By Claudia Connell

Eileen was the number one ranked dungaree wearer in 1982. It was 1982 and I was 16.

It had become the height of fashion to walk around looking like a ragamuffin, as Dexys Midnight Runners did in the song’s video.

When I was younger, I used to wear my dungarees up in a sockless fashion, with crop top and plimsolls. A length of rope replaced my belt. I thought I looked the bee’s knees — but that’s the folly of youth for you.

Claudia Connell and Helena Frith Powell debate if anyone in midlife can pull of dungarees, after Sarah Jessica Parker (pictured) was spotted in dungarees on the set of the Sex And The City revival

Claudia Connell and Helena Frith Powell debate if anyone in midlife can pull of dungarees, after Sarah Jessica Parker (pictured) was spotted in dungarees on the set of the Sex And The City revival

In my 50s I’ve re-embraced many 1980s fashions that have come back into style, such as shoulder pads, high-waisted jeans and scrunchies. Dungarines are not my style.

As a 55 year-old woman, there are only three possible reasons to wear them today: (1) I had been offered a CBeebies job; (2) I was employed at Kwik Fit; or (3) I was about to have my first child and was one of the oldest women to do so in the UK.

As none of those are true, I won’t be purchasing a pair, no matter how hard the fashion industry might try to persuade me they’re a flattering choice for older women.

Claudia (pictured) says dungarees don't look good on anyone over a size 12

Claudia (pictured), says that dungarees aren’t flattering on people over 12 inches.

Sarah Jessica Parker, a thin celebrity who combines her dungarees and metallic platform shoes with soaring heights of her feet looks great in hers. As a dumpy, non-famous person who can’t walk in heels, I’d be laughed out of the room.

Dungarees don’t look good on anyone over a size 12 and, when it comes to middle-aged women, that’s most of us. These dungarees are not meant to be worn on anyone with large boobs. The bib, together with whatever you’ve chosen to put underneath, will make you look like Tweedledum.

Dungarees have a lot of appeal for adults, according to dungaree fans. Is that true? That’s not my recollection. No matter what top you were wearing underneath, it would ride up creating lumps. To stop this, you could tuck the shirt or jumper under your knickers.

They don’t look good on anyone over a size 12 

It can be a hassle to visit the loo and it is worth being vigilant to avoid your wretched straps ending up in the bowl.

The multi-pockets on dungarees made it easy to be a teenage girl. A handbag is a great way to store all the things I need every day as a woman.

SJP will soon be wearing dungarees on Sex And The City’s new series. My biggest gripe about dungarees is their infantilization of grown women. They’re clothes for children, so if you wouldn’t wear white ankle socks or your hair in bunches, please also disregard dungarees.

Helena Frith Powell (pictured) claims dungarees give the illusion of being slimmer and taller

Helena Frith Powell (pictured), claims that dungarees make it appear slimmer and taller.


Helena Frith Powell  

This August I was shopping with my 22 year-old daughter and I thought back to how much I loved dungarees.

My daughter tried on the dark blue linen pair. These were absolutely stunning. She suggested that ‘we’ buy them and share them. ‘I’m too old for dungarees,’ I told her. She said ‘Nonsense’ and urged me to try them on, too.

The shape of the pockets and their depth was liberating. They were comfortable and flattering — a loose fit that showed just enough of my contours to make me seem slimmer than I am, and taller, due to the unbroken line of material.

It was obvious that I knew what was in fashion. Sarah Jessica Parker is a style icon who was photographed in dungarees at Sex And The City.

There are naysayers out there who are dogmatic in their belief that women of a certain age can’t pull off certain items of clothing. SJP is here to change their minds.

My last attempt at wearing a pair of jeans, fifteen years ago, wasn’t a success. While I thought they were rather flattering, my husband said I looked like Andy Pandy, the pyjama-clad marionette from the 1960s and 70s children’s TV series. The assistant was given the dungarees back.

I look slimmer and taller because of them 

When I was a teenager, my favorite item of clothing was the light blue dungarees. It was the only thing that could make me look good, regardless of whether I was going to school or out on the town. They felt more like cotton because I was so fond of wearing them.

As I got older things started to change. Power dressing ruled my 20s and pregnancies ruled my 30s (dungarees don’t make for a great choice if you have to pee every ten minute). I had never tried the dark-blue dungarees on August 1, 2003.

Was I being silly? SJP might be able to pull off anything in middle age, but that didn’t mean I could. I texted my fashionista friend, who confirmed that it was not important what age you wear when it comes down to dungarees.

They can be dressed down with trainers and a T-shirt, or up with a luxurious blouse or cashmere roll neck. ‘Go for white and pale colours in spring and summer, and darker shades for autumn and winter,’ she suggested.

‘We’ bought the dungarees and my daughter has only been able to get her hands on them twice — but concedes that, as I paid for them, that’s fair. Now I’m craving Wyse’s dark denim pair that make your legs look long and stomach flat. What about a velvet pair to wear on Christmas Day? If my husband mentions Andy Pandy again, I’ll tell him he’s showing his age, in more ways than one.