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.
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.
In a comment on this post about clothing details that read as young or old, reader Jane asked for some tips on how to avoid looking dated. Datedness is a social construct, of course, reinforced by a fashion industry that sells us new clothing based on our desire to look “current.” This means it is, in essence, bunk. But the same could be said of any dressing mores: They allow us to be expressive and visually communicative, but they’re all rooted in capitalism. It shouldn’t matter one whit if you’re wearing a blazer that was made 20 years ago, so long as it fits and is in good condition … but because of the value we place on youth and staying up-to-date on everything, it does matter. In some cases, it matters several whits.
Originally posted 2015-06-04 06:59:19.