Wednesday, July 12, 2006


How old is too old?

This past weekend, I was looking for a quick wardrobe fix to get me through the summer heat and I had gone out looking for a simple knee-length skirt when I found myself looking seriously for the first time at 'skorts'. I've always found both the word and the concept of "skort" a bit absurd, to be honest, but one in particular didn't have the fake skirt panel in front and divided legs in back but instead looked like a skirt all the way around - a skirt that just happened to have little bloomers sewn in like the hot pants from the 1960s. I actually thought it was a skirt when I brought it into the changeroom. I tried it on, and despite the extra material, I liked it immediately. The hem falls to two or three inches above the knee, but the straight cut and stretchy material (god bless lycra) are forgiving and it looks sharp enough for work with a blouse and nice shoes.

The problem is that now that I'm wearing it, the 'skort' part feels more than a little weird, like I'm wearing boxer shorts under my skirt. There's just too much material down there. And what exactly is the point of those knickers sewn in there, anyway? I just don't get 'skorts'... the only reason I bought this one is because it so closely resembled a skirt and was a stellar 40% off the regular price.

If I had one signature piece of clothing in my 20s and early 30s, it was probably a plaid, kilted mini-skirt. I loved them, was pathologically unable to resist them, and had at least five versions hanging in my closet in colour palettes from black and gold to burgundy and teal. While I may have been self-conscious about a lot of my other body parts, I was always more than willing to show off my legs.

In the last year or so, since I realized that my post-pregnancy 10 lbs weight gain was going to be a permanent feature, I've gradually become more shy about baring my legs. Instead of moving into shorts at the first hint of a spring breeze, it was well into early summer before I hauled out the shorts this year, and even then I've moved from a shortie-short to a walking shorts length.

And because everything you see on TV must be true, I have also taken to heart the sign at the beginning of What Not to Wear that admonishes "no miniskirts after age 35". My lovely plaid kilts, in addition to now being a full size or two too small, are also no longer age appropriate. It's heartbreaking, really, but bitter as I am, I guess I can see their point.

What do you think? Are there some things you don't wear anymore because you are a woman (or man) of a certain age? Have you taken out your belly-button stud? (Oh, how I wanted one of those when I was 24 and freshly divorced!) Weight issues aside, what do you think of the 'no miniskirts after 35' rule? Is there such a thing as too old for certain styles?