What should women in their forties be wearing?
Well, according to an article I just read, the exact opposite of what I am currently wearing, so I appreciate that you aren’t necessarily going to want to take sartorial advice from a woman who wears pink shoes and has a collection of obnoxiously oversized bows so impressive, that it would make a six year old jealous.
I even wear my jumpers backwards… on purpose (I posit that ‘scandalous back’ is sexier than ‘too much boob’, but that’s probably why I am not a fashion blogger)
But sadly, I have to begrudgingly agree with Captain Killjoy, Charla Krupp, author of the book ‘How to Not Look Old’. Us ladies of a certain age do not always help ourselves, and so today’s pondering will look at 5 things ladies my age should not be wearing – sorry girls, but the truth hurts.
You know how there are those joke versions of these articles? Click bait pieces which lure in the angry with titles like ‘What you can’t wear when you’re over forty‘ so you jump in ready to argue in the comments that ‘no one should be telling me what to wear’ and then the piece goes on to list daft things like:
‘A bacon dress in the woods, as it will attract bears,’
‘A bikini in a snow storm’
or ‘A MAGA Hat in New York’.
That kind of thing, where the moral of the piece is ‘Psych! You do you girl and wear anything you like!’
But, the sad reality is that a lot of women my age are making daily fashion faux pas, and while we currently live in a society where the truth not only hurts, but potentially offends and sets off heated arguments, there are still some fundamental rules of dressing for the more mature lady.
I have done a few posts and articles on clothes, always centering around capsule wardrobes, the 333 Project, and owning less, but this is my first attempt at making suggestions for what we should be wearing. And I stand by every one of them.
If you are over forty, you should not wear…
1) Clothes that make you uncomfortable. If you are happy to flash cleavage, or your bum looks great in a short skirt, go for it. More power to your elbow – or whatever body part you like. But nothing ruins the look of an outfit, than someone constantly tugging at their skirt, as they are paranoid that they are showing too much leg, or worrying about a boob popping out of a top, that they are flashing a bit too much. Wear clothes that make you feel comfortable and confident, because you know they are highlighting your best bits – or hiding the bits you don’t want to share.
2) Clothes that are too small. I have an image of my Mum, back in the day, led on the bed, struggling to do up her jeans. Once we got back home from wherever it was we had been, she would undo the buttons with a sigh of relief, with red marks around her waist where the band had dug in. Lots of women used to do it – pulling up zips with the hook of a coat hanger.
Why though? Where is the shame in buying clothes that actually fit you? I generally wear a 12/14, but my coat is an 18. Why? Comfort is more important than a label. If I have to buy bigger – and sizes vary so wildly in different stores – that is what I do. Wearing clothes that are too small for you, and look like they may cut off your circulation are never a good look. No one can see the size label while you are wearing them anyway!
3) ‘Comfortable Clothes’ AKA, stuff that you should have thrown away years ago. I get that people want to be comfortable, especially in their own home. I remember reading a tweet about how people come home and peel off their bras and jeans with a sigh of relief and get their ‘scruffs’ on. Firstly, why do you own such uncomfortable bras and jeans! I could, and have, literally slept in mine. If you need to take something off that badly, maybe look at whether it actually fits you in the first place.
Secondly, aren’t you worth more than saggy joggers and a stained old top? Even if you are sat at home and no one can see you, aren’t YOU worth being tidy for? I am pretty sure there is a Pondering somewhere on the concept of ‘keeping things for best’ and it reminds us that any day can be a special occasion, so if you have clothes that should be in the bin, don’t put them on your body!
4) P.Js in public someone needs to explain this one to me, because I don’t get it. The idea that we have ‘special clothes’ purely to wear to bed would no doubt confuse an alien visitor to our planet.
“You take off the warm clothes you are wearing, and put on different, colder, ones, all to then lie still under a giant blanket!” Yes – that is basically what we do. I love my pyjamas, I have 3 pairs, and a cool night shirt and a fluffy onesie (or a ‘not tonightsie’ as my husband calls it)
I have only one rule for P. J. Partaking… They are strictly for my home. I have never been one to get into my night wear the second I get home; I have 4 kids, I often have to jump up and go somewhere or do something. I know some people dream of getting back from work and getting changed, but please… Do not go shopping in them. There is something intrinsically classless and tacky about someone who could not be assed to swap out her P. J bottoms for a pair of jeans or a skirt. It takes literal seconds. Just… Stop… Please.
5) Leggings with short tops. Algorithms suggest that listical type articles do better, and so I felt I needed 5 Things. So for no reason other than personal hatred: leggings. You are basically wearing thick footless tights and we can all see your thong. They are for fitness classes, to wear under short skirts and dresses, and for kids. Unless you are pairing them with a top that covers your butt, just don’t wear them, very few people can get away with it.
That Krupp piece also suggests doing away with hair accessories, (Never!) and extreme fashion, and that you should aim to dress ’10 years younger’ than you currently are. I am not sure what that looks like, as I have not been ‘fashionable’ since 1992, and I often dress like a child that has snuck into her Mum’s wardrobe, but an important quote to remember is that clothes are:
10% rag, 90% swag ; you can get away with any outfit if you are comfortable and confident enough.
So buy for comfort, buy for confidence and go out there and slay!