Monday Musings on Cotton Gauze, Long Skirts, and 4 Ways to Wear Red Pants

Happy Monday, ladies. This week, I’m musing about the fashion choices I’ve spotted other women making while traveling. This is what I wore to fly home on Friday.

GRAY LINEN SHIRTDRESS (worn open) / STRIPED TANK / SIMILAR PANTS / ESPADRILLES

When I got home to my wardrobe on Friday, it looked uninspiring and bland. Perhaps it’s because I’m still dragging my tail feathers from my recent bout with COVID, but I’m wondering if it indicates I’m in the mood to shake things up a bit. My daughter urged me to take it slow, so the citron yellow top I adored, did not get ordered yet, and I’ll see how I feel in a few days.

Here are some of the things I spotted. I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please share in the comments.

Long Skirts

I spotted many women wearing long, almost maxi skirts with athletic sneakers on the streets of Helsinki this summer. The look seemed ‘off’ when I first started seeing it, but the more outfits I saw, the more it appealed to me. Long skirts are cool, easy to wear, and a great solution for covering your legs in the heat. Athletic sneakers may not be my first choice with a skirt, but there’s no denying they’re comfy, and the skirt length conceals much of the foot. You could see the shoe as these women walked, but all it looked was sensible and comfy. I only have a few skirts but the more I saw, the more I wish I’d packed mine. Are you a fan of maxi skirts? Do you feel the length gives you more freedom to choose comfy footwear?

Cotton Gauze

I spotted no less than 5 women wearing cotton gauze sets in the airport last week. All were pants with some type of coordinating top. I used to think of this look for more leisure time, like running errands, being near the ocean, or hanging close to home, but apparently not!

These ladies all looked coordinated, comfortable, and put together in an elevated way. Several wore white sneakers, and a few wore sandals. I think what really stood out for me was that they all looked modern and stylish. They were also in colors, not a black, beige, or white in sight.

Cotton gauze is one of my favorite fabrics for summer because it’s cool, easy-care, and never requires ironing. Many brands are making them this year at all price points. I believe you get what you pay for and also recognize that we must shop within our budgets.

MORE COTTON GAUZE

4 Ways to Wear Red Pants

Styling your clothes in multiple ways saves money and allows you to work with a smaller wardrobe. That’s not only good for your wallet, it’s good for the planet. It makes getting dressed easier when your pieces can be styled for different looks. You may think red pants wouldn’t be versatile, but here are 4 easy ways to wear red pants.

collage showing capsule wardrobe wirth red pants and 4 ways to wear red pants

Outfit #1

Outfit #2

Outfit #3

Outfit #4

This is just the tip of the iceberg for the number of outfits you can create around one great pair of red pants.

Thanks for reading, and be sure to wear what makes you feel confident.

54 Comments

  1. Christine Cline-Cardot says:

    My favorite style from the 1990s was wearing a calf or ankle-length full skirt and white Keds. I will happily take up wearing this style again.
    I hope you are feeling better. The last time I had COVID-19, the fatigue and long recovery were the worst parts of it. I never had a problem with breathing; muscle soreness and fatigue kept me down. Be well soon.

    1. I’m loving the look too!! That fatigue is a bear this time.

  2. I was having lunch in the Oregon wine country yesterday and saw women of all ages wearing lovely, striped midi and maxi dresses. Mostly shirt and sun dresses. Lots of tennis shoes, sneakers and sun hats. Loved it!

    1. I love that look too. Oregon wine country sounds glorious!

    2. Christine Cline-Cardot says:

      I am so happy that this style is making a comeback.

      1. Me too!

  3. I’ve been reading (and enjoying) your blog for a few years now. I’m sure that on at least 2 other occasions you’ve written about “shaking things up” in your wardrobe. I wonder what you’re waiting for. Get the red pants.

    1. Lol, I was not considering the red pants for myself. I know I would not feel comfortable wearing them.

  4. Gwen Small says:

    Hi Jennifer, Thanks for all the time and thought you put in to your column! I appreciate your focus on the needs for older women. I discovered you when planning a trip to Europe this Fall. I have 2 requests: 1)I want to pack in one carryon bag. I will be in NE France and Paris ( temperatures probably in the 40s, plus rain) and then south to Portugal and Spain where it will be somewhat warmer. Im from S. Ca, so sensitive to cold. I will be exploring the possibility of moving to Spain/Portugal. Dont need anything really dressy. 2) My go-to bra for years was Warners “Daisy”. It seems to have been discontinued–that happens a lot with favorites these days! Of course I dont expect you to model underwear, but would love some advice to find another comfortable every day bra style for the older figure. ( I need adjustable straps, and do not want underwires. I liked that this bra had a very light padding which made it good with tee shirts, but not adding a lot to my bust profile. I used to wear 36 B–big rib cage. ) I appreciate any suggestions! Gwen

  5. Beverly Rose says:

    I live in Texas and I find that “swingy” full maxi skirts in lightweight (usually linen) are very cool, super comfortable, and when accessorized right, very stylish! I prefer to wear them with a crisp white blouse tied at the waist, popped collar, big earrings, and cute sandals—usually red as they always seems to make practically every outfit pop just a tad! Neat, cool, comfy, and always compliments! Also love all white with turquoise accessories! Love your articles! Go for the colors!!!! Be BOLD!!!

