I’ve been brave. I posted a comment below the line after reading Jess Cartner-Morley’s latest article. Apparently, larger, longer skirts are on-trend and that’s great, but, she warns, you have to be careful with these skirts otherwise you’re wearing old-lady clothes. Full title of said article is: ‘What I wore this week: frump chic’. So far so good, but her secondary title ‘The older you get, the harder it is to pull off old-lady clothes. You have to evoke light sartorial irony’, that’s not on.

Wouldn’t say I was overly offended but I couldn’t let it go without commenting as it’s not OK for a younger woman to use or get away with that ageist language. By the way, do have a read of Michele Hanson’s latest article, as she’s commenting on Professor Mary Beard’s campaign to reclaim the word ‘old’ and making the word a positive rather than a negative.  I mean, I really object to that connection old-lady = frumpy. No way, Jess.  And brave, well, you never know whether your own below-the-line comment will come in for narky comments. Just checked and nothing yet and quite a few likes!

To a certain extent I agree with Jess Cartner-Morley that there are skirts and tops that are not a good look.   We’ve all got to find our own style and, personally, I can’t wear high necklines and find mid-length skirts a bit of a trial.

I also find that vintage clothes are not good on me, albeit not counting that fab faux fur coat I bought two weeks ago! First of all, the clothes are too darn expensive in comparison to charity shop clothing. And then most of the vintage stuff available seems to be 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s clothing, which on a younger person does have that sartorial irony – as in, hey, this is a young person wearing something old – wow!   But if I wear anything from those decades (and remember I’m 68 so I’ve worn clothes from all those years) it just looks as though it’s been in the back of my wardrobe for eons and I’m being a bit old-fashioned today. And as that’s not the look I want most vintage is not for me.

swirly-skirt-webHowever, I have bought two mid-length skirts quite recently, and wore one for a disco-singing workshop. I sing in a choir (we sing everything from Beetles, Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel) and learning six disco songs (Bee Gees Staying Alive, was one) was time very well spent.

I always wear chunky ankle length boots with a mid-length skirt – never anything dainty – gives the outfit just a little edge.  Is that what Cartner-Morley means by sartorial irony?  Not sure, as I think the article is aimed at a much younger audience.  The skirt is silk, cost £7.50, has a Phase Eight label (that’s good) and had just the right swishyness for our performance at the end of the workshop, which was on a village green with an audience of 8 people and 6 dogs!  But it was all such fun!

Anyway, do let me know if you like wearing mid-length skirts.

That’s all for now

With love

Penny, The Frugal Fashion Shopper

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12 thoughts on “Large and long skirts a frumpy style – no way!

  • 8th October 2014 at 12:01 pm

    At 60 I have an aversion to mid length skirts, as I always think older women who have stuck with them for years look frumpy in them. However, this spring I was looking for an easy, straight, knee length denim skirt but ended up with a mid length flared, gored one from East! While it has been comfortable to wear on holiday this summer, I still feel dowdy in it! I am not sure we should embrace this trend unless we can make it look edgy! I agree about the vintage clothes too. As an art student in the 1970s I wore 1930s,40s and 50s vintage and loved it! Now I prefer to look ‘arty’ modern! Its a struggle to find good gear though! Love the blog!

    • 9th October 2014 at 6:44 am

      Hi Judy. Yes, I struggle with mid-length anything and only sometimes does it look good on me. As for vintage clothes I do like a nipped-in-the-waist look so anything 40s or 50s is good. I found a 50s Horrockses jacket in a charity shop which looks great and not too expensive. Thanks so much for the feedback 🙂

  • 8th October 2014 at 2:09 pm

    Hi Penny, It is great that you called out Jess Cartner-Morley on her ageist comment. It is really important to express anything and everything that we see in our lives that is not acceptable. If we don’t express this, then we are actually saying it’s OK, and allowing it to continue.

    • 9th October 2014 at 6:50 am

      Yes, totally agree, Laura. Jess Cartner-Morley probably just didn’t think that people of all ages read her articles. Hopefully she’s taken note of the comments, which were very similar to mine, that old-lady does not equal frumpy. Although, on the other hand, I kind of agreed with her that it is harder when you’re older to wear those casually ‘old’ and ageing styles. It was an unfortunate use of language that I objected to rather than her advice.

  • 8th October 2014 at 2:12 pm

    Oh, Penny!
    I think our shape determines the wearing of mid calf skirts! The one you show is rather full for any but a very slim woman, but a mid calf skirt which has a slim cut (not tight) waist and hips, then falls to a slightly fuller hemline is gorgeous, especially on someone who has a fuller figure. It can be worn with a trim ankle boot or a slight heel, and never look frumpy. Honestly! And those skirts are out there…It is fun looking. Your blog has opened up this whole other world of thrift shopping. I am mixing it with new items, have given away bags and bags of boring clothes, and now get a lot of fun out of what I wear.
    Many thanks for your inspiration,

    • 8th October 2014 at 3:05 pm

      Nice skirt Penny. I had also noticed Jess’s remarks about older women; just so out-of-date,

      • 9th October 2014 at 6:57 am

        Glad you agreed with me about that article, Jill. An unfortunate use of language perhaps, as she just didn’t think it through that all ages read her articles.

    • 9th October 2014 at 6:54 am

      Actually I totally agree that structured skirts do wonders for the figure and I have a couple of skirts in my wardrobe that are nearly as you describe – wear them to London. In fact structured, slim cut skirts, rather than full skirts, are also very elegant. Glad to be an inspiration, Margaret, as the main thing is not to spend too much money so you can feel freer when you de-clutter which is always a good thing!

  • 8th October 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Have been reading – and greatly enjoying – your blog for a while now and, as an almost 70 year old on a tight budget who loves clothes (rather than fashion), I also do most of my clothes shopping in charity shops. My wardrobe includes a silk tea-dress from Whistles, a winter coat from Monsoon, Farhi shirts, a beaded skirt by Diane Von Furstenberg and much more – all bought for £5 on average. I absolutely agree about the difference between charity and vintage shops – have sampled the latter and walked out empty-handed.

    I rarely read fashion writers (these days I just look at the pics . . .) but I did click through to the article you mention and all I can say is ‘lazy journalism’. A writer who values their readers – and who has something to say that’s worth saying- doesn’t need to relying on stereotype and cliché to make their point.

    PS And, no, I won’t be sporting the longer skirt, high neck combination; as a size 12 and a mere 5’5″ that wouldn’t be a good look for me, at any age.

  • 9th October 2014 at 7:01 am

    Hi, and so nice to meet you and get your feedback. Your wardrobe sounds wonderful – and you have some good names there – love the sound of that beaded skirt. And personally, I don’t like spending more than £5 either, which is why vintage is such a no-no in so many ways. I mean they are second-hand clothes after all! Thanks again for reading me, I certainly value your comments.

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