The GEM Debate: Can You Wear A Mini-Skirt After 35?

mini-skirts-fasion show

Uh-oh here we go again! Yep, we’re back into the world of age-appropriate clothing. Today’s topic – can you wear a mini after the age of 35?

Actually it’s not so much about if you can, but SHOULD you?

The U.K.’s Daily Mail asked two thousand women at what age should we give up mini-skirts and other fashion trends?. According to those polled, it’s no more two-piece bathing suits after 47 or swimsuits at all by 61. No leggings and Ugg boots after 45 and stilettos, long hair and ponytails should all be retired by our early 50’s.

And then there are mini skirts. Apparently 35 is the cut off point! But are they right?

Okay as most of you know by now, I’m not a fan of fashion convention and I’m REALLY not a fan of having to conform to said convention without a damn good reason. So I think some of these results are just nutty, like the leggings and Uggs, which are a key part of my wintertime wear. And no bathing suits after 61? What the hell? Try telling that to my 78-year-old mother, who looked pretty damn good rocking hers in the Bahamas recently

However, I do agree with a few of the results if not the exact ages. Example, I was in one of my favorite stores the other day and found this really adorable dress. I did not try it on, rather just held it up to me before purchasing. When I got it home and tried it on, even with flats, it was just too short.

Contrast that with this look:

Now I know they are different styles, but even the fun loving, carefree part of me can admit that the second one just “fits” better. In other words, it looks better on my nearly 50-year-old body.  It’s still above the knee and hugs in the right places but it looks more refined and I think that’s really the point here. There comes a time, and I’m not sure when that is exactly, that we need to stop wearing things that look “too young” and go for a classier style. That’s a knife that cuts both ways too. I don’t want to see a 60-year-old man in a muscle shirt or a speedo, regardless of how good his body is.

Okay, so that’s my take, but am I wrong about this? What do you think is the cut off age for women and mini-skirts?

How about bathing suits or some of the other fashions on the list? Fire away!

Rene Syler is a wife, mother, breast cancer advocate and television personality whose burning desire to tell the truth about modern motherhood led her to create GoodEnoughMother.com. When not spending time with her family or burning something for dinner, Rene travels the country as host of Sweet Retreats on The Live Well Network and Exhale on Aspire.

23 Comments

  1. Susan

    May 13, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    I turned 43 this spring; I’ve bought a bikini (two, in fact!) for the pool this summer, and I’m totally rocking the mini skirt. For me, it’s less about my numerical age and more about the fact that after running for a year and training for a half-marathon, I’m finally comfortable in my body. My bikinis fit better than one-piece suits (I’m not the same size on top and bottom, so bathing suits are a nightmare for me) and my miniskirts aren’t any shorter than my shorts (but they look a lot nicer).

    I say if you’re able to do it in a way that’s tasteful and chic, it doesn’t matter how old — or young — you are.

  2. m.e. johnson

    May 13, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Agree with you, Rene. It’s also about how you look and how you want to be perceived (if you have a clue). Picture this:

    A 20-year-old with pasty pasty, super cottage-cheesy, varicose vein-ridden, thunder thunder thunder thighs in short shorts. Your eyes will hurt.

  3. Rene Syler

    May 13, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    @Susan: I have no doubt you look great in all of the above. The point I was trying to make is it’s really not your physical shape as much as there comes a prudent time to cover up more. I don’t know when that is, as I said and it may be different for everyone. I think the mini we were able to rock in our 20’s is not the same as the one we do in our 40’s. BTW, I wear two piece suits too, not not the kind those show a lot of skin.. more the tankini type. Thanks for weighing in and have a great summer.

  4. Rene Syler

    May 13, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    @m.e. There comes a time, I believe, when you don’t have to put everything on display, if you will. Maybe it has something to do with having more to offer than physical? I’m not sure. As I said, it’s for both men and women too. I really don’t ever want to see Arnold Schwarzenegger in a speedo again. Ever.

  5. texastrixie

    May 13, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should….have some dignity people!

  6. Mia

    May 13, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    I totally disagree with their poll, I think it is more how you look in an outfit than your age.

    Regarding the two looks you provided of yourself, those dresses look like they are for totally different purposes. I think the first dress is a perfect dress for a summer night going out to dinner, the second dress is going to the office or a business meeting.

    Hell, if I have the body, I’m wearing whatever the heck I want to the day I die. With that said, I’m fairly conservative, so not sure if it will fall into that category of “should I.”

    Your mom looks fantastic. If we listened to that poll I guess we shouldn’t go swimming after 61, GTHOOH. These are probably the same people who think you will stop having sex after 50. I won’t be taking any advice from them.

