Style Advice Q & A

Can I Still Buy Things in the Junior Department When I’m over 40?

Hi Deborah!  LOVE your website!

I found a fake leather bomber jacket in the junior’s department this weekend.  I’m a stay-at-home mom in my 40s and was thinking it could be cute to wear with jeans and a t-shirt.  It’s just a basic black, with no trendy embellishments like zippers or studs. But still, am I kidding myself?  Should a woman of my age be wearing anything from the junior’s department and/or FAKE leather?  I can afford the real thing but just can’t find one at the moment so I snatched up the kiddy version. 

I usually wear it when I go shopping. Should I be embarrassed to wear this in public?

Thanks so much! Kathy M.

Hi Kathy,

Bomber jackets are really popular this fall fashion season. We have seen them in all of the magazines and on the street so you are on target with your sense of what’s in style. If you really can afford a better quality one we think you might want to be patient and wait for more stock to arrive. It seems the stores are late in getting in their coats this year.

As a rule, I usually do NOT recommend for over 40 gals to be shopping in the Junior department for several reasons:

  • The junior department clothes are made for young girls and might not be age-appropriate
  • The quality of the clothes can be poor
  • The cut of the clothes is meant for a younger body type
However, when it comes to something like a bomber jacket we would really have to see the jacket to make an assessment.
  • Does it fit you properly?
  • Is the faux leather looking fake?
  • Have you shopped around in other stores and in the women’s department?
  • Do you love and adore it?
I did some online shopping and what we found really did surprise me!  Some of the coats looked like they would certainly work for someone who is petite and wanted to be a little trendy and the prices were not too bad even at the higher-end stores.
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18 thoughts on “Can I Still Buy Things in the Junior Department When I’m over 40?

  1. It depends. Sometimes an excellent basic essential item can be found in the juniors department. I am petite with shorter legs and arms. So if I go to parties, I get too many cutesy items. If I go to the regular women’s age section, my mother in her 70s tells me I look gross or am wearing country woman or grandma clothes. I am not; I pick ditsy florals and clothing that makes me feel pretty as a petite woman. She buys me something as a gift; I take a picture wearing the shirt, look at my photos, and I am jaundiced! She says I don’t know my colors. Yet, the colors I choose don’t make me look ill. So, for me, shopping juniors sometimes saves me tailoring fees. If not, I must cut 4 inches off all my pants and arm sleeves.

  2. I believe that at even age 35, a woman should segway into misses. It depends on the item. I imagine a woman wants to look like she is wearing her outfit, not the reverse. I struggled with this dilemma and felt like there was no market for the 40’s club, but I didn’t feel confident shopping/wearing clothes from just. Like I used to. I just had to spend a little more time looking in misses to find something that complimented my figure.

  3. Oh please, I am 40 and look nothing like 40 and go to Express, H&M, Target Juniors Line, Kohls, Sears Juniors, Forever 21, Old Navy, The Gap, Nordstrom Rack, JCPenney Juniors, and Abercrombie to name a few and I look young without looming like a teeny bopper. Even my cousin who is 58 and shops at Taylor Loft would find stuff at some of the stores above and she looks quite youthful yet age-appropriate so your logic about where to stop shopping is wrong. Even when I get to 80, I will not shop at J Crew, Dress Barn, Chicos, Talbot, or Coldwater Creek. Heck, I rarely and I mean rarely buy anything in the Misses Section unless it looks young and cute or scarves that are any age-appropriate.

    1. I am thrilled to see this. I agree. I can see visually whether or not something will work. I do not go by the category or label unless it is the size.

  4. The Junior department is more about price point. If you are looking for something stylish you should shop ” the contemporary” department which is a higher price point. Better construction. Also I adhere to 40 being the new 20. I believe it has to do with each individual personal style.

  5. I always try to keep my options open and do sometimes shop in the juniors department. I find it’s the best area for pants. Tops are usually cut too slim if you are busty. You never know what you might find. As far as quality, you can find poor quality in any area. I was recently in a high end boutique trying on a fashion type blazer that was priced at $250. The construction was so poor the lining was sticking out of the sleeves and the buttons did not line up correctly so the lapel could not lay flat. When I told the manager, she did not even care. Just an example of how price does not always equal quality.

