It’s Official. My Boyfriend’s An Idiot*

* Love you, really!

Just so that I’m clear on this… You all HATE the rose print cotton, right?

I don’t think I’ve ever had such a strong response to a blog request for opinions. You were unanimous and made great suggestions about accessories and coordinating items. The rose print dress is GO! Thanks, guys.

My slight concern over age appropriate dressing threw up several interesting responses:

  • Linda, 71,  says that too much is made of chronological age. She’s soon to make herself a strapless sundress in rose print linen. I cheer, ‘Go, Linda!’ Ooh, and can we see a photo when the dress is finished?
  • Fay is in her late 30s and people stop her in the street to compliment her on the cherry print dress she made.
  • Uta said: ‘I think when we ask whether something is age-appropriate we sometimes make the mistake of associating age with looks leaving, dumpiness arriving. That isn’t necessarily so.’

All of this got me thinking. Why did I worry that a lush, vibrant rose print might be inappropriate for my age?

A year ago I had a significant birthday and thought, Hey! I’m rocking 40! (Just after I had a huge wobble at 39. Even my mid-life crisis was pre-organised.) Now, everything has calmed down. The highs and the lows are behind me, and I have nothing left to do other than get used to the fact that yes, really – I’m in my 40s and that fact isn’t going anywhere soon.

So how does this relate to the clothes I make and wear? I tried to think about some of the rules of ‘age appropriate dressing’. From what I can figure out, there are only a few basic ones:

To Knee Or Not To Knee That Is The Question

I used to be very strict about covering my knees. They’re 41-year-old knees, what do I need to tell you? Interestingly, sewing experiences have taught me that a hem on the knee is eminently more flattering and just as discreet.

Bingo Wings Aren’t Just From Blackpool

Yeah, the upper arm. It’s a dilemma. Personally, I have a huge fondness for sleeveless items as they sit so neatly beneath layers. But however many times I tell myself to start doing some upper arm exercises, I never do. (Interestingly, cycling regularly for the past 15 years has helped give my arms some – emphasis on some – definition.) When will I hit a stage when I should cover up my upper arms? Do I care?

The Devil’s In The Detail

I’m talking prints and I’m talking frills. If I tied gingham bows in my hair to go with my Pendrell blouse, that would be… I mean… Come on, I’m not a school girl any more! I have had one or two people comment that Sewaholic‘s patterns feel slightly skewed towards a younger audience. I kind of know what they mean but I don’t know why I know or what it is they mean. I felt aware that my love of the Pendrell frilly sleeves was pushing what I could get away with at 41. But why? I honestly don’t know. Opinions? I’d love to hear from Tasia on this one!

After this list I kind of ran out of steam. I know some people get concerned about issues like a ‘crepey decolletage’ but personally I think that such a prettily-named part of the body should never be shamefully hidden. And seriously, when did anyone ever feel compelled to cry, ‘For god’s sake, cover up that decolletage. It’s turning my stomach!’

In desperation for age appropriate rules of dressing I tried googling and came across a website that advised me to ‘strive to be more pulled together’ in my 40s. Girlfriend, if I wasn’t together at 25 it ain’t happening at 41, ergo, it ain’t happening.

I do have a few things in my favour at 41:

  • More common sense
  • A bit more money
  • Less concern about peer group approval (though not on the topic of rose print!)

More generally, there are other factors in everyone’s favour:

  • A society where there are fewer limitations on what we can wear at what stage in our life.
  • A society that is rapidly learning to respect Oldies. There are going to be a lot of us around and we’d better get used to each other and what we wear.

As my scattered thoughts tied themselves in knots, I saw this timely blog post on coloured trousers at any age. Hello, Eugenia, I think your purple jeans are spot on trend!

All of this reminds me of the Jenny Joseph poem I once sent my mother in a bit of fun when I was a 20-year-old student and she was, in my eyes, getting on a bit:

WARNING
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.

Do you know how old my mum was when I sent her this poem? 43, two years older than I am now.

I’m off to pour myself a brandy.

Thoughts, anyone? Have you consciously changed what you wear as you get older, and do you know why?

