Are Patterned Jeans Just for Teens?

Hi Deborah,

I love the very trendy patterned jeans and wonder if they’re too young for the 50+ gals. I found a really cute pair that are wine colored with a tone-on-tone harlequin pattern. They’re pretty tame compared to some I’ve seen. But I’m really stuck on how to wear them without looking like an over fifty fashion victim. Help! Susan

Hi Susan,

First, there were colored jeans, and now patterned jeans are all the rage leaving many of us are wondering the same thing as you. Are these age appropriate?

Adrienne Shubin
Deep breath…..! They can be…… There’s really no one cut and dry answer.

Certain patterns may look too teeny bopper, others will look fab at any age. Every pattern has a different personality. The tone-on-tone harlequin could work. You have to eyeball it.  Of course, it also counts what you pair your patterned jeans with.

For example, Let’s take a look at this cute pair of patterned jeans sent in by a reader.

Adrienne Shubin, the blogger behind The Rich Life on a Budget,  sent in a great idea for how to wear print jeans. Adrienne paired her Gap floral jeans with a white shirt and double breasted navy jacket.

Pretty cute with those sleeves rolled up to look more sporty. I’m sold!

I think the key here is she kept things really classic. Sure the pants are fun, but the style of the jacket and the navy color are conservative. The ballet flats are simple and don’t compete with the pants.

Also, back to that jacket…a jacket worn with any skinny jean like this adds structure to your shoulders. It makes your shoulders look wider and therefore your bottom half slimmer. That’s a good thing because patterns attract attention and it can be scary knowing we are attracting a lot of attention to an area which may not be as firm or slender as it used to be.

Lesson here- The pants are the focal point, so keep everything else simple, neutral and classic and you can’t go wrong.

That’s one great recipe for how to wear patterned jeans over 40. Have you bought patterned jeans this season. How do you wear them?

Send a photo to [email protected] and I’ll post it.



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  1. I love Adrienne’s style, she is such a gorgeous lady and obviously has a fabulous figure!
    Her printed trousers go so well with the classy blazer and shoes.
    Amazing look!

    Annette
    Lady of Style

  2. I’ve been avoiding patterned jeans even though I love the idea…thanks for showing how to wear them!

  3. marion davies says:

    I enjoy your weekly fashion updates and think I’ve learned a thing or two or ten in the process. My question: you often state something is “appropriate for over 40″ but I am wondering how far that really goes, or should go. I am 61, that’s over 40 for sure (but I remember it with pleasure). Just because something is over 40 doesn’t mean it works for me as 60+. So could I respectfully suggest a re-focus, perhaps addressing issues separately as categories over-40 to ???, and then separately as category from ???? value to over 60??? Trust me there is a large and growing market out here for the 60 plus fashion conscious woman who remembers hot pants, Cher’s bell bottoms and bare midriff blouses of the early 70s – but does appreciate them as fashion history. Thanks for a great weekly newsletter!

    • Hi Marion,
      When I say over 40, I mean over 40, 50 and beyond. It’s really more about your figure and if you have the personality to carry something off. So please don’t limit yourself so much. Experiment and have fun.

      • Emily Lees says:

        I love many of the ideas you feature in your website, and it has helped me to push myself a bit style-wise. Like Marion, though, I’m in my early 60′s, and I find myself wondering if I would look like mutton dressed as lamb (even if not a real young lamb!). So many of the women featured are in their mid, or even early 40′s. I am medium tall and slim, so clothes meant for younger women do tend to fit me better than those aimed at women in my age group — a good problem to have, but it does mean that I feel that I have to be super careful in my choices. I would love it if you would publish more pictures of women in their 50′s, 60′s or older who look sophisticated and modern but don’t fall into the trap of being too outrageous in their style. Thanks, and keep up the good work.

  4. Susan Scott says:

    Thanks so much for the advice! I found a long fitted tee in the same color family of my patterned jeans. The tone on tone color combo with a black swingy cardigan worked. I think your idea of flats is great. I tried boots but it just didn’t click. The flats were definitely the shoes to pull the outfit together in an age appropriate fashion. Thanks for all your tips – they are very much appreciated!

  5. Adrienne is just beautiful & always looks like she stepped right out of a magazine! She rocked these jeans!! :)

  6. Adrienne is such a beautiful lady and I love her style.
    She combined the printed trousers with a navy blue blazer in a perfect way!

    Annette

    • I bought a black and tan african inspired pattern today. Also a moto jacket. Saw sandi rinaldo wearing one reading the news, so why not?