Of all the questions my readers send me, the one I seem to get the most is a variation on the theme of age-appropriate dressing: “Can I wear short skirts/low-cut tops/bikinis/etc. at my age?”;“Does this make me look like I’m trying hard to be young?”; “Does this make me look old?”
I call it the Goldilocks question: “Is this outfit too young, too old, or just right?”
I recently came across an article featuring a series of photos that dramatically demonstrated why dressing “age appropriately” may not be all that it’s cracked up to be. The first half of each of the seven images, by the photographer Cue Qozop, captures parents and their children wearing generationally appropriate clothes; in the second half however, parents and offspring swap outfits. The parents, in essence, are decidedly not dressing age appropriately. And do you know what? They look fantastic!! (Their kids don’t look half-bad either when they are wearing their parents’ clothes, BTW.)
I love these photos because they are proof-positive that fashion can still be fun as we get older, that we don’t have to be burdened by the yoke of “age appropriate”. Heck, what does that even mean, anyway?
I’ve always felt that the best way to achieve ageless chic after 40 is by incorporating “sporty elements” into your look. I’m talking about doing things like pushing up your sleeves, playing with layering, wearing your hair just a little messy (helmet hair is a huge ager).
If you have always gravitated more towards a personal style that ’s fine, subdued and elegant, try adding some sportiness in the way of bright colors or fun, on-trend accessories to the neutrals you likely favor. These little touches will make you look a little more energetic and energetic = youthful. (Want more tips? Here are few extra ideas on how you can dress sportier to look youthful.)
What does “age appropriate” mean to you and is it overrated? What do you think of Qozop’s photos? Do they make you want to raid the closet of the nearest 20 year-old – or maybe just steal one piece of their jewelry – or did some of you already figure this out ages ago?