Hello, dear reader!
Aging is no reason to loose your style groove. Women (and men!) in middle-age (or above) complain that it is hard to find clothing that doesn’t feel frumpy. I get it. About 50 years ago, fashion became the playground of the young. It was not always that way. As a child, I remember looking at my mother’s wardrobe and wanting to be “grown up enough” to wear clothes like that! Or sitting on the bed watching her get ready for a party, and wondering if I would ever look that lovely…
The current obsession with youth that began in the 1960’s is a relatively recent phenomenon. For generations, sophistication was reserved for the experienced woman. In The Lost Art of Dress, Linda Przybyszewski’s research turns up a fabulous perspective check on chasing youth.
Paris fashion houses aimed at dressing the woman over thirty, for only with maturity could a woman wear clothes “with an air of smartness and chic.”
The French say that all perfectly dressed women are over forty… That is because they know that a smart appearance is the result of study and experience.
The older models of the 1950’s (Many worked into their 30’s and 40’s; thank the Lord, that is coming back around!) looked like they could handle the world. By the 1960’s, the idea was to look young and fun!
Often it is the older woman who is truly chic.
Not a Teenager Any More
Since the 1960’s fashion culture has been fixated on the young. It started with Twiggy and the Youthquake. Later we had the scandal of Brooke and her Calvins. It is easy to find clothing for teens and twenty-somethings, and even for 40+ year olds as long as you are looking for business dress, or very classic clothing, but I know many women for whom a business or classic wardrobe doesn’t fit their casual lifestyle or personality. They feel like the options jump from the Junior’s Department to elastic-waisted polyester pants. “Where’s everything in between?” one client loudly bemoaned.
It’s out there! But you have to know who you are, and what you want. The French have an expression to be “bien dans sa peau,” which literally means to be “good in one’s skin.” It encompasses feeling comfortable and confident in your body, your self, and your place in the world. It’s owning who you are, right now. Not waiting for the person you will be when you lose that 10 pounds. That confidence transcends weight, body shape, and age.
Finding the right clothes “at a certain age” requires more discernment than simply going into a store and buying a “look” straight off the mannequin. That will usually feel like a costume! Creating a wardrobe you love, and that loves you back takes time. Like a garden, it doesn’t happen all at once. Everyone has the right to be choosy. You have to choose what to add, wait for it to show up, and weed regularly. It’s about planning, selecting, and cultivating. If that sounds like hard work, it’s not. Once you have the big picture, and a plan for how to get there, the shopping, and daily dressing become far more enjoyable!
Learn About You!
Some of you might be thinking, “That’s all well and dandy, but I never had a groove…” If you never had one, now is a great time to experiment and find one! You don’t have to spend a fortune to experiment. The first steps really have to do with some self-examination. Knowing who you are, what colors make you look and feel your best, what shapes flatter, what you love and what you hate, what you want to say when you walk out the door: all of these are components that fit together to create your personal style. And your style should not look like any one else’s. It may take bits and pieces from other looks and styles, but in order for it to be uniquely you and not feel like a costume it had to come from inside you.
Style is not just for the young! Style is the journey of a lifetime, and you get better as you get older more confident and self-assured.
How about you? Who do you think has great style? Is he or she young, or more “experienced?” Let’s start a conversation in the comments below!
And many thanks to Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb for the Link-Up!