Highlighted hair, a penchant for espresso martinis, mitochondrial DNA; these are just a few of the many things my mother and I share. I spent my formative years in what felt like the midst of a permanent eye roll when people would ask if we were sisters (something which, as I get older, we’re asked less and less—I’ll try not to dwell on that fact). The point I’m trying to make while procrastinating? We’re similar—very similar—in looks and taste, and that extends to our wardrobes.
Almost every time I go to buy something, I pause, send a quick snap to my mum and ask, “Do you already have this?” More often than not, if she doesn’t have the exact piece, she’ll have something similar. And vice versa. Off the top of my head, items we’ve overlapped on include a pair of Dune boots, a green slip skirt from Zara, earrings from Missoma, a jumper from & Other Stories and a dress from AllSaints. “It’s a witchy connection in us,” she tells me, and honestly, I find it hard to argue with that.
The nuances of our relationship aside, there was a funny moment last week when we both realised we’d been looking at the same dress for a festive family gathering. “I have it in my basket right now!” my mum exclaimed down the phone. I don’t mind sharing fashion sense with my 54-year-old mum—she has excellent taste. So while we were on the subject of dresses, I thought it would be fun to find out which she loves to wear the most and which would overlap with my own sartorial preferences. Unsurprisingly, there were a few we agreed upon.
Scroll on to see the best party dresses for women over 50, as told by my mum, which I have every intent on borrowing from her soon.
You know the Zara skirt we both own? It’s a gorgeous satin midi in the most decadent shade of emerald. This combination of liquid shine and a rich hue seems to appease us both, for when she saw me wearing a burgundy satin midi dress for our party outfit shoot, she immediately asked to borrow it (and the matching blazer) for her work Christmas party. “That colour really suits our skintones,” she says.
This dress is going to get a lot of wear this season.
This dress is next on my wish list.
This shade of brown always looks expensive.
Zimmermann has some of the best satin dresses, whatever the season.
“I’ve always loved sheer fabrics, be it a blouse under a blazer or a lace panel on a dress, and I’m definitely not going to stop wearing them any time soon,” says my mum. And rightly so! Lingerie-inspired dresses are all over the market this season and can (and should!) be embraced by all ages.
I have my eye on this for my office party, and something tells me my mum will be wearing it before long too.
A minimalist take on the trend.
I’d wear this with a velvet blazer and platform heels.
The slightest lace trim on this dress still gives a lingerie nod.
“I worked as a hairdresser for years, and my uniform was to wear all black. Even though I’ve been out of the industry for over two decades, I still look for black dresses with a point of difference to stop them from feeling too ‘worky.'” Handily, there are plenty of elevated black dresses with cool cutouts, statement fringing, pretty bows, jacquard finishes and striking silhouettes out there that are totally ageless in their appeal.
The neckline, the tiered hem, the contrast between velvet and chiffon; this is black dress perfection.
Fringing was made for the dancefloor—don’t let this midi go to waste.
If I could choose, I’d most like to find a Saloni dress under the Christmas tree.
This is calling out to be worn with statement earrings and your hair away from your shoulders to let that detail shine.
“My love of long-sleeve dresses has nothing to do with an outdated feeling of having to cover up—I just think they look really, really chic,” says my mum. And I agree; I have no issue with my arms, but I love the look and feel of wearing long sleeves, particularly with mini hemlines for a sophisticated counterbalance.
I could stare at this showstopping dress for hours.
This beautiful dress comes in sizes 4-26.
Feathers and flocked tulle? How fabulous!
This brown satin looks so luxe.
Like satin, there’s something about velvet that always attracts both my mum and me to it. We both own velvet suits (hers is smoke, mine is navy), so naturally, our adoration also extends to dresses. “There’s just something that feels so luxurious about velvet. It helps that it never goes out of style, either. Maxine, you know that green velvet dress you have? Can you take that home with you at Christmas?”
Boden, you’ve outdone yourself with this velvet midi.
Another excellent party dress from Reformation.
Gorgeous, and it also comes in fail-safe black.
The lace sleeves and gold buttons add a nice, elevated touch to this shift.
Neither my mum nor I wear a lot of sparkle ordinarily, but when party season rolls around, we’re like moths to a flame. “Sequins aren’t a huge part of my wardrobe, but the pieces I do own and love always have a silver or gold colour to them. Personally, I’m not into bright colours, so I stick to metallics, which always look more sparkly and fabulous anyway.”
The way this catches the light.
This will look just as good with black tights as it will bare legs.
Okay, Monsoon—you have my attention.