I’ve been searching for the best tailored cropped trousers for women over 40 and this is what Marie Kondo has done to me – made me super fussy. As you may know, she has developed a fascinating process known as the Konmari method and some of you have been in touch to tell me just how truly life-changing it has been for you. The interesting thing about the process is handling each item to see whether it sparks joy and if not, thinking about why not. It throws up lots of information about your relationship with clothes. For someone like me who rattles on about clothes everyday, that was invaluable and I have now made a pledge to myself that I will never again make ill-considered purchases.

Why do we keep clothes that we don’t wear?

Learned behaviour

As I mentioned before I had my clear-out, I have always been a hoarder of clothes (nothing else, just clothes) but until I did the Konmari, I had never really confronted my strange habit. Of course you learn a lot of your early behaviour from your parents. Mine grew up during WW2 and my mum always feared that clothes would be in short supply. She kept everything in case rationing ever started again and bizarrely that fear rubbed off on me so that was the first hurdle to overcome. Of course once I’d confronted the fear it wasn’t difficult, it was just something that was ingrained in me.

Low confidence

So that made some sense with regard to the clothes I had worn but not discarded however there were others with the tags still on. In my days of low confidence, when I was still carrying post baby weight and feeling as though I had lost my identity, I used to buy things that looked good in the usual catalogues such as Boden or White Company. Even if they didn’t suit me, I would keep them as a kind of punishment for not looking like the model. I am the last person who should have done that. I oversaw hundreds of fashion shoots when I was at Selfridges and we never once shot an outfit that wasn’t pinned and bulldog clipped from behind to make the fit look better. So, much to Mr MC’s hilarity, I followed Marie Kondo’s advice and thanked the clothes for teaching me to be demanding with items I order online and sent them off to the hospice shop.


Another subset of clothes were ones that held special memories – beautiful evening dresses from long ago parties; the outfits I’d worn for my sons’ christenings; my mum’s coat… Again, by holding them and looking at them logically I was able to accept that the memories are in my head, not the clothes. I said a wistful goodbye and let them go.

Lack of self knowledge

I discovered that I have often made repeated mistakes. For example, because it’s always chilly here, I had bought lots of cardigans over the years. I hardly wore any of them and yet I kept on buying unthinkingly. As I was handling them I realised that the ones I was disposing of all had buttons so I gave it some thought. I realised that for me, buttons are like pattern and interfere with the visual line of the clothes. Weird I know but if I find myself repeat buying in future I will examine my behaviour more carefully.

Blindly following fashion

I had bought things like baggy boyfriend jeans because other bloggers looked so good in them yet I was never comfortable wearing them. When I handled them, I realised it is because my legs are short from the knee down, I need to disguise it with either wide or fitted trousers. I’m becoming much more aware of my fundamental style now and I’m very careful to ‘zoom out’ when I analyse trends and view them with a more individual perspective.

It’s all about the ‘handling’

As you’ve probably gathered by now, I put the success of Konmari down to the handling. I’ve had so many ‘clearouts’ where I’ve simply looked along the rails and justified keeping things. It’s completely different when you reverse the procedure, take everything out and have a conversation with it before putting it back. Now my dressing room is pretty clear and I can see the gaps.

And this is where today’s mission begins, in an endeavour to find the best tailored cropped trousers for women over 40. I am looking for a white or cream pair for our Lake District summer which is likely to be warm but wet as always. There are so many around that I find it hard to distinguish between them. So I maxed out my credit card and ordered a few different pairs to try. Just to be sure, I also added a couple of different styles to the mix to see what exactly would ‘spark joy.’

The best tailored cropped trousers for women over 40

Before we start I want to point out that these aren’t the most flattering shots. I was looking pretty haggard when I took the first set. I’ve been working very late most nights this week to prepare a course that I needed to deliver but I happy to work hard when it’s my choice to do it. I deliberately haven’t done any styling so that the trousers can be compared directly which means I’m wearing them with the same plain jersey top and shoes for most of the shots. I’m also looking like a spud with the top lifted up on purpose so that you can see the waistband – I would never go out like this I promise!

A note about sizing – I am 5ft 8 but although I am tall, I order a regular length because it is my body that is long (sadly). I take a standard UK size 12 in most brands.

John Lewis bi-stretch trousers

On the model

Best tailored cropped trousers for women over 40

John Lewis Bi-stretch trousers

In real life

John Lewis bi-stretch trousers review 2

John Lewis bi stretch trousers review 3

Comments – these were incredibly comfortable and would be a joy to wear. They are very stretchy, like jeggings and are high waisted. The lack of pockets at the front to break up the large expanse of tummy wasn’t flattering for someone like me who is looking for trousers to wear with shorter tops and blazers but they would be great if you wear long tops and are looking for a smooth line underneath. I did like the zip detail at the ankle though and they were a good length falling just above the ankle bone.

