My friend and I sent to a taping of Rachael Ray Show the other day. If you know anything about going to a live taping, you know that you need to get to the studio about two hours early and line up, because the tickets for these events are often over booked. So that gives you a lot of time standing on line chatting with your friends. And you pretty much cover every topic under the sun because you are standing in one place for two hours.

After you’ve complained about your spouse, listed out your child’s recent accomplishments and/or stupidity , and discussed the books you are reading you eventually get to the middle age elephant on the line – aging and appearance.

A few weeks ago I went to a birthday party that was held at a bar. I dressed in an outfit that I thought was good for the event and that I felt confident in. And basically, this is how you should feel when you walk out the door. A friend saw a picture of me and said that I looked stylish and sexy, which of course was my exact goal. But then I started to wonder- was I starting to push it?

So, while we were on line, I said this to my friend, who is in excellent shape and looks great for any age, and she simply shook her head and said “Yeah. I know. When do we actually look good for our age, and when do we start to look ridiculous.”

Now I am clearly saying that you should wear what you love and feel great in. Without a doubt how you feel in your skin matters.

But…

I know I have judged (shame on me) women I have seen shopping for themselves at Forever 21. I’m not talking basic t shirts and jeans either. I’m talking the trendy outfits seen on influencer blogs. I look at them and think “You would look so much better in something a little more…a little less…”. And I feel horrible about this as I’m thinking it- but it doesn’t stop me from thinking it.

Does what’s stylish and sexy change as we age? I’m all for remaining stylish and sexy, but does the definition take on a new meaning as we get older?

My family went to brunch a few weeks ago (FYI- brunch is very big in NYC) I spent an hour getting dressed, and I thought I looked nice. Fine. My daughter threw on sweats, a half shirt, wrapped a flannel around her waist and threw her hair a la Arianna Grande. Not a stitch of make up unless you count Burt’s Bee lip balm as make up. And she looked FINE. Notice the different emphasis on the word. There is a vitality in youth (that we don’t recognize while we’re in it) that just makes you look alive. I need blush and undereye cream to even look awake… If I wore the same outfit as my daughter, Police would probably be asking me if I needed directions to the shelter…

I thought back to the outfit I wore to the party: Did my black faux leather patched leggings, velvet t shirt and knee length vest look stylish, or was there a better way to go? Was my arm full of leather wrap bracelets cool and sexy, or did it look like I was trying to hard?

I think my goal is to think I look good if I love what I’m wearing. Because for much of my life, that’s how it went. I like something, try it on, if it flatters me I wear it. Feel good about self, rinse, repeat.

But now…

I’m not so sure anymore.

Do I really look ridiculous?

Does it matter if I look ridiculous if I’m happy?

And I’m beginning to think we should all wear uniforms…

101 thoughts on “Forever 21?

  1. I wore a uniform for 20 years. it’s no fun after a while and gets to be pretty boring.

    well, there is no pic to ogle so I have no idea how it all looked but I think you over analyzed this. I think your daughter has it right in as much as she dressed for herself and not for others.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Recently we went to a dinner party and one of the ladies there, a bit over 60 but still looking great, was wearing cool jeans with stars on them and a cute top. My husband later commented that she looked like she was “trying too hard.” I was a little offended and told him I thought she looked great. I asked him if we should all just stop trying to look nice when we get older? Is dressing nice and doing your make-up really “trying too hard?” No. If you feel good when you wear it, then you are trying just the right amount. And he can take his opinion and shove it. Don’t be afraid to dress up 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. See, I get both of your points. I think you should totally please yourself when dressing. But, I know I’ve looked at people (like, any man in a comb over) and thought gee….hmmm…..is that the look you should be going with

      Liked by 1 person

  3. LA,

    Do what makes YOU happy. There are certain personal taste conversations that always go to the home team, you. Hair style, outfit . . these are two such conversations. If you dig it, then do it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know, I do dress for me, and I get your point, but sometimes I have internal struggle as to what works and what doesn’t. I have this really ugly hat but it’s warm and keeps me dry. I have actually seen people laugh at me for wearing it. Now I don’t care, but, you know, doesn’t make me feel great

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Well she’s an icon. And she has true style. But I’ve never thought she didn’t look appropriate for her age or a situation. I do wonder if I’m trying to dress the same way I did ten years ago, and is it a bad mindset to want to look younger? I mean, am I subconscious doing that?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The comment about the police and shelter made me laugh! When I was younger my mother always told me that when I reached forty I should not wear my hair any longer than shoulder length and I should lighten as I age. I am now 54 and my hair is well below my shoulders. I have always felt more comfortable with it long and I still do. My hair is still dark with a few strands of stardust here and there (of which I am proud of and definitely earned!). As for clothes. I think if someone would return my body to me I would still wear the clothes I did in my 30’s and 40’s. I am not sure I like the young styles today because I believe that sweats are for lounging at home or a quick run to the store. But, I am an old woman! What do I know?! Anyway, I believe that if you feel comfortable in it then you can wear it. The key word is “comfortable”. I have a sneaking suspicion that the women who are “pushing it” are not truly comfortable. I think the days of having strict rules of what you should wear at certain ages are gone. I also think that your outfit sounded very stylish and you were not trying too hard. I still dress like a hippie many times, particularly in the summer.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My whole thing is….when are we pushing it? Am I subconsciously trying to regain my youth? I’m not sure. Am I really not as content with my age as I thought I was? And I’m 54 too! We’re young!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi I’m new (just followed and found you via ally bean)…but I had to chime in here! Remember when ‘getting your colors done’ was a big thing? Probably not, you’re about 10 yrs older than I am (yes, there comes a time when stating age isn’t a big deal anymore!HA!) http://laurabrunolilly.com/sixty-pho-part-two/
    Anyway, the premise was that no matter ones natural complexion, hair or eyes, certain colors do look best yet everyone can wear almost every color as long as it’s the right shade/tint. And, actually that can all change with age, too, as complexion, hair and eye colors do funky and subtle changes, too!

