How old is too old?

by DaniGirl on July 12, 2006 · 22 comments

in Uncategorized

This past weekend, I was looking for a quick wardrobe fix to get me through the summer heat and I had gone out looking for a simple knee-length skirt when I found myself looking seriously for the first time at ‘skorts’. I’ve always found both the word and the concept of “skort” a bit absurd, to be honest, but one in particular didn’t have the fake skirt panel in front and divided legs in back but instead looked like a skirt all the way around – a skirt that just happened to have little bloomers sewn in like the hot pants from the 1960s. I actually thought it was a skirt when I brought it into the changeroom. I tried it on, and despite the extra material, I liked it immediately. The hem falls to two or three inches above the knee, but the straight cut and stretchy material (god bless lycra) are forgiving and it looks sharp enough for work with a blouse and nice shoes.

The problem is that now that I’m wearing it, the ‘skort’ part feels more than a little weird, like I’m wearing boxer shorts under my skirt. There’s just too much material down there. And what exactly is the point of those knickers sewn in there, anyway? I just don’t get ‘skorts’… the only reason I bought this one is because it so closely resembled a skirt and was a stellar 40% off the regular price.

If I had one signature piece of clothing in my 20s and early 30s, it was probably a plaid, kilted mini-skirt. I loved them, was pathologically unable to resist them, and had at least five versions hanging in my closet in colour palettes from black and gold to burgundy and teal. While I may have been self-conscious about a lot of my other body parts, I was always more than willing to show off my legs.

In the last year or so, since I realized that my post-pregnancy 10 lbs weight gain was going to be a permanent feature, I’ve gradually become more shy about baring my legs. Instead of moving into shorts at the first hint of a spring breeze, it was well into early summer before I hauled out the shorts this year, and even then I’ve moved from a shortie-short to a walking shorts length.

And because everything you see on TV must be true, I have also taken to heart the sign at the beginning of What Not to Wear that admonishes “no miniskirts after age 35”. My lovely plaid kilts, in addition to now being a full size or two too small, are also no longer age appropriate. It’s heartbreaking, really, but bitter as I am, I guess I can see their point.

What do you think? Are there some things you don’t wear anymore because you are a woman (or man) of a certain age? Have you taken out your belly-button stud? (Oh, how I wanted one of those when I was 24 and freshly divorced!) Weight issues aside, what do you think of the ‘no miniskirts after 35’ rule? Is there such a thing as too old for certain styles?

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 BeachMama July 12, 2006 at 12:43 pm

Dani, I have probobly 8 skorts of different styles. I love them soooo much. I am a mini skirt girl, but with an almost 3 year old, I would be showing too much undies (forget the legs part). If I wasn’t a full size bigger than post-J I would still be wearing my minis. I don’t agree with the after 35 rule (although that would only apply in the fall). I believe that if you feel great in an article of clothing and you look appropriate (i.e. no undies showing) then go for it!
I am working hard on getting back into my minis, perhaps before I turn 36!

2 Andrea July 12, 2006 at 1:19 pm

I don’t think there are any age rules. Then again, I’m only 31, so what the hell do I know? I know that my clothing choices change as I age, but it has more to do with what I find comfortable and practical as I get older rather than what someone else tells me I’m supposed to wear now.
You probably know this but–there used to be sumptuary laws limiting what you could wear legally depending on age, sex and class. And to me, all the “what you can wear” stuff today serves the same purpose, which is to allow us to decide who someone is and therefore how to treat them depending on what they wear. I don’t think it’s a good thing, Erica Ehm’s child psychologist notwithstanding. It reinforces a lot of our prejudicial boundaries–against old people, young people, fat people, poor people, women.
So I say, wear whatever you damned well please.

3 Kerry July 12, 2006 at 1:55 pm

I’m taking umbrage at the assessment of the skort in question being “two or three inches above the knee”. How high up do you think your knee cap is, woman? :o)

4 jo(e) July 12, 2006 at 2:29 pm

I’m 45 and I still dress pretty much the same as I did when I was 25. I still wear short shorts and short skirts. (I can’t stand long shorts or capris — what’s the point? When I wear shorts, I want my legs bare, especially if it’s above 90 degrees out.)

5 jo(e) July 12, 2006 at 2:30 pm

Oh, and I always thought that the point of a skort is that you can do a cartwheel in it and not show your underwear ….

6 Marla July 12, 2006 at 2:34 pm

I like the idea of skorts, unless the shorty legs are so wide that you can see your gotchies when you spread ’em anyway. They serve the same purpose as bicycle shorts under floaty minidresses did in the eighties (um…on other people, not that I indulged). That is, not letting everyone know how much time has elapsed since the last “grooming”, and whether or not you’re ready to be in a car accident with your clean underwear.
The most flattering skirt lengths hit your legs at the narrow parts – just above the knee, just above the calf, just below the calf (no matter what your age is). Anything else makes you look stumpy. You sound like you’re fine, unless your kneecaps look like rotten cauliflowers. I think when Clinton and Co. refer to mini, they mean two to three inches below your coochie, not two to three inches above your knee.
I’m applying for their jobs, you know.

7 Renee July 12, 2006 at 3:08 pm

I don’t have any skorts, although I’m not opposed to wearing one. I just always figured the two layers of fabric would make me look extra puffy, and I’m puffy enough on my own, thank you.
I won’t wear regular swimsuits anymore. I have to have the bottoms that are like shorts. One word. 3 syllables. Cell-u-lite.

