Dress sense becomes a meaty issue

Age carries many responsibilities, but is dressing ‘appropriately’ one of them? Kaye Fallick has a firm view.

Dress sense becomes a meaty issue

When I was a girl, my mum often shared the same advice – over and over again.

It usually coincided with the spotting of a 40 or 50-something woman (similar to my mum’s age at the time). Back in the day, it was likely that this woman was not following ‘the rules’, which were that turning 40 or 50 meant dressing in an ‘age appropriate’ way – usually mid-calf-length pleated skirts, sensible blouses or cardigans, discreet jewellery, sombre colours and regulation permed curls.

Pardon the language, but I’m buggered if I know who came up with these rules. Was there a secret society of matrons? But I do know that the saying ‘mutton done up as lamb’ would be muttered fiercely if anyone dared transgress.

And in some mysterious way, I think this intended insult has had a huge influence on me and my generation and how we see ourselves as we age.

Worst of all, it applies a damaging brake on our ability to take risks with our appearance.

I also remember being 13, 14 or 15 and making a huge effort – usually taking my entire Saturday – to prepare for a big night at the local disco.

This effort usually involved face masks, eyebrow plucking, hair dye (oh, the smell of henna! And the colour! And the muddy bathroom sink!), dousing myself in patchouli oil and sewing a new, often horrendously ill-conceived outfit from scratch. What fun.

Mistakes? I’ve certainly made a few, but the excitement and creativity knew no bounds.

So why, now that I’m in my 60s, should I toe some supposed age-appropriate line? This question occurs often as I journey around my neighbourhood, and others, both in Australia and overseas.

Recently, at a café in the Victorian country town of Euroa, I saw Annette (about my age, I’m guessing) looking simply fabulous in her white tee, circle skirt, white runners and oversized navy hoop earrings.

That’s her in the top image.

I asked her about her take on following a supposed age-appropriate dress code and she said that it was a terrible idea.

So here’s the thing.

Sorry Mum, but on the matter of how women should dress as they age, I think you were wrong. It’s not helpful to pull back and become more conservative, playing it ever safer. Quite the opposite. I believe we all need to stay open, adventurous and curious as we age, every day, in every way.

I’m not saying we should all do an Iris Apfel with exaggerated specs and over-the-top colour clashes; just that we should never confine ourselves to ‘mature’ shopping outlets.

Let it rip, I say. Wear the sneakers with your long or short skirt. Buy the witty tee. Show your cleavage. And tell your hairdresser that it’s time for a new ‘do’ for a new you.

One day we’ll all be dead, so what’s to lose if we have fun in the meantime?

Where to shop? Follow the young onions – Glassons, Seed, Uniqlo and Cotton On are a fun start. And online – The Iconic and ASOS are well worth a look.

Staying on trend is easier if you subscribe to fashion updates with any brand you like – you don’t have to buy their gear to follow the latest shapes, items, colours and how to put it all together.

And if money is not an issue, consider booking a stylist to work with you to try new shapes and looks. The worst that will happen is you’ll look and feel a million dollars and that, my friends, is priceless.

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    COMMENTS

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    Kaz
    4th Feb 2020
    12:48pm
    I knew it would be just about women. We don’t care about men? It doesn’t matter what they look like? They wear the same thing at any age? Sigh.
    Rusty
    4th Feb 2020
    3:44pm
    My mother used to say it is about dressing appropriately for your figure. The lady in the picture is dressed appropriately for her figure. My figure would not get away with a t shirt. We all take the easy option and just follow the fashion. Even if it doesn't suit us.
    vinradio
    4th Feb 2020
    3:48pm
    More mature men can wear what they like, who's stopping you? I admire anyone who has a unique clothing style, man or woman. I'm a nearly 70 year old woman and i often shop in young women's stores,as now I am very slim, I can pretty well wear anything. I love bright colours, and wear them often.
    Priscilla
    5th Feb 2020
    9:48am
    Idiot - this was an article about WOMEN. Get over it. Men have always worn what they please anyway.

    18th Apr 2020
    10:37pm
    Literally, your blogs are never disappointed its viewers and followers, it brings appealing and fascinating quality in its collection. I always satisfied. Thank you for sharing such masterpieces of Riverdale Cheryl Blossom Red Hooded Jacket
    Carlojarvis
    24th Oct 2020
    6:44pm
    Inspiration always comes to me by your articles... Do your work as you are doing!! Movie Jacket


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