Sunday, 1 July 2012

The Fear Of The Mutton: How age doesn't matter

Should I put aside "childish things" such as wearing red glitter headbands-er no
Recently I received an e-mail from one of my readers who wondered if I thought there was an age limit when it came to  being interested in beauty, clothes and all things glamorous? Could a time come when wearing exciting clothes and dying your hair crazy colours was no longer acceptable?
Whilst my knee jerk reaction was to shout "No" as loudly as possible, it did get me thinking about how women who maintain an interest in clothes, make up and contemporary culture are viewed.
Over the age of 30 there is the unspoken sense that you should avoid looking like "Mutton dressed as lamb" a recent feature in a national newspaper claimed that when polled most people thought women over 39 should stop wearing bikinis and you only need to recall the pages and pages devoted to whether Madonna was "too old" to bare her breast onstage and shouldn't she just "grow old gracefully" to see that for many age is more than "just a number" it carries an expectation about how we should dress and behave.

Too old to flash?
The biggest problem I have with the concept of "growing old gracefully", and "dressing to suit my age" is that it seems to encourage women to construct tiny prisons of there own making, where trying on all the jewellery in Topshop  is frowned upon and a uniform of stone coloured clothes from stores like Next and Wallis become the uniform.
Not quite ready for the beige slacks
I think women nowadays are a unique breed. We know we have more opportunities than ever before but are still acutely aware of the corporate glass ceiling, we now transition through different stages of womanhood with an ease that would have baffled our grandmothers. From stay at home mum, to career girl, to part time worker, to chairwoman of the board.
We realise that society is still by and large a patriarchy and chip away at this reality every day whilst also knowing that men are gorgeous, vital and the perfect ying to our yang.
Gwen showing us how to look over the age of (gasp) 40
So for my part when looking for women to inspire me style wise as I inevitably grow older (its a fact ladies, it happens to us all) Im loving the energy of the frankly awesome Gwen Stafani with her mix of Jean Harlow Blonde bombshell and Ska inspired Rude girl chic, Pearl Lowe rocking a Louise Brooks bob and creating collections of clothes which inspire and excite. 
Pearl Lowe-Vintage Queen
From a fitness point of view seeing Jane Fonda talking about still having a healthy libido in her seventies made me decide to start doing my Davina DVD and yes  say what you like I love Madge for having the balls and fuck you attitude to still be getting her bangers out at fifty.
Jane Fonda-70 and still feeling sexy
And its not just celebrities lighting the way for how to rock individual style past a certain age tickbox. The Advanced style blog with its tagline "Proof from the wizened and silver haired set that personal style advances with age" crashes into my blogloving feed at regular intervals forcing me to revaulate what constitutes "mature fashion. Subscribe to their Youtube feed-you won't be sorry.

During the writing of this post  Illamasqua revealed one of the images from there upcoming campaign showing a frankly stunning 75 year old and I was amazed at the outpouring of love for the image when I put it on my facebook page.It seems we do want to see women over 25 in advertising campaigns, the invisibility of woman over a certain age in media is as old fashioned as it is short sighted. Im not naive enough to think a few beauty campaigns here and there signal a huge sea change but its a start.

For me the biggest inspiration I have when it comes to navigating personal style at any age is my mum. 
Mama Bee photographed on the swing in out garden in one of her own creations

A fashion designer when I was growing up, who turned up at the school run in Vivienne Westwood bondage trousers she still always looks amazing and incredibly youthful.
Outside her fashion boutique in the 1980's
She still goes to gigs (only last week she saw The Dammed) and retains a tremendous amount of style. To not care about clothes and fashion would mean not caring for herself, its as natural as eating, brushing her teeth and exercising. 
Showing me how it should be done-Mama Bee
Its my blueprint so as every year passes, far from thinking its time to start "toning it down' I intend to turn it all the way to ten.
So the next time you think you are too old to wear something, wear it anyway, unless its a nappy-thats just weird.

 Bopalena Tee Shirt Giveaway

This week Im offering one of my lucky readers a Bopalena Tee shirt. Designed and hand printed by the fabulous Nick Bee at BB Designs and available to buy at my boutique  it will make a rather fabulous Rockabilly addition to your wardrobe. Available in sizes small, medium and large.
To enter:
  • Join this blog if you haven't already
  • Leave a comment on todays post.

  • The winner will be chosen via random number generator on July the 7th 2012

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