I won’t give a number, but let’s just say according to a recent British woman’s survey, I am too old to wear a mini skirt. Little do they know that I have killer legs that give Gwyn Paltrow two good reasons to burn another hour with her celebrity trainer. Actually according to this survey, even GP who is just a few years younger (she’s 44) should pack her minis in a goodwill box and bid them an adios. Not that I strut about with my thighs and possible tush visible to all, I certainly don't like being told what to do with it or to show it off. (Did you get that GOP?)
If wellness is a state of mind that transcends age, should age, regardless of how awesomely one embodies that number be a major criteria when choosing what to wear? What if I don’t look my age (because I don't feel my age, Black doesn't crack, I eat clean and I have logged years of dance and running that keep me in shape even when I haven't worked out in a while) – is it ok for me to rock those knee-high boots, or will my ID be checked like when I was caught trying to buy wine coolers at 20? If there is no such thing as ageless style and dressing, who decides the cut-off ages? Is there an Emily Post guide of age-appropriate fashion available on BetterWorldBooks.com?
Personally, the idea of age-appropriateness dictating style (much less anything regarding positive personal lifestyle) has always fascinated and lightly annoyed me. My affinity for Jackie O classicism has served as a preventative measure for avoiding most questionable dressing scenarios and naughty front page exposes for that matter. That aesthetic supports a somewhat modest, albeit on trend style approach, which despite my alternative ways, has allowed me the ability to transition from situation to situation, social group to cultural shift with the focus being on what I say or do as opposed to what I'm wearing. However, because I am often perceived as younger and “creative” (love the way that label can sound like a condition rather than a gift, skill or talent), the rules often seem to be bent or waivered when applied to where a sensitivity to appropriateness end and ageism begin? You see, what we wear and how we wear it is rarely a decision made in a bubble. And I'm not 100% sure it need be, yet for our sake of authenticity and wellness, acknowledging our audience (our mirror, our colleagues, our partner and girl posse) has influence. That influence will often limit us based on criteria we have zero control over; our age.
I'll admit, in my opinion, there are few women regardless of their age, rock stars and supermodels aside, who can (as in should) be seen publicly in leather pants. Helen Mirren, 71 was photographed a couple of years ago in a bikini and she looked hot! Like an older Bridget Bardot. Madonna, an uber alpha 58-year old vixen and mom looks amazing in high boots, fishnets, a corseted body suit simultaneously worn while playing a guitar and prancing around a stage in a packed stadium. Perhaps that type of chutzpah is essential to “get away with” dressing younger than your age. That and an amazing bod!
Star-status, hundreds of squats or a do-as-please approach to life are not the prerequisites to ageless dressing. Ageless style may simply require an honest assessment of one’s lifestyle, a smidgen of modesty and of course a mirror. Our parallel “good taste” ageless guide to dressing suggests pairing youthful items with more sophisticated pieces – like a mini skirt paired with a cashmere sweater or ballet flats instead of a racer-back tee and stilettos. Steering clear of flimsy textures and cheap fabrics is essential. Finally, accentuate the positive. If your neck is long like a swan’s a pony tail will feature it beautifully, if your legs are like Tina Turner’s, rock them out proudly. And if you are not graced with those idealized features - do what feels right and fits (literally and figuratively), what makes you happy and provides a peace of mind, a sense of playfulness and a certainty that you are doing your best you and that's enough.