Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Age Appropriate Dress

At what age should a Herve Leger body con dress be off limits? (Elle McPherson wearing one in her forties - picture from http://www.thepunch.com.au/)

Would you wear a dress this short in your fifties? (Sharon Stone, right - picture from http://www.stylelist.com/)
Would you dress like this in your mid forties? (SJP in Proenza Schouler- picture from www.couturesnob.com)

Age appropriate dress might not be something that other people think about that much but it is something that bothers me quite a bit. I am in my early thirties with children but I just can't seem to bring myself to dress to fit in with that stereo type of the 'yummy mummy'. I am well aware that as I get older, there will be even more stereo types and expectations of how I should dress. It also really terrifies me is that I might dress too grown up or sensible and people might think that I am older than I really am or a bit frumpy. It has even crossed my mind that if I continue to dress in the same way as I get older, people might use the dreaded words 'mutton dressed as lamb' to describe me.

The problem is deciding what sort of clothing is considered age appropriate and still having fun with my clothes. With many of the celebrities flouting the rules of what should be classed as appropriate for their age with great sucess, aren't the boundaries changing a bit. Think of Sarah Jessica Parker, Kylie Minogue and Cameron Diaz. They say that forties are the new thirties so why can this be applied to clothes too. For me personally, I couldn't get away with wearing many of the fashion trends that the celebs wear in their forties when I was in my teens and twenties so I certainly can't wear them now. As I get older I do feel the need to flatter my body by wearing clothes that really suit me.

The difficulty is that as you get older, you are expected to avoid trends and instead opt for classic styles. Being a fashion blogger, I am constantly immerged in the latest trends making them very hard to ignore but it I definitely think some are just not age appropriate for me. For example, I would love to wear a big hair bow but whilst it would have looked cute in my early twenties, it now feels a bit twee.

I guess it is all about the person and how they feel. There are lots of clothes that I do not feel comfortable in because of my height and body shape but I do like to wear fun, colourful and individual clothes. Whilst some might think I dress a bit strange (or not age appropriate), that is just me and the way that I like to be, I was just the same in my twenties, the only difference now is that I usually have to wear better quality clothes with a more generous cut and more often choose tailored pieces. Most of all I have an urgency to wear as many fun clothes as I can before I have to resign myself to granny cardis and slippers (although I am not sure that will ever happen).

What do you think? Do you ever consider whether your choice of clothes is age appropriate?


Cheryl: Oh to Be a Muse said...

i'm 24 and dressed appropriately for me age...but so many styles are designed for my age group, which makes it a bit easy.

i totally get what you mean though. personally, i love what sjp is wearing and would wear that in 20 years. i think when you're older you should focus more on showing leg (if you're going to show anything) other than showing boob. so i think tops that show too much cleavage would not be age appropriate, whereas some leg action would still work. look at tina turner--amazing legs. with that said, sharon stone may be showing a bit too much leg.

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Looking Fab in your forties said...

A subject close to my heart! I think SJP looks great!

Winnie said...

SJP and McPhereson look amazing and really dress to their figure, rather than age I think. I think it's important to find that balance. I'm 23 and I don't think I dress my age, I think I dress a lot younger but I don't really care! :)

lorenabr said...

Well if you have the right body for it, why not!!!!


Fashion Jewellery said...

This is a great post, I think it is down to the individual really. Some poeple look and feel young for their age and therefore it works. :)

Ife' said...

Hmmm, good question. Part of me wants to say that it all depends on the person, and their clothing personality and what they feel comfortable wearing, but as I began to type that I remembered a woman who had to be 50+ in Costco a couple weeks ago wearing Ugg boots and an oversized T-shirt dress. My cousin and I, both in our 20's looked at her and said, "is she serious?" It just looked odd. I am 28 and I wouldn't ever wear what she was wearing and my style is pretty trendy and provocative. Her outfit looked like something that should have been left in the dorms.

That being said, it wasn't the length of her dress that bothered me. The woman was in fabulous shape and she looked GREAT. I think what bothered me was the lack of sophistication and class in her look. When I look at women like SJP, Demi Moore, and Elle McPherson, I see sexy, classy, an sophisticated women.

~Eboni Ife'

the fashionate traveller said...

Well, I'm already in my mid-forties - I turn 46 tomorrow - so this is VERY relevant to me! I too think SJP looks great and would wear that. Herve Leger is fine if you're slender. I'm not 100% sold on tiny minies in your fifties but Sharon looks OK.

The ankle sock with shoes trend is one I have to avoid as an older lady, but I'm darn well gonna wear most other trends I enjoy - you betcha!

Elisa @ Globetrotting in Heels said...

I can relate, I believe these are common concerns. However, I don't agree that as we get older we have to avoid trends and opt for classics. If that's the case, shoot me right now before I die of boredom.

I think the point is that as we get older we are supposed to have a better idea of what out style is and how certain trends will or won't fit in with it. When you are young you can experiment and look cute instead of silly - also, you can pull off shorter hemlines... all the celebs above need to lay off the mini dresses, or add several inches to them!!