Many style rules rankle me because they seem subjective, arbitrary, and confining. And now that I’m 35 and can see 40 on the horizon, I’m thinking more and more about age-related dressing maxims, and find them to be just as subjective, arbitrary, and confining as the rest. I’ve penned a post on age-appropriate dressing, and outlined some loose style guidelines for women over 40, but can’t say I’m happy with either piece. Even loaded with caveats, those ideas still reinforce the notion that older women need to watch what they wear more carefully than younger women do. That, after a certain point, wearing certain items will make you look foolish no matter your personality, style, figure, or profession.
Originally posted 2012-03-27 06:27:30.
After college, it occurred to me that I should probably buy a purse. In addition to feeling like that’s what adult women did, I realized that my beat-up knapsack wasn’t going to cut it at my new office job. I had no idea what I wanted, so I just bought a bag that looked like what I’d seen the women around me carrying. It was a long-strap duffle, it was real leather, it seemed to work fine, and I stuck with it for ages.
It wasn’t until I became a regular cell phone user that handbag design began to matter to me. Sure, it’s best to have a bag that lets you access your wallet and keys fairly easily, but when you’ve only got four to five rings to extract a live telephone, that ups the ante. In 2005 I owned an unbearably gorgeous, handmade leather messenger bag that weighs about nine pounds completely empty. I loved it passionately, but it was a pain to haul around and I could never unbuckle the buckles in time to reach my ringing phone. So I searched for and located a lovely bag that had two external pockets with magnetic closures. And I carried it every day for about four years. I figured that, for the vast majority of my waking hours, I was NOT visibly carrying my handbag. I was sitting at a computer or talking with a friend or working out at the gym. My bag needed to be attractive and useful, and one attractive, useful bag would suffice.
Originally posted 2011-11-29 06:17:34.
left | right
Reader Krysta posted this question in a comment:
I’d love to see a feature where you give suggestions on how a “dated” item – a sweater duster, a superfringey bag/jacket, etc. – could be styled/worn so that it reads less “dated” and more “updated.” Or something. We all have items we love that look like their year of provenance, and minimizing that look would be useful and interesting…
So. For starters, there’s a fine line between pieces that are recognizably retro, like this vintage printed dress:
Originally posted 2012-03-26 06:20:57.