In this youth obsessed culture, we all tend to focus on trying to look “young” or whatever. The truth is being “too old” isn’t a bad thing. There are certain things that age permits you to be a snob about. Like, if you already lived through having a million roommates and ate buttered pasta because you couldn’t afford pasta sauce (and don’t really cook)… you worked your way up to living a nice life. You worked through your insecurities and issues. Honor that. There are certain things you don’t have to relive for the sake of appearing young.
Here are things I’m too old for…
- Staying out past midnight. (I’m a total DAY person, always have been.)
- Hanging out with people I don’t like even if they’re supposed to be “cool.”
- Shopping at a place with loud music and/or strong smells.
- Staying at a youth hostel.
- Living with roommates.
- Having a futon instead of a real bed.
- Sitting on the ground in public.
- Wearing clothes that aren’t well made.
- Drinking crappy coffee.
The same goes for fashion choices. While I’m not going to tell anyone they are too old to wear a miniskirt or crop top… I mean, look at Anna Dello Russo. She looks fantastic and she LIVES in miniskirts and crop tops. Jennifer Lopez KILLED IT wearing that Donna Karan dress to the Billboard Music Awards, a dress more revealing dress than she did when she shocked us all 14 years ago in Versace.
I am going to tell you that being of a “certain age” does allow you to be a snob about which trends you want to indulge in. And who cares about looking young? We all just want to look GREAT.
The trend is for a lifestyle you’ve outgrown.
Say you’re really loving that rocker chic, leather jacket and band tee shirt with ripped jeans. Maybe you want to channel Patti Smith or Chrissy Hynde back in the day, but in reality your life at PTA and/or boardroom meetings won’t really allow for it. Or you’re loving that boho-chic that all the girls at Coachella are wearing, but you live in a buttoned up world. Dressing head to toe in a particular trend (unless this is your TRUE style, ie, if you are a musician or an artist, or if you ALWAYS dressed that way) may look like you’re trying too hard to stay young.
How to wear youth-oriented trends anyway: Mix it up. Wear a silk button down dress with a motorcycle jacket. Ripped jeans with polished pumps. Channel boho with pairing a floaty white dress with a sharp blazer. Turquoise jewelry with a crisp black dress.
The trend is retro for an era you’ve lived through the first time as a teen or adult.
Right now is the first time I’m encountering this phenomenon first-hand. I was a teen during the “grunge” years. And I wore Doc Martens and thrift store clothing. A look that’s being worn by people who weren’t even born yet nowadays. They look like they’re being “retro” if I were to wear a grunge inspired outfit, I’d just look like I was stuck in a time warp. Being stuck in time is not a good look (or a good emotional state) to be in.
How to wear retro looks anyway: Limit your retro pieces to one or two items per outfit. Faded jeans 90′s with a cashmere sweater. Or mix them with more current trends, like denim tee-shirt or gladiator sandals.
The trend is “ironic” worn on a younger person, but is “sincerely” worn by people in your demographic.
Normcore is huge (on the internet anyway). While a 20 year old, six foot tall woman may look fashion forward in Tevas and a fanny pack, a 39-year-old, 5′”3′ mom (me) would look like a middle age mom who just gave up wearing that stuff.
How to wear “ironic” looks anyway: Go with the best/most updated you can afford. Silver Birkenstocks. Or those Givenchy versions of Birkenstocks. Clare V or Louis Vuitton fanny pack.
You don’t feel comfortable wearing this particular trend.
If you’re uncomfortable wearing crop tops because you don’t like your belly (me) then don’t try to wear crop tops. If you don’t like how you look in skinny jeans, don’t wear them. If you feel uncomfortable in a particular trend, no matter how much the sales person says you look, “so cute” in that piece, you won’t feel good wearing it. Not feeling good about wearing something defeats the whole purpose of dressing nice. So don’t wear it.
How to wear tricky trends anyway: Like with crop tops, try pairing with a super high waist pant or skirt, or layer over another top.
The trend piece is not of the same quality as most items in your wardrobe.
Say the trend is to wear Tevas and your shoe closet is full of Valentino. Just don’t move backward in quality. Feel free to be a snob and sit that trend out.
How to wear it anyway? Find “luxury” or “contemporary” versions of the piece.
The trend is better suited for people in elementary school.
Remember when everyone was into “twee” and dressed like baby dolls well into their 30′s? Well, I gave that a try, and it felt ridiculous. I still cringe when I think about trying that trend out. Nowadays we have things like cat ear hats, and it is a hard look to pull off on the runways. Us regular people might have fun wearing costumey stuff, but it’s hard.
How to wear it anyway: If your child made you a friendship bracelet, by all means wear it. For more whimsical pieces, pair them with classic and understated items.
The trend makes you feel “old.”
If wearing miniskirts make you feel like a mutton dressed as a lamb. If wearing neon makes your eyes hurt. If wearing platform shoes makes your bones hurt. You’re not feeling comfortable in your attire, don’t wear it. Clothes can make you feel young at heart, don’t waste your time on pieces that make you question your confidence. Celebrate your age and where you are with your life.
How to wear trends that make you feel old? Don’t.