    1. White and turquoise is such a great combo for summer!

  6. Recently took a trip to Florida and wore a pair of linen blend, colorful bottoms and a simple scoopneck top. Also packed the orange gauze set from Old Navy and absolutely loved it.
    But I also came back with Covid

    1. Oh no! I hope you get over it soon. It’s a nasty strain.

  7. Ooooh, I’m familiar with that feeling about my wardrobe. I’ve got the well edited (over-edited?) wardrobe of quality pieces in cool neutrals down, and it works for me about 95% of the time. But then, I’ll have a baby or bridal shower on an unexpectedly beautiful spring day and I want to look summery and feminine. Or I’m going out for the evening and suddenly want to feel a little edgy. Now what? How to manage those unexpected, uncharacteristic needs? What do you do?

    1. You’ve described it perfectly. That’s when I rely heavily on my accessories to change things up.

  8. Lorrie Orr says:

    I love maxi or midi skirts and dresses in the summer. I’ve not jumped on the gauze trend yet, but it does look comfortable to wear. Love the red pants! Hope you continue to feel better each day.

  9. I love maxi skirts! But for travel, I probably wouldn’t include one in my suitcase. Going up stairs in a maxi skirt means I need to have a free hand to raise the hem, or I will step on it. Even ankle-length skirts can be a problem, especially if they are very full. I would have to go with a midi skirt. Palazzo pants would be another great option.

  10. Jennifer, So glad to hear you are feeling better. I love that you mentioned red pants. I wear red pants with a leopard print jean jacket and a blue chambray (or denim) shirt. The outfit has been a ‘go to’ for years and never fails to get a compliment. I also like wearing either a leopard print baseball cap or leopard print flats with red pants, tan belt, and a black tee.

    1. Leopard is such a great pattern to add zing to a look!!

  11. I couldn’t find any cotton gauze pants in today’s blog or under the More Gauze section. I really like this fabric for summer. I’m especially looking for a white oversized cotton gauze shirt to use for sun protection. If you could help me in my search, I’d appreciate it.

    1. Whoops! The widget was wrong. I updated the link under more gauze and there are several pants.

  12. Love red on others and like your styling of the pants, but for myself only have it in accessories. Whereas a ‘big’ yes to garments in gauze for its easy maintenance and non wrinkling properties. As to maxi skirts (dresses) another yes, however rather than wear with sneakers (that do have their merits) prefer to opt for an alternative in footwear that suits my personal needs with there being so many styles to choose from. i.e.: For my lifestyle, wardrobe co-ordination, climate etc. -Brenda-

  13. I love the espadrilles in your travel photo, bought the black last year and they’re so comfortable I bought a second pair in beige this year (before they sell out!). I have a few longer skirts, and like midi better than maxi because I’m very short and think I look better with some leg showing. They’re quite versatile to dress up with something like the espadrilles or dress down with a denim jacket and sneakers. Bought a pair of red Van’s sneakers this year and love them for a pop of color!
    I’m glad to hear that you’re starting to feel better.

    1. Red sneakers would be sooo fun

  14. Hi Jennifer, Glad you are slowly on the mend. I would be interested in seeing photos (if possible) of the cotton gauze sets as I am unable to visualise what they look like. As for red trousers, I had a lovely pair years ago and ended up wearing them only a couple of times, usually with a white shirt. As I am superstitious about red and white together (it is supposed to mean death), I sold the trousers at a consignment shop – pity I never saw your combinations, which are spot on.

    1. I just ordered a set which I’ll share soon but I also updated the more gauze section which has somne great combinations.

  15. I love the red pants. I had a pair from Nordstrom years ago and I mostly paired them with a white shirt and red shoes. Now I want another pair! So cute! Are you talking about full long skirts with tennis shoes? I’ve been seeing that and I’m not sure how I feel about that look. I like long column skirts for my short figure. I thought I had COVID when really it’s just a bad allergy season here. Feel better soon.

    1. Yes, they were wearing long midi and maxi skirts with sneakers…everywhere!

  16. I too prefer midis, three midi dresses are gong to Paris with me in a couple of weeks. I plant to wear white sneakers with two of them, and sandals when we are out in the countryside with all of them. I love dresses, one and done, and can be accessorized in so many ways. I thought about a maxi, but don’t own a maxi skirt. I think I’d rather do loose wide leg pants than the skirt.

    1. Have a fabulous trip, it sounds dreamy.

  17. I have a few maxi skirts, but i really prefer a midi length. Maxis were really popular several years ago but I find they can be hot in the summer. I do like the look of them though. I’d love to see you post some gauze items that you love. It is such a breezy, cool fabric but I’m not sure what to get. For me, a no for red pants. I don’t think I can pull those off. Hope you are getting better each day after COVID!

