I remember going shopping with my mom when I was a teenager. She expressed a concern once that I find myself thinking about now; am I dressing too young for my age? I remember that she said other ladies were talking about how she tries to dress like her daughters. I’m not sure if she just thought that they thought that, or someone actually told her that, but I remember saying that she shouldn’t listen to them and that I liked how she dressed. In fact, if I’m telling the truth, when she was gone, both my sister and I (and sometimes my sister’s friends), would grab stuff out of her closet and wear to school! My sister got busted for letting her friends borrow clothes when my mom’s clothes showed up in their school photos! Ha! The point is she had a nice young style of dressing. When I look at photos of her from the past, she looks amazing!At age 59, I find myself asking the question, am I dressing too young for my age. I don’t feel 59, that’s the problem. But, when I look in the mirror, I see myself looking older. Recently, I was looking back at photos of myself in my late 40’s. Looking at my face and body, I think I still looked pretty young then. There were almost no wrinkles on my face, no turkey neck, very little gray hair and I still wore bikinis. (Side note: On my 50th birthday, someone asked me if I was going to stop wearing bikinis now? I laughed because I didn’t know if it was a compliment or a request!)
Now when I look at photos, my face and body are showing my age. That’s really okay, but it just surprised me how fast it happened! Now, I have things that I know don’t look good on me anymore, things I used to wear all the time! Things like flared jeans (bell bottoms), short skirts, cropped tops, big earrings, bikinis, band t-shirts, leggings, tight camis, short dresses, full makeup every day, big hair and low waisted jeans. Now, they look ridiculous on me. (I still wear my band t-shirts, dammit! Those were the best bands ever! Rock on! I also wear my bikini but only at home or on vacation when I am tan and no one knows me!)I don’t want to look ridiculous. I have seen people who obviously dress too young and I have cringed at that! I don’t want to look like I am desperately trying to cling to my youth! I also don’t want to dress too old because I have seen those people too and I just want to tell them that they would look so much better if they didn’t wear the their old lady church dresses, or baggy clothes to hide their bodies.
To me, there are different categories of dressing as we age:
· Bad “dressing too young”
· Dressing for comfort only
· People who dress however they want to dress and don’t give a damn!
· Advanced Style
Bad “dressing too young”- I already went over this but, most women my age can’t shop at Forever 21, even if they are thin enough to fit into their styles. I heard a terrible radio show once that said horrible things about aging women. I was in my 30’s when I heard it, but I remember one phrase “Butter Face”! What they were joking about (very wrongly, by the way) was seeing a woman with a great body and then she turns around and her face is old, hence their saying, “Ya, she’s got a great body, but- her-face!!!” So, Butter Face was their descriptive of that phenomenon. Obviously, it stuck with me. I think if you are trying to dress like you’re 20, when people see you, and they know you’re not 20 and you get a bad reaction. Trying too hard to look young only calls attention to yourself – it’s overcompensating. You don’t need to dress like a teenager to look young. It’s like the theory of lying about your age, if you say you’re younger, then people could think, “Wow, hard life!” But if you lie and say you’re older, people could think, “Wow, you look amazing!” Dress that way if you want, but realize that you aren’t fooling anyone. However, I am still gonna wear my band t-shirts because they make me happy!
People who dress however they want to dress and don’t give a damn!- I adore those funky Instagram grandmothers who dance around in their baubles, wear bright colors and turbans, because they refuse to fade, hide or be old! I’d like to be like that when I’m 80, but I’m not like that NOW, so why would I be like that then? What I take from them is that it’s okay to be YOURSELF as you age. I might not be comfortable doing that, but I admire them, and I think they look amazing because they aren’t trying to look younger; they are having fun and expressing themselves!
Advanced style- As we age and gain wisdom and maturity, we are expected to be “classic,” or “sophisticated,” and to be more “demure” — and dull, and fade into the background. Our time is done, and we need to accept our place in society. But, I refuse! Style should be based more on our lifestyle, which includes image as well as practical concerns, than on our age. Advanced style is a great term for it. At this stage in our life, we have different priorities, responsibilities and activities. Our style needs to fit all of those. It doesn’t matter what you wear as long as it fits well, makes you happy and you can do your life in it! Be a funky Instagram grandma, be a classic woman, be an active casual woman, but just be yourself at your age. That’s all you can be, if you try to be someone else, or try to be younger that you are, you just look cringe-worthy!