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Can You Still Wear Jeans After Middle Age?

By: Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt - Updated: 28 May 2012 | comments*Discuss
Jeans Middle-age Women Older

While many women readily and easily make changes to their wardrobe as they approach and pass middle-age, the one item of clothing they often struggle with is jeans. Many are reluctant to give up the practical comfort and easy adaptability of jeans but at the same time, they worry that denim is not age-appropriate wear for those no longer in their twenties and thirties. So is it true that you can still wear denim after middle-age and if so, how should you wear them?

Yes, you can wear jeans in middle-age!

There is certainly no reason to stop wearing jeans just because you are no longer in the first flush of youth. Times have changed and society no longer has rigid labels and expectations of certain age groups only wearing certain styles and fashions. In fact, with 50 being the new 30 and so on, many more middle-aged women are more stylishly-dressed – and wear many fashion options better than their younger counterparts! Everyone – including middle-aged women – can wear jeans and look good in them. The trick is in choosing the right pair.

Beware how you wear jeans!

One common mistake many women make is to feel the need to wear “frumpy” styles of jeans just because they may be slightly older. They often select unflattering jeans with high waists, front pleats, a “generous” cut and tapered legs that end at the ankle. These styles do nothing for anybody – not even the most nubile teenager – and serve only to accentuate any flaws that you may have, such as a belly bulge, wide hips, short legs and sagging bum, not to mention giving you an overall dated, frumpy look. Naturally, it would be wise to avoid going to the other extreme: barring a few exceptions, tie-dyed, ripped, acid-bleached or fluorescent jeans generally look ridiculous when you are nearing or past middle age!

What to look for…

So how can you find the perfect pair of jeans so that you present the perfect combination of modern yet classy and sophisticated? Here are a few tips to help you:

  • Jeans with a natural waist (just below your belly button) are the most universally flattering. Remember, very low hipster jeans may be the height of fashion but unless you have a washboard flat stomach, you are best to avoid them unless you enjoy showing off rolls of bulging flesh over your waistband
  • Be honest about your thighs and choose a leg style with a width that will compliment them. For example, no matter how fashionable they may be, skintight cigarette or drainpipe jeans only really look good on those with thin legs. If you have larger thighs, choose a boot cut leg which will balance and flatter them more. Be careful though – if you go too far into flares or bell-bottoms, this can actually accentuate the width of your thighs. Tapered or pegged legs are very difficult to wear well – they generally make you look shorter so unless you’re blessed with legs like a giraffe, it is generally best to avoid them. If you are unsure, a simple straight leg is safe and flattering on most figures
  • Check the length of your jeans and be careful not to shorten them too much. If you wish to elongate your leg, make sure the hem reaches the top of your shoe (if you are wearing a straight leg style) or covers your heel (if you are wearing a boot cut style).
  • Colour is important – avoid the bright periwinkle blue that often accompanies many frumpy styles and be wary also of any novelty washes or distinct denim finishes. The most classic look is a naturally worn indigo and darker denim is generally more flattering for those who are more “well-endowed”
  • Women with curvier figures should keep a few extra things in mind: look for a denim with a bit of stretch for greater comfort; also look for a wider, less defined waistband as this is more likely to fit easily over any lumps and bumps, rather than squeezing them into prominence
  • Don’t forget to think about embellishments: remember, bigger pockets with more embellishments (e.g., embroidery, studs) will draw more attention to the rear area and hence enhance its size
  • For those that are less well-endowed in the backside and want to create the illusion of more womanly curves, a good trick is to buy jeans with high placed, stretched out, back pockets
  • Tall women should look out for jeans with extra long inseams and a straight leg or boot cut will suit them best, whilst short women should opt for straight legs to help them look taller

Ultimately, the most flattering jeans are those that follow the natural curve of your body, no matter what age or shape you are, and the only way to find this out is to try many, many pairs on until you find the perfect pair.

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