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Dressing Your Age

Cameron Diaz Dressing You're Age
Credit: Reuters

I don’t like fashion editors telling me what I should be wearing in order to be “age appropriate.” There’s something disturbing about articles like “Dip into Blue in Your 30s” or “Ignite Your 40s with Hot Pink.” They take all the creativity out of dressing. I agree that each season, we should buy some new pieces to update our wardrobe. Perhaps a blue and white Kate Spade clutch, or my favorite Tory Burch, pony hair bag in radiant orchid. Memo to Tory: Please make iPad covers in radiant orchid pony hair.

Last Fall I bought a pair of black leather pants. Almost immediately, I had a case of buyer’s remorse. Perhaps it was because they were expensive, or maybe it was because I‘d read that if you wore a trend the first time around, you shouldn’t wear it the next time, implying it would no longer be age appropriate. Even though I’d worn leather pants in my 20s, I was pretty sure it was the price tag that bothered me, so I googled “leather pants and 40.”

One site said women over 40 should restrict leather to the trim on their handbags. Another recalled how a morning talk show host’s fitted, leather skirt accentuated the wrinkles on her face. One blogger said women over 30 shouldn’t wear leather unless it was on their feet. I even found a list of things women over 40 shouldn’t wear, including leather pants and jackets, mid-thigh length jackets, creased trousers and anything sleeveless. This post had generated 350 comments, ranging from “This is ridiculous and insulting,” to “You make it sound like we should just don burkas when we turn 40.”


I’d like to think I have the good sense to know when I look like I’m trying too hard, or when I’ve crossed the line and am dressing like Miley Cyrus. I’ve also come to the conclusion I don’t believe in the term “dressing your age.” Age is more than a number. It’s an attitude, and if at any age, we think we can rock a pair of leather pants? Then rock on, girlfriends! I’m right there with you.

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