Telling us we should or shouldn't wear certain items is an easy way to make us take pause. Every woman is allowed to dictate her own personal style and what makes her feel best. That being said, we've all come to a time when we've stopped and asked ourselves, Do I really still want to wear this? Whether it's due to passing trends or evolving taste, over time, there are pieces that just no longer seem to fit in with the rest of our wardrobes.
That's why we enlisted the help of an etiquette expert, Diane Gottsman, to help us break down what makes certain controversial styles age appropriate or not. Then we took her advice and found a grown-up spin on the piece instead. Love leggings? Treggings are the staple's older sister. Same can be said for the jumpsuit instead of a romper. In the end, nothing is off limits—it's all about the way you wear it—but if you're looking to leave certain styles behind, we've got you covered.
Read on to see Gottsman's advice and shop the sophisticated sisters of these staples.
The Age: 20s (for mini shorts)
According to Gottsman, cutoffs can be a very subjective topic. Her advice: As you get older, look for cutoffs that are on the longer side. Look for a style that cuts off at mid-thigh or the knee instead of super-short shorts.
Instead Try: We're big fans of structured denim shorts. The longer hemline and lack of fraying feels a little more age-appropriate.
The Age: Never, but…
Leggings are a wardrobe staple, but for Gottsman, it's all about styling and fit. "They are flattering for both workout and casual wear with a long T-shirt covering your back end, or a pair of boots and a chunky sweater," she says. "You can really mess the look up by wearing leggings that are too tight, regardless of how young you are. It's not the age—it's what you see in the mirror."
Instead try: For a sophisticated alternative, try "treggings," a cross between trousers and leggings that feel a bit more sophisticated.
The Age: 40s
When it comes to skirting, it's important to keep occasion in mind. "The reality is that a miniskirt is not a universal flattering staple item in all women's closets." Gottsman says. "If you have great legs, a conservative mini (not micro-mini) is fun for a night out but not for the office."
Try Instead: There are plenty of super-cute midi skirts on the market, and we think the trendy style looks good on everyone.
The Age: 25–30
When it comes to one-and-done outfits, fashion girls tend toward jumpsuits instead of rompers, which can sometimes look young. Says Gottsman, "If you have to wonder if something is too tight, short, old, etc., it probably is. Donate or purge."
Try Instead: A jumpsuit. It's super flattering and can easily work for the office or a night on the town.
The Age: 60s
Skinny jeans are a wardrobe staple for plenty of women, but the key to wearing them is about fit and style, finding a pair that isn't too tight, or overly trendy. "Women of all ages can wear a pair of skinny jeans when they select the right cut and style, but leave the fads to the teens and 20-somethings," recommends Gottsman.
Try Instead: Relaxed-fit jeans. Squeezing into skinny jeans can be a pain, but we love the comfort and effortlessness of boyfriend jeans. They're the ultimate denim staple.