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52 Responses to It’s Official. My Boyfriend’s An Idiot*

  1. Dibs says:

    I used to live in jeans and trousers, but as I hit 28(2 years ago) I started drifting towards dresses, and skirts. now that I can sew my own things, I’ve realised I make mostly dresses. I don’t know if my subconscious is hard at work, but all of a sudden now that I am 30, short things are a no no for me.

    that said, I don’t think dressing for your age is a bad thing. you can be 70, and still wear trendy flattering clothes. my mom is such a killer dresser at 51. she wears stuff that makes her both classy and sexy. I think the older you get, the more confident you are in your own skin, and this has an impact on the way you dress.

    • That’s a really good point, Dibs. Nothing more attractive than being comfortable in your own skin and a woman’s sexual and fashion confidence can peak in later years. Go, your mum!

  2. Eugenia says:

    Great post! It’s funny you should mention my purple jeans (and thank you for the mention!) because before making them I did ask myself whether it was wise and whether anyone over the age of, say, 25, should be wearing brightly coloured jeans but then i decided that, the heart wants what the heart wants, and I was going to do it anyway. So far, no regrets! The truth is that I think I do dress differently now from the the way I did when I was 25 – longer hemlines, less revealing, less tight – but I don’t believe that needs to stop me looking fashionable and well dressed (whether I actually achieve that look is another matter!) I think that Dibs makes a very good point in saying that the older you get the more confidence you get – I think I have a better idea of what suits me now than I did when I was younger. Anyway, with regard to your dress – don’t have a moment’s doubt – it’s going to look wonderful!

  3. Shelly says:

    I really think you can wear anything at any age as long as you feel comfortable wearing it. At 52 I know I don’t have great arms but in Summer I will always wear sleeveless outfits, after all I don’t care what others think, they are cooler and I feel comfortable. I also appreciate that my legs should never been seen, therefore I keep them covered, at least to the knee. So I say if you are comfortable “wear it”!

    Buy the way I love the rose print. You go girl!

  4. Louise says:

    I know what you mean, I’m late 30s and I’ve forever trying to find a right style. I’m usually jeans and t-shirt tops and I hate it, I look like a perpetual student but I’m trying. I always find my downfall is shoes! I don’t really like shoes, for me they are functional items and certainly not something that sends me into fits of rapture like some women therefore the shoes I buy are of the boring comfortable variety. I usually have one pair of shoes on the go at one time and wear them until they fall apart. I’m not comfortable in heels of any height so I’m limited in finding shoes that work well with skirts and dresses. In the summer months I find it easier to wear skirts as casual flats works well with skirts and I have a number of a-line skirts made from bright prints (and half way through the Crescent sewalong) and I’m really happy wearing them. My tops though are still a bit boring and white t-shirts feature a lot which I get really bored and fed up with and I KNOW that I need to make a bunch of tops that can be used as basics in solid colours to coordinate with the skirts I have but it just hasn’t happened yet!
    So in summary, I’m still finding my personal style in my late 30s never mind what I SHOULD be wearing for my age. I’m more concerned about what I should be wearing for my SHAPE which is one of the reasons I sew my own clothes so that I can flatter my pear shaped body a little more……

  5. ooobop says:

    I have every intention of growing old disgracefully! If someone ever remarks on me being too old to wear short skirts I shall wear them shorter! I’ve spent too many of my moody pre-twenties sporting black everything I really feel that I need to liven things up now! I love that rose print. It makes me smile. My boyf was only commenting the other day on how all the lovely ladies that sew their own clothes photograph so beautifully. They have really good posture and look uber confident. I think, short of being proud of the things we make, we make them as we want them and not as the shops dictate and so they are right for us whatever age we are. Clothes are only wrong if you think they are…not anyone else!

  6. PinQueen says:

    Love this post! I’ve been going through a bit of an age/dresscode dilema recently, but that’s mainly because my body shape has changed over the last couple of years (too many buns, pop and bread!)
    I have that poem on my sewing wall – just to keep me sane and remind me anything goes – as long as it’s tasteful and appropriate…. see I’m struggling.

