Friday, 26 March 2010

Age Appropriate

As this skirt (which is actually a dress) caught my eye at Salvation Army yesterday, my first thought was "wow, I am in love with the pattern". Second thought was "but is it too childish?" My own thoughts really caught me off guard, because I never waste my time thinking whether my clothes might not be age-appropriate. There was something about this particular shade of red and the tie-dye stars that shook up my style instinct. I had seen this before, in my own closet, or on my class mates fifteen years ago.

Last week in New York City my friend Heidi and myself paid attention to a particularly huge amount of clothes we saw in stores that appeared childish to us. This was coming from two women interested in what works for our style-eye and our bodies, not our age per se. I figured that our concerns about child-like clothes came from the current fashion, and that the clothes out there now remind me of the time when I was 13. I have reached that age when my previous fashion statements have come full circle and back from the attic to the store.

I am not a huge fan of the "if you've seen and worn it once, don't do it again" rule. There are certain things about the early 1990s that can be worked into a modern wardrobe, like Doc Martens. But the types of tiny pastel floral prints that Kelly wore in Beverly Hills 90210 will never again enter my wardrobe. They make me cringe and think that I would look like a desperate 30-something trying to look like a 13-year-old, even if I didn't. My instinct just says no.

As for the red star-print skirt, yes, it could look as if I raided my own pre-teenage wardrobe. But since my favourite style rule of all time is HAVE FUN WITH CLOTHES!, I decided to go with my first thought, the one I had at Salvation Army: I am in love with that pattern, and yes, I will wear it, childish or not.

Stripy sweater: second hand / Salvation Army
Cardigan: Urban Outfitters
Star-print skirt: second hand / Salvation Army
Tights: H&M
Shoes: Diesel
Earrings: second hand / Fida


Eline said...

I've caught myself thinking that recently too! Not because I recognise the fashion from my childhood but just because I looked like a 12-year-old that day. I'm also all about having fun with clothes so I kind of hated that I was thinking this because I happened to like that particular outfit but it did start to make me feel self-conscious. Should I really start looking to dress age-appropriate even on days when I feel like dressing like a kid?

That said, I LOVE that dress & print. It's such a fabulously vibrant red and look gorgeous with that particular purple. You look so pretty and playful!

Lady Cardigan said...

I am having this feeling a lot these days, although in my case I'm seeing things that remind me of my childhood in the 1970s. I am surprised how often I see something and think "middle school." But I suppose there are only so many styles and they have to keep recycling.

Sal said...

I have the same hesitations sometimes. And while I agree that focusing too much on age-appropriate dressing is mostly a waste of energy, for me it’s this: I LIKE a more sophisticated, mature style on myself. I can veer playful and childish and it doesn’t feel as good. So I try to decide which force is at play, some societal mandate or my own preferences.

Regardless, though, everyone should have a skirt covered in stars. ;)

jesse.anne.o said...

I've also found myself considering this lately. I think partially I'm not drawn to it in the way I once was (whether I think the item's cute, over the top or too messy - I just don't think it's "me").

It's funny because it also comes into context when I used to dress for a subculture, also. When I used to dress metal or punk or whathaveyou - when I started working within communities and I cared how people reacted to me, I stepped it up at least one step so I at least appeared intelligent and responsible to the general public.

I still wear things that are a little too short for work, items that are a little too kitsch for public outreach, don't care if my tattoos show at work or events...but it's just a little more "adult".

I don't think the skirt is childish, really. I feel like I would see such a textile cross Lena Corwin's site at some point.

Eyeliah said...

After your first paragraph I was thinking, yes if I already wore the trend before I tend to feel childish if I tied it again. Luckily never had Doc Martens then, ;-)

Modesty is Pretty said...

You have the most awesome shoes. I'm so glad you wore that skirt, I have one that I love that is just like yours except mine is polka dots and time I was told I liked like minnie mouse (I probably wore it with the wrong thing, white shirt and black cardigan) so I'm glad to see how you styled your skirt, it looks good and that sweater is awesome. I think the only rule to follow is have fun with your clothes. I'm hoping to see what other ways you will style this skirt and maybe get some inspiration to wear mine. =)

What Would a Nerd Wear said...

i think the skirt is rad and not childish at all--the proportions and fit make it very grown up and fun.
i think it's lovely! what great thrifting luck!

Anonymous said...

Fashion is so cyclical it's irritating: I've thrown things out that I figured were chronically out of style, only to have the exact item pop back into circulation a few years later. 80s, 60s, 90s. . . we hear these terms all the time, huh? And while I wasn't alive in the 60s, I know my mom has thrown out an awful lot of clothes that would be flat-out adorable today.

Anyhow, you rock that skirt!

joelle van dyne said...

oh wow i LOVE this outfit!! the mixture of prints is so fun, espeically the new skirt (or dress). i don't think of it as childish at all. whenever i personally get a little iffy about mixing prints- especially for work- i think about runway shows that do it, and tell myself that makes it okay :) but i think you look great, and that it's definitely fun to recycle general looks that remind you of younger times- because there's always a new interpretation to take. ~joelle

petra said...

You are looking gorgeous! I think you are right, fashion must be taken easy...