  7. MWF

    May 13, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    LOL….No Swim Suits???….Tell that to the older ladies struting and smiling on the beaches in Europe and TheCarribean Islands ( if you have been to these places, you know what I am talking about)
    Life Is For Living!….”45″….”50″…”65″…..are not today what they were in our grandmothers, and great grandmother’s times.
    True, as we reach certain milestones, we should acquire a certain sophistication and grace in our style and ways of dressing, and should not aim to dress as we did, when we were 20 and 30 something year olds…..but it doesn’t not mean we have to shrivel up and hide.
    The mini dress may have to come down a bit closer to knee length, but with right dress, that’s still sexy as hell.
    Ladies, if you know how to put yourself together….Go on , rock those legins, Stilletos, UGGS, and definitely that swim suit….Pull your hair back into a neat ponytail with some bold jewelry……LIVE OUT LOUD Ladies!!!…..Live Out Loud!!! LOL

  8. Rene Syler

    May 13, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    @Mia: yes, they were two different dresses, as I said. But the frist dress, even for walking the streets of Manhattan in the summertime does not look appropriate for an almost 50-year-old woman, IMHO. I don’t agree with everything the poll said, but as texastrixie pointed out, just because you CAN doesn’t mean you SHOULD.

  9. Rene Syler

    May 13, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    @MWF: Your point about aging gracefully is totally on target. I will still wear a shorter dress but it will NOT be the one I wore when I was 25, even if I had the body for it. It’s more about an image I want to portray more than anything else.

  10. Sarena

    May 13, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    I don’t know what I would do if I went to purchase an article of clothing and the label read, “360-420 Months!”
    LOL!

    See the thing is we are not babies anymore and the variety of fat and rolls are no longer cute! I think we have to do what you did Rene, and say, okay what “fits” me better. What looks good and presentable on me?(BTW, you could have kept dress #1 too, and been just fine.)

    Anyway, having read this article, I will still go ahead with my winter ’11 plans of purchasing yet another mini skirt… but if they ever start putting an age number on the labels instead of sizes, I might rethink my decision to purchase!

  11. Leslie

    May 13, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    The survey you reference was from the UK? Enough said.

  12. Kendra

    May 13, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    I am interesed in knowing who put an age limint on what someon can wear. If you look nice, respectful, and it is appropriate for the occasion, then why not? Many women age gracefully and also take very good care of their bodies, and if a 40-year woman wants to wear a tasteful, short skirt that compliments her features, then I say go ahead! We as a society are so caught up in looks and put so many limitations on ourselves that we sometimes forget how to live…

  13. Rene Syler

    May 13, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    “If you look nice, respectful, and it is appropriate for the occasion, then why not? ” Of course, but does a mini skirt purchases at Forever 21 and shows the upper part of the thigh look appropriate on a 55 year old woman? I think we’re getting hung up. A mini skirt that is an inch or two above the knee is very different than one an inch or two below the crotch.

  14. Christina Gleason @ Cutest Kid Ever

    May 13, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    I see women older than me (I’m 32) wearing clothes I wouldn’t have worn when I was 25. Although maybe my 25 was “older” because I was already married and trying to get pregnant.

    That being said, while I would never wear a mini-skirt that bares my thighs nowadays, my tankini swimsuit has a cute little skirt that just covers my butt, and I think it’s super cute. (And I think it’s better than not having a skirt on my suit at all.)

  15. Faun Reese

    May 13, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Hey, if you’ve got the body for it and you feel good in the mini-skirts or whatever you want to wear, if you love pony-tails at 50, then you wear it!! Tina ROCKED that mini-skirt in What’s Love Got To Do With IT (video) and at her age now, she STILL looks good! There are some YOUNG girls who look trashy in mini-skirts but its all in how you carry yourself and how it looks on you. It may not be the right size, it may not be the right style, it may not have the right accessories. That’s why there’s fashion TV shows out there to help us. Wearing pony-tails and long hair over 50 does not make you look old, either. It can be very sexy. I know a lady who wears them all the time (professionally) because she wants to look as conservative as possible since she is a medical doctor but can’t help how pretty she is. This tones down her “beauty” for her patients. How she dresses away from work is her business, know what I mean? :-) Rene, I adore mostly all of the outfits you rock. You have great taste and although that mini-skirt may not have worked for you…there’s still the right one out there for yoU!!

  16. Joanne Willis

    May 13, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    No bathing suits after 60??? You mean we can go butt naked? Now that is something no one wants to see, even me at 67, but comeon how are we supposed to go swimming????? I do agree that your Mom looks great.

  17. Auntie Lisa

    May 13, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    After that list, what’s left to wear after 60? Are we all supposed to go around in muu-muus? haha

    I think if people want to look ridiculous, let ‘em! But if they don’t, I suppose a few guidelines are helpful. But it needs to be something other than age that guides you. Body type + how you want to come across and what suits your personality and makes you feel confident.