    Same thing with clothes. You love leather, maybe it is introduced in your wardrobe differently maybe not 100% leather leggings with velvet vest but velvet pants with leather vest…You get the idea.
    I’m not a fashionista – but this basic idea has helped me in keeping me – me – without looking ridiculous.
    So far, your posts are spot on, I just don’t understand how you can post every day and keep a life going, too!
    Good for you.
    😀
    peace

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks! Posting every day is my sanity!! My problem is, my head and my heart are telling me different things. True…ten years ago I wore leather mini skirts, now it’s just patches or trim. I definitely don’t do heels anymore, and I have adapted my style to what I feel more comfortable in…but I’m thinking it over

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Laura I am the same age as you and remember getting my”colours” done. I agree some colours just make you sparkle. I have a friend who is probably an autumn, and she wears lots of black and white, which makes her skin look sallow, especially with gray hair. As a (fading) summer, I try to avoid black and white except for black pants.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I think that there’s some irony in the name “Forever 21”
    While we might feel and think as we did at 21, do we really need to dress as we did then when we reach 50, 60…and beyond? Maturity allows us to realize that no matter how well we think we can still rock skinny jeans, or flashy low cut tops or 4 inch heels or whatever, the wiser choice may be to dial it all back a bit. I would rather police myself than be considered out of touch with my current situation and reality!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s what I’m beginning to think too. I’m at a crossroads because while I think we should wear what we want, should we wear the same things? I’m beginning to think there is a point to dial it back

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s easy to remember and associate specific clothing with good times in our lives. Perhaps people who hang onto certain styles are trying to relive, or just hang onto a better time in their lives? That leads me to believe that I, like you, will look at others choices and comment silently or question the motivation. What are they seeking? What can’t they let go of or move beyond? Do they know just how ridiculous they appear? Life moves ahead, let your clothing reflect that and what you have achieved as a mature adult woman!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You put it so perfectly. When we dress in a certain way are we trying to recapture something that we’ve lost? We can still be stylish and cool and sexy, but the definitions of those terms changes as we age. Just as we should live what we wear, we should have a certain acceptance of our stage of life

        Liked by 1 person

    2. A few years ago I saw a lady in a store wearing faded skinny jeans with sparkles, a matching jean jacket, and pink high heels. She had longish fluffy blonde hair. She was thin and from the back looked like a teenager, but when she turned around her face was a mass of wrinkles and she must have been 75 if older. It’s a sight I’ve never forgotten, and a warning to dress age appropriate!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. That’s exactly what I’m thinking about. I don’t want to be judging people, but come on…there’s a point…I mean…was she trying to remind people she’d been a solid gold dancer in the 70s?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Once you witness someone that age making those fashion choices it is much easier to not to be “that person” no matter how much you believe you can pull it off!

        Liked by 2 people

  7. I rarely stray from my trusty yoga pants, hoodies and Ugg boots, and I’m 43. I get mad if I have to wear jeans, for heaven’s sake. I dress in business clothes once a week for my four hour stint in the office, and the rest of the time I barely bother. I literally cannot force myself to care about how I look most of the time, and trust me, I’ve tried. LOL. It’s such a huge disappointment to my mother, who will not leave her house without a full face of makeup. But you know…I dressed up, every day, for most of my life. Now that I’m a little older, a lot less concerned with impressing anyone, and maybe a little too comfortable with myself…I just don’t give a rats ass. I enjoy getting cute every now and again, but I stick to my classic wardrobe. I’ve never kept up with trends. I guess it’s one less thing I need to worry about! I definitely look homeless most days. Long as I know I’m not, that’s all I care about. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think everyone should be comfortable and love what they wear. But, I wonder if I’m pushing it , so to speak, trying to hold onto something, or something in that strain

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Rachael Ray still has a show? News to me.

