* Love you, really!
Just so that I’m clear on this… You all HATE the rose print cotton, right?
I don’t think I’ve ever had such a strong response to a blog request for opinions. You were unanimous and made great suggestions about accessories and coordinating items. The rose print dress is GO! Thanks, guys.
My slight concern over age appropriate dressing threw up several interesting responses:
- Linda, 71, says that too much is made of chronological age. She’s soon to make herself a strapless sundress in rose print linen. I cheer, ‘Go, Linda!’ Ooh, and can we see a photo when the dress is finished?
- Fay is in her late 30s and people stop her in the street to compliment her on the cherry print dress she made.
- Uta said: ‘I think when we ask whether something is age-appropriate we sometimes make the mistake of associating age with looks leaving, dumpiness arriving. That isn’t necessarily so.’
All of this got me thinking. Why did I worry that a lush, vibrant rose print might be inappropriate for my age?
A year ago I had a significant birthday and thought, Hey! I’m rocking 40! (Just after I had a huge wobble at 39. Even my mid-life crisis was pre-organised.) Now, everything has calmed down. The highs and the lows are behind me, and I have nothing left to do other than get used to the fact that yes, really – I’m in my 40s and that fact isn’t going anywhere soon.
So how does this relate to the clothes I make and wear? I tried to think about some of the rules of ‘age appropriate dressing’. From what I can figure out, there are only a few basic ones:
To Knee Or Not To Knee That Is The Question
I used to be very strict about covering my knees. They’re 41-year-old knees, what do I need to tell you? Interestingly, sewing experiences have taught me that a hem on the knee is eminently more flattering and just as discreet.
Bingo Wings Aren’t Just From Blackpool
Yeah, the upper arm. It’s a dilemma. Personally, I have a huge fondness for sleeveless items as they sit so neatly beneath layers. But however many times I tell myself to start doing some upper arm exercises, I never do. (Interestingly, cycling regularly for the past 15 years has helped give my arms some – emphasis on some – definition.) When will I hit a stage when I should cover up my upper arms? Do I care?
The Devil’s In The Detail
I’m talking prints and I’m talking frills. If I tied gingham bows in my hair to go with my Pendrell blouse, that would be… I mean… Come on, I’m not a school girl any more! I have had one or two people comment that Sewaholic‘s patterns feel slightly skewed towards a younger audience. I kind of know what they mean but I don’t know why I know or what it is they mean. I felt aware that my love of the Pendrell frilly sleeves was pushing what I could get away with at 41. But why? I honestly don’t know. Opinions? I’d love to hear from Tasia on this one!
After this list I kind of ran out of steam. I know some people get concerned about issues like a ‘crepey decolletage’ but personally I think that such a prettily-named part of the body should never be shamefully hidden. And seriously, when did anyone ever feel compelled to cry, ‘For god’s sake, cover up that decolletage. It’s turning my stomach!’
In desperation for age appropriate rules of dressing I tried googling and came across a website that advised me to ‘strive to be more pulled together’ in my 40s. Girlfriend, if I wasn’t together at 25 it ain’t happening at 41, ergo, it ain’t happening.
I do have a few things in my favour at 41:
- More common sense
- A bit more money
- Less concern about peer group approval (though not on the topic of rose print!)
More generally, there are other factors in everyone’s favour:
- A society where there are fewer limitations on what we can wear at what stage in our life.
- A society that is rapidly learning to respect Oldies. There are going to be a lot of us around and we’d better get used to each other and what we wear.
All of this reminds me of the Jenny Joseph poem I once sent my mother in a bit of fun when I was a 20-year-old student and she was, in my eyes, getting on a bit:
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
Do you know how old my mum was when I sent her this poem? 43, two years older than I am now.
I’m off to pour myself a brandy.
Thoughts, anyone? Have you consciously changed what you wear as you get older, and do you know why?