The headline was, "Carol Vorderman shows off her figure in skintight top and jeans" and the debate was, rather predictably, should a woman of 50 be wearing this outfit?
So you may or may not have seen this photo of Carol Vorderman leaving TV studios last week in jeans and a tight top... what a furore her casual outfit caused. The style/age debate reared its old, ugly, head again with the Daily Mail stating that "not many 50-year-old women could wear that". Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the media's thinly disguised (but heavily implied) example of Mutton Dressed As Lamb. A subject close to my heart obviously, considering the whole Not Dressed As Lamb thing I've got going on.
I have pondered this for the past week or so, considered the media's take on her outfit, and read the readers' observations. Personally, I wouldn't have batted an eyelid at it without the implied mutton comments. But as it was brought to my attention, whether for the right or wrong reasons, I struggled to work out why the outfit seemed so... wrong. And I think it was the fact that I wouldn't have batted that eyelid that made me realise exactly why.
I could see all sides of the argument:
Firstly: She has a fantastic figure and can pull off this outfit, with added lewd comments (mostly men). Secondly: No, she shouldn't be wearing such a 'young' outfit at her age (mostly women). And finally, a certain TV presenter refuses to accept that age should ever dictate how a woman dresses (Carol Vorderman).
Carol, I totally agree.
But it suddenly dawned on me what my problem with it was. It's not a mutton dressed as lamb thing at all. I was surprised that no-one brought up what I considered to be the real problem here: it's just a horrible outfit. Supposedly it should be worn by someone 30 years younger; somehow I just can't see this ensemble looking good on anyone. Imagine a young Hollywood starlet in those jeans and top (delete as appropriate): Blake Lively? No. Scarlet Johansson? Definitely not. Mila Kunis? No, no, no. Unfortunately the top looks like she dug it out from the back of her wardrobe from the pile she marked "charity shop" accumulated 15 years ago, not to mention there's too much information underwear-wise. Wearing jeans that look old-fashioned (early Nineties Carol?) always make older women look frumpy, and these do her Rear of the Year no favours at all. Surely Carol can do better than this, even dressing casually?
Thanks to this particular headline I've finally worked out my own theory behind dressing for your age when you're over a certain age (and I believe that it applies to 40+). My take is that there's only two rules to get it right:
1. Dress either classic or edgy or a mixture of both. For example,
Classic: Anna Wintour, Jennifer Aniston, Carmen Dell'Orefice.
Edgy: Sarah Jessica Parker, Mary Portas, Gwen Stefani.
2. Avoid dressing tarty.
And I mean steering totally clear of it because it's not about whether your figure can take it - believe me Carol is in amazing shape. Tarty (by that I mean cleavage, legs and heels, not as a derogatory term) is a high-maintenance style that can only be pulled off successfully by a woman of a certain age group, the best example being the girls from TOWIE. (It goes back to what I was saying in my OMG vs Meh post, that I'm a great believer in women being able to wear whatever they like, they just need to make sure they make a big effort - those girls really put in the work when it comes to their appearance.) Exposing that much flesh highlights all the saggy bits that are mostly unavoidable when you're over 40; surely you want people to notice your fabulous outfit, not your crêpey skin?
Ms. Vorderman herself admitted that she "bought the T-shirt from Topshop ten years ago and it cost £3.99". Please don't inflict such sloppy dressing on us, Carol; you're letting down yourself, the public and Mr. Roland Mouret every time you follow up your bootylicious Galaxy dress with an old jersey top and ill-fitting jeans.
In the words of Neil Sedaka:
I am but a fool
Darling I love you
Though you treat me cruel
You hurt me
And you make me cry".
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