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.
Well said, Bobbi.
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
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.
I really wrestled with whether or not I'm comfortable wearing high-waisted skinny jeans. I just really like the sartorial possibilities they offer!
Me, wearing something in 2008 that I would never wear today.
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.
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.
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
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.