Other colours available? Stone. Would I buy them in another colour? I’d certainly try them because of the comfort factor.

Good for? Perfect for wearing with tunics and flowy tops. John Lewis Bi-stretch trousers.

Mint Velvet Stitch Detail Capri Trousers

On the model

Best tailored cropped trousers for women over 40

Stitch detail trousers

In real life

John Lewis capsule collection trouser review

John Lewis capsule collection trouser review 1

Comments: These were the perfect length and good from the front but not from behind because of the transparency of the back pockets. I really liked the line of the pockets at the front and there was plenty of room around the calf. Overall they came up a bit tight though, I think I would need to size up.

Other colours available? Grey and pale pink – I’d try them in this colour

Good for? In a darker colour and a size up these would be a great pair of tailored crops but the transparency issues make them a no go for white. Mint Velvet stitch detail trousers.

Mint Velvet Clean Front Trousers

On the model

Best tailored cropped trousers for women over 40

In real life

Mint Velvet clean front trousers review

Mint Velvet Clean Front trousers review 1

Comments: can you tell I’m trying not to laugh? These trousers looked awful – they were not cut for my shape which is quite curvy. You need to have a straighter figure for these. The transparency was really bad – even though I was wearing ‘invisible’ flesh coloured underwear, you can still see a VPL front and back. These trousers seem to be vastly overpriced for the quality and they were longer than I wanted.

Other colours available? No

Good for? I can’t recommend these trousers because of the transparency issues

John Lewis Twill Stretch trousers

On the model

Best tailored cropped trousers for women over 40

Twill stretch trousers

In real life

John Lewis bi-stretch trousers review

John Lewis bi-stretch trousers review1

Comment: another super comfortable pair from John Lewis. However the opacity was poor and they were too long to be crops but too short for trousers.

Other colours available? Yes, stone but the fit was too poor for me to want to try them.

Good for? Women with a straight column figure in the stone but the white are just too see through. Twill stretch trousers.

Marks & Spencer 7/8 trousers

On the model

Best tailored cropped trousers for women over 40

Marks & Spencer 7/8 trousers (UK)

Marks & Spencer 7/8 trousers (US)

In real life

Marks and Spencer 7:8 trouser review 1

Marks and Spencer 7:8 trouser review 3

Comments: I had high hopes for these, they were the cheapest of the bunch and I had a great pair of M&S 7/8 trousers last year. However the fabric felt thin which is no good for white, they clung to the calf and the knee pouched. They were also very see through.

Other colours available? Yes: pink, mint, navy, black and stone.

Good for? I would try a pair in a different colour because I like last year’s so much but I would order the long as these are slightly shorter than I want them to be and it would give me a better fit all round. 7/8 trousers.

Boden Richmond Cigarette Trousers

For ages I’ve been scrutinising the shots online, trying to work out what the difference is between these and the 7/8 trousers. I have some old Boden cigarette trousers and they had straight legs which is what I was expecting.

On the model

Best tailored cropped trousers for women over 40

Boden Richmond cigarette trousers (UK)

Boden Richmond cigarette trousers (US)

In real life

Boden richmond cigarette trouser review 1

Boden richmond cigarette trouser review 2

Comment: Boden’s trousers were without doubt the best quality, made from their usual thick cotton elastane. The pocket placement on the Richmond cigarette pants really didn’t work for me though, it accentuated the curve of my hips and made them look wider. The pockets were stitched closed and unless I kept them that way they would accentuate my hips even more. There is also a strange central seam that runs all the way down the back of the leg, I couldn’t decide whether I loved or hated it.

Other colours available? Yes, navy, dark green and black.

Good for? Women with narrow gamine hips – the Richmond cigarette pants would be super flattering on you.

Boden Richmond 7/8 trousers

On the model (no shot available in ivory)

Best tailored cropped trousers for women over 40

Boden Richmond 7/8 trousers (UK)

Boden Richmond 7/8 trousers (US)

These were delayed but arrived this morning. I’ve had some sleep and a haircut so I’m feeling better.

In real life

Boden Richmond 7:8 trouser review 1

Boden richmond 7:8 trousers review 2

Comment: I’ve been a bit down on Boden recently, nothing seems to have worked for me but as soon as I put these on Mr MC said ‘they’re very you.’ They are, they’re similar to the Bistro crops which I loved. I need to lose a couple of pounds but even then, I think I might size up as they weren’t tight but they’re very close fitting.

Other colours available? Yes black, biscuit, green floral print, dark green, navy, navy spot, red, rose quartz and geo navy and white.

