How To Dress Your Age
A reader writes:
Hi Ms Jeepers
I have an emergency question. I am 43 and I have spiraled into
fashioned uncertainty. Can I still wear lace blouses and skinny
jeans? Platforms? I think I look good in them but maybe I don't. I
have a good body (I have been told) and I am holding up well. Its not
like a want to go raving but I hate the corporate suit look with a
neat haircut. Ditto beige.
Please help me! I would quite happily follow your advice to the 22
year old woman.
What is this "raving" you speak of? To answer the question implied in your letter--"Do I have to dress my age?"--the answer is no. Don't dress your age, dress your dreams, aspirations, humor, and rank.
Most complaints against people "not dressing their age" are really about rank. Psychologically, people don't want to be confused. It's confusing to see a woman who looks like she could have a teenage daughter dress as if she were a teenager herself. Or, to look at it another way, people object to both underachievers and upstarts.
A twelve-year-old dressed in an army sergeant's uniform is disturbing; a 19-year-old wearing sergeant insignia is impressive; a 40-year-old with the same rank is suspicious, because you would expect someone his age be a sergeant major already. (No matter that the 40-year-old sergeant is in even better physical shape, and more handsome, than his younger brother-in-arms!)
So, when considering whether you'd look good in a particular piece, use the following checklist:
1. Do I look good?
2. Do I feel good?
3. Does it say something positive (and perhaps truthful) about my rank in life?
4. Can I picture Sophia Loren wearing it?
We would also would make these additional suggestions:
1. No showing more than fiver percent of one's bra at any age.
2. No pinstripe pantsuits under 23.
3. No suspenders hanging down to form loops at the wearer's side after 22.
The Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman's father once pointed to a photograph of people bowing to the pope, and said, "What's going on here? We have one group of humans bowing to another human. The only difference between the bowing humans and the pope, son? Epaulettes."
Yrs with good wishes,