/cream and looks incredible.

Agree that French connection, mango, warehouse and oasis and sometimes topshop all have some good stuff, a step above basic. Zara in theory would be great but for some reason is always just a little bit not quite right.

Hoto Sat 03-Sep-11 08:45:39

I am at that stage and recently discovered Cos and anthropologie for a move on from Topshop etc without going directly to Frump.

am skint it's mainly just for Windows shopping wink

ImeldaM Sat 03-Sep-11 08:54:49

I find La Redoute catalogue great, if only just for ideas for looks etc as if I order nothing seems to fit right, need to try things on.

I love the 'a bit french' look too grin,

Dorothy Perkins quite good at the moment, they seem to be not too young but not frump IMO.

Himalaya Sat 03-Sep-11 08:59:24

I was going to start my own mid-thirties style wail thread, but I'll join yours instead.

If I go out for work (which is rare) I tend to wear Hobbs, LK Bennett sale and charity shop finds. But working at home, and with family I've got stuck in a uniform of jeans, long sleeve stretchy tops and hoodies.

I can't even claim to look a bit French, just a bit rubbish. I'd like to look edgier somehow...

runnyhabbit Sat 03-Sep-11 09:04:26

Prima - you are not alonegrin

However, I have found accessorising to help a lot. A school gate friend has very similar style to me, but she adds a scarf, few bangles, nice belt etc and instantly looks chic. And it's not too expensive eithersmile

runnyhabbit Sat 03-Sep-11 09:07:28

And I may get flamed for thisblush but I quite like the supermarkets as a "tester" for some items. E.g when skinny jeans first came out, I bought a pair from Tesco, as I didn't want to spend on something that I wouldn't wear again. Iyswim.

ImeldaM Sat 03-Sep-11 09:21:43

Agree runnyhabbit I buy Grazia now & again to see new things I like, also Sunday Times 'style' section, then go to supermarkets, charity shops to look for similar. Think as long as you are picky and can avoid stuff that looks obviously 'cheap' then can get good stuff.

Someone mentioned Houlihan style trousers on a thread this week and apparently Sainsbury's do a good imitation, going there this weekend to check!

PrimaBallerina Sat 03-Sep-11 09:58:03

What are Houlihan style trousers? I can afford a bit of supermarket shopping!

Glad to hear all in black isn't necessarily tragic, I own a LOT of black.

Walnut8 Sat 03-Sep-11 11:09:24

I find houlihan very flattering - have three pairs!

RussAbbotDancer Sat 03-Sep-11 12:10:02

I second the scarf as a short-cut to edgy/distraction from black - likewise painted nails in bright colours. And I find wide-neck sweaters quite anti-frump (bit of collarbone on display, necklace).

Difficult to get it right though. For all my bit-Frenchness, I look at MIA (36) and secretly wish I had half her wardrobe.

PrimaBallerina Sat 03-Sep-11 13:02:45

What do you think about a big leopard print scarf? Have a look at the one on the current thread 'I'd like to thank the mn...' in S&B, I'm thinking if ordering one. Can't link from my iPod sorry.

I'd normally shy away from leopard print as a fad but it seems to have been around for ages now. Has it become a classic? I think this is the sort of thinking that keeps me in a rut.

emsyj Sat 03-Sep-11 13:19:55

I am 32, 5'7" and size 14 sad with thunder thighs and bingo wings - what can I wear?

Since having DD a year and a bit ago, I have been wearing stretchy leggings and shapeless sacks tunics with ballet pumps but have now finally accepted that they are all veh unflattering on my shape.

Can I wear skinny jeans? Are they more flattering than leggings??

Very keen on the 'bit French' idea - have a LOT of stripy tops...


RussAbbotDancer Sat 03-Sep-11 13:39:44

Was that white and wispy? I think it's classic now, yes. I like the distorted-looking versions better, like the oversize print version on Asos.


I want a geometric sort of scarf print. Saw someone in a zigzag one and thought "yep".

I get your thinking. For me, it's the idea that in your thirties you should be able to combine: wardrobe staples, sage nod to current styles and that certain je ne sais quoi that suggests you know exactly what your identity/style is.

Himalaya Sat 03-Sep-11 15:08:03

I think i want a leather jacket...

I got a huge leopard print scarf from H&M last week. Have never 'done' leopard print before but it works well with skinnies and a cropped trench coat.

I'm also hankering for a grey biker jacket but can't find one I like.

Karbea Sat 03-Sep-11 19:41:04


I'm 37, 5ft, size8-10, not a mum yet.... And I don't know what to wear, or where to shop sad

I've done the west end today with dh and come home with nothing, he won't go shopping with me again.

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