I recently found a pair of dark-wash Eileen Fisher skinny jeans on sale — for a ridiculous price — and I took the plunge. I’m pleasantly surprised by some of the looks I have been able to pull off, but other looks have bombed, and I look like I’m wearing my daughter’s outfit.
My experiences suggest that the length of the top is critical. I was wondering if you have any advice — what guidelines should I keep in mind while choosing tops to go with my skinny jeans? I’m 41 and I definitely don’t want to look like I’m dressing in clothes or styles that are too young for me.
I love skinny jeans. Love love LOVE them. The amazing thing about skinny jeans is how great they look on just about everyone, including 40-something moms with curves. But there are a few tricks to looking super fab — and age-appropriate — in your skinnies.
Fit matters. Look for skinny jeans that fit properly in the waist, hips and thighs. Muffin top is caused by a too-tight waistband; if you’re rolling over the top of your jeans (or any pants or shorts) you’ve got the wrong size waist. Fortunately, the waist is the easiest part of your jeans to tailor, so start by getting a good fit in the hips and thighs — you don’t want them bagging, obviously, but you also don’t want them so tight that you can’t move. If you’re buying skinnies with stretch (which I recommend), find a pair that fits and then go down a size; they’ll expand as you wear them and after about the first 20 minutes or so should fit perfectly.
Proportion, proportion, proportion. Savitha asked what length her top should be to avoid the dreaded ice cream cone look. The simple rule of thumb is that your top should hit just at the widest part of your hip; any shorter and your hips will look extra wide, any longer and your legs will look extra short. But length is only half of the equation — think about the shape of your top as well. A flowy empire waist or baby doll top will overwhelm your skinnies (and make you look like you’ve raided your daughter’s closet); instead, opt for a top that is slightly wider than your hips but not terribly voluminous. If you’re curvy on the top and bottom, think about belting your top to give your waist some definition — a long sweater or tunic belted over a pair of skinny jeans is a chic, stylish look no matter what your age.
Dress it up. Sometimes the difference between looking like a kid and looking like an adult is in the accessories. Pair skinny jeans with pretty ballet flats or kitten heels instead of tennis shoes; add a necklace or striking belt or a beautiful bag. Swap your basic t-shirt for a woven shirt or structured sweater. It’s honestly not any harder to throw on a button down in lieu of a tee, and you’ll look less like you’ve robbed your teen’s closet and more like you’re making a style statement.
Your turn: How are you styling your skinnies? Or are you avoiding the skinny jeans trend entirely?
Photo via Eileen Fisher