Ask the Fashion Police: How old is too old?

A question from our Formspring page:

Q: At what age are skinny jeans and playsuits a no go?

A. This is a really interesting question, so we thought we’d open it up to our readers as well as answering it ourselves!

While there’s no magic age at which The Fashion Police will come along and revoke your skinny jeans licence (We can think of some 40 year olds who look much better in skinnies than certain 20-year-olds, which makes us think it’s not so much about what you wear as how you wear it), we think the simple answer to this one is that if you’re old enough to feel uncomfortable in a certain item, or like you’re in fancy dress as a teenager, you’re probably too old to wear it. This has nothing to do with how the item looks: it’s simply because clothes have to be worn with confidence – they have to make you feel good in order to look good, and wearing something apologetically never really works. (If you don’t believe us, just look at Kristen Stewart…)

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can wear anything you like, as long as you feel confident about it, it just means that you might have to think a little more carefully if you want to pull off a “younger” trend. The, um, more mature lady, for instance, would perhaps be better off pairing her skinny jeans with a longline top and tailored blazer, say, than with a crop top and novelty headband, while a plain, dark wash is going to look more sophisticated than ripped acid-wash. (Actually, almost anything will look better than ripped acid wash, but that’s another question altogether…)

As for playsuits, well, that’s a slightly more complex issue, because playsuits tend to stray into the area of dressing like a toddler, and the further away from toddlerhood you are, the stranger that’s going to look.  We still don’t think there’s a hard and fast age-based rule here, though: not everyone in a particular age group looks the same as everyone else in that group after all, so if you feel you can pull off the playsuit, we say:

a) Good for you!

and

b) If you’re worried about it being age-appropriate, enlist the help of a friend you can trust, and ask them to tell you honestly what they think.

What do YOU think, though, readers? How old is too old for skinny jeans and playsuits?

[ Skinny jeans, £40, Topshop; Playsuit, £40, ASOS]

Remember, if you have a question for The Fashion Police, you can either type it into the box in the right hand sidebar or click here to visit our Formspring profile!

8 Comments

  • April 21, 2010

    Moni

    In my opinion it’s not so much a matter of age, but of figure and of whether you feel comfortable wearing a specific item or not. I’ve already seen a lot of adult women wearing skinny jeans and looking really good, as well as a lot of teenagers who looked awful in them.
    It truly depends on how you yourself look in it. If you have the legs/butt/waist to pull off a certain look, go ahead and do it while you can!
    On the other hand: Nobody forces you to wear skinny jeans/playsuits/whatever at all. Just because an item or style is THE trend right now, does not mean you have to wear it by all means. Have the confidence to say no, rather than look stupid in something that does not compliment your body.

    On a personal note: I had a skirt that I absolutely loved, which I have worn every summer since I was 22 and in which I always felt pretty and comfortable – until 2 years ago, when it suddenly didn’t feel right anymore. So I stopped. But until then I just didn’t care that it was originally designed for younger people, because I liked it and felt good in it.

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  • April 21, 2010

    momo

    I don’t have a problem with skinnies, but rompers… eesh. Infantilising. Not to say that it can’t look nice on *some* people, but I do take issue with those who promote/sell/push the style as acceptable and/or desirable.

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  • April 21, 2010

    Aleutie

    Speaking about age-appropriate, there is a good rule of thumb: when in doubt – don’t do it. I honestly believe that every person who committed a crime against fashion had that little voice inside their head, saying: “Are you sure?” – but they have decided to go against it for some reason. The older I get, the more attentive I become to that little voice. Right now it is saying: “We had our fun with skinny jeans the last time they were in, let’s not disturb memories”.

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  • April 21, 2010

    Rock Hyrax

    I’m in my forties and often wear skinny jeans, simply when an outfit needs black trousers that are going to be tucked into boots. I combine them with a long top, dress, cardigan or jacket and don’t get funny looks. (Well not for the clothes anyway.)

    How old is too old for a playsuit? Five or six I suppose, or whenever it’s getting difficult to find one the right size…

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  • April 21, 2010

    naomi

    i agree with the comments above…body type is the most important consideration for any trend…and there are ways to adapt trends as well…for example skinnies may not work right for your body shape but a good straightleg pair could give you the “skinny jean feeling” while being more flattering
    a good rule of thumb for any trend is that if you wore an item on its first go round like gold lamme leggings or ripped acid wash you may want to avoid it when it comes around the second time

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  • April 23, 2010

    Anna-Lisa

    Skinny jeans have been around long enough, I think, that you aren’t going to look like you’re trying to dress like a high school girl. Also, they are a lot more flattering to some body types than other styles like boot-cut jeans. So I wouldn’t worry about that. (And this is coming from a 20-year-old girl who really hates when older people try to look like high school/college kids…)

    As far as playsuits go… Sigh. Why not a DRESS? Personally, I think playsuits are ok in your own home or at the beach as a coverup, but that’s about it. So that wouldn’t really be affected by age, either.
    .-= Anna-Lisa´s last blog ..alice inspired. =-.

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  • September 6, 2010

    Stef

    Both can be worn at any age depending on figure, confidence and comfort but jeans need to be darker and playsuits longer as you get older.

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