Style SOS: How old is too old for skinny jeans?

How old is too old for skinny jeans?

This week, a lot of you have been finding The Fashion Police after asking Google the question, “How old is too old for skinny jeans?”

It seems a lot of you are suddenly wondering if it’s time to hang up your jeans, so let us try to put you out of your misery and work out just how old IS too old for this particular look, anyway?

For us, this question, and, indeed, any other fashion-related question beginning with the phrase “How old is too old for…” can be answered fairly easily:

You’re too old for <insert fashion trend here> when it no longer looks good or feels comfortable.

It’s a simple and as difficult as that, really.

how old is too old for skinny jeans?

There’s no magic cut-off point for style….

It’s simple, because there is no magic cut-off point for style. Something that’s perfectly appropriate when you’re 29, say, doesn’t suddenly become inappropriate the day you turn 30 and you can apply this to any other age range you can think of, too. No, it only becomes inappropriate when it no longer looks good on you, or when you no longer feel comfortable wearing it: and when we talk about “comfort” here, we’re not referring to physical comfort (It hopefully goes without saying that your clothes shouldn’t cause you physical discomfort, regardless of your age), but to that horrible feeling that washes over you when you put  on a particular outfit and then spend hours in front of the mirror agonising over whether or not you can “get away” with it.

If you think you can’t get away with it… you probably can’t.

When that happens, the answer is generally “no, you can’t”: not because the item doesn’t LOOK good, necessarily, but because if you don’t feel fantastic in it, you probably won’t look fantastic in it, either, and there’s no point in forcing yourself to wear something that doesn’t make you feel fantastic, is there? There’s nothing worse (in this context, at least) than an apologetic dresser: someone who wears an outfit they clearly don’t feel confident in, and spends all their time tugging at the hem, adjusting straps and finding things to stand behind because they can’t stop wishing they could run home and change. Don’t let that person be you, whatever age you are: it’s a great way to ruin an otherwise stylish look.

How old is too old for skinny jeans?

But back to the subject at hand. As we said, working out when you’re too old for a certain item as as simple as deciding that if it doesn’t look good and feel good, you won’t wear it. It’s as difficult as that too, though, because sometimes we can’t trust our instincts: we THINK something looks good… but we’re just not sure. In that case it’s time to turn to a trusted friend, or, if you don’t have someone you can trust not to flatter you, ask someone to snap a quick photo of you in the outfit you’re undecided on: sometimes seeing yourself on film will let you look at yourself more objectively, and see things that perhaps weren’t apparent in the bedroom mirror.

But what about the skinny jeans that started this discussion? How old is too old for skinny jeans? 

Everyone will have a different opinion on this, but ours is that you’re really NEVER too old for skinny jeans. What matters is how you wear them and what kind of style you go for. As with all things style-related, the right fit is essential: jeans that give you muffin top, make your legs look like they’ve been encased in saran wrap, or which sag at the crotch and knees will look bad on ANYONE, regardless of their age.

How old is too old for skinny jeans?

Not all skinny jeans are created equal…

Then there’s the cut. Not all skinny jeans are created equal. Super-skinny jeans, for instance, are a fairly “young” look, and while that doesn’t have to mean they’re totally off-limits for older people, if you’re at all worried about wearing them, you might want to steer clear. A slim, pencil-leg cut, however, can be very classic, and, we’d argue, can work on women of almost any age: for instance, a pair of slim jeans worn with good quality tall boots and a tunic-style top is a laid-back, casual-but-chic look which isn’t age-specific, and  which could easily be adapted for any age group. if you’re worried about the “mutton-dressed-as-lamb” effect, meanwhile, well, just don’t dress as lamb: look for pencil leg rather than sprayed-on styles, and avoid wearing them with hooker heels or the type of tops that wouldn’t look out of place in a nightclub. Instead, go for high-quality fabrics and classic, well-cut pieces and rock those skinny jeans.

As we say, however, all of this is simply OUR opinion. Everyone has different thoughts on what constitutes “age-appropriate” dressing – or if being “age-appropriate” should even be a concern. For ourselves, we totally reject the idea that there is a certain age at which specific items become inappropriate, or that when women reach that “certain age” they should abandon all hope of style, and reach for the elasticated waistbands, blue rinse and sensible shoes. These days it can often be difficult to tell what age someone really is, and we don’t think it should matter anyway: but what do YOU think? Tell us: how old is too old for skinny jeans?



  • October 18, 2012

    Liz in Paris

    – I’m a UK size 12
    – I’m in my early fifties
    – I wear skinnies (not super skinny but ordinary skinny, if that makes sense)
    – I’ll wear skinnies as long as I damn well want to
    – Problem with that? Kiss it. 🙂

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  • October 19, 2012

    Carolina W

    I’m just not a fan of skinny jeans because they make me feel like I was dressed in spandex. I just find them plain uncomfortable, but that doesn’t mean other people can’t have fun wearing them!

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  • October 19, 2012


    Nice one, Amber! I’m mid fifties, size 8, and I’m still happy in skinnies, biker boots and a long sweater. Only rule – no camel toe on view!

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  • October 19, 2012


    The key is in the quality of the jeans. A good pair of jeans in a cut that makes you look good, its great at any age.

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