Sunday, January 4, 2015

3 Things Women Over 30 Should Never Wear

Ew. As an English major and general snob, I really dislike using the word "things." But if I'm going to skewer the sad, crappy masses of clickbait barf, I felt like I should do it right.

This is a post inspired by my buddy Bobbi, who shared an article some weeks ago that dictated in farcical detail everything that ladies over 30 should not wear, up to and including crop tops and mini skirts.

I went dancing with my momma a couple weeks ago and as a foxy 60-year-old with all the best dance moves, I'm telling you right now that you can pry Mom's mini skirt from her cold, dead hands.

You can't really tell, but that's my mom, second from the right, in a mini skirt and about to destroy the dance floor with her brilliant moves. Also pictured: My sister's mother-in-law Mary, my sister Laurie and me, looking too weird with straight hair.

I'm 31 myself and, while I didn't cave and click the accursed link of forbidden fashion items, I truly loathe the idea that any style is off limits to me for any reason.

Bobbi is smart and stylish and recognized the article for what it is: poisonous dreck with an intent to make aging ladies just that much more insecure about changing bodies and changing fads.

Bobbi - 20 things women should stop wearing after 30
Well said, Bobbi.

I've been thinking about it a lot in the last few weeks. One of my self-imposed blogging rules is that I never give advice. I'm no expert, just some bozo with wifi, like most of the globe. But what the hell. One of my other rules is that I break all of my rules.

So, here it is: Three Things Women Over 30 Should Never Wear

1. Clothes that don't reflect your experience.

I am the queen of impractical fashion. I hike in finery, dance in dragging ball gowns and have a pristine record of never wearing an appropriate coat.

A paragon of impracticality

However, I like to think that I can learn from my mistakes. After wearing spike heels on an adventurous date, I've decided that I'd rather be the kind of companion that can keep up on outing without slinking to a barstool and whining about my bleeding feet. So, I choose shoes that will let me keep playing as long as I please.

This is not an argument for practicality (shudder) but a plea for people to respect their own experiences. Do you feel like a dolphin tangled in a tuna net whenever forced to don a bra? Then respect that experience, and let the ladies fly freely. Do you know that you'll feel more comfortable exploring your city if you're not feeling the weight of expensive jewelry? Then stock up on costume baubles and haunt new neighborhoods.

You've survived your twenties. You've learned what works for you. Never ignore that.

2. Clothes that don't respect your vision of yourself.

I wrestle with the idea of items that "age appropriate" because, again, appropriate isn't part of my fashion vernacular. I literally just came home a few hours ago with hot pink sparkly tights, and while at the store, justified the purchase to my brother-in-law by saying, "Oh, I have a wig that will match these!"

So, yeah, age appropriate I ain't.

Question of the day: Am I too old for high-waisted skinny jeans? #ootd #streetstyle #redhead #headband #skinnies #highwaisted #momjeans #1980s #retro #vintage #fuzzysweater #urbanoutfitters #skinnyjeans #30something
I really wrestled with whether or not I'm comfortable wearing high-waisted skinny jeans. I just really like the sartorial possibilities they offer!

However, there are items I've worn for years that seem to no longer reflect who I'm growing into. I've got these cotton babydoll minidresses that were wardrobe staples for most of my adult life and now, I can't seem to find a way to wear them that fits with my current tastes. I'm not forbidding myself from a certain style - I have an orange babydoll number from the 1960's that I can't wait to blind you with - but these particular pieces just aren't my bag anymore.

Me, wearing something in 2008 that I would never wear today.

As our lives change, it's easy to keep wearing items because we've always worn them. Keep a sharp eye on your closet for those clothes that are no longer speaking to your soul.

3. Compromise clothes.

I was going to write a sizeable definition of "compromise clothes," but I suspect you already know what they are, and are thinking of pieces in your own wardrobe that embody this loathsome idea: it is the ill-fitting button-up I bought because I thought it'd be a good basic for the board room; the conservative heels that are too boring for words, but would work for a job interview; the trousers that were too tight, but purported to be my size, dammit; the obnoxious sweater a beloved friend gave me; the booties that everyone needed for fall; the earrings on clearance at Anthro that were too cheap to pass up.

I'm wearing a tunic here in 2009 to camouflage the muffin top created by these terribly-fitted trousers.

None of these are inherently terrible items of adornment. They do, however, represent a compromise of ideals. Board room basics? Over my dead body. Conservative heels? Why bother? A trendy shoe? It don't fit my aesthetic, sir.

Ugly sweaters on the shelf don't make you love your friends any more, and a bad fit is not fixed with regular wear. Anything that does not jibe 100 percent with who you are at this very moment is baggage that ultimately does nothing but make you feel crappy.

Final Summation

I've found that people respond, not to your clothes, but to the way you feel in your clothes. If you feel fabulous/sassy/powerful in your bikini/ruffle socks/Hilary Clinton pant suit, then those around you know it. I've felt like I was on fire in just jeans and a t-shirt and I'll be damned if I didn't set off sartorial smoke alarms waltzing into a party.

In my natural environment

It takes time to create a cadre of clothes that cocoon you in beauty attuned to your personal aesthetics, whether it's bellbottoms and beaded bras or dashikis and chandelier earrings. Women (and men and all genders in between) over 30 have experience that illuminates their own tastes and the opportunity to gather the garments that make them happy.

Ultimately, no one over 30 should wear anything that makes them feel less than awesome. And while we're at it, let's not read dumb articles that do that, too.

P.S. A thousand thanks to Bobbi for her inspiration, both here and in general.


Brenda Collins Morris said...

Love your blog post! As a friend of Bobbi's and her age as.. I loved her comment regarding that absurdly ridiculous article! Her words were truly inspirational to all of us well seasoned but far from over the hill ladies! And now we have your blog post to enjoy! Thank you :)

Bren Morris

Becky Haltermon said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

Jo Haltermon said...

As the aforementioned woman over 60, I have to tell you how proud I am of my daughter, Becky. She is not afraid to champion the things that are truly important in this world - respect, kindness, intelligence and a whole lot of fun! She knows that being a pompous snob only shows the world how small your mind is, and that there are a lot of women who are struggling (still) with their changing bodies and their changing lives. Its a wonderful journey. We keep our sense of fun and our willingness for adventure - be it a first trip to Washington DC or trying on your first pair of leggings. Age gives you a perspective on the world and shows you that a little bitch's opinion is just a child throwing a tantrum in public. You realize that your life is precious and you don't want to waste it on worrying what other people think of you. I want to enjoy every last morsel. It's time to have fun! Why not? You might not get another chance!

SabineLaVerte said...

I like you.

Becky Haltermon said...

Mom! This is the greatest comment ever. When are you going to start your own blog??

Becky Haltermon said...

I blush!

Frederik Sisa said...

Hear, hear!

You're an inspiration, Becky!

And your mom rocks!

Shine on!