Good for? I think these are probably universally flattering if you get the fit right. I really like them.

The wild cards

Just to be sure that tailored crops were the right buy, I wanted to try something different.

Hush Wide Leg Trousers

On the model

Hush wide leg trousers review

Hush wide leg trousers

In real life

Hush wide legged trousers review

Hush wide leg trouser review

Comment: having now looked at the reviews on these, I see that people advise you to size up which is very unusual for Hush and I think it would be a good idea. They are the perfect length and I love the way they fall from the knee down but they are a strange fit at the top.  The show through of the pockets makes them a no go for me. They are made from the same fabric as cricket trousers and I had such high hopes for them but they’re a definite no which I’m sad about.

Other colours available? Yes, midnight blue

Good for? Because of the transparency I can’t recommend the cream. The navy would be lovely but remember to size up.

Boden Cropped Jeans

On the model

Best tailored cropped trousers for women over 40

Boden cropped jeans (UK)

Boden cropped jeans (US)

In real life

Boden cropped jean review

review of Boden cropped jeans

Comment: I really, really like these. I normally hate distressed jeans but I quite like the frayed hem and the fit feels really good. They have a high waist which works well with summer tops and t-shirts. I’m really tempted to order them in the vintage now, they’ve sold out once but they’re coming back into stock next week.

Good for? Anyone who is looking for summer jeans with a nod to fashion – I reckon you’ll get two or three years out of them before they look passé.

My conclusion

As I was packing everything away after my mammoth try on, I slipped back into Marie Kondo mode again. What I realised was that in a year’s time I would probably be sending white trousers off to the charity shop telling them that I hadn’t worn them because they needed too much washing and ironing. The cropped jeans are ecru though and will be easier to care for so in a complete change of plan, they are the ones that I’m keeping. I might try the Boden Richmond 7/8 trousers in the biscuit colourway.

You can get 20% off at Boden until midnight on Sunday 17th April with code 2E8X in the UK (9T6Z in the US).

Life lately

I really enjoyed spending the Easter holidays with my boys, relaxing at home and having days out. It’s getting warmer so I’m gradually casting off my winter woolies and branching out into sweatshirts. This was taken at Salford Quays in Manchester. The youngest asked if we could go to the Imperial War Museum North so we all spent a couple of hours poring over guns and swords (the joys of boys) followed by a long lunch at Pizza Express. You can see them in the background suffering for the sake of their mum’s blog!

Version 2

Peacoat (past season); Whistles sweatshirt (past season); Gap layering breton (past season); Next relaxed skinny jeans (past season); Autograph Chelsea boots (past season)

On Saturday the Lake District was celebrating Peter Rabbit’s 150th birthday with a huge treasure hunt. I didn’t think the boys would be interested but the lure of treasure was obviously too much to resist and both the middle and youngest decided to join in. It was tricky because the map and clues were being managed online and anyone who has been to the Lakes will know that the mobile signal there is almost non-existent.

trousers for women over 40 2

(classic Lake District uniform – quilted Barbour; Hunter wellies; J Crew Tippi; M&S jeggings)

It was tense but but we pitted our brains against the rest and managed to find one of the beautiful, hand painted, ceramic eggs that had been hidden within a 50 mile radius, 10 of them with big prizes attached. Sadly ours didn’t come with one of the big prizes but we had a great day out and lots of laughs chasing around different villages in Cumbria.

Garnett family

These jazzy Herdwicks have been dotted all over the county this year and are sponsored by local businesses to raise money for charity.


A relaxed outfit from Sunday, it was warm enough for bare ankles. As you can probably tell, I’m enjoying shopping some of the discoveries I’ve made, hidden in the depths of my wardrobe.

Best tailored cropped trousers for women over 40

Whistles striped top (past season); Boden cigarette pants (past season); Boden pointed flats (past season)

And then Monday, starting the week as I meant to go on – with purpose!

leather trousers women over 40

Mango sweatshirt (sold out online); Top Shop leather jeans (past season); Clarks ankle boots (past season)

It’s been a busy week because I’m delivering marketing lectures on the university circuit again. Tonight I’m trying to prepare the middle son (aka the walking refusenik) for his weekend practice expedition for the DofE silver award. He has no concept of how far 18km per day will be so is currently very blasé about it. However joy of joys, they have been given the map for their first day and they will walk right past our front door at about the halfway point when I’m sure he will make his thoughts clear. Our noses will be glued to the windows all weekend!

So, I’m intrigued to know if you’re a Mari Kondo convert. Mr MC and the boys have been poking fun at me by wandering round the house talking to different objects but I still think it’s a great method. Has it changed your life? Let me know in the comments, we might trigger a revolution of sparking joy!

Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post

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