Mid-30s Style

A Fashion Minefield, if We Do Say So Ourselves

There is one thing that makes me feel old.  It’s not the horizontal lines permanently etched on my forehead (my three year old asked, “Why do you have those cracks on your face?”).  It’s not the smile lines around my mouth or the fine lines around my eyes.  It’s not even the fact that my mother – my own mother – looked at me and said “It’s a good thing you have a hair appointment coming up!”, referring, of course, to my inch of grey roots.   

What really makes me feel old are today’s latest styles, which were the styles of my teenage years.  Skinny jeans!  Leggings!  Oversized sweaters and slouch boots!  Now, it’s hard enough to maintain good style when you are a mom –especially since the word “mom” is associated with so much bad style: mom hair, mom jeans, etc. – but when fashion dictates clothing from your long-lost youth, well, it can be a bit disheartening.   

It’s hard to strike a balance between invoking that wretched “mutton dressed as lamb” saying and looking like a Saturday Night Live caricature complete with elastic waist jean-like pants and tapestry vest.  So how do you do it?  My personal rules are as follows:

Begin from the inside out.

No, I don’t mean inner beauty; although that is something we should all be striving for.  I’m talking about underwear.  No visible panty lines, no thong sightings, and for goodness sake, wear a bra. Let’s face it, mummies, pregnancy, nursing, and weaning all have significantly adverse effects on the “girls” – that is why God invented the Wonderbra.

One good pair of jeans is worth five cheap pairs.

Cheap jeans look cheap: the material, the lack of shape, the poor fit.  Buy a good pair that highlights your assets without giving you a muffin top. Remember: skinny jeans rarely look good even on the models who advertise them.  Enlist the help of a salesgirl, just remember: no mom jeans.   

If you wore it twenty years ago, do not wear it again.

This is the cardinal rule of retro fashion, the line that should not be crossed.  Adding trendy components to your wardrobe is fine, but duplicating the outfit you wore to a grade nine dance is not.  It’s one thing to dress stylishly; it’s quite another to look like a modern-day Baby Jane.   

Best of luck in your quest for hip – but not silly hip – style.


Nicole MacPherson is a quantitative analyst turned stay-at-home mom. She loves yoga, gardening, and red wine. She lives in Calgary with her husband, two sons, and male dog, and blogs about her testosterone-filled life at girlinaboyhouse.blogspot.com.