This month I’ve been taking part in the Instagram #iwillwearwhatilike fashion theme. It was started by 43-year-old UK fashion blogger Catherine Summers. Summers pens the blog ‘Not Dressed as Lamb’ and decided to start up the theme in response to the online article “24 Things Women Shouldn’t Wear After Age 30”. The article lists items that include oversized sunglasses, leopard print, hoop earrings, the colour pink and ponytails. The person who wrote the article is probably aged under 30 years and was most likely aiming to deliver a light-hearted fluff piece. However, she managed to be ridiculous, offensive and ironic at the same time. I mean, 30 years old is far from ancient. Oversized sunglasses were first made famous by two iconic women in their 30’s, Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Onassis, and leopard print is practically a uniform for many women over 30 years.
Summers added another six items so that participants can choose to wear an item for each day of August and upload a photo of their outfit to Instagram with the hashtag #iwillwearwhatilike. There’s been a terrific response that’s seen women from 30 years to 70 years uploading photos of themselves in their offending outfits. It’s tongue in cheek, but the message is loud and clear. Women of any age may choose to wear what they like and love what they are wearing.
Personally, I don’t like the word should. It can be used to describe the probable, “we should be ok”, but when used to refer to others it’s often judgemental, “you should do…”. I also don’t like the term “age-appropriate”. Telling someone how they should dress for the age category that they happen to be in, sets up a whole set of rules that don’t bother to take into consideration factors that make each person an individual. The thing is; age is subjective. You can be an old soul at twenty and a young spirit at sixty. Unfortunately, western culture has an unhealthy obsession with youth. There’s nothing wrong with being in your 20’s, but the number of young women I encounter who are terrified of entering their 40’s or 50’s is ridiculous. They don’t see themselves entering a new stage of life and enjoying the experiences along the way, they just see themselves as getting old. I suppose that if we were living in an age where life expectancy was 40 or 50 years then these fears would be more legitimate. However, women are now living well into our 80’s. If we plan our lives to peak at 30 years and fizzle out at 40 years, what on earth are we going to do for the remaining 40 years of our lives? Play bingo?
And at what point are we meant to sit back to wither away? My strongest role models are matriarchs who have kept their sense of style well into their 80’s. My point is life is for living, at any age. If you want to wear all pink or a multi-coloured outfit, do it. If you have great legs that you like to show off then rock those short skirts and dresses. Do what makes you feel good about yourself, because at the end of the day that is what style and fashion are about, and if you can have a bit of fun along the way even better.
You can follow my progress on my instagram account, or better still join in!
Want to see a real fashion rule breaker? Check out this sassy Octogenarian.