‘Alternative Formal’

how to wear frills over 40

This is something I’ve wanted to try for a while

Dress up a simple shirt with something a bit more fancy for a more formal look, I mean. Well, as you know, I don’t really do formal wear. And I certainly wouldn’t buy a formal dress that I hardly ever wear. But every now and then I might need to put together an outfit that could pass for a bit more formal attire.

over 40 blogger

over 40 blogger

So, this is an experiment of sorts: how to put together a (somewhat) formal outfit using only clothes I already have in my wardrobe.

But at the same time my so-called formal outfit should be understated and comfortable, so that I won’t feel overdressed. Because I really, really don’t feel comfortable in formal attire. Sure, it may look OK, but if I end up feeling I’m wearing someone else’s clothes, what’s the point?

So, let’s start with the striped shirt. That’s more smart than formal so we’re well in the understated territory. The frilly lace skirt is flirty and fun and comfortable. Now let’s add a few accessories: a metal belt, some jewellery, a nice bag. And flats. No, even my formal wear, or should we call it ‘alternative formal’, does not include heels. I must feel comfortable, remember?  

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Outfit details:

skirt: Zara / shirt: Marks and Spencer / coat: Jaeger / 

shoes: Clarks / sunglasses: Marc Jacobs / bag: Chanel / belt: Depeche

So, what do you think? Is this formal enough? Or just ‘alternative formal’?



Linking up with:

Not Dead Yet StyleElegantly Dressed and StylishGaray TreasuresHigh Latitude StyleSydney Fashion HunterThe Pleated PoppyStyle ElixirGet Your Pretty OnHappiness at Mid-LifeA Labour of LifeDoused in PinkCurly Crafty MomFashion Should Be FunRachel the HatSincerely Jenna MarieMore Pieces of MeColor and GraceThe Wardrobe StylistNot Dressed As LambStyle NudgeCoco et La Vie en RoseFashionably Employed,The Fabulous JourneyLiving on Cloud NineA Well Styled LifeElegance and MommyhoodPosh Classy MomNancy’s Fashion StyleSheela WritesShelbee on the Edge Over 50 Feeling 40 A Pocketful of Polka Dots Style SplashThe Fashionista MommaTina’s Pink Friday


  1. Shybiker
    February 26, 2017 / 10:37 pm

    Love this! For me, the metallic belt signals the outfit's intention and the cute skirt carries it out. Very fun look that achieves its goal. The experiment is a success!

    • Tiina L
      March 2, 2017 / 11:23 am

      Thanks, Ally!

  2. Patti
    February 27, 2017 / 12:30 am

    Love it – it looks like "you", it's creative and very cool. No need to shop for "formals" – you have nailed it. xo-Pattihttp://notdeadyetstyle.com

    • Tiina L
      March 2, 2017 / 11:23 am

      Thanks, Patti!

  3. Nancy's Fashion Style
    February 27, 2017 / 8:52 am

    Great look! Beautiful skirt.

    • Tiina L
      March 2, 2017 / 11:23 am

      Thanks, Nancy!

  4. Anna Parkes
    February 27, 2017 / 5:33 pm

    I like this clever pairing. The skirt is one I'd wear too, as I'm a bit of fancy pants myself! Wishing you a fab week xAnnawww.annasislandstyle.com

    • Tiina L
      March 2, 2017 / 11:26 am

      Thanks, Anna. The skirt is a bit of an odd choice for me as I don't really like lace and I absolutely hate frills (childhood traumas…). But maybe it's just the exemption to the rule…

  5. Jill James
    February 28, 2017 / 1:06 am

    Your version of formal is great and just that, very you , comfortable but stylish . I love your tiered skirt , pretty, feminine but not overly so.

    • Tiina L
      March 2, 2017 / 11:27 am

      Thanks, Jill. I think you hit the nail on the head there: the skirt is feminine but not overly so. Just girly enough, but not too much, that's me for sure.

  6. Suzanne Carillo
    February 28, 2017 / 11:00 pm

    Great juxtaposition of pieces. bisousSuzanne

    • Tiina L
      March 2, 2017 / 11:27 am

      Thanks, Suzanne. I like a bit of contrast.

  7. Natalia Lialina
    March 1, 2017 / 9:58 pm

    Your outfit looks so harmonious, Tiina! Love the layered skirt look with a stripy shirt and an elegant coat, wonderful styling! Love that you look happy and feel playful! Thank you for joining Modish Matrons!

    • Tiina L
      March 2, 2017 / 11:28 am

      Thanks, Natalia!

  8. Nicole Mölders
    March 3, 2017 / 6:03 am

    Thanks for linking up to Top of the World Style.

    • Tiina L
      March 3, 2017 / 10:48 am

      Thanks, Nicole.

  9. Anna of Mutton Style and Years
    March 3, 2017 / 8:36 am

    I do so like the stripes with the skirt. I could so easily replicate for work. In fact I will next week. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Tiina L
      March 3, 2017 / 10:52 am

      Thanks, Anna. I'm all about easy-peasy simple outfits that can go anywhere.

  10. Kristin Kohler
    March 4, 2017 / 12:28 pm

    Love your alternative formal look and I'm obsessed with your sunglasses! My favorite pair I have is also Marc Jacobs, but I've never seen this color before. Are they still available somewhere? Thanks for linking up with Fabulous Friday!-Kristincountdowntofridayblog.com

  11. Jessica Jannenga
    March 4, 2017 / 4:56 pm

    I love the terminology 'alternatve formal" I think it fits quite well and I love the mix of these pieces. I have a dress I wore to my brothers wedding that kind of sits there.. so the next relatives wedding I decided to buy something I will continue to wear in my closet. Love the metallic belt!thanks for linking with turning heads tuesdayjess xxwww.elegantlydressedandstylish.com

    • Tiina L
      March 5, 2017 / 7:08 pm

      Thanks, Jessica. I don't really have anything very formal, and I don't want to spend a lot of money on something I hardly ever wear. On the other hand, I hate fast fashion and cheap, synthetic fabrics, so buying a cheap disposable dress is out of the question, too. So, I have to make do with pieces I already have and mix and match…

  12. Anna of Mutton Style and Years
    March 6, 2017 / 8:40 am

    Tiina, as promised I have replicated and will do a bold post later this week mentioning you as inspiration. I hope that's OK.

    • Tiina L
      March 7, 2017 / 1:52 pm

      I look forward to seeing that, it sounds great!

    • Anna of Mutton Style and Years
      March 9, 2017 / 7:08 pm

      It's scheduled for Friday and called Being Tiina 🙂

  13. Anna of Mutton Style and Years
    March 6, 2017 / 8:41 am

    Meant blog post. Silly autocorrect

  14. Emma Peach
    March 6, 2017 / 10:26 pm

    I love the combination of the striped shirt and lace frilled skirt. Thank you for linking up to Style With a Smile :-)Emma xxxwww.style-splash.com

    • Tiina L
      March 7, 2017 / 1:53 pm

      Thanks, Emma.

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