    1. HI Julie,
      Oh you are so right.. I failed to mention that just because it is expensive doesn’t means it is good quality. I have certainly seen my fair share of clothes of shoddy workmanship that were priced way too high. Even in places like Banana Republic, where the prices are somewhat reasonable….sometimes things are priced on the high side and then marked down. Great point you make!

  6. Oh I just noticed Ann’s answer. I want to ad there is nothing wrong with Stella McArtney’s quality and she it a Vegan and designs her things ethically! :-)

  7. ” If you really can afford a better quality one we think you might want to be patient and wait for more stock to arrive.”

    Wow I am quite shocked, that it would not even dawn on you ladies that not everyone purchases
    faux leather because they do not care about quality! What about ethical reasons? Some people wear faux lether and fun furs because they don’t eat meat…some where them, even if they eat meat, but do not want to flaunt wearing animals. I am stunned by your answer.

    I am always on the lookout for good looking faux leather pieces and I grew up with the finest Leather shoes, clothes and purses. But I do not use these itms now.

    1. Hi Tee,
      Just wanted to clarify. I was talking about waiting for more stock to come in so that she can go and shop in the women’s department and not have to settle on a jacket she might not be happy with no matter what material she chooses to purchase. I respect everyone’s choice to buy or not to buy leather and will always post all views so everyone can read them!

  8. I’m 54 and also buy clothes in the jr. department but only pants. The jr. size 5 fits me the best, I have tried but can never find any that fit me in the womens clothes they just aren’t made for me. I’m very picky about the pants that I buy. I only get dark wash jeans, no holes or shiny stuff and the dress pants look like normal pants you would find in the womens area. I am high waisted so the lower rise of the jr pants look better on me.

    1. HI Miichelle
      This sounds like you have a perfect way of shopping in the Jr. department. You are probably saving a lot of money by shopping that way too! You are one of the lucky ones to be small enough to fit in those sizes…. Good for you!!!

  9. Great overview on the perils of shopping the junior section – not just for jackets, but for other clothes as well. I especially like the point out about how pockets aligned with the wrong area or fur trim at the bottom can be a mistake. And so right on the gray jacket – I know gray has been sort of “in” but for me it doesn’t work as a good “leather” color in most cases. I would think many non-junior stores would fit a size 4 or even below – but the prices will be higher (thinking jcrew, talbots, and similar stores).

    1. HI Kelly,
      Thanks, that means a lot to me because you are always so honest with your comments!!! :) Yes, you are right on when you say that other non-junior stores will fit a size 4 or below. If someone is a true size 0 is can be REALLY frustrating..because some stores mark their clothes size small or 0 and it is really a lot larger!!!! It’s so funny, no one seems to have it easy when it comes to shopping, not even the tiny ones!!!

  10. Hi Ann,
    Thanks for your heartfelt comment and for your link on non-leather jacket options! I will try to do more articles and research on this topic since it does seem that many of our readers are wanting to learn more!
    Moreover to your point about being petite…it is a huge problem for many women out there as well! The “petite” departments often carry styles that are too little girly, however they have improved over the years. I was discussing “vanity” sizing in my last blog post about Outlet shopping…go there to read more on that!

  11. Most times it is necessary for me to shop in the Junior Dept. because that’s the only place I can find clothes to fit. It is frustrating, I’ve been a size 4 all of my adult life, I’m 53, but the sizing has changed. Most size “4’s” drown me now, I need a 0, and that is ridiculous! Size 0 is a made-up number! My weight has not changed, but the “vanity” sizing by garment designers has! I can’t find true size 4’s barely anywhere anymore. As for the fake bomber jacket- definitely the best choice! Better not to support cruelty which is the sad reality in making leather goods. There are plenty of great looking compassionate quality options available. Most people don’t stop to think about how leather products are made. I didn’t until 10 years ago. Since then I’ve gotten rid of all my leather purses, shoes, and jackets. It takes a bit more time, but you CAN find nice animal-free, cruelty-free items. I have a gorgeous red handbag I always get complimented on , from a vegan line. Looks just like patent leather. Here’s non-leather jacket options

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