‘I’m 44 and having a denim crisis. This is what a stylist told me to do.'

Jeans have long been a staple in my wardrobe ever since I got my first pair of Levi 501s in the 1990s and fell in love. I migrated to the bootcut in the Y2K era and have always rocked a '70s flare, but when skinny jeans entered the group chat in the mid-2000s, I was hooked. 

I loved how I could wear them with knee-high boots over the top, or with heels for nights out. I loved they ended neatly at my ankle and by the early 2010s when I was busy pushing my babies in prams; I loved how they looked with my white Converse flats.

Hello old friends. My skinny jeans circa 2018. Image: Supplied.


Skinny jeans could be practical, yet sexy, yet workwear appropriate when teamed with a blazer and a low ankle boot. They were the world's hardest-working denim for a reason and they looked cute on pretty much everyone.

For over a decade, I didn't give the subject of jeans much thought as my skinnies existed happily in my wardrobe only to be updated occasionally with different washes, colours or rips.

Then the pandemic came along and turned me into a tracksuit pant addict and jeans became more... complicated. 

First, there was Gen Z shaming anyone over 30 for daring to wear skinny jeans with a side-part while overusing the laugh-cry emoji. Noted.

Then there was an explosion of new styles of jeans onto the market and now I am jeans-obsessed or more accurately, jeans-confused.

Watch: Iconic denim outfits. Post continues below.

Video via Jeans for Genes. 

I still own a pair of skinnies that I love, but my body has changed a lot since hitting my mid-40s and they no longer feel as comfortable as they once did. 


I have experimented with ALL the styles in the last two years — some purchased, some borrowed, some just tried on in shops and discarded immediately. There was my high-waisted era when I bought a whole new range of undies to match, only to suddenly see the waists drop back down to a Y2K g-string exposing level. No thanks.

Since then I've tried the baggy, the wide leg, the cargo, the new bootleg, the mom, the crop-flare, the girlfriend and the boyfriend and it is hard to know what works anymore. 

Do I need different belts, shoes and undies to go with all these styles? Factor in my reaching midlife and a lack of confidence in knowing what looks good or 'right' on me at age 44, and I knew I needed to enlist the help of a professional. 

I don't hate them but I don't love them either. Image: Supplied.


Enter 'stylist for the people' and personal shopper Natalie Baker who gave me ALL her denim in midlife tips, while helping me find my perfect pair. 

"Everyone needs a good pair of jeans," Natalie told Mamamia from her base at Charlestown Square Shopping Centre in Lake Macquarie.

"And with so many denim styles available these days, it is no longer always about having just one pair. You might want a pair for work, for the weekend, for going out - which is why people are getting so confused — there is just a lot to choose from!"


Natalie's first tip is to start by considering your body shape and what you feel most comfortable in. 

I explain that while I still love my flares for an evening when paired with a heel to give me some height — I am at a loss with the 'daytime' jeans. I see a lot of people in baggier styles that I have tried in the past but perhaps being quite short or being 44 — I always feel 'swamped' in them. 

It's a 'no' for this baggy style on me. Image: Supplied.


Ever the professional Natalie knows exactly where to go and what to do, and I try on the Decjuba Alexa Girlfriend Jeans in the Portland Blue. 

Immediately I knew we had a winner. 

The slim cut and darker colour work well and as a short girl, I like that they finish on the ankle. They are comfy and not too tight as per the skinnies of my past, but still create a similar silhouette. Friends, I am once again in love.

Find a style of jeans YOU love.

Natalie says that when it comes to experimenting with new styles of denim, you still want to feel good in them

"Always go with a pair of jeans that suit your body shape. You can wear the latest trend but you will not keep wearing them if they don't look and feel good on you. Yeah, yeah. Choose a cut and colour that you like first and foremost as you can always add accessories or a top that makes them look and feel on trend.


Try them on in every colour.

If you don't have Natalie on hand to help you source a great pair, she says to visit a denim specialty or department store where you can ask for advice or bring a trusted friend with you. Because with jeans, you probably need to try them on in person.

"Unless you really know the style and the brand, I always recommend trying jeans on," Natalie says.  

"Because even with one brand the different washes or colours mean you can be a slightly different size or you might just prefer a different fit. The washes or the bleaches brands use on jeans to give them their character can change the flexibility of the denim and the way they fit your body, so it's worth experimenting."

Consider your accessories and shoes.

Once you have found a style of jeans that you will actually wear in a size that fits, Natalie says you need to think about what you will wear them with.


"The first thing to consider is your shoes. What shoes will these jeans work with that you already own? Are they a longer or wider pair that look great, but need a platform or a heel to stop you tripping over? What will you wear on the top with them? 

"Also, consider the colour and what you know you already have in your wardrobe that you can wear so you don't have to shell out on more items just to match."

Have fun and play with styles.

Finally, Natalie says that just because you have hit the over-40 age bracket, it doesn't mean you can't try on and experiment with newer styles and shapes while not writing off the skinny jeans if they are still your favourites. The most important thing she says, is to have fun with your look and feel good in your denim.

"I have a client in her mid-60s who loves ripped denim but we style them with a crisp white shirt or t-shirt and a blazer to elevate the look and she looks great!

"With the warmer weather about to hit we are seeing a lot of light-weight denim styles and fabrics that mean you can wear jeans or denim styles all year round. Chambray shirts, skirts, dresses and cargo pants are perfect for the spring and summer so why not try a few things on and see what makes you feel good?"

Laura Jackel is Mamamia's Senior Lifestyle Family Writer. For links to her articles and to see photos of her outfits and kids, follow her on Instagram and TikTok.

Feature Image: Supplied / Canva.

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