  7. Roobeedoo says:

    Heh. Well I appear to be 46. I am not sure how that happened, to be honest. I went through my twenties and thirties feeling bedraggled and frumpy and it is only since developing a husband in his seventies at the same time as my daughter hit her teens that I realised I was only going to live once and it was about time I took an interest in my appearance! I don’t think there is one rule for everyone, but I think it is important to recognise your own “best bits” and make the most of them, however old you are. My former mother in law is a fragile little sparrow of a woman and has developed a “drapey silk and linen layers” look that is all her own, and totally outside of “fashion”. In this respect, I think she has nailed it: a look that flatters her, is individual and takes her outside of the “rule-book”. That is my aim as I age!

  8. Kerry says:

    A great, thought provoking post. I definitely agree that as you get older, common sense increases, and you tend to gain a much better idea of what suits you. I am amazed at some of the things I used to wear, but you can get away with a lot more in your teens and twenties!

    I’m also quite bored of fashion. I hardly buy anything from the high street anymore but still have a great interest in clothes. I would like to think that I look stylish, which is very different from fashionable. Anyone can be fashionable if you have money but style is something different, and something which tends to develop with experience.

  9. Clare S says:

    What a great, thought-provoking post! I’d agree with a lot of the other commenters, especially about feeling comfortable and not following someone else’s rules.

    My Mum is 61 now, but she’s avoided sleeveless things for as long as I can remember (I’m 27), even on the beach. And why? Not because of her age, but because she was badly scalded as a child and doesn’t like her scars. You know what? Life’s too short, and sometimes too hot, to always wear sleeves, just because someone out there has dictated that you’re above the ‘acceptable’ age. I feel sorry for my mum, roasting on the beach, but we do have a choice!

    It’s also interesting for me that you brought this topic up … As I mentioned, I’m 27 and finally stepping out of student territory (or trying to!) and that’s definitely made me more aware of what I wear and wether I can ‘get away with’ a particular outfit. I’m not sure if this is strictly an age thing or a stage of life thing. The best example – I’ve got this bright red coat that isn’t exactly baggy, but it’s certainly not tailored and, more importantly, it’s got a big furry hood. I love it and I’ve worn it a lot, but now when I try it on, I do feel slightly like a child, rather than a ‘young professional’. I’m just finishing a teacher training course, so maybe that’s the source of the change for me, but isn’t it strange that we think about these things before we’re even 30!?

    As for skirt length – I’m all about the on-the-knee hem, it’s just so flattering, whatever your age!

  10. Roisin says:

    Karen, I love that rose print fabric and for the record, I know you’re going to absolutely rock it.

    The age appropriate dressing thing is really interesting – did you see that stupid Daily Fail survey recently (it was conducted by a diet company, which says it all really) they gave exact ages when women should stop wearing mini skirts etc and it was utter balls. I think Roo has it just right when she says above that you only have one life to live and you should dress for yourself. I think if you’re comfortable and feel good in something you will look good in it. I hate all of these fashion “rules” about how different ages should wear different things, certain clothing types are reserved for certain body types etc. I recognise that I’m in a privileged position because I’m relatively young and relatively slim so I don’t have the same reservations as others, but I do really think that you should wear what you damn well please. And if that means that the world sees your 41 year old knees then show those knees!

    On another note, I was gutted to miss the fabric fandango – for totally boring reasons – and I hope to be able to see you again soon! x

  11. Laura says:

    The rose print is wonderful, and is going to make a fabulous summer dress.

    The age/dress question is such a tricky one and so personal. I turn 30 this year, and have decided that I need a serious wardrobe overhaul – having been a very conservative dresser in my teens and twenties I’m experiencing serious clothing boredom! So I’m looking to dress *more* interestingly in my 30s, now that I’ve got the confidence and a much stronger sense of identity.

    I think it’s that sense of identity more than anything that makes the difference. I remember shopping for my mother’s outfit for my wedding, and she put on something (an awesome hat, I think) and I just looked at her and thought “that makes you look sad”. So we bought her something much better that made her look happy. If the dress/top/trousers/bag make you look happy, then you’re going to look good in it, stuff the fashion rules 🙂

    Can’t wait to see the dress!

