Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Age Appropriate Dressing

I went to the mall with my fourteen year-old niece and it occurred to me for the first time that I might be too old to dress the way that I do.  Is there a rule for what is appropriate for one to wear at certain ages?  When Vogue does their annual "How to Dress at any Age" issue, why don't they ever address this question?  

When Morgan was dropped off at my house today, she had on a GREAT pair of skinny jeans-- just what I've been looking for.  When I asked her where she got them, she said that she had just bought them at the mall, and that they were on sale, so away we went.  We ended up at Delia's, which for those of you who don't know, is mostly a catalogue (but sometimes a store) filled with fourteen to fifteen year-old girls looking like, well, like high-school girls.  And here I was hanging out with someone who is fifteen years my junior, and I'm buying the same clothes as her, albeit a few sizes larger.  Moreover, en route to Delia's, we stopped at a shoe store where Morgan bought a pair of GREY CONVERSE-- the exact replica of a pair I own.

So, the question is-- how should a 28 year-old woman (soon to be 29) be dressing?  I felt kind of silly when I walked into the mall and all the teeny-bopper girls started looking at me like I'm competition and the boys checked me out.  Maybe the skin-tight jeans, long earrings, and tank tops just aren't appropriate anymore.

But, then again, when I pointed out to my niece a pair of shoes I thought were cute, she exclaimed, "Ew.  You like old lady clothes."  Hmmm.

I found the recommendations below in an article about age dressing at the  It's okay but not that helpful in resolving these all important questions. 

Age 16-25
Experiment while you can. Don’t dress too old (note, not like Katie Holmes and Kate Middleton) and enjoy being girly (later on it just won’t work) with bows, frills and quirky layering. If you’re not girly, then you can still push your look to the extreme, whether you’re an indie, a punk or an emo. Don’t be too calculated and enjoy the freedom to be mismatched — it’s not a time to worry about subtlety.

Age 26-35
You can still have fun with clothes, but this is the time to learn how to take young fashion into the workplace. Look for belted cardigans, mix tailoring with soft fabrics, invest in one nice piece of jewellery and buy a good, but not too flashy, handbag.

Age 36-45
Girly no longer works, but don’t go too far the other way. Start tidying up the look with clean lines, but you can still go casual in nice jeans and a good cashmere knit. If by your mid-forties you can’t give up the short skirts, then wear them with opaque tights and flat shoes. Buy a good winter coat and don’t scrimp on the shoes and bags.

Age 46-55
Go for good quality separates that really flatter your figure. Wear simple blazers, stiffer fabrics for added structure (crisp shirts, pleat-front trousers) and dresses. Sleek and pulled together is the look. Avoid cheap, gimmicky jewellery and accessories, as well as “amusing” hair colours. It is worth getting your colours done to learn which shades suit your complexion.

Age 56-65
You can still follow trends, but learn to do it more subtly. Accessories are a great nod to a trend, a patent belt lifts an outfit without you having dramatically to change your look. Choose longer sleeves for covering the arms, and if your waist isn’t what it once was, then look for shapes that skim rather than cling. Grooming becomes more important — make sure that your hair is neat.

Age 65+
Have fun with large statement jewellery and find your glamorous side — printed silk scarves, luxurious blouses, simple wide-legged trousers and elegant evening wear. Look for opulent fabrics such as silk and velvet. Dress up the accessories, it’s amazing what a sparkly clutch bag can do for a simple outfit. Here.

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