Friday, 8 July 2011

The Dress your Age Debate–and why it still goes on………………………

There’s been quite a bit in the press over the last few weeks (and here’s a link to one piece by Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman written a few years ago) about how the majority of women over 50 do not choose to ‘dress their age’.  I don’t agree with everything that she says, but I totally agree with ‘By the time you are 50, chances are you have a basic idea of what looks good on you, and this has nothing to do with age.’ And also that buying clothes when you get older has a great deal to do with confidence, which of course it does.
The recent press on this subject has been based mainly on celebrities such as Jane Fonda and Helen Mirren who manage to look glamorous in, albeit expensive, ageless clothes that any woman would be happy to have hanging in her closet.  Pretty well any woman of any age, provided she could wear them.
There lies the question, because this whole ‘dressing your age’ business is based solely on the number of years since you were born.  Not what you look like, how tall you are, how you’ve looked after yourself but, quite simply, your age.  I’m not advocating that anyone try and dress as a 20 year old, perish the thought.  But what you should wear at any age depends on your style and your shape.  Not your age.  I don’t agree that it is necessary for ‘waists to thicken’, or for ‘boobs to drop’, that is just a cop-out frankly.  It’s totally up to you how you look after yourself.  At 5’2”, and having had three children I know these things.
It is too easy to use age as an excuse for not being able to wear certain things.  As you grow older there are some clothes you definitely think twice about (or you should do), such as leggings, leather jeans, short short skirts and a whole number of items my daughter would wear with aplomb.  However not wearing those is a grown up style choice.  The reason why Jane Fonda and Helen Mirren can wear those dresses is because they look after themselves.  The reason why most people couldn’t is because they don’t.