  12. In answer to what several of you said: I look back at some of the boring stuff I wore in my twenties and I think, What a waste! So many years hiding behind black. Not any more!

  13. Sophia says:

    Thanks for the timely post! I’m entering into the 3 – 0 territory soon and that reality has made me think and rethink a dress I’m working on now. Are the colors too “childish”? Is the fit too “college-y”? Will I look like I’m trying too hard? In the end I decided to just go with what I wanted and see how it turns out. If I go to the bank and the employees ask if I’d like a lolli-pop, I’ll know it’s too young of a dress 🙂

  14. Law says:

    This is a really interesting post Karen.

    I’d say we shouldn’t dress to please other peoples perceptions of how a woman at say 20, 40, 60 should dress. There are these “rules” about skirt length and arm show-erage etc, but that doesn’t mean that you should follow them.. If you have great legs, show-em off. likewise if you have toned arms, who says you can’t wear sleeveless tops. Everyone should dress to suit their style and personality, and at the end of the day if you don’t feel comfortable wearing something, (be it too tarty, too feminine, too mannish too frunpy or whatever) then that’s what you should go on, how it makes you feel. If you feel good wearing somethins, like a rose print dress for example, then i saw wear it and love it!!!

  15. Uta says:

    Thank you for quoting me, Karen; reading the comments re. regretting what we wore in the past, I have this to add: I have covered myself up pretty much in the last ten years, no mini skirts etc., because I just didn’t like the flashiness/attention. Upon turning 40 (I took my mid life crisis then) I asked myself whether I wasted those years by not wearing the minis etc. while they looked good. Well, you know what? I bet there are 60 year olds out there who regret not having dressed flashier in their 50s. Let’s try and wear whatever makes us feel good and pretty.

  16. Jasmine MacDonald says:

    GREAT post – and I love that rose print and the vintage pattern. Coincidentally, my DIL just sent me a pic of a frock she is having made to wear to my nieces wedding – rose print and vintage Vogue pattern!
    Uta is right – we may get fatter or skinnier but we are never going to be younger than we are now!! Wear whatever you want (tho just had scary memory image of very scraggy OLD woman dancing at a music festival and her boobs fell out of her armholes so perhaps there should be a few perameters…I wont sleep properly now. Shudder. Sorry) – I have a friend who is older than I am (and I am 58 on Tues) who wears nothing but tight jeans, black leather jacket, boots – very rock chic (!) and gorgeous jewellery. She travels with an overnight bag! And I have other younger friends who dress like my Mum or even older. If a short skirt, scarves and/or bows on your head and towering shoes make you feel gorgeous then you will be a lot livelier than if you dress like you think people want you be. Go for it!

  17. Erika says:

    Thank you for a great post, Karen! And the comments are so interesting!
    I agree with most of the others, one should dress in what one feels comfortable wearing. Also, I think it’s important to dress after your figure. Some styles, as much I love them, just don’t suit me, so I stay away from them (like mini-skirts, pretty on others in my age and older and younger, but not so much on me).

    Having gone from college to work in an office enviroment a few years ago, my wardrobe is under development and so is my taste. I’m turning 30 next year, but I don’t feel old and so I won’t dress old. I’m not a teenager and I don’t want to dress like a child. So I’m trying to find my own balance in the area where cute meets elegant (loved Kerry’s comment on being stylish), and I’m hoping I’ll eventually get there =)

  18. Karen in VA says:

    Great post. I’m turning 50 in 3 weeks and am finally comfortable in my own skin. I also saw the article on the survey that said women shouldn’t wear this or that after a certain age…makes me wonder if future generations of women are ever going to get over the body image crap we’re sold on a daily basis. I’m an accountant, so I do have to dress somewhat conservatively, but I let my style come through by using a loud print for that conservatively cut skirt or blouse – life is too short to wear nothing besides navy blue and charcoal gray!!! Wear what makes you happy!! When I do that, I am much more confident!!!

