Mutton Dressed As Fabulous

Do you ever wonder if you’re too old to wear something? That thought is a milestone unto itself since I never wondered such things when I was 23. Society is keen to point out what is age appropriate to wear, via shaming articles dressed up as sartorial self-help pieces. When I started thinking about these standards, the ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ sayings, I began to notice that it’s always aimed at women. Not once did I find an example of a man being told to dress his age.
(Although if you can find one, I’d very much be open to seeing it!)

Regardless, it cannot be argued that ‘dressing your age’ is a female-focused topic. The subtext is sexual, as most subtext tends to be. ‘Dressing your age’ translates to “nobody wants to see that!” and sometimes removing sexuality from women society deems too old to be reproductively ‘useful’. At other times, the ‘do’s and don’ts’ seem arbitrary and rooted in outdated norms: why should we care if people over 40 want to wear distressed denim?

Whenever a woman decides to shun the subtly imposed uniform of the aged, and reclaim her body, the response is most likely to be of the “Put it away, lady” variety. The uniform, often unique across cultures, races, and economic status, shares the underlying theme of muted, covered up, and invisible. The uniform should be optional, with Iris Apfel and Baddie Winkle leading the way of advanced style.

real estate in the city
Advanced Style, Baddie Winkle

When we are also told that 40 is the new 30, and “you’re only as young as you feel”, what does ‘dressing your age’ even mean? The Advanced Style publication showed us that fashion and style has no age limit, and that we aren’t all destined for Chico’s. Happy, healthy and comfortable always look good, whether wearing orthopedic shoes or thigh high boots.

We don’t think twice about these helpful guides online, telling us to throw out our miniskirts when we reach our 30th birthdays, or toss our glittery eyeshadow when we leave our parents Obamacare plans. Magazines and stylists tell us how to dress our body in an ‘age appropriate’ manner, and banning us from certain stores. I’ve counted too many articles chastising me for owning graphic tees, sheer dresses, and a Hello Kitty purse. Well, excuse me, but fuck your articles.

While we focus too much on 30-something women reclaiming a youthful style; we need to look older. Can we stop nagging women over 60 who want to wear fast fashion or light up sneakers? Can we just focus on encouraging the exploration of personal style, regardless of age? I’m sure I won’t have exactly the same style when I’m 70 as I do now, but I would hope that wherever my style goes, I’d be free to wear it without the fashion police tutting at me for not dressing my age.

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Fashion in 2017: 10 Trends I Liked + 10 Trends I Did Not Like

It’s that time of year when we reminisce and ponder on what has transpired, for good or for bad. I like to look back on the notable style and fashion trends from the year so I can make some guesses about where things might go. So we can end on a positive note, let’s go the bad stuff out of the way first!

Trends I Did Not Like in 2017

  1. Mules and kitten heels, or the dreaded mule with kitten heels, were definitely a trend I did not like. They are no made for walking, and look so darn silly. I didn’t mind the mules with block heels, but it’s certainly not a shoe style that I love.
  2. White boots (some with kitten heels too!) are a latecomer to the year, only really cropping up in articles now. They are not going to age well, and should have been left in the 80s, with the perms and over use of blush.
  3. Cropped bootcut flares seemed to cover the legs of influencers and the pages of fashion blogs, but I don’t remember actually seeing them in the wild. Could it be because this is not a very flattering style of jeans?
  4. Mom jeans also seemed to creep back as some 90s normcore came back in style, and why don’t we learn from the mistakes of the past?
  5. Collaborations got a bit bananas in 2017, with the Supreme x Louis Vuitton being the most gauche. Hypebeasts need to chill the fuck out in 2018.
  6. Straw purses and bucket bags are pushed upon us every year, and I have no space in my life for Wes Anderson twee picnic purses, or bulky sacks designed to swallow my car keys.
  7. Oh, you think that dress is cute? Haha, gotcha! It has no back and no sides so good luck wearing a bra with it.
  8. I think the issue with the “cold shoulder sweater” is in its name.
  9. Super distressed jeans with fishnets underneath? We’re doing this again? No thanks.
  10. Zips in illogical places, designed to snag and be annoying.

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Trends I Liked In 2017

  1. Sneakers! All the sneakers. So many choices, and because they are ‘fashionable’ they are now more acceptable at work.
  2. For all the shitty styles of jeans, it was nice to see thick, good quality denim become more easily found in stores.
  3. Athleisure is not going anywhere, and I’m cool with that. Being able to find a diverse selection of leggings and hoodies is very useful.
  4. Politics made some brands take a stand, which was great to see. Lots of smaller brands who donated via purchase, and inclusive messaging are the way to go.
  5. I actually like millennial pink. It’s universally flattering. Don’t @ me.
  6. Dainty jewelry made a comeback, which is a welcome change from the bulky ‘statement’ pieces that screamed tacky to me.
  7. Socks got a bit more attention, which was unexpected. From the sheer ankle socks to Stance x Rihanna, I was psyched to see it all.
  8. Faux Fur is not only cruelty free, but delightfully fun to wear. I love standing in the corner and stroking my arm without having to be high. I’m glad this trend has stuck around.
  9. I actually liked the exaggerated sleeve trend, within reason. I liked the bell-shape or flared sleeves, but the big bell batwings can go away.
  10. That whole “silk jammies but worn outside and as clothes” was pretty neat.

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