Today I unexpectedly jumped into Internet Rabbit Hole! You see, someone sent me via Facebook an article about what not to wear-for the over thirties, of all things. This list included everything from mini skirts to hoop earrings of any size. By the time I picked myself up off the ground from laughing (my thirty seven years old does Crossfit and is in good shape and wears mini skirts and hoop earrings and even tube tops on rare occasions), I had entered the "what not to wear" zone, this one mainly directed at more mature women than my darling daughter.
Let me tell you folks, there were lists, some of them long. One list was of what not to wear for fear of being seen as too old (belted trench coats and tweed skirts), but most were about how to give up everything you enjoyed wearing in younger years. Some things were the same across all the lists, some were unique. One list says to give up leggings, and one list says wear leggings-but only if you have on something long enough to cover your...ah...backside. Apparently sweats of any kind are a no no (even at home), but so are graphic ts, sleeveless tops on some blogs, and anything shiny, anything animal print-ish, colored eye shadow and more. Add no shorts and no floral dresses on another list, and what on earth is a person to do!!
These articles are of course what my fellow blogger Bob would call "eat your vegetables advice". Short bullet lists that are general and probably apply to a small percent of the population. My first thought after reading all these lists was "But where is the advice for men? Do they get to just do what they want?" My second thought was "To heck with that! If you are over fifty, you've earned the right to wear whatever you choose".
Don't get me wrong. I think everyone, man women or in between should have a modicum of "taste" when it comes to clothing. I doubt many of us are ready to wear thongs at the local pool. And I think that everyone should have some sense of what looks good on them as a person, as well as what works with their lifestyle and climate. I also that we should all rethink those qualifiers throughout the years as needed, just as I did when I move from Texas (the land of maxi dresses and big hair) to Colorado (where one can wear t-shirts and flip flops to the most expensive restaurant in town).
Basically, I figure that what we should wear and should not wear will be different for each of us. I also know that on some occasions it makes sense to throw the rules out the window. I am not thin, and though I continually work on my arm strength, I do not have perfect upper arms. Send me to Texas during the warm half of the year, and you are going to see me in sleeveless tops-period. I may have a lightweight sweater for church and air conditioning, but common sense says that any guideline requiring shoulder coverage in triple digit heat is not a sensible one.
I have a friend who jokes that whenever they go out to dinner, no matter where it is, they always get a seat at the front of the restaurant. This is because she loves to dress up, no matter the temperature, and has convinced her husband to follow suit (no pun intended). Pantyhose, heels, big earrings and lots of make up are part of her lifestyle, and I love her. She puts on full make up and jewelry every single day no matter where she is going or what she is doing and it works for her.
I on the other hand have my own qualifiers. I consider retirement permission to never wear pantyhose or stockings ever again (except for a pair of tights and black skirt for cold weather funeral type events). I don't want to have to think too much about what I wear too very much (but I still want to look good). I live in a climate that can go from eighty to fifty in an hour (and travel to other climates. I craft and work with various materials, and I look good in certain very bright colors. I am one of those people who believes in dressing in the morning for the entire day I expect to have rather than moving from sweats to jeans to evening wear when going out to dinner.
For me then, much if this "what not to wear advice" goes out the window on a regular basis. I wear bright spring colors all the time and mix and match them. Yellow silky T shirt under turquoise cardigan with black leggings and matching jewelry? You bet! Other than earrings (some of which are hoops), I wear little other jewelry. I wear nice (even velveteen) pants in the cold weather, no matter the occasion, and skirts and maxi dresses all summer. In other words, I wear what I like and (mostly) what I think looks good on me.
One of the best things about getting to our age, retired or not, is that for the most part we get to stop caring what other people thing, and ignore the experts as we feel the need. So go ahead, wear the holiday themed clothing, or the graphic T shirt with your work out clothing. Feel like wearing a strapless dress or halter? Do what you need to. Assuming that your husband doesn't refuse to leave the house with you (what exactly is that that HE is wearing, anyway?), and your children/grandchildren don't run and hide in shame, do what you will.
Be comfortable in your own skin, be who you are, and the heck with the rest, I say!!!!
And so it goes, this lovely Wednesday in retirement!