Ask Our Style Techs | Too Old for Knee-High Gladiators?

Q: I love knee-high gladiator sandals, but am I too old to wear them in my forties? – Lisa P.

A: Good question! We’ve been hearing this one a lot lately. Gladiator sandals have been a haute statement for the last several years now and this season we’re seeing more of the knee-high variety. It can be a tricky look to pull off and like all tricky looks, it’s easier when you’re in your twenties. However, if a trend works with your style, the look is properly put together and you wear them with confidence — go for it! We have some tips for keeping the look more chic than “I’m-off-to-Coachella,” so it works in everyday life.

If you have a classic style, keep the rest of your look tailored. Skip the embellished, statement sandals and go for a minimalist gladiator like the one seen on the Valentino runway for spring paired with ladylike eyelet or a sandal in barely-there nude tones with a shirtdress as we saw at Chloe. These styles are subtle and much easier to pull off without risking a “fashion-don’t” situation. If you’re petite, nude or gold tones are the ONLY way to go. And if your legs are muscular, avoid the darker shades and go flesh tone unless you actually want to look like a Roman gladiator.

Valentino Spring 2015 5Valentino Spring 2015 Ready-to-Wear Collection. Photo Credit: Marcus Tondo /

Chloe Spring 2015

Chloe Spring 2015 Ready-to-Wear Collection. Photo Credit: Marcus Tondo /

Outfit Idea
gladiator how to_0_1Dress, Mango // Sandals, Mango (Only $40!) // Handbag, Valentino

If your style is boho, keep it classy. If you’re all in for the embellished, statement sandals, pair them with a midi or maxi, which is still sexy but has more coverage than a mini. Again, we look to the Valentino spring runway for inspiration in styling knee-high gladiators with a midi-dress, which could just as easily be worn with an embellished or fringed sandal. Just say no to super short shorts, frayed denim Daisy Dukes and ultra-mini skirts. I would tell any woman at any age to avoid this blunder unless you are an young starlet with a “short shorts, don’t care” attitude, a musician or an artist. Otherwise these pictures may come back to haunt you at some point. If you are in your 20s, it’s not your mom’s ’70s when there was no social media.

Valentino Spring 2015 3Valentino Spring 2015 Ready-to-Wear Collection. Photo Credit: Marcus Tondo /

naya-rivera-unholy-trinity-reunite-04Naya Rivera of Glee fame does the look right, pairing her black gladiators with a maxi dress.

Outfit Idea

gladiator boho how to_0

Dress, Free People // Sandals, Steve Madden // Cuff, Mango // Earrings, Free People

What to avoid. Anything too mini — especially if you’re embracing the fringed or embellished knee-high gladiators. With these looks, opt for the ankle-high gladiators — we don’t want to look like we’re wearing a Halloween costume! And skip the fringe handbag with the knee-high style and instead pair with one of this season’s oh-so-popular bucket bags. Let the sandals make the statement. Oh, and save the braided hair for another time too — remember, it’s not really the ’70s… fashion is just having another flashback.

Vanessa Hudgens: Smart Water does her Body GoodWhat not to wear… these shorts are not a great look to begin with and especially if you’re not twenty-something. But we do love Vanessa’s gladiators on their own.


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