How to wear in your 20s and 40s: A printed midi dress

20s versus 40s is a dynamic series featuring fashion director Marie Kelly and staff writer Edaein O' Connell. By styling one item of clothing to suit each of their ages and sartorial sensibilities, these two women reveal that fashion can be fun and fulfilling whatever your age...


Edaein O'Connell

I am a dress fiend, always have been and always will be. So when I saw this & Other Stories beauty on the rail I knew I had to have it. I truly believe patterns give me unadulterated joy and this piece is no different. The cinched in waist, the cowl neck and the asymmetric hem help to differentiate this dress from its competitors.

It's the perfect piece for a night on the town, and because I'm in my early twenties, these nights are in abundance. This dress on its own does all the talking which is why I styled it simply with a pair of on-trend strappy heels from Topshop and big earrings.

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Being in my 20s I like to take chances with my outfits and mix prints and textures in my day to day attire. However, for dressy nights, my friends and I truly believe less is more. The more simple the outfit, the less stress it causes. This is why I continually gravitate towards dresses because they are your entire outfit all in one.

On a usual day, I would accessorize this piece with a belt to really highlight my waist, but on this occasion, I didn't want to take anything away from the natural fluidity of the dress.

And I think I made the right choice.

Marie Kelly

Unlike Edaein, I am not a dress fiend or a print person. I prefer tailored separates and block colours, so this piece (Edaein's choice you won't be surprised to hear) forced me to really think about how I could not just make it my own, but make it look sophisticated enough to wear in your 40s and beyond. The difficulty with a ditsy print dress (especially one with an elasticated waist) is that it can look like an oversized birthday party dress - and I don't want to look like I'm 10...

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So to make this dress work for me, I added interest by layering it over a polo-neck. This instantly made the dress feel less girlish. This white thin-knit polo from & Other Stories was a real find as it's perfect for the weather we're having right now, which is neither one thing or the other. I chose a pair of white boots with a subtle animal-print heel to add a fashion edge to the outfit. Again, it just took away any potential frothiness from the dress.

I felt surprisingly good in this dress, although I'm not sure I'm ready to evolve my style in that direction. Next time for 20s versus 40s, it's trousers!

Shop the look

Floral asymmetric satin midi dress, €89 at & Other Stories

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  • Five minutes with Irish fashion entrepreneur Johanna Dooley...here

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