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Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Summertime Blues

Meryl pushes the barriers
If you ever doubted that you were past it (in terms of fashion trends, at least) a stroll through the heavily ponging innards of an Abercrombie & Fitch store will set you right. LOB strayed into her local A & F the other day, sticking out among the implausibly polite young assistants like an ageing headmistress in her good work trousers and sensible blazer. Apart from there being more staff (sorry, models, as the company has it) than shoppers, LOB was curious if the brand still holds its appeal for parents with American Express platinum wishing to treat their darling offspring to over-priced American casual wear. Peering through the darkness, there was at least one other bewildered-looking oldie who LOB bumped in to - before realising it was her own reflection. Thanks to the dim lighting, she also bumped in to two pillars before finally finding the exit.
Boy jeans, Toast
But back to those fashion trends. Word is that dungarees are the go-to denim look for summer 2013. LOB feels this is not a good look for the elegant middle-aged woman. Meryl Streep looked sweet in her denim overalls in Mamma Mia! The Movie, you say? Meryl would look fab in an old Abba catsuit. Unfortunately, we are not all of the finely boned, Scandinavian blonde type. Not only should no peri or post-menopausal female attempt Meryl’s awesome, splayed-legged jump as shown in the film, neither should she adopt an Ellie May Clampett homage a la The Beverley Hillbillies. Much more stylish to get your summertime blues from classic denim jeans or chambray linen, such as these current looks from Toast (left and below right)
But why should us grown-ups not follow fashion trends? Your blogger accepts that many readers will insist that a woman should wear what she wants, regardless of age.
Blue chambray linen trousers, Toast
When starting up this intermittent style blog back in 2011, a pal stressed that the focus should not be on age as the barometer on style. If a fifty-something, (or older), woman wants to wear a skimpy mini-dress, why not? The dress and the woman, in themselves, are okay as separate entities. But when both are put together ….. it’s frowned upon. Why should it be so?

Like it or not, our society has evolved in such a way that what we wear shows what we are, or believe ourselves to be. An older woman squeezed into a tiny Forever 21 summer frock, may simply be seen as desperately trying to look younger, no matter how 'youthful' her figure. For whatever about frivolous fashion trends, clothes are a serious matter. If communication is said to be 90% non- verbal, then our clothes send out signals, and we are judged on those. This is a tough one for those of us baby-boomers who grew up in the 60s and 70s when designers realised there was a big market for young fashion. Our mothers’ generation dressed in clothes that were too old for them; we enjoyed the freedom of trends ranging from flower power to punk. That was then, but this is now, yet some mature women remain stuck in that youthful vibe, wearing clothes and hairstyles the same as in our teens and twenties. But even if the toned body and great legs are still evident, the face will inevitably be showing the wear and tear of advancing years.

LOB would love to hear any comments on this subject of age appropriate dress - whether you agree with the concept, or if you feel women are simply being manipulated as always. Maybe a confident, middle-aged woman in a crop top and skinny shiny jeggings just shows that rules are made to be broken? Or perhaps there’s a whiff of tragedy about it - akin to having your picture taken with those nice young Abercrombie boys and their exposed six-packs ....

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