  19. Andrea says:

    Karen – this is such a great post! For most of last year I was in a funk about my appearance. I wear a suit to work and every morning found myself staring at a closet filled with every shade of gray known to human kind. Corporate? Very. Conservative? You bet. Utterly boring? Absolutely! In addition, my formerly jet black hair is turning silver really fast but I refuse to die it because … well, because I’m stubborn really. I’m turning 38 this year and instead of feeling defeated, I’ve decided I’m going to own my age. To this end I’m making a conscious effort to make or buy work appropriate clothes in colourful hues and to embrace the greying process by styling my hair (something I’ve never done before!). And you know what? I don’t look any younger, which doesn’t matter at all, because I feel great. The reality is that for me, doing exactly as I want with my clothes and hair without paying to much attention to what convention dictates has been liberating. Oh, if only I had this sliver of wisdom in my teens and twenties!

  20. Justine says:

    I think it’s interesting how “age appropriate” worries seem to hit all decades! I’m in a bit of a clothing rut atm, that mid-20s transition from studenthood (which I hope to sew myself out of) and sometimes wonder why I don’t wear short skirts and fashions like other women I see of my age and build – but then I figure I can always wear ’em in my 30s if my mood changes! I’m slowly but finally realising that I don’t need to start styling my hair or wearing make up to feel nice, just cos others choose to. Give me a pair of quirky solid leather boots and a wool coat in the winter and a frivolous dress and hat in the summer and I’m happiest!

  21. Miriana says:

    My mum spent her winter fuel allowance on a new handbag and said “if I get cold, I’ll burn it” and wears shorts that are bordering on being hotpants.

  22. Rita says:

    I hate the old age appropriate rules and think all women should just wear what they want to wear. I am …ugh… now in my mid 40s and yes I have long hair and wear short skirts. For years, well meaning people have advised me that I am of an age where long hair is no longer appropriate. I disagree. I once met this woman in her 80s with the most beautiful long grey hair and it suited her to a “T.” Why do I have to cut my hair because I reached a magic age?

    I wear what looks good and what I want. My mother at my age wore only pants. I dont like pants and they do not look very good on me (never really have) so I wear dresses and skirts. I wear short skirts, some really short skirts, mid length skirts and long skirts. Basically what I feel like. I also wear a lot of boots and high heels.

    But the most important bit to remember is doing what makes YOU feel good and wear what makes YOU look good and toss those rules out of the window!

  23. Lisa says:

    Hah, yes I’ve had some thoughts about age-appropriateness lately! I’m 27, and a few years ago I made some shorts. I never wore them until recently, when I figured that the color actually looked OK on me. But, then the question arose: am I too old for shorts? (Not hotpants, but they’re close). I feel as if shorts are more appropriate for teenagers, which means I have missed the shorts-window completely because back then I just wore jeans and Tshirts. Unfair! I now wear them around the house, but not when I go out. I don’t know if this is a start or this is where it ends 🙂
    And yes you can go against the ‘rules’ and always wear whatever you like, but you’ll have to be strong. Others will still follow those rules and have opinions about the age apropriateness of your clothes, so you have to be able to cope with that. So wear your pink roses with your head held high, and all will be fine 🙂

  24. leahfranqui says:

    Love this post. And I love that fabric! It doesn’t seem too childish or loud to me, it seems very vintage and appropriate to that pattern. I can’t wait to see what you do with that pattern because I myself bought it and am thinking of making it up in a shocking pink….too silly? Whatever, it’s a good color for me.

    It’s funny because I’m actually quite young, only 23, but I think a lot about modesty, not that I wont show some skin or only wear floor length garments, but I don’t need to have the whole world seeing my undergarments every time I leave the house. I know I’m a girl, I don’t really need to prove it to the universe….But this is interesting because I feel like young women need to dress more Conservatively or modestly to be taken seriously career-wise, and as I’m not interested in only being interpreted as “cute” or, for that matter, being called a “girl” when I’m surely at this point at least a young woman, I sort of make it my business to dress in a way that is vintage, hopefully flattering, but not youthfully or childishly. I think the issue with a lot of young people is that they aren’t dressing for themselves, really, they are dressing to be seen, to be noticed. I want to be noticed for looking comfortable and confident, frankly. I agree strongly with the previous commentators, as long as you feel good and, most importantly, you are dressing for yourself, you are golden.

