Like most girls, I spent a large proportion of my early teenage life trying to make myself look older. Ill-fitting dresses, questionable shoes borrowed from my older sister – you name it, I tried it. After a while, much to my mother’s excitement, I realised this style simply wasn’t me, so I gave the game up and began to pick clothes more suited to my personal taste, and most importantly, my age.
You only need to look as far as the British high street to notice the obvious age-centric categorisation of clothing. New Look’s 915 range is evidence enough that as a nation, we’re very comfortable with separating style into categories which are deemed ‘age appropriate.’
However, more and more I’m beginning to notice a rebellion from the sartorial world. On more than one occasion, I’ve passed a girl in the street half my age wearing a similar outfit, and conversely, an older woman whose ensemble I’m desperate to Instagram. We only have to look at Celine’s use of beautiful 81 year old Joan Didion in what was to become one of their most infamous campaigns ever to realise that the fashion world is changing – and leaving the age-appropriate tag on the hanger.
On more than one occasion, I’ve passed a girl in the street half my age wearing a similar outfit, and conversely, an older woman whose ensemble I’m desperate to Instagram
As I stood in front of my wardrobe the other week, I began to notice a bit of a jump between the styles of some of the pieces hanging in front of me. On the left were a few pairs of dungarees, varying in style and shade, and on my right; a cable knit sweater snatched up from a vintage shop, and an embroidered suede jacket which wouldn’t look out of place on my grandmother’s coat rack. It seems like old habits die hard, but this time, the blurring of lines between ‘old’ and ‘young’ is something I’m entirely happy with.
the fashion world is changing – and leaving the age-appropriate tag on the hanger.
It seems silly in this day and age to limit ourselves by adhering to an outdated set of rules when we’re lucky enough to have access to technology which connects us with so many others across the world. When we have the means to view the OOTD of a 16 year old fashion blogger from Sweden at the same time as a 60 year old’s via Humans of New York, why stop ourselves from gleaning a bit of creative inspiration from those we admire? Whilst age parameters within context of the law are helpful, I don’t see the benefits in telling someone they can’t wear an item of clothing they love because it doesn’t fit with our idealistic view of fashion.
94 year old Iris Apfel is, in my eyes, just as (if not more) influential in the world of style as supermodel Gigi Hadid, with whom I share my age. I would much rather be a part of a community that embraced the youth for their fresh perspectives, and the elderly for their tried and tested tips than one which rigidly sticks to the culturally constructed parameters of expression we’re accustomed to.
I’m ok with resembling a 90’s mum one day and a dungaree-clad toddler the next, and I’m more than ok with the fact that ageism within the fashion world seems to be a dying trend. As Apfel once famously said; “there’s no roadmap to style. It’s about self-expression, and above all, attitude.”