Saturday, December 17, 2016

Y is for Young

If you follow fashion writing, you are led to believe that thirty is a magical age, at which you suddenly become an old woman. After 30, your body is disgusting, and you should dress to be invisible. If you wanted to have any fun with your clothing, you better have done it in your 20's, because before 30, being tasteful is optional; after 30, it's mandatory. Such is the takeaway from countless articles purporting to explain what you should and shouldn't wear at various ages.

I have a lot to say on the subject of policing what people wear – mostly critical – and some day I'll get around to writing my long-planned soliloquy on ageism in fashion.

Today, you'll just get the short version—a sort of real-life protest against the oppression of dressing for one's age.

I've selected an outfit made from various elements that have been written off as inappropriate for women over 30 (which I am). Today (and actually many days, according to the exhaustive lists of things no self-respecting 30-year-old should don), I'm dressing "too young for my age," and I'm doing it with pride!*

Before (backwards mirror shot)
The first thing I absolutely had to wear was my new T-shirt with the giant word "YAY!" screen printed across the front (getting the most bang for my buck with another Y-word). Not only did one article ban screen printed shirts for mature women (I can't even begin to see the logic in that one), and another one prohibit "message" shirts, but I literally picked this shirt up from a kids' shop (it's the second of two pieces that I mentioned getting from Fab Kids—the other one being a tutu, which was of course on a no-no list as well). This shirt fit me pretty well, except across my oversized shoulders, of course! I had to do a quick mod, slitting the sleeves up the center and turning them into flutter sleeves, which made the shirt even more fun, in my opinion.

There's nothing too youthful about my jeans (though apparently in some not-so-distant past, jeans were considered the exclusive province of the young as well), but the shoes under them check any number of boxes, as "costume shoes" were decried in one list for the above-30 set, and there's little more costumey than a pair of 5-inch-high glitter platform wedges.

At this point, I still didn't think I'd achieved a convincingly "young" vibe, so I had to resort to hair, makeup, and accessories to finish the job.

Though pigtails surprisingly didn't make it into any of the lists I found online, they are pretty much the quintessential little-girl hairdo, so I somehow scraped my very short locks into two ponytails. I chose gold roses for my earrings because I wanted something gold (to go with the shoes and printing on the shirt), but still a little playful.

One of the publications I read also claimed that older women should not wear blue eyeshadow. They did not explain why, but guess what I put on my eyelids! Blue! I also wore bubble-gum pink lip gloss and sprayed myself liberally with my most juvenile Paris Hilton perfume.

When I wore this outfit out to dinner, no one gave me the side-eye and told me I was dressing too young, but as soon as I took off my coat, a bartender exclaimed how much she loved my shirt and wanted to know where I got it. So while it may be totally inappropriate for an adult over 30 to wear hot pants, fishnets, tube tops, miniskirts, bodycon dresses or any number of other things, you're never too old for Yay!

*I will admit that the first outfit I chose for today's theme was so extreme, I ended up looking like a caricature of a teenager circa 2001. As much as I advocate dressing for one's self and not for some arbitrary set of rules, I still didn't have the guts to sport my gaudy and slightly revealing outfit for dinner with my boyfriend's family (though I would have totally risked it if we were just going out alone). So I toned it down to what you see here. Moral of this story: sometimes you can't always break the rules with pride, even if you support it in theory.

1 comment:

  1. Rules are arbitrary. There really there are no rules.