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Vital, Youthful, Well-preserved? Or Mutton Dressed As Lamb?

Updated on August 18, 2012

Too Tight, Too Short, Too Young?

Creative Commons Licence  Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
Creative Commons Licence Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) | Source

As Old As You Feel, Or As Old As You Dress?


Ladies. You reach a certain age, right? (And probably the fellows, too, but I don't care so much about that. You guys, you can take care of yourselves! Tell yourselves you look 'distinguished', it probably worked for your dad's generation... The grey hair, the wrinkles, the suddenly deteriorating gum health... Yeah! Distinguished!)

But. Girls. You hit that certain age, and suddenly you're experiencing doubts and qualms on shopping trips where they never used to exist. The skirt you're trying on... Maybe a touch too short? The blouse, too tight round the shoulders? The strap of your bag too tight, the heels on the shoes that you're never going to get away with? (The slogan on your T-shirt that you don't actually understand. It looks cool, though!)

Sometimes it seems as much about where you shop as the actual style of clothes. You can take two items, broadly similar – say a shortish black skirt. But take one from a youthful or hipstery store, and the other from a respectable mid-range all-ages outlet in a staid department store. And somehow the result is rather different – a subtle range of differences in styling that clearly demark the finished result as either suitable – or very much not suitable – for a woman of a certain age.

It shouldn't be that way, right? And yet somehow it is, it really is. The first time I ever wondered whether an outfit was too young for me, it wasn't even at my own instigation. It was at my mum's! (Thanks, mum!) I'd gone for a dutiful filial visit, wearing a – well, really fairly unexceptionable outfit, of black high-necked jumper and shortish tartan miniskirt. Okay, it was well above the knees. But I had thick woolly tights on and everything. And I was twenty-seven! Twenty-seven, that's a baby to me now.

And my old Ma's words? 'Don't you think you're a bit old for that sort of thing now?' With a concerned and helpful expression, to boot.

Thanks Ma. (She's now gone in completely the opposite direction, all these years later, by the way. Keeps insisting you're only as old as you feel and I should wear whatever I feel comfortable in and I'm still a spry young thing. Guess she's worked out that if I'm an old codger, then she's an even older one!)

Still. The first time the thought occurs to you is never going to be the last. Oh dear, love. Those shoes. Do you really think you can get away with them? At your age?

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