I believe in age-appropriate dressing. After a certain age, some styles and looks just don’t work, irrespective of body type. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always go down well. Women often feel unfairly judged and even insulted by the suggestion that they are too old to wear certain things.

For me, adapting your style to your age is no different to dressing for your body type, or your fashion persona, or your lifestyle. Like it or not, things do change as we get older. But perhaps my immersion in fashion and style has desensitized me personally to the factors that make this such a touchy subject for many women.

So recently I have been thinking about why the topic is so sensitive. Here are a few ideas:

  • People don’t like to be labeled: Judging people as groups instead of individuals poses problems. People prefer to be judged by their own unique set of attributes as opposed to being lumped into the same box as everyone else. For example, saying that “women over 40 should not wear miniskirts” is far too general. How short is the skirt? What about hose? Are you 41 or 85? And how great are your legs?
  • The discrepancy between body and mind: The physical signs of aging start to kick in during our late thirties and early forties. Yet it’s precisely at this age where our intellect and experience really come into their own. Generally, we are happier in our own skin when we become middle aged. We’re more accepting of ourselves, and more crisp in our thoughts and goals. So just as we are becoming more confident, our bodies start to let us down.
  • A sense of loss: We can’t get back the years that have passed and realizing that they’re gone is a little sad. In some instances, we’re trying to hold on to our youth by wearing what ladies much younger than us wear.

A further complication is that people have very different points of view on the definition of age appropriate. For me it certainly doesn’t mean that women need to become more conservative and less adventurous as they get older. I love, love, love to encourage women in their 40’s and older to dress youthfully, adopt suitable fashion trends and stay looking hip and cool until they’re 100.

No need to look frumpy at 40 and beyond. In fact, it’s probably the time to look your very best, along with the acceptance that you probably shouldn’t wear things as low, tight and short as you used too.

Why do you think the question of age-appropriate dressing evokes such emotive responses in women?