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OK, it’s true that some people may despair of my style and even refer to certain aged farm animals behind my back.  On the other hand,  I  say “Baa humbug” back at them, because no matter how much you can cut, freeze and plump yourself from the neck up, what’s happening from the neck down can often do a whole lot more to make you look younger or older.  (The Real Housewives of any city, I’m looking at you!)

So here’s some particular items of clothing that come to mind when I think what should be avoided from your fourth decade, give or take a few birthdays.

Cardigan wrap coat thingys – I know this is going to be an unpopular call, but honestly, I don’t even think Miranda Kerr can make this look cool, and she still has an under 30 supermodel head sticking out of the top of it.  Only a few years older and a less perfect visage and I  just think this look is a blight on our middle-aged landscape.

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¾ length pants.  Not a cropped pant, not a culotte, generally not a Capri, and not even all Bermuda shorts (although a certain version of this short deserves its own mention). Particularly in white or taupe.  A parochial reference point would be Witchery – despite the inspirational efforts of Sophie Holt at revamp, this pant seems to have its own ‘star of fame’ in the witchery warm  season lookbook.   Which only serves to mis-guide the innocent that it’s a ‘good look’, when pure and simply, it’s not.  No single piece of clothing says I’m middle aged more effectively  –  only  moving your menu back and forward in a restaurant trying to get focus is a more dependable date stamp.

Flared exercise pants.  Actually, I don’t even like these on my 10 year old daughter, but she has to wear them for jazz class.  So what is it about middle aged women that defer to  this style over a standard legging?  To some degree the width at the bottom might balance out width at the top, but what’s the point in looking marginally slimmer if it just makes you look significantly frumpier?

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Other items to ‘Handle with Care’ in my opinion are cargo pants (J Brand Houlihans from a few years ago, ok – 3/4 length from any mature ladies chain store, never),  Maxi-dresses (shoes have a lot to do with make or break), boot-leg jeans, white jeans, rope-wedge espadrilles, flat knee length boots.

On the other hand, there are certain things that from 9 to 90 just have a youthful insouciance and and cool that work better than Dr Brandt’s expensive fingers.  Converse, the right classic cut jeans, the right white t-shirt have a place in everyones wardrobe.

For now though, I’ll leave you with thoughts in the negative and ask, what do you think should be, or shouldn’t have been, on the above list?

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