Saturday, October 11, 2008

Age Appropriate Dressing

Replying to Ellie's comment on a previous blog, she asked if dressing my age might be a mistake and make me start acting my age -- a very good question really, because we do put forward the version of ourselves we want others to see. The matter comes to mind quite often because I live in a very large apartment building and frequently see 3 or 4 "older" [than me] ladies who I beleive had professional careers. They dress like serious professionals in suits and nice dresses and shoes and stockings and are well groomed and wear makeup. Their styles haven't changed in quite a few years. I admire them for sticking to who they are -- I know too that a bit of it is a matter of not buying new clothes when they have quite good quality clothes from their past needs. But they are out of step, of course. Still why should they keep up with styles? Each time I see these ladies in the elevator or lobby or nearby streets I say to myself, are they stuck in the past or are they being true to themselves? I don't know the answer.

For my part I'm so addicted to certain thrift shops that my wardrobe changes pretty frequently although not with the hottest styles. But I have no need for the hottest style. I can live in pants and tops and jackets when layers are needed. I have only one pair of shoes with "heels". Long ago I defined for myself the style that feels comfortable, it's separates that can be mixed endlessly with scarves and my much loved collection of not very expensive but individual rings, bracelets, and necklaces acquired on travels. I'd call my choice of clothing probably Talbots with a dash of J. Jill and Chicos although mostly I don't shop in those stores. So when I write about "age appropriate" I really do mean that socks with pandas aren't my thing -- never has been. So I know what I'm comfortable wearing and I doesn't change much.

Yes, sometimes I look at what I think of as the earth-mother-Woodstock styles. You know the flowing skirts and Indian print tops and such. In fact, I really like those clothes but when I give in and purchase something I find myself not wearing it. I have a couple pieces of that sort and love them but somehow never reach for them when I'm getting dressed. So there it is. On the other hand I feel entirely too much out of my style if I put on sneakers for anything other than walks in the woods [or the rain when I don't want leather shoes to get wet].

Long ago I read "know our style" in those advice columns and thought it good advice and have stuck to it. The picture above is another street fair pictures. I often see some really nice one-of-a-kind jewelry at street fairs. Rarely, very rarely do I buy any because, as said, I have stuff from my travels. I prefer to remember a shop in Spain or a bazaar in Egypt than a no longer exotic [to me] New York street fair.


Ellen aka "Ellie" said...

LOL! GREAT Topic! I feel honored to have inspired an entire new post. :o)

And I know exactly what you mean by purchasing stuff you like on others but never wearing it yourself. I recently cleaned a lot of that stuff out of my closet. It was hard to part with but in reality, I'd maybe worn it once and didn't feel comfortable in it!

Stephanie D. said...

I, too, like the look of the flowing skirts and exotic tops and pretty sandals. But they never look right on me--I'm not that kind of person and I think you must have a certain personality, not to mention a certain body type, for those items to look good on you.

I think my style is scrubs. 8^P

Helen Conway said...

Just wear what is you. I was delighted once when I found that my 80 something grandmother has the same T shirt I did! We also go for the same shoes from Van Dhal. We are very similar in personality (and seemingly foot shape)so its not surprising we should like the same stuff.