Do you have a preconceived idea about what a woman over the age of 40 should look like? Should dress like?
Would it look like this?
How about someone over 50?…over 60? …over 70?
Do you think your own ideas will change once you personally achieve that age?
Are we perpetuating antiquated stereotypes when we judge a woman by how she dresses relative to her age?
I was left pondering all of these things because of a comment that was received by a reader on the interview with I did for Sylvia at 40+ Style
Much as I admire Suzanne’s creativity, I can’t help but think that her style is best worn by those under 25. I just don’t think distressed jeans, berets and some of the more extreme color combinations are flattering to the over 40 woman. Hate me if you must, but with age should come elegance.
I will admit this made me upset…it’s one thing to say you don’t like my style, but quite another to suggest that I am incapable of elegance.
This was my response,
Almost daily in real life people compliment me on my clothing choices. I don’t ask for it. They offer it. People always remark about how well dressed I am.
Maybe they can’t tell what age I am. Maybe they don’t have a preconceived idea of what 47 is supposed to look like. Maybe “elegant” fashion for women over 40 isn’t subdued, neutral and forgettable.
I would hope that I have obtained a certain level of elegance with my choices but that I haven’t sacrificed my creative sense of self just because I am over a certain age limit.
I realize that my style isn’t for everyone and I certainly wouldn’t be wearing it if I thought I didn’t have the confidence or body with which to carry it off. My goal is to look the best I can, never be referred to as boring and leave a lasting impression.
I’m not disappearing because I’m older. I’m still the same vibrant, sexy, creative relevant person I always was, but now with a few wrinkles and much more experience under my belt.
And I have to mention this…under 25??? Yikes. Is that when women must give up keeping current and being relevant with the rest of the world?
I’ve had a bit of time to reflect on what the whole thing meant.
For example…you shouldn’t wear a beret unless you are under 25???
It is a hat.
Meant to keep your head warm.
Help me out here.
I’m drawing a blank.
It made me think more about my personal style and the reasons behind it.
How I dress is a statement to the world as to how I want to be perceived. My clothes communicate a message without ever having to open my mouth.
What I hope they are saying is:
What I hope my clothes aren’t saying is:
like everyone else,
I chose the above photos to represent a strong contrast of old fashioned preconceived ideas about what women over 40 should or shouldn’t wear.
I’m not understated.
I know that.
But it doesn’t mean what I wear isn’t elegant.
Everyone is going to have a different list of what they want their clothes to convey about themselves. Maybe they are a Mother or Grandmother and want to be perceived as responsible and caring. Maybe they are a business woman that needs to be taken seriously and portray a professional polished image.
We all have different lives, different dreams and different goals. It is normal that we should all dress ourselves differently to help us achieve these goals and express ourselves to the world.
I dress the way I do because it makes me feel good about myself and hopefully sends out the right message I want to convey to the world. When I start looking at the reflection in the mirror and I no longer care for it, or it no longer communicates the message I want to send, I will change what I’m wearing. I won’t change how I dress because I’ve surpassed an arbitrary age limit, that someone else has randomly chosen, like a best before date on food packaging.
Until that time, I am perfectly happy dressing myself without someone else’s judgement.
I refuse to be defined by my age.
Do you allow your age to define what you can or cannot wear?
(Personally it is my body and self confidence that decides that for me on any given day.)
Do you judge clothing choices of other women depending upon their age?