Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Why not dress like adults?

Once upon a time (don‘t you just love that phrase), there were women in costumes with matching purses, gloves and pumps; just pretty enough for the touch of elegance, yet comfortable during the day. Men dressed in suits, topped off by stylish hats and coats. Or enjoyed wearing the occasional Hawaiian shirt. And there were the children. Distinguishably dressed in neat children’s clothes and sometimes the cute weekend-dresses.
Fast forward to 2017.
The question of whether or not someone should dress ‘age-appropriate’ does not only seem to vanish. The sheer thought of perhaps looking too old in an ensemble, almost solely influences the choice of style.
Not that women and men haven’t ask themselves, or others these questions before.
“Honey, do I look bigger in this skirt”, or “Darling, the brown suit makes me look like my own father”, was sure occasionally brought to the table.
But there is very little to no evidence, that people tried to emulate the looks of children to the degree it happens now. Every decade, changes occur. Sometimes trends emerge from protesting a societal guideline, sometimes they seem to pop up like another coffee shop. And at one point, becoming child-like has started a style evolution that raised to a disturbing level.
We all know that the beauty industry never gets tired of explaining to us, why a few more wrinkles could mean the end of the world. It’s obvious; it’s an old hat. We try to resist and yet treat ourselves with overpriced creams.
But what about the fashion industry that is apparently not on the boat with women and men who don’t see aging as their worst nightmare?
I recently stumbled into a shop and went through a pile of pants that appeared to be made for twelve year olds, when a salesgirl suddenly told me I’d look much younger with a shorter dress, instead of the pencil skirt I was wearing.
The big question I’d like to ask anybody who carries the burden of telling other people without warning, how they could look younger (less makeup, different hair etc.) is: Why am I supposed to CARE if I look older?!

Because I don’t. Seriously. I want to look colourful, or fun. Interesting, elegant or ladylike. Competent or neat. But the desire to look many years younger than my age, seems like such a waste of time and energy.
The struggle of trying to squeeze another year of youth out of squeezing myself into skinny jeans and nude makeup, can be tiring and is ultimately not worth pursuing.
Because not getting older means no progress. No liberation. No journey.
It means to follow a group of people that you’ve already passed. It means you’re telling younger folks constantly, that getting older is a negative development and the cure for that is to dress like a toddler. Put on fun things like bobble caps, windcheaters that look too tight, and accumulate a collection of t-shirts with hollow slogans on them. If you want to round up the picture, just talk like someone who hasn’t yet been in the third grade yet and you may come across a bit stupid, but definitely younger.
Items that look cute on a sixteen year old, doesn’t necessarily have the same effect on a woman of forty. It’s like putting on a too small blouse in order to look thinner.
It doesn’t work.
One crucial element gets lost in these playground- looks: The pride in getting older. You made another year and another one. A privilege, even in this time and age. Denied to too many. And a treasure to cherish.
I am not a little girl anymore and I am happy about that. When I see young children, I hope they’re happy at this time in their lives. And I hope they’ll one day know, that aging may be a challenge, but there is no shame in it. Dress like a grown-up and enjoy the ride.

Winterstyle with 1960s jacket and skirt


  1. I wonder if that rude salesgirl realizes that pencil skirts have been a staple in women's wardrobes for over 70 years! Hopefully with time (and maturity) she will realize that short only means "I'm insecure; please look at me so I know I'm pretty". As for you, Miss Lily, you look incredibly chic and elegant; not to mention secure in your womanhood! Stay true to you!

    1. Actually, I am pretty okay with any length of skirt as long as women wear it with pride. You can wear short skirts and be very secure and confident. The only thing that matters to me, is that we look beyond age and see the beauty of individuality in style.:)

  2. Excellent article, Lily! Thank you. It makes me sad every time I see a trend having too much success. I like to think that once we age, our style is more refined and ultimately ouselves.

  3. How weird! I was talking about the same subject with my husband this passed Sunday. We were having coffee in a local cafe next to the sea front and I was constantly spotting ladies 45 years and older ( I roughly guessed their age!) strolling by, wearing really tight trousers with short tops and some of them were following the trend of the ripped jeans too.They were really accentuating their 'goods'... I am not judging them, it needs a lot of courage to dress like that, and if they feel comfortable who am I to comment?! But my husband said that's fine if you want to be trendy but be trendy-appropriate that matches your age and have some elegance even if you are wearing a humble pairs of jeans! Wise man, this husband of mine!

  4. You are absolutely right,Lily!

  5. Excellent article Lily. Having now become a woman of a certain age as the French say, I recently purged my entire closet of things that I consider no longer age appropriate. All were in near perfect condition and much as it caused a pang to part with them I realized I would look an utter fool to wear them. They all went to a good charity shop in the town near my home.
    There is absolutely nothing wrong with getting older. If you look at older French women you can see that they remain chic all their lives and in fact the older women are revered not looked down on as they certainly are in North America. Cheers.

    1. So true what you wrote about the French and how they approach this topic. Well said. <3

  6. Amen! You look beautiful in these photos. One of the most common things I hear is people confusing classic items for "old stuff that only a grandma would wear". Well if only a grandma would wear classic clothes, then I guess I'm a grandma and proud of it! I never want to look younger, I just want to look my age because I definitely am not proud of how I dressed when I was 16. As a side-note, I'm in the process of trying to make brooches and clip-on earrings a "thing" again. Not that I want them to become trendy, but it seems they've fallen off the face of the earth and it's such a shame because I love wearing them.

    1. Thank you! And yes, I agree. Also, I love wearing brooches and clip-on earrings as they can make the most simple outfit interesting and elegant. <3

    2. Lily and Victoria, I think it's great that you love wearing brooches and clip-on earrings - they really can jazz up an otherwise simple outfit.
      One of my earliest memories as a very young girl was playing dress-up in my Mom's closet (her older '50s and early'60s dresses and high heels were to die for, just wish we had held onto them!) and also trying on all the gorgeous costume jewelry in her jewelry box. Thankfully, she did hold onto those, as well as some beautiful fine jewelry, many of which she has generously passed on to me and that I now wear along with some gorgeous costume as well as fine jewelry inherited from both of my grandmothers. It's a wonderful way to remember them and brings back many happy memories for me.

  7. Lily, your blog/vlog/Instagram postings are a constant delight!
    Back in the 1980s when I was in my twenties, I first noticed this trend of some older adults dressing too young and trendy (and looking quite silly). Meanwhile, I was dressing too old in an effort to fit in and be taken seriously at a very stuffy, conservative corporation (and I probably looked just as silly). At the same time, many young parents were dressing their toddlers in pint-sized versions of adult clothes (i.e., a biker's jacket on a two-year-old) with the little one's always looking not so much "cute" as uncomfortable....

  8. Very wise words. Honestly I probably dress a bit older than I am, as I'm still in my 20s, but I just love that look of classic timeless elegance, and I really don't care for modern fashion at all. I've actually found that since I started dressing more vintage-style, with brooches and hats and wool pencil skirts, I've been getting a lot of compliments on my clothes and accessories from older women, mostly in their 70s and 80s, saying it reminds them of how people dressed when they were young.