Fashion: What’s age got to do with it?

1 Oct

Why Age Doesn’t Matter to Fashion.


CarmenDellOrefice_Rouge_ 2

Carmen Dell’Orefice, 82, World’s Oldest Working Model.

Art is about what is perceived, not the age of the perceiver and this is no different in the world of fashion. With the scurry of the major fashion houses showcasing their new stock all across the world for various fashion weeks, we are all reminded that you can take what is displayed on the catwalks one of two ways; literally and inspirationally. The older we get, the more our taste in fashion changes. From our teenage rebellious years, through to our working lives; there are many changes to be made.

But is there? Who says just because we are 70 means we now have to like knitted jumpers, pleated dresses and permed hair? This whole age appropriate thing is a strange one. Yes, if I saw my Granny in a leather mini skirt and a lace bralet twerking to a Miley Cyrus track I would be concerned. But why? I should only be concerned because my Granny doesn’t like Miley Cyrus not because she is 76. Just because we get older doesn’t mean our personality changes so why should we be conformed to staying within the confines of age appropriate dressing? If fashion is all about expressing yourself why does that suddenly stop come 60? People state there’s no age limit to fashion yet there’s thousands of advice columns in the fashion magazines stating what to wear ‘for 20s’, ‘for 30s’, for 40s’ etc. So, we are bound by fashion to our age – so there is an age limit?


When you think of  a ‘granny’. This is most likely the sort of image that you will think of. My granny looks similar, as does my boyfriend’s granny, my best friend’s granny. In fact, most grannies I know look like this. So is this art imitating life or life imitating art? Do grannies look like this because they feel they have to?

pink coats

I understand that what a 3-year-old can wear is different to a 13-year-old which is different to a 23, 33, 43 and 53, and so on but we can all wear the same trends in various ways. For instance, the pink coat. A 3-year-old can wear a Peppa Pig one, 13-year-old can go with a bomber, 23 go for the pink leather, 33 the oversized blazer, etc. It’s the same trend just worn differently. But here, yet again, we are faced with confinements. Oh sh*t I’m 32 can I get away with the leather pink or do I have to go for the oversized blazer? Wear what you want! I’m 23 but I would prefer to wear the oversized blazer so that’s what I will wear. If you’re 73 and want a Peppa Pig one – why bloomin’ not? (Although you would probably have to have it custom-made.)

The media are constantly picking on older celebrities for either looking old (highlighting wrinkles on Kate Moss’ face) or for wearing inappropriate clothing and not dressing their age (Madonna and her leotards). So what are we to do? Embrace our age and be scrutinised for looking old or discourage the aging process and try to look younger but then be scrutinised for not looking our age?

old v young

Fashion. It’s all about looking good. I’ve said it time and time again; we can go on about statement-making clothes but really, we just want to look nice. So that’s the bottom line. If you put on a mini skirt and you look good – f*cking wear it. If you don’t – don’t. And it’s not even about looking good. It’s about feeling good. People will bitch about you, the media will enforce restraints and there will always be this social ideology of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ but that will always be the case, no matter what. So wear what you feel confident in. There aren’t shouldn’t be any rules in fashion.

helen mirren

Helen Mirren. Now that’s my girl. She’s 68. She’s not aiming to look 28 nor is she surrendered to conforming to traditional 68 year-old ways. She has pink hair, has a tattoo, appeared nude in films, wears stripper heels and looks amazing. She’s not even trying to make a statement, she does what she wants and it pays off.

If you’ve always been drab in fashion, stay drab, that’s you, if you’ve always been vibrant, stay vibrant. Age shouldn’t change the person you are. The line shouldn’t be between young and old. “if you’re young you can wear vibrant and if you’re old you should wear dull”. – complete nonsense. Old age makes no difference to your personality or choice of outfit – once a bore, always a bore, once a sparkler, always a sparkler.

Although the Channel 4 documentary ‘Fabulous Fashionistas’ attempted to show that older people can, do, and should, still have an interest in fashion. It highlighted the fact that this is still out of the ordinary and therefore should be documented. The six women featured have always had the same personality; they thrive on life, enjoy fashion and are a bit quirky, but it’s only now that it’s deemed ‘odd’ just because they are ‘old’. They are inspirational not because they wear ‘outrageous’ clothes but because they’ve stayed the person that they have always been and that is a lot trickier the older we get.  Their zest for life and their determination to stay true to themselves is an inspiration to any generation.

So, 900 words later. What have we learnt? To be yourself, to do what you want and not be confined or defined by your age.

Art is not about what is perceived. Who cares about the perceiver? Art is about creation regardless of the age of the creator.




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