Knit dresses are perennial trend and among winter style favorites in cold climate regions. Unfortunately, they are tricky to wear with natural menopausal body changes. This guide covers what to do and avoid to look your best in a knit dress over 40.
- Knit Dresses are Having a Moment
- What to Look for When Buying a Knit-dress
- Shapewear Is a Must
- Tips How to Style a Knit dress
- Accessories and Matching with Other Attire
- Knit-dress Outfit Ideas
- When to Kiss the Knit-dress Trend Off
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Knit Dresses 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.” Your angel reminds you that your criterion to buy is to come up with three looks with the knit dress. The little devil may go on and on. Like not every trend is for everybody. Or that 50% off is not a good deal.
When you are a regular reader, you may have seen how I wear my knit dress over 50. In the following, there are five tips. When youpay attention to them you can wear it right. These tips may also be helpful to make a decision and peace between the angel and devil in your head and you and the knit dress.
What to Look for When Buying a Knit-dress
To find the perfect knit dress make sure to keep the following tips in mind before you hand over your credit card.
- 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. This means it hugs your body rather than being bodyconcious. Any more would look bulky and you would look heavier than you actually are. Nobody wants this. Period.
- 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 or around the the knee, but not higher than two hands 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.
- Go for a classic slightly tailored at the waist cut.
- Buy the highest quality you can afford. Merino wool, cashmere or blends thereof look polished and sophisticated.
- When you go for a knit (read not fine jersey), a solid color is a Must unless it’s intended for the weekend only.
Shapewear Is a Must
This may be the bad news. When the dress is body concious, wearing shapewear is inevitable. A loose version like the teal dress can work without. My arsenal of shapewear has grown over the last decade or so. And I love the feeling of pressure and being in control. However, I know, many women just plain hate that feeling. If so, go for a more relaxed style.
Tips How to Style a Knit dress
To look stylish and polished try the following styling tricks.
- Go for a vertical ribbed pattern to avoid adding weight and/or to create a slimming effect. Recall: Vertical lines lead the eyes up-and-down giving the illusion of height.
- Try a monochromatic outfit for looking taller than you are.
- The dark colors of your palette have a slimming effect. Thus, avoid pastels, light colors or red when you can’t afford the visual extra weight these colors add.
- Yes, there are underwear issues to consider. 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.
- 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 built-in cups are best, but do not come in plus and small sizes. When you can’t get a shapewear slip with built-in bra, go for a bra with a wide band and straps to avoid cut-in. It is the bra equivalent of avoiding VPL.
Accessories and Matching with Other Attire
- Accessorize wisely. A little heel is fine, too high heels enter Pretty Woman territory, too flat heels come across too young/girly (read 16). Add professional looking jewelry, i.e. stay away from glam, flashy, and too sparkly. Try accessorzing with a belt for shape.
- A long cardigan, tailored leather motorcycle jacket, denim jacket or blazer and/or belt are nice grownup stylish additions too (see photos below).
- Add a brooch or statement belt instead of a necklace.
- Wear shorter than 4 inch (10 cm) above the knee knit-dresses with leggings on the weekend (see striped dress later in this post).
- Try a straight skirt underneath for sophisticated work look (see the photo with the pink sweater dress and burgundy skirt, boots later in this post). The dress over skirt look is a chic layering trick to maintain style in painful cold weather while staying comfortable when you have to wait for a bus.
Knit-dress Outfit Ideas
The photos below give some inspirations how an over 40 years old can wear the trend without looking like trying too hard or not trying at all. Full disclosure, I am way over 50 years old. When I can do it, you can do it too. Of course, if you want too.
Don’t let the right outfit be a random thing. Wear the right look in every situation by looking up what to wear when in How to Dress for Success in Midlife. Buy my book now.
GNW purple tight,Söfft shearling buckle booties, unbranded belt, Heide Ara buckle, amethyst earrings (all own) and Penelope sweater dress c/o Femme Luxe
Vince Camuto suede tall boots with golden chains, GNW tights, GNW scarf knotted in a European loop, gemstone statement necklace, Calvin Klein sheath, Hermes collier de chien bangle, DIY bangle with quartz crystal (all own) and knitdress c/o Femme Luxe
Missoni dress, statement dagwood flower beaded necklace, DIY cuff, Hermes collier de chien bangle (all own), tights c/o Hipstik Legwear, layering top c/o Cami Confidential, and Ivanka Trump pink suede pumps c/o Wikibuy
Silk neckerchief, suede statement belt, Modalo Pippa bag, Vince Camuto suede boots (all own), tight c/o No nonsense, and gray ripped knit dress c/o AMICLUBWEAR
Vince Camuto slouchy suede boots, statement belt, DIY earrings, layering top, J. Peterman knit dress (all own) and tights c/o Hipstik
Pink knit jumper dress c/o Femme Luxe with own silver belt, GNW tight, Max Mara boots, unbranded scarf, Hermes collier de chien bangle, DIY bangle with quartz and Rebecca Collins necklace
Zaful black, red, green, white striped mini dress, black leggings, red with white dots Keds, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Notations white and black striped cardigan, Hermes red Constance bag, statement necklace (all own), and bracelet c/o Lizzy James
Sunnies c/o Messyweekend with own unbranded silk scarf, Diane von Fürstenberg knitdress, Gucci scarf, statement necklace, topas earrings, L.K. Bennett tall boots, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Festina watch and Prada bag (all own)
Like these outfit ideas? If so, please feel free to pin them to your own Pinterest board.
When to kiss the knit-dress trend off
If you are not willing to commit to the above points, kiss this trend off. This means just don’t buy a knit dress. It will just take up real estate in your closet. You will not get enough wear for your money when you feel uncomfortable in the piece. 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. There is a lot of other cozy warm knitwear. See this guide for tips how to look ageless in knits.
Are you temped by the knit-dress trend? In your opinion, are they a Yay or Nay in fashion over 40?
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Interested in more dressing tips? Then my style book “how to Dress for Success in Midlife” is perfect for you. Buy the book now.
When you like the outfit, why not pinning it to your Pinterest board?
When you are in the market for a knit beauty, you may be interested in reading my
Top of the World Style linkup No. 294
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