    That said, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on the beach and caught my breath (and not in a good way) at some old geezer with a big old beer belly sporting a Speedo… or some muffin-top 20-something who’s wearing a too-small bikini because she thinks being young means bikinis are a good choice…

    Personally, I wear a modest one-piece swimsuit, but I hope I’ll never be relegated to wearing skirted ones or swathing myself in baggy, suffocating cover-ups.

  18. Cody Williams

    May 14, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Are you kidding me? Some of the best looking legs walking are on women over 35.

  19. Wanda Reese

    May 14, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    This is an excellent question, and to be honest, one I’ve wrestled with from time to time. At 59, I can say (modestly but honestly) that I look good for my age, even living in ridiculously image-conscious Los Angeles–the land where fakery rules.

    In my 20’s, 30’s and even into my 40’s I was the proverbial “coke bottle” that often brought its own set of problems for me during my high visibility years as a TV reporter and anchor. Tongues were constantly wagging, and not about the news I was delivering, I’ll tell ya. Now, the “coke bottle”–not so much–but I can still wear many things some women my age probably couldn’t, and still look great. But I don’t necessarily.

    It’s been a double-edged sword for me. While I agree on the one hand that as adults no one should be dictating to us what we should wear; on the other hand I do agree wholeheartedly that short-short skirts, shorts and body-hugging apparel aren’t age appropriate after a certain age—no matter how great you might look (or THINK you look LOL).

    I wouldn’t wear my 27 year old daughter’s clothing to a job, nor necessarily out in the evening–even though my daughter is quite a classic and conservative dresser for her age. I don’t wear minis at all now, and wouldn’t wear tank shorts ever again. I just wouldn’t feel comfortable.

    Like Rene said, sometimes certain outfits just “fit” better on an over 40-50 year old body. And, despite how great many of us still look after 40 or 50, some “stuff” still doesn’t quite “hang” the same after 50, no matter how fit you are. My 2 cents.

    BTW: responding to Rene’s comment: “I don’t want to see a 60-year-old man in a muscle shirt or a speedo, regardless of how good his body is,” add “ooh baby” shorts to that list, too, Rene. LOL

  20. darryl Alexander

    May 15, 2011 at 7:53 am

    I don’t think there should be an expiration date on either mini-skirts OR ponytails, if you can pull off the look.

  21. Lori

    May 16, 2011 at 6:31 am

    Are they saying all grandma’s should skinny dip? Because I much prefer them in swimwear, myself!
    :)

  22. ana

    December 5, 2011 at 10:01 am

    I agree with the comment what are we supposed to do after 40-50 or even 60. Im a size uk 6 and im 50, I wear mini skirts with thick tights and a nice shirt and get complemented all the time on my dress sense. I have seen some 20 or even 30 year olds that squeeze into mini skirts and tight dresses and look awful. I would like to know what happens to these women when they get to our age are they going to suddenley ditch the wardrobe and start dressing like an old lady………..are they hell they will be doing the same as us and defending the right to wear what we like.
    Girl power thats what I say, if you look good whatever age you are then wear it!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Tracy

    September 7, 2012 at 3:21 am

    I am a fit 50. It seems that each decade, I go through my closet and seriously consider where I am in life and how I want to project myself. Equally important to age appropriate is activity appropriate. For instance, I am uncomfortable going to dinner with friends in a sexy outfit if the other woman cannot pull off the same look. However, I do feel comfortable in wearing a body conscious (skimming but not hugging) outfit, even if the other woman cannot pull it off.

    In regards to the mini, I am at a crossroads. Due to a sun allergy that was developed after my first child (at 19), I have protected my skin out of necessity over the years. I am showing some age lines, but much less than most. I have never colored my hair and the grey is about 60% around my face. at night, it looks blond, but in the daylight, it looks grey. Since I do not color my hair, it has shine and bounce. I give this detail because, even though I am holding up alright, I see the changes in my face, hair, and body. I want to look smart and sharp by day and the same by night, but more sexy and with some edge.

    No matter how fit one is, the skin loses elasticity. I want to look my best at all times. I look better in fitted sleeves rather than sleeveless. I love the “cold shoulder” look. Bailey 44 has some very flattering and sexy boatneck cold shoulder tops.

    I am leaning toward holding onto my classic minis sewn from great fabrics and ditching the others. I hope to pull them off with tights, flat boots, and a conservative solid top or sweater to project a more sporty look. I won;t know for sure if I am going to wear it until I try them all together. Also, I will wear minimal makeup.

    Another dilemma not mentioned above is cleavage.

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