Can anyone pull off dungarees in middle age?11/10/2021
As Sarah Jessica Parker dons them in the revival of Sex And The City: Can anyone pull off dungarees in middle age?
- Sarah Jessica Parker was spotted in dungarees on set of Sex And The City revival
- Claudia Connell says dungarees don’t look good on anyone over a size 12
- Helena Frith Powell claims dungarees can make her seem slimmer and taller
By Claudia Connell
Come On Eileen was No 1 in the charts the last time I wore dungarees. It was 1982, and I was 16.
It had become the height of fashion to walk around looking like a ragamuffin, as Dexys Midnight Runners did in the song’s video.
I used to roll my dungarees up, wearing them sockless with plimsolls and a crop top, and I proudly used a length of rope instead of a belt. I thought I looked the bee’s knees — but that’s the folly of youth for you.
Claudia Connell and Helena Frith Powell debate if anyone in midlife can pull of dungarees, after Sarah Jessica Parker (pictured) was spotted in dungarees on the set of the Sex And The City revival
In my 50s I’ve re-embraced many 1980s fashions that have come back into style, such as shoulder pads, high-waisted jeans and scrunchies. But I draw the line at dungarees.
Today, as a 55-year-old, the only possible excuses for wearing them would be if: 1) I had landed a job as a CBeebies presenter; 2) I was working at Kwik Fit; or 3) I was pregnant and about to become one of the oldest women in the UK to give birth.
As none of those are true, I won’t be purchasing a pair, no matter how hard the fashion industry might try to persuade me they’re a flattering choice for older women.
Claudia (pictured) says dungarees don’t look good on anyone over a size 12
As a reed-thin celebrity who teams her dungarees with sky-high metallic platforms, Sarah Jessica Parker looks good in hers. As a dumpy, non-famous person who can’t walk in heels, I’d be laughed out of the room.
Dungarees don’t look good on anyone over a size 12 and, when it comes to middle-aged women, that’s most of us. They are also not designed to be worn by anyone with big boobs. The bib, together with whatever you’ve chosen to put underneath, will make you look like Tweedledum.
Adult fans of dungarees claim their main appeal is that they are comfortable. Really? That’s not my recollection. Whichever top you wore underneath used to ride up and create lumps. The only way to stop this was to tuck your shirt or jumper into your knickers.
Visits to the loo are a huge faff, too, and you have to be on your guard or those wretched straps will end up dangling in the lavatory bowl.
As a teenager, the multi pockets on dungarees were useful. As a grown woman, I now have a handbag that does a fine job of housing all my day-to-day bits and bobs.
If SJP is wearing dungarees in the new series of Sex And The City, then they are sure to become a thing. But impracticality and discomfort aside, my biggest dungaree gripe is that they infantilise grown women. They’re clothes for children, so if you wouldn’t wear white ankle socks or your hair in bunches, please also disregard dungarees.
Helena Frith Powell (pictured) claims dungarees give the illusion of being slimmer and taller
By Helena Frith Powell
While shopping with my 22-year-old daughter this August, I recalled how much I love dungarees.
My daughter tried on a dark blue linen pair. They looked fabulous. She suggested that ‘we’ buy them and share them. ‘I’m too old for dungarees,’ I told her. She said ‘Nonsense’ and urged me to try them on, too.
There was something liberating about the shape and deep pockets. They were comfortable and flattering — a loose fit that showed just enough of my contours to make me seem slimmer than I am, and taller, due to the unbroken line of material.
I had clearly tapped into a trend. Sarah Jessica Parker, who has been a style icon for more years than she would care to admit, was spotted in dungarees on the set of the Sex And The City revival, looking splendid.
There are naysayers out there who are dogmatic in their belief that women of a certain age can’t pull off certain items of clothing. Then along comes SJP to prove them wrong.
The last time I had tried on a pair, 15 years ago, was not a great success. While I thought they were rather flattering, my husband said I looked like Andy Pandy, the pyjama-clad marionette from the 1960s and 70s children’s TV series. The dungarees were handed back to the assistant.
As a teenager my light blue dungarees were my favourite item of clothing, the one thing I could rely on to always look just right, be it for a trip to the shops or a night out. I wore them so much the denim started to feel more like thin cotton.
But as I grew older, things changed. My 20s were dominated by power dressing, my 30s by pregnancies (and dungarees are not ideal when you have to pee every ten minutes). Until that day in August when I tried on the dark blue dungarees.
But was I being ridiculous? SJP might be able to pull off anything in middle age, but that didn’t mean I could. I texted a fashionista friend who assured me that age is irrelevant when it comes to dungarees.
She extolled their versatility: they can be worn down with a T-shirt and trainers or up with a luxe blouse or a cashmere roll neck. ‘Go for white and pale colours in spring and summer, and darker shades for autumn and winter,’ she suggested.
‘We’ bought the dungarees and my daughter has only been able to get her hands on them twice — but concedes that, as I paid for them, that’s fair. Now I’m craving Wyse’s dark denim pair that make your legs look long and stomach flat. In fact, how about a velvet pair for Christmas Day? If my husband mentions Andy Pandy again, I’ll tell him he’s showing his age, in more ways than one.
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