{11/04/2012}   Dressing your age

This morning, I saw my c80 year old neighbour wearing what appeared to be a pair of skinny jeans and knee high block heeled boots.  I was too shocked to take in what jacket etc she was wearing.  But she looked really good.  Seeing her got me thinking about the mutton dressed as lamb/inappropriate clothing for your age issue.
It bothers me that women (more than men) get mocked for wearing “inappropriate” clothing for their age.  I realise my dress sense changed somewhere between school and university and again in my late 20s/early 30s, but that was also in part because I started putting on weight then.  I have seen women my age wearing skimpy clothing that I think should be worn by teenagers, if anyone.  I have also seen women my age wearing really fuddy duddy clothes and looking ridiculously old and conservative.
Your clothing is a reflection of your personality and it’s a way of presenting yourself to the world because, whether we like it or not, people make instant judgments based on your appearance.  Short skirts seem to cause lots of consternation over a certain age.  Last night I watched a fairly dreadful film, I Could Never be Your Woman, in which a 40-year old character played by Michelle Pfeiffer (c49 when she made this film) dates a 29 year-old character played by Paul Rudd (c38 when he made this film).  She wore lots of short skirts and looked really good.  I like Michelle Pfeiffer, yet still I found myself thinking she shouldn’t be wearing short skirts at her age.  I am so annoyed with myself for thinking that.  It means I have ingrained in me somewhere an age limit for short skirts.  Why shouldn’t a woman wear whatever she wants, assuming she looks good in it, and not have to feel she is being judged by, usually, other women?  If you have nice legs, flaunt them, share them.  But why do I have this impression that there is an age limit to, say, short skirts?  It’s horrid and I feel awful about it.
Sometimes, there is no other expression more suitable than mutton dressed as lamb.  It is not pretty to see a middle aged woman wearing teenage clothes and revealing a more-than-teenage bust and belly.  Maybe it is the type of clothes.  Displaying excessive flesh other than on a beach, etc,  is rarely attractive, whatever your age.  My neighbour in her skinny jeans and “young” boots actually looked really good and not at all muttony.  I usually associate women of around her age with poor dress sense, skirts between knee and ankle length, cardigans, high necked tops … I feel I might be getting bogged down now in a vat of stereotypes and I am not coming across well here!
I guess my point is that people do have an idea of what people of certain ages should and shouldn’t wear.  But really, dressing to suit you is the most important thing.  I just don’t think most of us are that good at dressing to display our best assets, or at least I’m not; I am far too baggy-clothed for my age, at least that’s what I’d think most days if I could see me from someone else’s point of view.


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