Recently, I’ve been asking women across social media about their greatest fashion challenge. The most common response: how do I dress my age?
Today’s post is the first in a 2-part series that will offer some perspective, and leave you feeling confident in your wardrobe choices, because ultimately, it’s your opinion that matters most.
Why we ask: “Can I still wear this?”
At some point women, especially mothers, begin to wonder what we are still able to wear that will:
- be flattering on our new body shape and
- not look like we are wearing the clothing of our younger (read: cooler) selves.
While these are all legitimate concerns, I will attempt to diffuse such stressors by offering some perspective.
Yes, our bodies have changed, but that doesn’t mean we should throw in the proverbial towel on our self-care. Remember the days before children? Me neither, but I’m sure we took the time to bathe, apply mascara, and pick out clothing that did not feature an elastic waistband.
Ladies, we’ve been through a lot. We lead successful lives, we’re raising beautiful children, and yet there is still a part of us that is concerned with what others think. We realize that the people who judge us are likely in the same stage of life, yet we still wonder if what we are doing is acceptable. Does this resonate at all?
Sometimes we are the worst culprits, because we compare ourselves to others around us. We study things that others do, and then beat ourselves up about the choices we are making ourselves.
Does my kid get too much screen-time? Do I post too many pictures of myself on social media? Is it still ok to wear a two-piece bathing suit? I’m with you.
Who am I to judge?
Before we get too far, let me establish my perspective: I am a 30-something mom who writes fashion posts, often posing in outfits featuring this season’s latest styles. I feature clothing that is flattering on my body type and that I deem appropriate for women like me to wear in public.
I am also a school teacher. To me, this means I am a role-model. While my work wardrobe may differ from weekend-wear on some days, other times they are identical. I do not wear clothing to work (or otherwise) that I perceive as being too revealing or inappropriate–but I also realize that this is a matter of perspective.
As I get comfortable in my mid-thirties, I find myself showing less skin. That’s not to say that I don’t show skin sometimes, but I am much more selective about what I show off all at once.
On my blog, you will find cold-shoulder tops, denim shorts, and open-back tanks. You will also find long cardigans, slacks and knee-length dresses.
This contrast is by design.
The clothes I wear in blog and social media posts reflect my personal style which ranges widely. Sometimes it’s sophisticated, sometimes laid back and casual, but it is always geared toward the modern woman.
Similar posts you might enjoy:
- Best of the Web: Swimsuit Round-up
- How to Wisely Choose Wardrobe Investment Pieces
- 5 Reasons You Should Invest in Premium Denim
What should I wear? How to consider time, place, and audience
I’m a confident woman who is aware of boundaries: time, place, and audience, to be exact.
For illustration purposes, I will highlight a few scenarios and the clothing I’d put together for each. My goal is to be practical, know my “audience” (who I’ll be with), and feel confident in my attire. The following is what I believe to be “dressing my age”.
Scenario 1: A relaxing day with family
When I’m with my family in the summer, running to the park or playing in our yard, you’ll see me in flip flop sandals and a sleeveless top, because that’s my idea of comfort when I’m chasing after little ones. Fussy clothing need not apply.
Of course, I won’t be seen in bootie shorts, not just because they are made for young girls, but also because I wouldn’t be comfortable in them. I find that the most flattering length for shorts is an inseam between 3.5-5 inches. This allows for a little wiggle room if you “size up for comfort”, but doesn’t suggest too much modesty. Check out my recent post featuring my favorite denim shorts, here.
Scenario 2: In the workplace
When I’m at work, I’m much more selective about the clothes I wear. Not for fear of being judged, but merely because I like to present myself in a particular way. I like to draw attention to my work ethic, rather than my tan lines, so my warm-weather work wear is typically cropped pants and short sleeves or a sundress. There’s no need to wear less than that, especially when there is newly-installed air conditioning. You can check out some of my favorite outfits for work in this post, featuring great finds from the LOFT.
Scenario 3: A night out
On a night out, I usually select an outfit that highlights one feature. In the summer, I love wearing rompers in light fabrics. The ones I pick usually have long or 3/4 sleeves and shorts. Another variation I reach for is a sleeveless top with light-weight pants. See where I’m headed with this? Selecting what to expose draws attention to the right places: either my arms or legs, rarely both.
So, what does it mean to “dress your age”?
The truth is: there isn’t a definitive answer to this question. Dressing your age means wearing the clothes that you believe best suit you.
Society sets a very unrealistic standard, and not just for women. It causes us to think that we shouldn’t age, shouldn’t enjoy food, and should always have a perfect body. For whom do these expectations bring happiness? I have yet to find the answer.
Ultimately, we need to remember that those who judge are insecure with themselves and are passing judgement to satisfy their own inadequacies. Don’t keep them in mind when deciding what’s best for you. Do what makes you happy.
It’s time to make a change. Time to see ourselves in a kinder light. Time to celebrate those around us and recognize that we are doing our best to find happiness.
And it all starts within.
If you enjoyed this post and are looking for more information about what you should wear for your body type, stay tuned for my next post where we’ll discuss:
- Questions to ask yourself before buying/wearing an item
- Why clothes build confidence
- How to find clothes that flatter your body shape
- Whether or not you should ask for advice
Until next time, stay lovely.
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