5 tips how to look great in a knit dress over 40

Knit dress are having a moment

Are you in love with that knit dress in the window for 60% off and torn whether or not to get it? Your little angel tells you “knit dresses are a classic, go for it, beauty.” However, the little devil in your head tells you “a knit dress can be tricky even when you are slim.” Here, are five tips to pay attention to and to make sure you wear it right. They may also be helpful to make a decision and peace between the angel and devil in your head and you and the knit dress.

#fashionover40 woman in knitdress
Barbour cable knit dress with brown GNW tights, Kieselstein Cord belt and buckle, Hermes collier de chien bangle, statement necklace, and Coach booties (all own)
  1. It is very important that the knit dress has enough ease to not look like a sausage on two legs. You should be able to gather half an inch (1.3 cm) of fabric without that the knit stretches. Since the fabric is doubled when you do this, it means you need at least an inch of ease. The ease allows the knit dress to flow over your body. Any more would look bulky and you would look heavier than you actually are. Nobody wants this. Period.
  2. The length should be long enough that it is clear that you did not forget to put your jeans on. It should be short enough that you don’t look like an old Lady. This means the hem should hit anywhere above the knee, but not higher than two hand width above your knee. The one in the photo is the absolute shortest I would go. As you see it is 2 inch (5 cm) longer than the tip of my hands.
  3. No VPL (visible panty line). Like with thin jeans or leggings, thongs avoid this. Laser cut  briefs with gel line instead of rubber bands work well too if you don’t mind them.
  4. Wear the right shapewear underneath. Even I do (and shapewear is hard to get in my size). Go for a shapewear slip. The ones with gel on the hem are perfect. They do not ride up. The shapewear slip has the advantage that you avoid creating awkward lines where shapewear separates would meet.  The ones with build in cups are best, but do not come in plus and small sizes. When you can’t get shapewear slip with build-in bra, go for a bra with a wide band and straps to avoid cut-in. It is the bra equivalent of avoiding VPL.
  5. Accessorize wisely. A little heel is fine, too high heels enter Pretty Woman territory, too flat comes across too young/girly (read 16/60). Add professional looking jewelry, i.e. stay away from glam, flashy, and too sparkly. A long cardigan, tailored leather motorcycle jacket, or blazer and/or belt are nice grownup stylish additions too (see next photo).
#fashionover50 woman in knit dress with jacket and booties
Barbour cable knit dress with Bebe motorcycle jacket, Kieselstein Cord belt and buckle, Coach booties, Festina watch, Hermes collier de chien bangle, and GNW tight (all own)

When to kiss the knit dress trend off

If you are not willing to commit to the above points, kiss this trend off, i.e listen to the little devil. In this case, don’t buy a knit dress. It will just take up real estate in your closet and you will not get enough wear for your money. If you are willing to commit, I bet you will be sad when the trend is over. But then you still can wear it under a skirt or with skinnies. Thus, you will get you money worth in wear even when the trend ins’t a trend anymore next fall.

#accessoriesover40 Kieselstein Cord belt and Collier de Chien bracelet
Zoom-in on the cable-knit pattern, Kieselstein Cord belt and buckle, Festina watch, and Hermes collier de chien bracelets (all own)

You can find a close-up of the booties at the link.

Are you temped by the knit dress trend? Are they a Yay or Nay in fashion over 40 in your opinion?

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Photos: G. Kramm

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