I’m drawn to do-and-don’t lists. You have the option to disagree and come up with your own set of style rules which makes for a worthwhile exercise. It caused quite a stir when I posted on Charla Krupp’s list of forbidden fashion for the over 30’s (from her New York Times best seller “How Not To Look Old”, a book I enjoyed). The overall YLF consensus was that age 30 is too low as a cutoff point for the items mentioned on the list. Situational context, body type and persona play a huge role when sporting a so called young item with effortless style, and there are exceptions to every rule.
Charla’s list of Top 25 Clothes That Just Gotta Go is also food for thought. She does not attach an age to this list, but her book is targeted at the over 40’s. Charla feels that no matter how attached you are to these pieces, they have to go because they make you look dated and old lady. Holding onto them for lounging purposes won’t do either. Here’s the list with my two cents for each item:
- Holiday sweaters with bells and appliqués: Hard one. I realize that this is tradition in some American households especially in child friendly settings.
- Granny/Mommy necklaces that tell you how many grandchildren you have: Another hard one. Making the exception to wear unstylish sentimental items occasionally is fine in my book.
- Souvenir T-shirts: They can make fun lounging items and comfy sleepwear.
- T-shirts with meant to be funny sayings: Same as above. If it makes you smile when you’re at home and out of the public eye – why not.
- Overalls: Agreed. There is superb maternity wear to choose from these days, so give dungarees a miss.
- Acid washed jeans: Look at our Kyle and you’ll soon change your mind. If you’re uber polished and the rest of the outfit is fabulous, I say go for it.
- Ripped jeans: Generally I’m not into torn and overly distressed denim, but Kyle’s jeans were subtly ripped and she absolutely wore them with style.
- Shoulder pads: They are coming back into fashion so I say never say never.
- Flannel shirts: The oversized grunge variety are awful, but Ralph Lauren makes a tailored range every holiday season and they can look great.
- Muumuus: They aren’t my cup of tea either but you’ll get away with the look in Hawaii.
- Photo handbags: It’s fine to sport not so fab looking sentimental items occasionally. I’ve also seen stylish designer photo handbags that I’d sport in an instant.
- Flesh colored hose: I’m not a fan, but if a dress code requires it that’s fine by me.
- Penny loafers: No way. Loafers can be trendy or traditional, and absolutely stylish. It’s a very Euro look and when my ballet flat days are over, I’m onto fab looking loafers for sure.
- Oversized blazers: Structured jackets are always flattering, but trendy unstructured styles get my vote too.
- Mommy robes: I must admit I’m not sure what this is. Anyone care to enlighten me?
- Thin-gold-chain necklaces: They’re not the height of style, but they’ll work if you prefer dainty gold jewelry and the rest of your ensemble is current.
- Elastic-waist pants: Structured pants with waistbands are definitely best for public dressing, but by all means wear elastic-waist lounge pants at home.
- Granny undies: Wearing the best possible bra is a must, but if you like to wear big knickers and shapewear, go for it.
- Baggy sweats: Great for lounging at home.
- Bearlike, full length fur coats: I’m against any type of real fur so I can’t comment objectively on this one.
- Short shorts: I say wear them at home if they keep you cool when it’s desperately hot.
- Cargo pants: I have clients built like string beans in their late 40’s sporting this look with style. It can be done.
- Stockings with reinforced toes: It won’t make a difference if you wear closed-toe shoes.
- Three piece suits with vests: An androgynous look can look stunning when worn with edge and sass.
- Backpacks: Versions that are gear get my red light too, but the trendier basic Euro staple has made a fashionable comeback and we’ll probably see more people sport the look.
I would agree with much more of this list if Charla excluded lounging. I do advocate lounging with style, but there are times when you want to be really comfortable at home because it’s extremely hot or cold, or when you’re feeling under the weather. These are times when you’re out of the public eye and forgoing a bit of style won’t harm your style quotient. The danger arises when lounge dressing becomes the norm for all aspects of your life. This is probably why Charla is stricter about these items than I am – eliminating the item completely eliminates the temptation of wearing it at any time.
Over to you. What are your thoughts on the items on Charla’s list?