  25. Susan says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for ages but have never left a comment.
    I’m 38 and have always worn on the knee or just above the knee skirts. Last month I wore a dress mid thigh! I got so many complements! Everyone kept saying what great legs I had. Who knew? Not me? I have now decided that I will stop showing off my legs when I stop getting complements! Hopefully never!

  26. Amy says:

    Wow, I had honestly never thought you wore anything other than things that look good on you, the thought of your age hadn’t even crossed my mind and your Pendrell blouse looks amazing!

    I can’t remember where I saw it but I recently read the sentence (paraphrasing) ‘looking good is 10% clothes, 10% style and 80% attitude’ (or something to that effect). It’s so true, you see teenagers in the street with amazing youthful figures looking absolutely AWFUL because they’ve chosen an outfit based purely on what’s fashionable as opposed to what suits them, and the same with ladies in their 60s plus because they’ve chosen an outfit based on some notion of what ‘old’ people should wear (i.e. beige elasticated skirts to mid-calf).
    I don’t think looking good is anything to do with age, its about what suits your figure and what makes you feel good.

  27. Elizabeth says:

    Great post. Since I’m in my 40’s I think about this a lot. It’s funny actually… I’m not afraid to die, but I am afraid of getting old or looking old. It’s not that I’m narcissistic (although I’m sure some would argue that point), but it’s just hard getting old!

  28. KC says:

    Great post, Karen. Do remember to revisit the topic when you actually do start to grow old!
    With regard to the “common sense” you think you have more of at 41: you probably do. Unfortunately, common sense is made up largely of what other people think (that’s why it’s “common”). Fortunately, common sense tends to peak in your 40’s and ebb away again as you round 50 so you’re ready to sport all those red and purple hats!

  29. Tania says:

    Interesting post – loved reading all these comments. If we all followed the “rules” on age-appropriate dressing, us mere mortal females would never have seen the inspirational pics of Helen Mirren looking fabulous in *that* bikini! I say, if you like it and it makes you feel good – go for it!

  30. Catherine says:

    Having just had an even more significant birthday than yours I read your blog and all the comments with interest and relief. I definitely subscribe to the idea of wear what you are happiest with and so therefore this summer I have gone all out on reliving my tender years with ruffled maxi skirts of the 70’s.A look which in my case seems to be a heady mix of Little house on the Prairie and Laura Ashley curtain fabric.How it will go down when I burst forth into the public arena who knows and quite frankly who cares..at least I am original.xx

  31. Sherry says:

    I’ve always had a young-ish style of dressing, and then it hits you suddenly that you just can’t get away with some things anymore! I’m at the stage where I feel my knees need covering, but I’m still happy to wear camisole tops in summertime. I see myself wearing sleeveless well into old age, it is very much a part of my look, but of course showing the thigh is a different matter! I don’t wear black tops anymore – one day I woke up and they were suddenly unflattering. But Eugenia’s coloured trousers – yes, I’m inspired!

  32. Karen says:

    Hi Karen

    I’ve recently discovered your blog – it’s been a pleasure reading through the older posts and I’m trying to figure out how I wangle a weekend away in London and then spend the Saturday not in the British Museum or Harrods, but in Walthamstow. Hmm….
    I’m in my mid forties and I too have this dilemma regarding what is ok to wear. My attitude is that you should wear what suits you – which sounds a bit obvious but if something suits your figure and personality, you’ll ‘own the look’ and you won’t look like you’re trying to be something you’re not. It’s the ‘trying too hard’ that I think is the problem rather than just age. Your fabric made up in the pattern you’ve picked will be cheerful, fun and stylish at the same time. Can you apply those attributes to yourself? I’d say so! :o) Go for it with confidence. Can’t wait to see the results.

  33. Amy says:

    Karen, you can definitely get away with Pendrell frilly sleeves! Your 3rd version was awesome and inspired me to buy the pattern!

