How to wear in your 20s and 40s: A statement tiered skirt

20s versus 40s is a dynamic style series featuring two IMAGE staffers who, despite having very distinct personal styles, are sartorial soulmates. Every week fashion director Marie Kelly and digital leader Niamh O'Donoghue will prove that style is ageless...


Admittedly, I'd forgotten about the simple joy of skirts. Earlier this year, I made my own predictions about trends for 2018: feisty-printed trousers, pastel shirts and bold accessories were among my selection. But then Bora Aksu, Bottega Veneta, Chanel and Fendi, to name a few, sent models cascading down the catwalks in show-stopping, billowing skirts that made me excited to switch my beloved suits for bare legs and flowing hemlines. What I've discovered is that there are no "wrong" skirts and that really, a skirt is the unsung hero of any wardrobe. A simple (or not so simple, in this case) skirt has transformative powers and this extravagant tiered midi skirt proves it.

How I style a tiered skirt

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Tiered floral skirt, €165 at Om Diva Boutique in Dublin

Despite having never worn a long skirt, I was drawn straight to this piece the moment I saw it on a mannequin in the shop window. I'm not tall, so I naturally avoid anything long and overly fussy, but this baroque-style floral midi skirt from Om Diva, in Dublin, could have fallen straight from the SS18 catwalks. For those who don't know me, I'm all about colour, so I was dying to experiment with this skirt. For my top-half, I opted for a colour that was complimentary without being too matchy-matchy. I chose a high-neck blouse in emerald green from Zara and layered it with a bright – touching on neon – lime shirt from H&M.

I initially found the shape challenging to wear (mainly because of my height insecurities), but the tiered design is comfortable to wear, and the high-waisted design is perfect for tucking in a crisp, white shirt (if neon isn't your style!). And, in true Om Diva fashion, it was made to a high quality with lovely attention to detailing. Adding a block heel – in gold, no less – elongated my silhouette and helped the skirt come to life when I walked (strutted). The gold tone ran through the skirt, too, and it really added a modern touch to this timeless baroque print. Equally, and now having worn the skirt, I would feel as comfortable in a pair of funky trainers and a cropped denim jacket for a look that is more daytime appropriate. Skirts are, in general, a sure-fire winner for women of every age. Though longer skirts can be more challenging for younger women because of its association with women of a certain demeanour, this particular skirt is all about fun and personality. Your twenties are for experimenting and finding your comfort zone whether you're a flamboyant extrovert like me, or a more composed introvert like Marie, below.

How Marie styles a tiered skirt

Tiered floral skirt, €165 at Om Diva Boutique in Dublin

I've never been a girly girl (and I've no Spanish blood in me!) so this vibrant tiered, flamenco-style skirt was certainly out of my comfort zone. I do love a high-waisted skirt, however, as my waist is small so it creates a feminine silhouette without veering into girlish territory.

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The only way I could pull off this stop-and-stare-at-me skirt, though, was to pare everything else right back. I chose a three-quarter-length sleeved black cashmere sweater to wear on top, and black block heels (the A-line shape of the skirt felt more suited to a block heel than a stiletto) and wore no jewellery bar my Ansley watch, which I wear every day with everything.

I think the older you get, the more clown-like you're at risk of looking wearing experimental pieces (unless this experimentation is reflected in your personality). Certainly, for me, my introverted nature would never allow me to carry off Niamh's look, above, which is totally fabulous but totally "her". Women in their forties don't have to be constrained by fashion rules about what they can and can't wear, but choosing pieces that work with your personality is key to curating a wardrobe that's unique to you and effortlessly chic.

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