You’re Too Old for that, Sister

40-somethings dressing like 20-somethings is a recipe for fashion disaster

By Kelly Hockenberry, Columnist,

Let me start off by acknowledging that I am a big, fat hypocrite.  That being said, I will still take the liberty to lecture you about dressing appropriately for your age. That’s what I’m here for.

I love to shop in stores like H&M and Forever 21. My husband relishes the opportunity to point out that I could, technically, be the MOTHER of a 21 year old.

That is BARELY true, I might add. And, even if it does have some biological significance, I choose to ignore it/him.

I will say that, over the years, I have had to tailor my choices to the more “mature” selections that are available in these shops.  (OK, I’m totally cracking up at that line! You?)

For example, I choose NOT to go up 15 sizes just to be able to fold my lower half into a pair of 2 and ½ inch inseam shorts. Even if you are skinny enough to squeeze into something like that, the skin elasticity issue remains a problem. Forty year old skin in NO WAY resembles 20 year old skin. It just doesn’t.

Same goes for too “mini” of a miniskirt. I am all for showing off the body parts that you like best. And, if legs are your thing, by all means wear a skirt! However, if you are over 25 and your skirt doesn’t come to at least mid-thigh, you look desperate and/or sleazy. And, PLEASE, for the love of all things holy, NEVER wear a skirt with UGG’s in the winter. Yes, I’ve seen it. On middle aged grown women. And, it is disturbing. You are no Nicole Richie or Brittney Spears…nor, should you want to be.

Do I really need to discuss a mid-drift top that reveals the belly? The answer is a resounding N-O! I don’t care if you have been doing P90X until you are blue in the face. It is wrong on every possible level.

Tunic tops with stretch pants. QVC sells a ton of this combo targeted toward soccer moms. Why? I think that this look is just barely pulled off by third graders. And, that is only because child bearing and the effects of gravity are still many, many years away. It is especially unsettling when women pair this ensemble with a stiletto heel. Just add a side pony-tail and you’re set to go! (Insert eye rolling here)

I have heard a theory that I have embraced: “If you are old enough that you wore the current trend the FIRST time around, you are too old to wear it this time.” The perfect example is the “visible lingerie under clothes” look. Madonna made it popular in the 80’s and women who danced to her songs at Pulsations, should NOT be sipping lattes in Starbucks in anything close to it.

I think that the flip side of this argument is that you don’t want to reach a certain age and feel like you have to wear elastic waist polyester pants and “practical” shoes. Just because you aren’t 21 anymore doesn’t mean you have one foot in the grave!

Age appropriate dressing means sticking to the classics and adding some trendy accessories to liven it up!

So, the next time you see me in H&M trying on a silk shorts romper with the sequined exposed bra straps, remind me of this article and back me, ever so slowly, AWAY from the register.

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  1. heynownow says:

    Kelly- you are so entertaining! Everyone is talking about your column..keep up the fabulous effort! From a regular reader who LOVES you!

  2. heynow says:

    There’s nothing wrong with Nicole Richie or Britney, (well at first there was with their behavior, but now, at this point, really?) The sad part is that you were on the money but felt the need to turn it into just another article to tarrget arlready embatteled easy celeb targets, no offense, which ISN’T hard to write about.

  3. ck says:

    it’s “midriff.” thanks.

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