thirty-year-old Hermione
May 3, 2012 4:25 PM   Subscribe

Help me dress my age, but still be me.

I'm 27 and beginning to feel weird about my clothes. I love wearing pleated plaid skirts and knee socks. My style icon is Hermione from The Order of the Phoenix. I dont like a lot of bright colors. Does anyone have any advice on how to look like Hermione, but also not like I'm a thirty-year-old trying to be fetishized?
posted by space cat to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (13 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Check out the archives of Academichic. Not cheesy, not too frou-frou, not matronly, not too young. There are lots of posts about skirts and different shoes and socks/leggings/tights.
posted by barnone at 4:33 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Yeah, this is a pretty young look. Could you keep the same colour palette but switch to plaid pencil skirts and shift dresses? Ditch the long socks and wear knee-high boots or Mary-Janes instead. Just changing your silhouette can make you look a lot more grown-up.
posted by embrangled at 4:47 PM on May 3, 2012 [6 favorites]

What about swapping out the knee socks for tights in a solid color & wearing with Mary Janes? I'd also think cardigans and layering (e.g., sweater over a collared shirt) would fit this style.

Here's a style blog I love that might have some inspiration. She actually just recently decided to stop updating, but there are lots and lots of previous entries to search. She does a lot of belting, button-up shirts tucked into skirts, stripes, cardigans, and sweaters, as well as double-breasted coats and jackets in the fall/winter. To me, quintessential "school girl" is a knee-length A-line skirt, a tucked-in shirt, a cardigan or sweater over it, and a flat or Mary Jane shoe. There's a lot of that on this blog. She does use some bright colors, but I think the general pieces & outfits might offer some good ideas.
posted by pecanpies at 5:15 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]

Overall that look was originally an adult woman's sportswear outfit from the 20s and 30s. I think to avoid the "Catholic schoolgirl" visual references (1950s/60s, really) you just need accessories that reference the earlier, more adult fashions.

Example A
Example B
Example C

In general, the way to dress up your look is to buy the styles you currently like, but start buying them from more "adult stores, and in more grownup materials. Make sure your cardigans are cashmere or merino (or good quality cotton), your basic button-down blouses are good quality and fit your properly. Get them tailored! Maybe try a silk version of your usual button-down.

For shoes, I'd stay away from saddle oxfords and maryjanes and go for oxfords or brogues, or maybe some cute ankle boots. A good quality pair of knee-high riding boots

And I hate to have to say this, but the knee socks are VERY hard to pull off. I'd get rid of the knee-sock part of your look: replace them with cute patterned tights!

And as for accessories, just lean vintage, rather than hot topic. Stay away from anything that can be described as punk, emo, goth, etc. Those things combined with the look you favor have a VERY young effect. Vintage-style hats would be cute, I think. Maybe some long dangly necklaces for a 20s vibe.
posted by JuliaIglesias at 5:15 PM on May 3, 2012 [10 favorites]

Woof, sorry for the terrible punctuation and typos. Typing and linking on my phone is apparently beyond my abilities...
posted by JuliaIglesias at 5:17 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Think stereotypical "librarian".
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 5:30 PM on May 3, 2012

You can still wear the skirts (although I like the suggestion of pencil skirts above, but pleated and A-line can still work in adultwear), but wear tights or hose, not socks. Wear nice blouses and tailored cardigans. Mary Janes are fine in an adult version, especially if they have heels, but also boots from ankle to knee-high can all work with this look. So can other kinds of flats and heels. It's a pretty versatile look. The most juvenile part of your preferred outfit is the knee-high socks, which reads pretty young. And it's important that things look a little higher end than school girl uniform, not to mention better tailored and fitted to your body.
posted by asciident at 5:55 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

I was also going to recommend pencil skirts and tights as a way to mature the look.
posted by elizeh at 7:11 PM on May 3, 2012

Hey thanks everyone! Sounds like the knee socks really need to go.
posted by space cat at 10:51 PM on May 3, 2012

Aw, socks are fine, just not with schoolgirl-looking skirts. All of the individual components of your look are probably fine, just don't put them all together in a Very Very Hermione way. Honestly, I think that the short plaid pleated skirts are more stereotypically juvenile than knee socks, the skirt has a much more specific association.

Swap out some plaid skirts for other patterns or solids. Get your plaid on with straighter skirts. Swap out plainjane long socks for those with more interesting colors and textures.
posted by desuetude at 11:20 PM on May 3, 2012

i'm your age and I still wear all my knee socks! I have two ways of getting away with this:

- wear them with cute, smart shorts and coloured tights underneath
- wear them pushed down, so they bunch up like legwarmers. I know, not much difference, but juuuuuuust enough to de-schoolgirlise them, imo!
posted by greenish at 6:01 AM on May 4, 2012

You can also wear knee length or thigh high socks under tall boots. There was a lot of that going around last winter.
posted by snickerdoodle at 7:56 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

knee high socks look great peeking out of tall boots, especially if they're colored and textured in a way that relates to your tights-- close, but not matchy matchy. also, if giving up your knee socks is sad on a personal, rather than aesthetic, level, try wearing them under pants (in the winter). it's invisible and much warmer, and you get the satisfaction on knowing that you have an fun secret! this works especially well with things like sock it to me socks.
posted by dizziest at 8:49 AM on May 5, 2012

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