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I've Had It up to Here With Fashion Rules for Women Over 40

Updated on August 17, 2020
Merit Lookene profile image

Merit is a designer and stylist at Ella Hopfeldt, the dress shirt brand for women.

I’ve honestly had it up to here with all the fashion rules dictating what women over 40 can and cannot wear. Every time I come across another article on the subject it makes me cringe because to me, fashion is about wearing what makes you feel good about yourself. It is about having fun and we shouldn’t stop having fun as we get older.

How Come There Are So Many Fashion Rules, Anyway?

Consider this. No one tells you what books to read or movies to watch once you hit 40. There are no rules about what you have to start serving for dinner or what types of holidays you should start going on.

However, when it comes to fashion and clothing, the sheer abundance of rules you have to follow is overwhelming. Suddenly everyone is an officer of the fashion police and knows exactly what everyone else should and should not be wearing.

I get it, fashion is a popular subject and the word “rules” has a nice, authoritative ring to it. But encouraging women to express themselves instead of knocking them down with all the rules would be so much better for the self-confidence!

"All Fashion Rules Are Stupid"

Iris Apfel, the 99-year-old unbeatable queen of fashion has said: „I believe all the fashion rules are stupid because it depends upon who’s wearing it and how they handle it!”

This pretty much sums up how I feel about this subject. There are no universal laws when it comes to our clothing. Women deserve to wear what they want. We deserve to have the confidence to be as bold as we want to be, and we deserve to be comfortable while doing it. We also deserve not to have to answer strangers about our clothing.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not to say that style advice, in general, is a bad thing. All I’m saying is that most fashion rules are not about helping women discover their personal style and feel like the best version of themselves. Rather they are about weighing people down with generic do’s and don’ts that only serve to stifle creativity and self-expression.

Rules should be broken – deliberately!

Apparently, some of the things you should stop wearing after 40 are tube tops, message T-shirts, short skirts, trendy denim, loud colors, low-rise pants, frills, sequins, anything bedazzled… the list just goes on and on.

Honestly, if I was to start following the fashion rules today and emptied my wardrobe of all the “unsuitable” items, there’d be hardly anything left for me to wear. And I’d be forever crying over my collection of carefully selected, well-fitting low-rise jeans, my loud-colored tops, and several other items that do not match the criteria of sensible clothing items for women over 40.

"By all means, break the rules, and break them beautifully, deliberately, and well." – Robert Bringhurst

The good news is – all rules are there to be broken. Deliberately. I will continue wearing my beloved jeans because they are a vital element of my personal style and I won’t have the rules limiting my expressive freedom.

The other day I wore an outfit of a tulle skirt and red checkered shirt for the sole purpose of rising to the challenge and proving that women over 40 can very well wear whatever they want.

Create your own rules

Fashion is supposed to be fun. It’s time we stopped paying attention to someone else’s mindless rules and created our own. This means getting to know yourself, allowing your creativity to shine and the real you to be expressed.

YOUR rules can’t be dictated by influencers, magazines, and stores. Focus on the items you are actually drawn to and when you find that attraction, don’t allow yourself to talk you out of getting it. The only reason for not buying or wearing something is not because “they” said so but because you don’t feel your best in it.

Break barriers, wear clothes that make you feel good about yourself, and brighten the mood around you. Remember, style is about confidence and you can make anything work if you own it!

© 2020 Merit Lookene

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