Monday, October 5, 2009

Fashion and "Age Appropriateness".

I was checking out a website with tips for "Women over 40".
I am 42 years old.
I do not look at all like you would "expect" a 42 year old to look like. 0 wrinkles, 0 sagging, 0 signs of aging except gray hairs.
Thank you to being ethnic, great mommy and daddy genes and yes, one of the few advantages of not being thin. Chub keeps stuff in place. Thank you oily complexion.
A make up artist once told me " every pimple is one less wrinkle". In France they say :" Il faut choisir, la face ou le cul" (you have to choose between having a youthful face or having a small bum. Genetics made the choice for me. I am happy with it)
I have a sister that is 11 years younger. You would be darned if looking at the both of us together you could assess more than a 2 year difference in age.
Here is a photo of me and my baby sister Monkey...I am in Tokodoki and Marc by Marc Jacobs and LB Right Fit Jeans, she is in Custo Barcelona and 7 for Mankind jeans, we are at an open air Rufus Wainright concert in London:

NO ONE can believe I have a 16 year old daughter.
What bugs me about the whole "dressing for your age" is that it's a blanket statement.
No two people carry or feel their age the same way.
According to most "How not to look old" or "Dressing for my advanced old age", I should not even be looking at 90% of the stuff I wear. I should be in Eileen Fisher or neutral suits with "bold jewelry" and assume the Dorothy Sbornak look already.
Vintage finds, Hello Kitty and Tokidoki stuff, Custo Barcelona, extremely trendy clothes, darn, I even wear Juicy. I shop mostly in the Young Contemporary (plus and straight size) department of the stores and in places like Shopbop, Kitson, etc.
And no one really bats an eye in reality.
I hate that it is assumed that because the last time I saw the right side of twenty something was in the Clinton administration, I should look matronly, serious and conservative.
If I dressed like that, I would look so wrong. Like I borrowed my mom's clothing ( dang, even my mom who's 65 dresses younger than that because SHE looks about 47) or I am wearing my "serious" costume.
Of course there are things I would no longer wear out of sheer self respect and aesthetics like micro minis (my legs are not long nor lean so the proportions are not right and I think they are slutty).
But mostly I look at garments and the statement I am making on a "case by case" basis and there is nothing I say no to without trying it on first.
I am usually a jean, cool top and blazer or cardigan person but I tried on a shift dress the other day and I look amazing in it. Why not?
There is also the issue of personal style which Tim Gunn so eloquently addressed in his book.
I am a Goth/ Punk/ Rocker woman at the core, with a bent for wearing menswear inspired or menswear proper garments.
A skull graphic or a tattoo print looks ever so right on me and so does high quality leather and dark denim. I also look great in a minimalistic blouse, a cashmere cardigan and a great pair of slacks.
I hate fashion dictates based on my demographic, age, or body type (I am plus, I am hour glass and the right skinny jeans look awesome on me) and that "prohibit me" from wearing something.
If the so called "fashion experts" have not seen what something looks like on me, the way I would wear it, how can they make those pronouncements?
I think that part of being fashionable is using your own imagination, criteria, and creativity to express yourself.
It's about time we take that power into our own hands and stop leaving it to others to tell us what we can and cannot wear.
Viva La Juicy!

P.S: I will get to reviews of Fashion Week Collections soon.

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