One of the articles in my feed, recently, was titled “Age-Appropriate Dressing: How French First Lady Brigitte Macron, 66, Breaks the Rules. I won’t link to the article (in Zoomer Magazine), because it’s full of tired clichés. It compares the style of First Lady Brigitte Macron, 66, to Queen Mathilde, 46. It talks about the way First Lady Macron manages to look stylish and younger (imagine that with all of the resources at her disposal!) by “breaking the age-related dressing rules” compared to Queen Mathilde who must adhere to more rules expected of her station. My main thought was, “Is age-appropriate dressing still a thing?” I hope not.
I have heard all about the rules growing up:
- women shouldn’t wear a mini skirt over the age of 35(at 47, 35 sounds so young for any such thought!)
- for goodness sake, cut your hair short after 40
- don’t be too trendy
- don’t get a tattoo that you will regret when you get older (I am fairly certain that if I regret anything when I am older, it will have nothing to do with my tattoos!)
However, in 2020, aren’t we past such restrictive thoughts and opinions? What do these rules say anyway? Don’t embarrass yourself, don’t wear things that don’t “flatter” you, don’t wear something that shows too much, or too little skin, wear what society tells you is appropriate for your size. All to which I say, everyone should just mind their own business.
I admit, decades ago, I watched the likes of Stacey London tell women (men too, but mostly women from what I remember) “What Not to Wear”. Part of her schtick was “tough love” and “she wanted them to bring out their best selves.” A lot of her rules had to do with age. She even had a thing about the appropriate amount of metallic for your age.
I have known many women who have flouted these types of rules. Perhaps, that’s why I tend not to take them too seriously. But I wish I wasn’t the only one. I have nothing against a person feeling better about themselves. Feeling comfortable in their clothes, as though they are portraying the image they wish to portray. But it shouldn’t be based on your age, anymore than it should be about your size, gender or any other outwardly imposed factor.
Other than the realities of our mortality, can we all agree that age is just a number? How someone feels at any given age, is personal. How they wish to express that age, is personal. Similarly a body is perfect at any size for any fashion that feels right for the wearer.
I still hear people, sometimes friends, critique others for what they are wearing. “What was she thinking”, wearing something that short, low-cut, baggy, unflattering, etc. I find myself taken aback that they are concerned with what others choose to wear. Why would anyone care what someone else is wearing? Does it come from a place of the critic’s own insecurities, rather than a real concern for the choices of others?
I prefer to support people expressing themselves however they wish. How someone adorns their body doesn’t impress or offend me. What comes out of their mouth, their thoughts and feelings on life, how they treat people, that is where I prefer to direct my internal critic.
This topic, of course, got me thinking about “age-appropriate” dressing for working out.
Should there be rules when it comes to gym clothes? Running clothes? Again, no. I love working out at a gym where women of all ages workout. I love that women at this gym feel free to wear whatever makes them feel good, while exercising. Some wear baggy t-shirts or layers of sweatshirts (I sweat, just looking at them). Some wear a sports bra and shorts. Some women workout in a hijab. And what they wear is not related to their age.
There are practical considerations about what to wear while exercising. What will wick sweat away from my body, so I don’t get a rash, how hot am I going to get, and therefore, how many layers can I remove if necessary. I admit, I don’t feel totally comfortable working out in a sports bra, but that’s on me and my own insecurities. I usually have a tank top and leggings on (or tank top and shorts if running outside in summer). But what anyone else thinks of my outfit at the gym or anywhere else, should be irrelevant. I would suggest that if anyone works out at a gym that has silly rules (such as women cannot workout in their sports bra, if they choose – and in peace), then they should find another gym.
I am inspired by people being themselves. And that includes how they choose to dress. In their teens, in their 80s, and every age in between. How do you feel readers? Do you think age-appropriate dressing should still be a thing?