8 Jodi July 12, 2006 at 3:33 pm

I follow the “what not to wear rules” about skirt length. I try to keep work skirts to the knee – but when it’s 30 degrees out – and I’m at home – I wear a skooter(skorts with the panel all the way around).

9 Jerri Ann July 12, 2006 at 5:05 pm

too old for a mini-skirt at 35, nope
too old for a micro-mini at 35, maybe
too old for a skort, no way girl, wear it!

10 Sharon July 12, 2006 at 5:22 pm

NOpe if you got LEGS Flaunt them. NO mini skirts after 35…Common’
The only thing I object and this is at any age is letting it all hang out in a speedo.
Unless you the spanish scoocer team. Keep it hidden.

11 Sharon July 12, 2006 at 5:23 pm

OH and I forgot. I hate that I have to wear a bra in this heat. I would rather go braless. BUT apparently this is A Faux pas.

12 Zany Mama July 12, 2006 at 5:43 pm

Just wanted to de-lurk for a second and tell you that I think that no mini-skirts after 35 is a silly, silly rule.
I tell myself that I wear to-the-knee skirts because it makes me feel more graceful, but really, the thighs have gotten a little mushy.
If you have great legs – and heck even if you don’t – I say wear the skirt that works for you.

13 Myra July 12, 2006 at 7:10 pm

De-lurking as well…and another non-judgmental voice of dissent.
I don’t think anything “magical” happens at 35 but I’m with WNTW when it comes to not wearing true-to-definition* mini-skirts to work. That’s just my own personal choice when it comes to “work wear” – I like a skirt that falls just above the knee – and aside from my inner-voice’s recent “tsk-tsk” regarding the cheek-grazingly-seriously-too-small mini {shudder} worn by a woman at the grocery store (and which she clearly wore to work), I’m be the last to criticize. πŸ˜‰
Some people do need to take a cold and detached look at their rear-view before leaving the house… but I digress. Dani, sounds like you’ve got great stems so no need to worry there!
Let me also say that in the Winter, with tights, it’s more of an acceptable look for the office environment… and, I work in a fairly stylish but business-casual office.
At the end of the day, the “rule” is all just about your “look” and how people perceive you (which cannot be helped). If this matters not to you I say GO FOR IT! Live and let live.
Oh, and as for skorts/skooters, I LOVE ‘EM. I have one for golfing and I’ve worn it all kinds of places. Just not to work.
*I’m using the definition of miniskirt as taken from Wikipedia:
“The miniskirt is a skirt with a hemline well above the knees (generally 20 cm or more above knee level). One definition is that if you are standing erect and cannot touch your legs below your hemline with your index and ring fingers, it isn’t a miniskirt”

14 twinmomplusone July 12, 2006 at 8:23 pm

got the legs, show them, ever seen Tina Turner?
as for skorts, got a few and love them, great for travelling with kids πŸ˜‰

15 BeachMama July 12, 2006 at 11:50 pm

TwinMom, thanks for the reminder of Tina Turner, when in highschool I vowed to have legs like hers when I was her age πŸ™‚

16 kris July 13, 2006 at 1:28 am

Haven’t worn a skort since I was about 10–but they sound like a good idea–I *hate* wearing shorts, but now that summer is here and I’m wearing skirts, I’m getting tired of contorting myself to hide my panties when I’m playing at the park with the boys. Skorts seem like a good compromise.
I’m with WNTW about the miniskirts after 35. My mother is very young looking and quite fit, but the sight of her at age 37 or 38 in a youthful miniskirt has been burned into my retinas forever–Yikes! I still remember it vividly almost 25 years later. It just looked *wrong*, despite her lovely legs. I’m not sure why I found it so inappropriate, but at 36 (and with a less impressive figure than she had at that age–or even at 61, for that matter), I’ve no intention of wearing a miniskirt again. But it sounds like I’m definitely in the minority.

17 kris July 13, 2006 at 1:34 am

Forgot to add–I mean a true mini skirt–not a skirt that sits 2-3 inches above the knee. Those are just fine on anyone with decent legs (or anyone else who feels inclined to wear them).

18 Marla July 13, 2006 at 2:52 am

Aren’t we going to get a picture of you in it?

19 nancy July 13, 2006 at 3:28 am

I JUST bought myself a skort! Wish I’d bought every colour, loving it.

20 Kate the Shrew July 13, 2006 at 4:54 pm

I don’t know that it’s an age thing, so much as a “does it still look good on you?” thing.
I took my belly button ring out before I got pregnant, as I couldn’t see the stretching being a good thing for it. Who knows, if I get my belly back after the next baby (yeah, right) maybe I’ll get it re-pierced. πŸ™‚

21 andrea from the fishbowl July 16, 2006 at 3:17 am

I don’t feel comfortable in short skirts. Or shorter shorts. Besides, I’ve got a booty that would stop traffic. And do I want that kind of responsibility on my shoulders? I think not.
I often wear just-about-the-knee skirts. They’re the best for summer.
p.s. I finally took my belly button ring out last week. I had to tell someone. (Is there a support group for this kind of thing?)
p.s. You’ve got great gams. You must post a pic.

22 Tamsin July 30, 2006 at 7:35 pm

Hi there!
You can wear whatever you please! If you look good in a plaid mini, then wear it while you can. I’m 34 and I’ve just discovered them, and bugger me if I’m gonna let somebody in a book tell me I’m almost too old. Ultimately, I reckon it’s all down to confidence: if you like what you see in the mirror, you’ll feel good about yourself, and that will project positively around you.
Be yourself. Don’t waste a second of this precious life.
x Tamsin

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