I’ve always loved the colour pink, in all of its manifestations but especially that brilliant bright pink that used to grace the dresses of my Barbie dolls when I was younger, some might call it candy pink, or fuschia pink or even Barbie pink. Whatever you call it, it’s pink… really pink… and it’s always made me happy.
Don’t get me wrong, I love black too. And red. And navy. And grey. And sometimes even purple, green, yellow or blue. My wardrobe is made up of a lot of colours, and as someone who’s never been much of a classic – capsule wardrobe – kind of dresser, I tend to dress for my mood each day and choose the colours, styles and pieces that feel right for me each morning. Some days I’ll want to don a chic black dress and look a little Mad Men demure, other days I’ll want to wear a pair of denim dungarees and look a little tomboy Alexa, and some days I’ll want to throw on a candy pink jumpsuit and feel all kinds of sassy. And I think that’s ok.
Pink Jumpsuit – Topshop Boutique (pink sold out online but check in stores) | Leather Jacket – Gestuz | Clutch bag – Boden | Sunglasses – ASOS | Shoes – Zara (old, similar)
But the problem (actually it’s not a problem at all for me, but perhaps for some people) is that I am now in my thirties. Yes, I’ve made that jump from 29 – 30 and suddenly I’m expected to change everything I’ve ever known and loved about fashion. It is, of course, preposterous when I state it like that, but in societies terms there is a certain forgiving loophole that is afforded to those in their twenties – allowing you to say, wear and do pretty much whatever you like – but once you reach thirties your herded into a bracket where maturity, class and reason are expected. And this applies to fashion too, how many times have you heard a phrase along the lines of ‘oh but she’s young, she can get away with that’ or ‘I’d love to be able to wear that but I’m far too old’?
These ideas we all have about what we should and shouldn’t wear don’t just pop into our heads on the morning of our thirtieth birthday like a given right which makes us suddenly aware of the rules of style we must now follow. Actually age has nothing to do with it at all. As women we are constantly bombarded with a sea of ‘do’s and don’t’s’ when it comes to style. Endless articles about the rules we must adhere to, the trends that are ‘in’ and the trends that are ‘out’. We’re told how to dress for work, how to dress for the weekend, how to dress for a wedding, how to dress for our age, how to dress for men, how to dress full stop. But what is never taken into account is individual style – how to take all of those rules and trends and do’s and don’t’s and make them work for you, and your style, regardless of age or size or where we’re going or what we’re doing. Because let’s be honest – ask any women whose style they admire (celebrity, friend, girl next door) and you can pretty much guarantee that it’s someone who’s breaking ALL of those so called rules and enjoying doing so. And that’s the only type of inspiration we really want to see (which, as an aside is probably why fashion blogs have become so popular).
That’s why articles like this – 24 things women should stop wearing after age 30 – are so damn annoying. Because it’s automatically assumed that every women over the age of thirty is exactly the same. Yes, now that I’m in my thirties I have the same likes, dislikes, colour preferences, size, shape and style as every other women on the planet who is aged thirty or above. Clearly, it’s ridiculous. I know this, you know this, we all know this. But the sheer volume of articles like this means that whether we want them to or not, those words, and ideas and statements will become ingrained it our heads, ready to rear up when we go shopping like a little voice saying ‘maybe you shouldn’t, what will people think?’ and that’s when it becomes dangerous.
Me? I’ve never been one for conformity when it comes to fashion (school uniforms were a nightmare for me) so usually articles like this – which I know have been written with the main aim of riling us all and driving more traffic back to the site – simply make me want to break every one of their rules and have fun doing so (which is exactly what Catherine is doing on Instagram this month with #iwillwearwhatilike – do join in). Case in point – this outfit.
According to the article ‘Pink is made, and targeted at teens and college girls. Not thirty-somethings. Wear your big panties please.’
Had I not read that article a few days before spotting this jumpsuit, well, I probably would have still bought it (because a little reminder – I am thirty and I still love pink) but the fact that I had made me sure I had to buy it, and wear it, and blog about it, because, the fact that I love the colour pink is not, and should not be, indicative of my age… only of my style. The fact that I wore a pair of big panties under this bright jumpsuit only goes to show that. For me, bright pink is part of my personal style but for you it might be a complete no no – in the same way that I know there are certain colours that look horrific on me – and it’s ok to avoid the colour if that’s the case. What’s not ok is to avoid the colours and styles that you love, simply because someone tells you you should.
I’ll admit that when I hit 29 I did have a little wobble about my style, I worried that my wardrobe wasn’t classic enough and that I didn’t dress maturely enough. But what I’ve come to realise is that class and maturity don’t start and stop with an all black, white and grey wardrobe of well tailored pieces, they simply come with confidence, and that means wearing the clothes (in whatever shape, style and colour) make you feel confident. For some people that means a capsule wardrobe of tailored pieces in classic colours, and they look as stylish as ever donning those, and that’s great. But for me, I’ve never been that type of dresser so why force myself into that bracket simply because of my age and then wonder why I don’t feel confident doing so?
For me getting older isn’t about changing my style, but simply knowing my style. I don’t think your innate style ever changes, it simply evolves. Factors such as career, lifestyle, relationships all have an impact on the way we dress and our style adapts to work with these factors. Yes I might look back at some of the things I wore in my early twenties and cringe, but ultimately I know it probably suited my lifestyle at the time. Now that I’m older and through those years of fashion experimentation, I have more of a handle of what suits me, what colours I like and what I feel happy wearing.
I’ll end this ridiculously long post with just one final nugget from me – I’m a big believer that people should wear whatever the hell they like, any day of the week. Regardless of age, regardless of size, regardless of what should and shouldn’t be appropriate, regardless of what other people think. Wear what makes you happy, wear the things you love, be individual – because that’s all that style really is.
Remember that programme that aired a few months back called Fabulous Fashionistas? It documented the style of six women over the age of 80 who were still wearing whatever the hell they liked and looking FABULOUS doing so. It is hands down one of the best things I’ve seen on TV in about 5 years (if you haven’t seen it – watch it now. You will laugh, you will cry and you will be inspired), and now every time I waver over a fashion choice and start to worry what others might think, I remind myself of these ladies and remind myself that that’s what I aspire to be like at that age, so there is definitely no need to waver at age 30.
So I’m wearing the candy pink jumpsuit. And I still wear crop tops, mini skirts, short dresses, oversized sunglasses, leopard print, sequins, dungarees and a bunch of other stuff that according to that article I shouldn’t be wearing anymore. And that’s ok.
What do you think? Do you think there is such a thing as – dressing for your age?