I came across an article about aging beauty and fashion. it struck me, because it reminded me of someone i knew.
I had a boss, relatively recently, who was one of those middle-aged powerful types; i've always had a theory about that generation in business- often the female owners take on this powerful bitch persona, i'm assuming because they come from a time when women just didn't make it high up in the business world. compensating, in other words. she was 50 something, beautiful, short, nice figure; she'd had some kind of work done definitely (boobs and botox, i think). she took herself very seriously, and was terrifying for some of the employees. fortunately i'd had a boss before her, of a similar but less extreme type, so i didn't cower in her presence.
she wore trendy clothing (trendy in the mass pop culture way- ie, she was a designer handbag knockoff freak), but her look was far too youthful. she always wore a miniskirt. micro mini, sometimes.
the thing was, it was sad to watch. she wanted dignity, but it eluded her. she would set herself up so high, and then she'd accidentally showcase her underwear at the staff party, or have a tremendous fall at a large function in front of business associates, largely due to her ultra-high heels. or get too drunk and sloppy. she desperately wanted class, youth, and respect- but it was so transparent. she was scary enough that nobody would dare laugh at her embarassments, but that made it even more obvious.
while she was a drag to work for, and i didn't much care for her constant attempts at intimidation, i kind of liked her. but mainly because i could see her humanity behind the facade. i mean, the structure of the company seemed to be based around her insecurities.
anyways, back to the article.
in Clothing and Fashion for Older Women, it points out just that: dressing too youthfully is transparent. it just highlights your age. The article also quotes a British saying that i liked, "mutton dressed as lamb." a bit catty, but fair point.
i'm not saying that at 50 we have to go to high-waisted, pleated, tapered pants, but class is probably a better aspiration than 'young and sexy'. older women can look incredibly sexy (and in a way us young gals could never acheive- the sexiness that comes with experience), but it has to be dignified. there's nothing i admire more than an older women who is rock solid in who she is and where she's at- for me, the epitomy of class. it makes me look forward to getting older.
I have a teacher who dresses like that too and her hairstyle is way too trendy. i sometimes feel embarassed for her. what's worse is she also flirts with the younger men teachers and it's almost disgusting. i would have a lot more respect for her if she didn't try so hard and just was herself. you're right, dressing young makes woman look so much older.
You are so right in this. I admired a woman my age that I saw at the Ren Faire we went to because she had her own sense of style (dressed gothic but not youthfully so), while I was annoyed at the woman my age in the grocery store with the upmybutt skirt, long striped socks and fm boots. My daughter asked why I admired one but not the other and I told her it was because the first one dressed her age.
it's just... sad. the thing about getting older (the thing that would never make me want to rewind to high school), is that you're supposed to feel more yourself, more comfortable in your own skin, more confident. not obsessed about your own faults or what other people think. when i see an older woman dressed like a teenager, it's like she never left that awful, awful place.
Stacy and Clinton (WNTW) are always telling women in their 30's and 40's who are dressing like 18-20 year olds that dressing your age makes you look younger. Dressing younger, ironically ages you, because you look like you are desperately holding on to a young youth.
It's like people who squeeze into a lower size thinking it makes themselves look thinner whereas wearing clothes that actually fit would make them look better.
On October 25th, 2006 06:35 am (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
i was just talking about this issue yesterday. of course there are the women who dress too young, but what about the women who think that because theyre aging they need to be frompy? the "blouses" that have no shape, and go straight down to the mid-thigh after their boobs. this kills me; it makes them look huge and unkempt, even if theyre lovely looking women. why cant older women wear a very supportive bra and a tailored jacket?
im all about the blazer lately. today i bought a brown floral quilted blazer that fits nice and snug at the bottom of my ribs and flares out very slightly at the bottom. it creates a beautiful hourglass shape and looks polished. maybe thats part of the awnser for aging women, particularily professionals. modern blazers though, nothing too early-nineties. actually maybe the difference between modern and dated blazers is just the fit. and perhaps plastic gold buttons on navy blue polyester.