Gemma tries it on: 'It's time to start dressing in a more appropriate way for my age'


I've become old. I don't mean I'm planning to move into a retirement home or investing in some M&S elasticated-waist trousers quite yet, but I have decided that the time might be right to start dressing in a more appropriate way for my age.

I generally wear Topshop 'Leigh' jeans and my trusty black pair are now grey – they don't like being washed as much as I like to wash them, so off I popped to my local branch to re-stock.

I knew age was a factor when I was actually shocked by the amount of crop tops on offer. Of course, it's a trend, and I'm no prude, and I would no doubt be sporting one myself if I were 15 years younger. (In fact, I did have a lovely pink one in my youth but my nanny Ivy told me I'd get a chill in my kidneys, so it didn't last very long.) Also seen in abundance were playsuits, which frankly all looked like they belonged on a festival field on the little fashion sheep, to be worn with obligatory bowler hat.

I visited the boutique section where you can normally find variables of nice black sack dresses, grey marl sweaters and well-designed jackets. It's all a bit androgynous; you'd never find a scary playsuit in this section. I felt safe amid the monochrome.

Though unwilling to look like an ageing naval-displaying raver, I was determined not to be beaten. Of course there were crop tops, offered here in black wool, but I couldn't even be tempted with those as I like to tuck my belly into my waistband and that wouldn't look nice, would it? But I was tempted by a grey, cotton, long-sleeved dress and a black wool sweater, and I even pondered over a leather skirt.

I love leather skirts, and I love mini-skirts, but I just don't know if mixing the two together on me is such a match made in heaven. So I walked around the shop with it, my head saying no, my heart saying yes. Sod it, you only live once. Sold to the old lady in the oversized overcoat!

So in the comfort of my own bedroom, on went the dress which clung to my rear: horrid. On went the jumper: too short in the body – I don't do cropped lengths, remember? And on went the leather skirt, which fitted. I like it. Will I ever venture out of the house wearing it? Probably not, I'm far too old.