We do admire the Daily Mail for their consistent refusal to concede to the widely held and seriously erroneous belief that life ends for women at 45.
In the last week alone they have run features in their Femail pages on wearing a bikini at 60, photographed on former model Jilly Johnson, and on Thursday they photographed the elegant and soignée Sandra Howard (aka former model Sandra Paul) in dungarees. Yup, you read that correctly, dungarees.
And this is where the Mail and SoSensational part company, because while our website, specifically aimed at grown-up women, almost never proscribes clothing as too young; nor says "don't" or "never" about a trend, being of the firm belief that some women can carry off almost anything, regardless of their age, when it comes to dungarees we are prepared to make an exception. Despite cropping up on the catwalks, dungarees are an abomination in fashion terms, and permissable only for toddlers and decorators.
If you are neither of those, what's your excuse? Why, whether your style is rock-chick, hippy-chic or glamazon, would you want to wear the uniform of a Soviet era farm-worker or a Midlands car mechanic, circa 1958? And don't say they are "comfortable". They are a pain to get out of when you need the loo, and about as flattering, even to a size 10, 5'8" body, as a sisal sack.
Despite the piece being written in the first-person Sandra Howard looked about as comfortable in all five pairs as a fish on a bicycle. The styles ran the gamut from horrid to, well, florid, in denim, window-pane check, floral and plain black, and with her elegant bob and immaculate maquillage they utterly failed to match her "look", or her clothing personality, if you want to use image-consultant-speak.
Interestingly, the Mail made their ambivalence to dungarees clear by running the piece under the legend "fashion's naffest look is back in vogue, but...even grannies can carry it off."
Actually, grannies can't. It's not about body-shape - Sandra Howard still has an enviably slim, toned body - it is simply that there a few things which, when they crop up as a trend, the grown-up woman just has to say no to.
Dungarees, clearly is one, for all the reasons above, and because why do you want to be a fashion victim at 70. If age gives you anything, it is the confidence to reject certain trends. Not as unworkable at 70, but as irredeemably horrible and unwanted at any age. They confer no benefit, unless it is to allow you to crawl in and out of a wendy house without getting dirty knees, or have lots of pockets for spanners. If 20somethings want to look like fashion victims, we should leave them to it not emulate them.
And our other no-no's for grown-up women? Anything that combines frills, bows and pastels; not bows alone, not frills alone, not even pastels alone, but a combination of any two or, God forbid, all three; anything mini and tiered; anything so tight it shows rolls of fat; anything a three-year-old might wear (onesie, animal-ear hat)... beyond that, we say go for it; work the trends, adapt and style yourself so that fashion works for you. But when it comes to dungarees, step away from the rail now...
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