  34. Jane says:

    Great post – I’ve loved reading everybody’s responses. I’m 42 and after two children, my body just isn’t the same body it was in my 20’s. So I dress to suit my shape and wear what flatters me and makes me feel happy. I’m definitely happier and more confident in what I wear since I started making my own clothes. And as for adding frilly details I say go for it – if you think it looks good on you then it almost certainly does. My own personal barometer on frills and bows is that if I start looking too much like Grayson Perry I tone it down! I love what you wear Karen, you always look fab and you’re going to rock that rose print dress! xx

  35. oonaballoona says:

    my thoughts:

    make that brandy a double, and sew with abandon what makes you HAPPY!

  36. That rose print is gorgeous. It will look lovely made up as the retro Butterick dress. I did have a slight crisis when I turned twenty about whether I could still wear my Doc Martens, now that I wasn’t a rebellious teenager anymore, but then I realised I was being ridiculous. I think anything is age appropriate as long as you are happy in it.

  37. Caroline says:

    I”m hitting 40 in 3 weeks, and my thoughts are exactly yours! I even have that same Butterwick pattern ready to go.

    I remember feeling “past it” in my early-30s, and dressing super retro-conservative. Now I just don’t give a F***. I’m sewing short skirts, baring all the bits I want to bare, and enjoying the parts of my body that still look presentable (which is most of them, despite what horrible polls on the internet would tell you).

  38. Nikki says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while, but never commented. The Rose print is something I would find very hard to ‘step away’ from and I’m 38. Can’t wait to see it made up, you are going to look fab in it. I really don’t care what other people think about my clothes, I will wear as many flowery dresses and skirts, long or short and as frilled as I like 🙂 My other real fabric passion is for crushed velvet – I will never be too old to wear anything made from that!!!

  39. Santie says:

    Karen, my husband also did a double-take at the skulls-&-roses print I brought back from Goldhawk Road … but he got over it. I think he knows there are dozens of bloggers out there who would quash his opinion now!
    OH! Love the Jenny Joseph poem, too – but I decided it would be totally normal to subject my friends to a rather squiffy reading of this at my 20th birthday party. Talk about age-appropriate 😉

  40. janey says:

    Hi I’ve tagged you today

  41. reader says:

    This is one of those subjects as to which judgments can be made only context. The woman in the photo in the “Colored Trousers” post looks very good. But I’ve seen women half, or a third her age who look awful. It’s a question of taste and an understanding of what looks good on you.

    A floral print might look refreshing or matronly, depending on the cut of the dress and the wearer.

    Don’t give up on the upper arms. It’s good to have strong triceps. Here’s a program that I bought recently (I have no connection to the trainer offering it).

    http://visualimpactforwomen.com/

    Re the poem you quoted, I hate hate hate The Red Hat Society. If being older is supposed to mean one can more easily express one’s individuality, why do they go around wearing red hats? What is this, the Brownie Scouts for older ladies? Why don’t they direct their efforts to making a better world for their daughters?

  42. I remember our English teacher reading that poem at school and hilariously she was a woman in late middle age who dressed very badly in garish colours. Not sure she appreciated the irony! I rather like that rose print fabric!

  43. I have been having the same concerns lately (actually they went beyond just clothing and included partying, etc.) I worry over flabby arms…I started doing some weights then stopped recently! Shall we start a motivational group?
    As for skirts…I tend to wear them below the knee… though today I am wearing a dress just above. Deciding what to wear, what you can get away with and what looks way off is difficult and very subjective. Certainly I don’t particularly find appropriate in a professional setting when women show their naked stomach (no matter how flat)…Ah, I am 37 ;o)

  44. romney says:

    It depends whether people will give you benefit of the doubt or not. Younger people do tend to follow fashion more, and older people tend to wear what they’ve already got. When you see an older person wearing something outrageous you’re more likely to think they don’t realise what they’re wearing, that its something they bought in 1979 and never got round to replacing. When its a younger person wears that same item, you assume they made an effort to get it, that a recent choice was involved, that its part of some ironic or amazingly fashionable outfit that they’ve put together. Add a tendency to put on weight as you get older, bingo wings, etc and its no wonder that so many people feel safer conforming to stereotypes.

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