As I pulled on my new backless black lace playsuit for my 35th birthday celebrations, I took a look in the mirror and had the thought that must occur to all women at some point in their lives - “am I too old to be wearing this?”
Sure I work hard to maintain my size 8-10 figure which is pretty much still intact with no obvious signs of drooping, but is there an age when, irrespective of how you look, it is simply time to pack up the mini skirts and crop tops in favour of more sophisticated looks? When exactly should you start dressing for your age and what what does that even mean?!
If you’re looking for hard and fast rules - you’re bang out of luck. Recent surveys place the age at which people think it’s appropriate to start covering up from as early on as 27 to (a little severe no?) to 40 or even 50. If I ask my husband about my garment choices and whether I should start toning it down, he would say age is irrelevant and a bit of skin, especially the cleavage, is ALL the sexier. Men are such easy creatures aren’t they!
Is the key to dressing your age therefore dependent on who it is you’re dressing for and the age they perceive you? Is it your husband or partner, your workplace, other women or yourself? I have to admit I’m guilty of dressing for all the above at some point or another. Maybe the concept itself has become dated now that plastic surgery and a better awareness of looking after your body makes it impossible to determine anyone’s actual age. Perhaps we should just dress the age WE feel?
I’m a big fan of Victoria Beckham. Not the Spice Girl, but the reinvented VB, the one who runs a fashion empire and has developed a knack for editorially never putting a foot wrong in the style stakes. It’s hard to imagine that this was a girl who once lived life by the moto “less is more” and was more famous for her love of hot pants and bum-skimming-skirts than the brand we know today.
Post 35 and there’s not a whiff of midriff and her name is synonymous with elegance, grace and sophistication. Was this a classic case of “age-adjustment" dressing or was it more to do with projecting herself in a manner that would allow her to be taken seriously in the fashion world? Lets face it she looks much better covered head to toe now than she ever did in those hot pants!
IThere are so many factors that dictate what we put on in the mornings. Clothes can lift your mood, increase your confidence or project an illusion such as power, strength or youth. I’m not sure that at 35 I’ve evolved much further with my fashion choices than my son with his dressing up box - it’s all just playtime. This is the way that style icon Iris Apfel approaches fashion. At 93 she is still fearless in the way she dresses and has become an inspiration to us all with her attitude towards fashion, refusing to conform to stereotypes and continuing to express her flamboyant nature through her wardrobe.
For now I’ve decided that whilst there's still a party girl inside me - there’s still life in my minis and the only person who can decide when its time to cover up is myself!
I'd love to hear your views on age as a dictator of fashion...