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Please help, how would you style a 40 year old student?

(33 Posts)

Having spent 13 years at home, including working from home I think I have probably lost my way a bit.

I am so looking forward to studying and getting back out into the world again but I need clothes. I have binned all the mummy clothes and now I'm stuck. Do I want to go back to being the bohemian I was at 20? would it look ok at 40? probably not confused

I am 5ft5 a size 8-10 and winter colouring.

Any suggestions?

oh and I have two weeks to get shopping.

TwuntingCrow Mon 16-Sep-13 20:22:41

Hmmm - not much help here but am watching with interest as am a 41 yr old student mum

I have been living in jeans from jbrand, all saints dresses and ash boots ...

FoxPass Mon 16-Sep-13 20:33:35

I am a 33 yo student mum smile I wear mainly skinny jeans (well, very convincing jeggings from River Island, much more comfy!) With slouchy ankle boots or biker boots, or ballet flats in good weather.

On top I wear checked shirts from Dorothy Perkins, plain t shirts and breton stripe tops. I also add a cord blazer in rust or black, depending on footwear. Also change around with a leather biker jacket or denim if I'm wearing coloured skinny jeans.

I keep jewellery simple, usually whatever's in fashion from Topshop or H&M.

I keep my nails manicured or go for a dark colour. I use a vintage leather bag.

My fellow children students generally wear the same, with some mad 80s throwback neon added in, geeky glasses and midriff-bearing stuff which I naturally avoid grin They are very casual, minimal make-up and hair thrown casually up in topknots.

I never dress up, as I would probably look like a lecturer. Mostly I feel I look the same as them and blend in appart from the wrinkles and bags for life under my eyes

Good luck with your course! What are you doing? I am in second year after 2 years at home as a sahm and it is great!

LaFataTurchina Mon 16-Sep-13 20:33:50

You'll need a decent bag for carrying all your books about. Make sure it fits an A4 folder in it. I have a lovely navy satchel which I use a lot - I was tossing up between black and brown but then thought navy goes with everything!

You can probably go for stuff that's slightly funky/bohemian. I wouldn't go too smart/officy or you'll get confused for a lecturer/admin person by the other students. Definetly no blazers - blazer equals lecturer in my head.

What's your budget like? I've seen some really nice things in Dorothy Perkins and the Indigo bit of M&S recently.

ShoeWhore Mon 16-Sep-13 20:34:33

What do you normally wear OP?

I'm also a 40 year old student and I just wear my usual gear - skinny jeans, ankle/biker boots etc.

cafecito Mon 16-Sep-13 20:39:55


well, I was in my 20s but I became a student again after working full time for 7 years and having 2 babies. I had NO casual clothes whatsoever.

I spent the first week in city work clothes, which were the only things that fitted (yes, I didn't even have casual clothes for weekends..)and realised I looked shockingly out of place.

I started by getting a pair of good fitting jeans- dark ones

I then added some larger than usual t shirts

I got a couple casual bags big enough for studying - think cross body soft leather bags, or a big slouchy shoulder bag (or a backpack, by far the comfiest option)

Another easy thing to wear in this season is opaque tights and a dress no longer than knee length with some boots - for boots, ash are good, as are kurt Geiger, sometimes topshop

and layering with skinny jeans is easy, comfy and looks good

cafecito Mon 16-Sep-13 20:45:08

Just seen you're an 8-10


wear skinny jeans a lot, if I were you I would get some in
burgundy (yes, really)
dark blue

and opaque tights with perhaps some knit dresses or jersey dresses

a nice big leather bag, slouchy but large enough for study materials

some ankle boots with a mid heel

some flat boots

some ballet shoes or other flat shoes, as long as they are not bright white trainers- I think you can get away with some dark coloured converse without looking try hard, but if you want trainers that are not converse, I really like Keds they are a bit more grown up and very very comfortable.

do you have a budget?

If you have a strong personal style though, just go as you are. You will make heaps of friends who won't even notice what you are wearing.

If you are unsure and want to look like a student but mature - see above

Thank you all. I have found a bag, lovely soft blue leather, fairly trendy which I think is so huge I could fall in it and get lost! so that's sorted.

I don't think I can do neon on midriffsmile but I'm anxious not to look too tired and old.

Iv'e got some skinny jeans and a few T-shirts but no jackets. What sort of jackets do you think might work with skinny jeans and Dms? although I probably prefer unstructured stuff, maybe cardigans?

Good point about being too dressy? I don't want people thinking I'm in the office. But I am keen on dresses because of the comfort factor.

I'm happy to spend up to £40 each on dresses, tops, jeans (is that possible?)

roseofberlin Mon 16-Sep-13 20:51:06

I'm a mid 30s student mum. I wear skinny jeans, Converse (or calf length boots in rain/winter), plain/stripey cotton tops. Parka or a warm Didrikson bum-covering coat in winter (more mum than studenty, but it keeps me warm). Mine is a practical/messy course so I buy student-priced clothes (New Look, Primark, Peacocks). We have a lot of mature students on our course and I tend to be treated as one of the younger ones! The proper young students wear slogan/retro T shirts, lots of colourful makeup and nails, some of them have a hippy style, some get very glammed up and wear miniskirts/heels but it's quite a creative course!

