I've recently read several articles about dressing "appropriately". I've read articles saying that women shouldn't wear skirts showing their knees after 30, I've read articles saying that women are dressing like their teenage daughters, and I've read articles saying that men shouldn't wear baggy jeans past their mid-20's.
Since I'm approaching 30, I decided to explore some 30's advice articles and see what I'm SUPPOSED to wear when I hit the big "3-OH" next year. The articles that I've found were surprising, and a little depressing.
So far, I've discovered that when you're 30 or over:
- Miniskirts are a no-no.
- Skirts should go to the knee or below, and if you REALLY want to be "sexy", your skirt should have a slit in the side.
- If pairing boots with a skirt, your skirt should touch or cover the boots.
- Shorts should be no higher than mid-thigh, but the ideal length should be 2 inches above the knee.
- Khaki pants are better than jeans for the "30 and above" closet.
- Low rise is too "young for you" and ripped jeans will make you look homeless.
- Message t-shirts are also inappropriate.
- Women 30 and over should have "classy" things in their wardrobe such as: pencil skirts (note that maxi skirts may be too "trendy" for people over 30), flat-front pants, cashmere sweaters, and ballet flats (women over 30 should not wear heels over 2 inches).
- Cleavage is a no-no (because its saggy), and sleeveless is also a no-no (because of saggy arms).
- Sleeveless CAN be worn if paired with a bolero jacket to cover unsightly arm fat (otherwise known as "bingo wings").
- Women over 30 should also avoid "loud accessories" including, but not limited to: glitter, dark nail polish, studded belts, animal print, and anything plastic.
Let's continue on to men 30 and over:
- Men should not wear vintage tees past 30.
- After 30, men should have crisp tees in good shape (no band tees!) and button up shirts with... KHAKIS, of course.
- Polo shirts are also acceptable, tank tops are not.
- Jeans should not be baggy or saggy.
I've also noted that after 30 men should not wear off-the-rack suits, they should ditch cargo pants, and avoid clothing with large printed branding.
I'm blown away. Evidently, at 30, I'm supposed to dress somewhere between Mrs. Cleaver and my grandmother. In one year, my breasts are going to suddenly sag, my arms are going to get flabby, and my legs will become way too unsightly for skirts and shorts. I wasn't aware of this full body degradation. My mother never told me this. I'm evidently on the road to ugly sweatshirts and polyester pants.
Lets get serious. I don't have flabby arms, my breasts don't sag, my butt is where its supposed to be, and my legs are gorgeous. I don't see this magically changing in the next year. Is this society's outlook on 30-somethings? Is this what people over 30 remember their 30's being like? Is this how under 30's look at us?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to dress like a cheerleader or a school-girl unless its for Halloween, but is there really a line I cross when I hit 30? I don't think theres a guide to follow when it comes to fashion or comfort. I'm a firm believer in rockin' it while you can. I think its ok to wear a bikini after 40 if you've got the body for it. I think its alright to shop in the Junior's section at 35, as long as you're not buying that glittery Hello Kitty "princess" t-shirt that was intended for 11 year olds. Its ok to show some cleavage if your breasts are in good shape. Its fine to show a little tummy if its still smooth, flat and unmarred. My mother is almost 50. She wears jeans, shirts, and sneakers. She doesn't look like she's trying to be 20, she doesn't look like June Cleaver, and she's definitely not trying to be Peggy Bundy. As far as I'm concerned, until my grandchildren are old enough to be embarrassed by my cleavage or I become embarrassed of it, its not a concern of mine.
I'm well aware that not everyone is lucky with their figure, and that having kids, weight loss/gain, and illness (among other things!) can really make your body go south. That's ok too! You still don't have to dress like a frumpy grandmother if you don't want to. You can always dress shape appropriate, and within your comfort zone.For example: Whether you're 17 or 67, you can look great rocking jeans, a nice top, a leather jacket, and heeled boots.
I'm certainly not seeing celebrities dressing much different as they age. Gwyneth Paltrow (39) certainly isn't sacrificing short dresses/skirts because she's over 30. Johnny Depp (48) hasn't given up baggy jeans. Should "normal" people aged 30 and over get rid of these things?
I'm not giving up my stilettos, or my mini skirts until I don't look good in them any more. Well, I might give up my stilettos if I fall and break something no matter how old I happen to be. I'm not going to stop dying my hair whatever color I want until the colors clash with my wrinkles.
I'm also not giving up my band tees or my funny t-shirts, and I don't expect my 30-something husband to give them up either.
On the other hand, I'm certainly not going to wear sweatpants that say "Drama Queen" across the rear. I'm also not going to stand in front of my mirror and delude myself into thinking I look great in pigtails and overalls. There are "girl" clothes and there are women clothes. As for women dressing like their teenage daughters, sometimes it happens.... Sometimes its just the cold, hard fact that kids are growing up faster and acting/dressing older than previous generations.
Is "age appropriate" just another way of saying "don't wear what you don't look good in"? Are you going to give up your favorite clothes because they're not "age appropriate"? What is your opinion on fashion age limits?