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What advice do you have about dressing older or younger than a person’s actual age? Are there “rules”? I guess the most obvious thing is when old guys look like they are trying to be 20, which is pathetic, but what’s the line between that and being fashionable? When do young guys know it’s time to dress a little “older” and what does that mean? Do you have any examples?
Fantastic question. I’m quite interested in this topic of dressing age appropriately. Recently I bought a stylish, fabulous, well-made bag that I snagged for 65% off (I LOVE a deal). Someone in my life told me that it looked like something a “cougar” would buy. I like to think I have an independent sense of style, but it bothered me to hear that term, not just because it’s sexist and obnoxious, but because it denotes AGE, right? It’s difficult to remain unscathed when American pop culture tells you that youth is preferable, beautiful, and always on the cusp of leaving you. So now I have a great bag that I fear would look better on someone twice my age.
I have my own ideas and opinions about how to gauge whether your attire is “appropriate” to your age, but before we tackle that in a future column, let’s talk about this idea that your age should determine what you wear. The rules tend to be more rigid for women than men, but here’s a short, very incomplete list of items that are usually relegated to the younger male crowd: leather pants; t-shirts with logos, sayings, excessive adornments of any kind; baseball hats (as part of everyday wear); knit caps (yes, I think Brad Pitt looks ridiculous in that thing), etc.
As we age, we are expected to dress in simpler, more modest clothing. There’s less risk-taking and trendy details on clothing made for the older set. Hemlines on skirts and dresses for women go down; fit for men becomes looser. Aging and being stylish is *not* an oxymoron; many of the styles out there are sleek and sophisticated. But it does seem like there are less options.
If you look at the wide range of style gurus out there–columnists and TV personalities alike–the opinions are varied. Some people say that dressing for your age is very important. Some say they don’t understand this concept of dressing for your age; you should be able to wear whatever you like and feel comfortable in. What do you think?
I’d really like to hear from all our readers out there, across the broad spectrum of ages. I know Dappered probably skews to the younger side of, say, 40, but I do believe fashion and style are for everyone, so let’s hear what you think on this issue of dressing for your age. There’s a lot to cover, so we’ll turn this into a multi-part series.
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