I use a Jansport rucksack, not very chic but fashion-y ones always fell apart with the amount of stuff we need to bring in.

FoxPass I am studying ethics, what about you?

Topknots, I think I can do that but it might look dated as I have a straight blunt fringe sad

I will definitely look for some coloured jeans, any ideas where to look, would new look be ok? we have one in the town here. I don't usually venture in but see them in the window.

TiredyCustards Mon 16-Sep-13 20:56:06

To make a dress look casual, wear it with thick tights, flat boots and belt a ling chunky cardigan over it.

TiredyCustards Mon 16-Sep-13 20:56:29

*long chunky cardigan

LaFataTurchina Mon 16-Sep-13 20:56:59

New Look jeans are great I think - very good quality for the price.

I have a couple of dresses in this style with patterns on, could wear with thick tights and ankle boots/Dms? long cardigan maybe?
my legs are quite good but I need thick tights.

cafecito Mon 16-Sep-13 21:41:26

argh wrote a long post and it deleted itself

would suggest wearing skinny jeans the most with DMS or ankle boots. I like American apparel easy jeans in black (you'd need a small or XS) and topshop Leigh jeans (you'dbe a 25/26). I also like J brands and Paige which can sometimes be found cheaper

I like long cardis with things. Recently I wore opaques, a knit dress, a long cashmere grey cardigan from gap last year over the top and a scarf. It was so warm and toasty. I wear same cardigan with jeans too.

You could also wear leggings or stretchy black trousers, with oversized tops and DMs - eg today I wore an XL chunky knit sweater over a stripey vest top, thick black leggings, black ankle boots and a scarf - very warm

for jackets I like banana republic trench coats, or wool coats in a duffle coat or pea coat, or open coats - I found a nice one the other day in zara

I also like rain macs and parkas on some people - uniqlo had some nice ones last year without the furry bit

I like blazers but I wear unstructured ones now, or oversized. I wear them with anything. If you want a blazer that fits, go for one with a dress, but dress the dress down with boots and tights for instance, or go for one in a casual fabric, eg jersey

don't look smart, think chunky knits, autumn preppy, a bit all saints, a bit older and wiser chic lady from paris, understated

cafecito Mon 16-Sep-13 21:44:17

The dress, erm, it could be dressed with opaque tights and ankle boots I'd say with a long cardigan over the top or a loose knit oversized sweater.

Dont' wear the DMs with dresses (only my opinion) I love them though in winter especially with jeans. also please no to a topknot or you'll look like the apprentice candidate grin

you're a winter? I recently got some lovely jewel coloured jersey tops, in a larger size than I needed, to layer over different coloured jersey vests, with skinny jeans. It's so easy to wear and doesn't need any effort in the morning.

cafecito Mon 16-Sep-13 21:47:30

for ankle boots, I have kurt Geiger wonder boots, various ash jalouse boots, nine west vintage america boots, and a bunch of other boots that never get worn. I have 2 pairs of nearly knee high flat leather boots for when it is very cold. I never wear my high heels any more. I used to live in them.

I love the sound of your bag!

cafecito Mon 16-Sep-13 21:49:31

and yes dresses with patterns on are easy to wear with opaques I think and nice for this season

cafecito Mon 16-Sep-13 21:53:21

a very thin soft leather jacket is also nice a bit like this here I have one a little bit longer with no zips though from last year/ the year before. I really like the fact it's a bit like a cardigan it can be worn with jeans jumpers dresses

cafecito Mon 16-Sep-13 22:09:17

oooh ethics - you must be doing a masters, so your course will be filled with people from varied backgrounds, many mature students. They won't care what you look like! smile it's just getting through the first week nerves I guess, then honestly it won't matter. I have many friends on my course and can't even remember what they wear. enjoy it!

Thank you cafecito I love the rain mac and pea coat. I need to get a coat and I think either would be great. What are you studying? (being nosey now)

So no ankle boots with dresses? or maybe biker boots, would that work? I'm off to look for wonder boots, love the name.

The leather jacket is lovely, I had one very similar and gave it away to a friend. Although I have dark hair and eyes I'm too pale to wear black leather. Maybe I could try grey but black looked too harsh.

ooh, I like these Ash boots in woodash they are cute.

TwuntingCrow Mon 16-Sep-13 22:58:49

Those are my go to boots - so comfy !

cafecito Mon 16-Sep-13 23:55:17

if you're a 37 you can get them on thedressingroom with 10% off if you use a new sign up code

or on coggles for less too

<sad that I know this> they are a lovely colour. surely the ash jalouse boot is becoming the new mumsnet scarf grin

ankle boots with dresses is what I wear all the time for a casual look

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