    1. I just ordered some in blue so I will share. It’s a great fabric for dresses and skirts too

    2. Living in SW Florida, I have come to embrace and love cotton gauze❤️

  18. Hope you’re feeling well now ( I guess you are), Jennifer. This variant ( I hear) is quite brutal! I’ve had 3-4 boosters now ( due for one again) and so happy I’ve taken them as friends and others in my exercise groups have been quite sick with their recent Covid wars.
    Well I am loving your red pants collage! I have muted red shorts, but no long pants in that color.

    1. It’s slow going. I agree, this variant is brutal.

  19. Love all the red outfits! You made it look so easy to plan different outfits around those red pants.

  20. I really like your travel outfit – I would definitely wear something similar.
    My mother taught me that anything new that I bought had to work with at least 3 other items in my wardrobe, and other than perhaps evening wear, I’ve always followed that formula.
    Maxi skirts have always felt a bit too voluminous for my style (even though I’m tall) and I’ve always preferred a sleeker, midi length skirt. Now, my sister does wear maxi skirts and dresses with sneakers and it looks great on her.
    I’m looking forward to seeing your new purchases, although I do agree with your daughter to take it slow.

    1. Thanks Yvonne…I was very conservative 🙂

  21. As a young person I remember wearing maxi or near maxi clothing. Last couple of years I’ve gone back to maxi and near maxi and really like the ease, feel yet often elegance of the clothing. While in Southern California in January found a local designer maxi dress in a thrift store – while the bodice was coming apart I purchased it for $5 planning to remove the bodice completely and putting a waist band on the bottom of the dress creating a skirt – I really am excited to finish and wear it. As for cotton gauze I found a really nice piece of army green remnant fabric at a local fabric store – I plan to make either a maxi skirt or palazzo pants. Made a pair of red shorts with really nice medium weight fabric – didn’t get to wear last summer/fall but will this year.

    1. Palazzo pants would be magnificent in cotton gauze. Great idea.

  22. Dianna Kahler says:

    I wish I could wear long skirts whether it be with white sneakers or whatever! I’m 5’3″ and feel like the fairy godmother in Cinderella when I’m covered waist to ankles! Higher heels on my shoes help but still not a comfortable look for me.

    1. You may prefer them just below the calf muscle.

  23. Travel inspires in so many ways. It’s no accident that in visits to warmer climates, long skirts in lightweight fabric are common. For short waisted women like me who struggle with finding good fitting pants, skirts are a a valuable wardrobe player.
    Thanks for the reminder of cottton gauze sets. Why not? This fabric is so versatile. I struggle with the summer/fall transition season in the Midwest. It’s often too warm for heavy fabric and I’m over summer fabrics like linen. A few dark colored cotton gauze shirts are my fall transition secret. So, a dark cotton gauze set? Why not?

  24. I love the idea of cotton gauze, and the look of it on the hanger, but not once I put it on……for some reason it makes me feel puffy and frumpy. After buying a couple of pieces and having them hang in the closet unworn, I have (kind of) learned my lesson.
    I do think it looks great on other people.
    Guess I’ll stick to linen as a cooling option in warm weather, and I have long learned to embrace the rumples!

    1. I love linen too. Knowing what we won’t wear can save us a lot of headaches and wasted dollars.

  25. It’s interesting this article has popped up! Perfect timing. Just the other night I wore my Athleta Presidio dress, which is very long, with white and black vans. In the past I would have worn it with a dressy type sandal. We went to a very lovely, but casual, restaurant right on the water and I felt oddly stylish in this setting and so comfortable. At 75, I was most likely the oldest person dining but I felt it was just the right outfit for that setting. So I’m continuing to do that with my long skirts and will wear athletic shoes with them in the future. Thank you for this post; it was so helpful.

    1. Your outfit sounds fabulous Beverly. I believe is pushing the envelope more and more as I age. Why not?

  26. Hi Jennifer,
    Long skirts and trainers (UK!) have been on trend for a couple of years here. I have resisted to date, but have recently purchased a couple of midi/maxi skirts and am about to brave the modern look (I’m 69 this month and feel I am conventionally fashionable 😉!)
    I have a pair of red ‘pants’ (trousers/jeans) in my wardrobe that I keep looking at, but haven’t felt brave enough to wear yet – – I thought they were a bargain at the time 🤦‍♀️! I shall now co-ordinate them with tops I already own and hopefully walk out in them with a spring in my step – thank you!😊

    1. Awesome Caroline, go for it!

  27. Jennifer, I had to laugh thinking about you wearing red pants. Such a departure from your usual style! I myself could never wear red pants (hips too big). The closest I ever got was a dark burgundy slim linen pant from JJill. I did think those pants looked sharp. Good luck getting more color into your wardrobe. I love color and find that the older I get, the more flattering my clothes are when I choose certain colors. Hope your energy returns 100% soon!

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