When It Comes To Style, Does Age Matter?

When It Comes To Style, Does Age Matter?
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I realize this may be wildly unpopular (and my recent milestone birthday might be to blame), but I am going to take a stand and say age has little to do with looking your best and projecting style. Yes, you can find plenty of magazines filled with celebrity fashionistas instructing us on what to wear based on our age, but I think the year you were born should have minimal impact on your shopping choices.

Thanks to the ever-present baby boomers, there are very few ‘old’ people left in this country. For all of us born after the early 60’s, there is this enormous group of people who thinks we are forever young. (Gotta love that!) However, it is easy to find image-filled magazines with ‘What to Wear’ directives, all neatly categorized by age. The problem with this mentality is that it confuses age with fitness. I don’t want to get into making generalizations, but someone with little muscle tone, shot abs and poor posture cannot wear the same thing as someone who is toned and has a strong core – I don’t care when she was born. If you have the legs, wear the mini skirt. If you have the abs, go for the bikini. No one is going to card you if it looks good.

We have also seen a huge change in lifestyles and attitudes in the past few decades. A couple of generations ago, daughters and mothers would not have shared clothes. Now I feel fairly certain my daughter will be shopping her grandmother’s closet as soon as she can get away with it. In the mid 80s, Tina Turner made a big, splashy comeback at the ripe old age of 45. Seeing a hot 45 year old mama rocking a miniskirt made international news. Do you know who’s 45 years old now? Brooke Shields, Courtney Cox, Sarah Jessica Parker and Sandra Bullock. Everyone realizes these women are not in their 20s, but no one is going to question whether or not one of them should be seen in a bikini.

As women find more flexibility in the timing of life’s big event, it is impacting their friendships. We identify friends based on lifestyle and interests. Suddenly someone ten years older (or younger) is viewed as a contemporary. If you are on the playground with the same mom several days a week watching your children play together, it will feel like you have a lot in common, regardless of age. Next thing you know, the two of you are discussing where to shop for ‘cute yet functional’ playground-wear, although you were following completely different trends a decade apart in high school.

There will always be trends that young girls are going to love for the simple fact that they make them feel rebellious and different from the women in charge. Notice these trends are usually short lived, unflattering and really rather silly. (I distinctly remember my mother telling me I would one day view legwarmers over jeans as ludicrous.) The reason not to jump on these trends is because you generally try to avoid looking like a goofball, not because you are keeping track of age limits. See. Age has its advantages. You are getting smarter.

So if age isn’t a key criterion in making fashion choices, what is? Focusing on fit and proportion is always going to be the right answer. Clothes that are too tight, too baggy or too revealing will keep anyone from looking their best. When you try something on that fits your body and lifestyle, accentuates the good and makes you feel happy, you’ve got a winner. Don’t let any little voice questioning “Am I too old for this?” make you doubt yourself for a second!


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