Just Because I Can, Doesn’t Mean I Should

I spent most of my 30’s (and early 40’s, lets be real) as a size 12 or pregnant. In my mid 40’s I finally got my act together and I am enjoying the spoils of a healthier and more active lifestyle. So believe me, I understand the temptation to wear things that are best left left to younger women.

In my 30’s I also spent a lot of time navigating the Bay Bridge to the Queenstown Outlets where I procured a small selection of pricey, staid St. John pieces for work. I though they made me seem serious and smart and very Republican , but it turns out I just looked dowdy.

But if I looked too old then and I trying to look too young now?

I have a Pinterest board called “If I Were Younger”  of looks I aspire to but will never wear, and when in doubt I ask my girls if my outfit is too young, but I generally trust my instincts. I am sure I make mistakes. But what’s the worst thing that can happen? A sideways glance from another Mom who saw my jumpsuit at Forever 21 when she was shopping with her teenagers?  I can live with that. My usual shopping companions are my girls, so I frequent stores better suited for my girls more often than I am in stores targeted to women my age. I’m already settling in for an hour of shopping with them, so of course I am eventually going to try on the perhaps too-young-for-me-and-also-made-of-the-cheapest-fabric-imaginable-trendy-top.  And yes, sometimes I buy it.

And that’s ok. But there are a few guidelines.

1. Get a really good bra. Your breasts should be between your shoulder and your elbow, no lower. If they are lower than that its time for a fitting and some new undergarments. Get to a bra specialist at Bloomers or Nordstrom asap.

2. Acquire one nice quality handbag – not necessarily designer – who cares – but a bag that says you are a grown up. If you are not Vegan it should be made of leather (no pleather after 25, vegans aside) and if you are a gal who likes to carry lots of stuff you should acknowledge that and get a big bag. A small bag stuffed beyond capacity is not elegant. Find a style you love and search EBay or consignment stores. I’ve been obsessed with the D&G Lily bag for years and was finally rewarded when one turned up on EBay at a great price.

3. Don’ t give up. I know it’s easier to go the route of yoga pants all the time, or find a uniform for work (I once worked with a woman who wore a beautiful dashiki dress and a matching turban every day – very chic- and I was jealous of the ease of her morning routine, but I don’t think I can pull it off), or just give in and decide that 2015 is the year we stop trying, but don’t. Even if you occasionally have a style mishap, keep at it.

These really are the best years for us –  with any luck we know what looks good on us, we can adopt a “take it or leave it” attitude toward trends, and we have honed a strong sense of our own personal style over the years. That’s worth celebrating.

Madonna, at 57, is no stranger to fashion faux pas, but doesn't give up.
Madonna, at 57, is no stranger to fashion faux pas, but doesn’t give up.

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