    I’m all about creating your own uniform style and sticking with it. Nothing worse than seeing mutton dressed like lamb. Nothing worse than dressing for other people’s approval. Do you, systematically and with your own panache, says I.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s on abc here, mainly cooking, a little lifestyle. It’s fun. Honestly I almost never watch the show, but my friend got tickets so why not…. I have my style…I just don’t know if I should alter it a little

      Liked by 1 person

  9. This is a great topic…..and I’d write more but I have to go for an echocardiogram….oh the joys of aging! I vote for age appropriate, and try to opt for the classic look. I know people think that Iris lady is a style icon, but she just looks too eccentric to me. Classic is always in style for a reason.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. When I was about 50 I used to shop at American Eagle for Christmas sweaters for my nieces and I would sometimes buy one for myself, as I am small on top, but then I would hesitate about asking to try it on because the hip young sales clerks would be wondering why I was shopping at a teenagers store! Sweaters only though, no ripped jeans – I hate that look on anyone. Now I wouldn’t even go in the store. I think about age 50ish is when you start to reevaluate this issue of dressing your age…..and definitely by 60. The problem is there aren’t really a lot of stylish options for women between 50 and 70. I don’t want to look like my mother who shops at TanJay for elastic waist pants and floral tops, although even TanJay has slim pants now. Maybe in New York you have more options? I also think you can get away with more fashionable looks in New York. My problem with Iris is she’s just too over the top. I like a more understated look, one chunky necklace instead of a pile of them. I haven’t really seen enough of her outfits to judge though. I have the same problem with too much makeup on older women – it looks like they are trying too hard and just emphasizes wrinkles.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I get what you mean about make up…too much is horrible. I will say, in nyc I think everyone dresses “younger”. I know I see a big difference with how people dress when I travel….on Sunday I think I’m going to post my post and my ugly hat pics…for comparison sake

        Liked by 1 person

  10. You are so right about the dilemma women go through when dressing to go out. It changes over the years. I used to take it for granted that I would always looked good when I left the house. I could wear anything and pull it together. Somewhere in my 50’s I did start to question myself. “Is this too young for me? Do I look silly wearing this at my age?” In my 60’s I decided to just wear what I liked. I became a little more rebellious, and braver. I also became more secure with my personal decisions.

    . Today is March 1st. Which means in a month and a half I’ll be 70. So…. last night when my youngest son called from Atlanta to check on how I was doing since I have been suffering with a bad cold, he questioned me.
    “Mom, are you gonna be 70 this year?”
    I replied. “Yep.”
    He was silent for a minute and said, “That’s crazy! You don’t seem that old. Wow! 70! Crazy, right?”
    I laughed and said yeah it was a scary number but I had a plan.
    I told him I was going to go all out and submerse myself in the 70’s. Dress like it was 1970. Wear my hair like it was 1970, listen only to 70’s music, dance like I did in the 70’s and get totally into the 70’s again since this was my own personal 70’s decade! He of course started laughing hysterically because, he knew I’d do it! And because he worked on the film “The Nice Guys” he was familiar with 70’s clothing. In that movie there was a huge cast all dressed in authentic 70’s wardrobe. In fact, although he worked behind the scenes, The main director thought he looked so 1970’s, he actually put him in a few scenes in front of the camera and he was fitted in a 1970’s tux. He was in the movie as well as in the credits for his work behind the scenes. (He’d call laughing about his crazy 70’s wardrobe attire.)
    So my son thought that was a great idea. I told him , what could people say? At 70 I can do whatever the hell I want. Who cares? I’ll dress anyway I like. And that’s my goal for this new decade. I don’t give a damn what anybody thinks. I’m never going to be that young skinny girl again. But the wild child is still inside of me and she’s going to get her groove back. (Suddenly I’m hearing the song, Get down, boogie Oogie oogie. Lol )
    Dress how you like. Be comfortable and be YOU! If you feel good that’s all that matters.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I definitely think everyone should dress how they’re comfortable and what works…for example I have a tremendously ugly winter hat, but it keeps me warm and dry and has a chin strap so it doesn’t blow off. I know it’s ridiculous but it’s highly functional. I also know people mock me to my face when I wear it but I don’t care because it serves its purpose. But, I wonder if sometimes I’m dressing to try to regain a part of my life I no longer have. I’m just not sure

      Like

  11. “Push it all the way honey that’s what I say!” However I understand where you are coming from, it’s a precarious tightrope walk, have you ever heard the widely said British sayin ‘She’s Mutton dressed as Lamb’? Which as you’ll have no doubt guessed is a woman who dresses tooo young for her age, 15years tooo young and overtly (trashy) sexy!

    If you weren’t already aware I’m a keen observer of the female human mammal, well I’d suggest whatever you wear try for a classy look, if however you’re pushing the sexiness don’t worry a classy sexy older woman will pull it off. Summer 2018 in the UK was glorious, I can picture me now, sitting upon the top deck gazing out the window watching a 65+ year old woman walking through Oxford wearing a blue pencil skirt, restrained heels and a tight fitting white tee shirt with NO bra!! I’ll never forget her, stunning classy and sexy all rolled into one 😛 . Hope that helps.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Men are not held to the same standard as women, but I took care of clothing stress by dressing like an old man my entire life. Now no one expects anything from me. I go to Christmas dinners dressed like I’m about to coach the Patriots.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yes! My strategy too.

      A friend of mine was once waiting on a railway station when someone came up and gave him a wrapped sandwich and a cup of soup. At that point he decided his definition of smart-casual may have been slightly out.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. As long as you’re happy and feel good, I wouldn’t worry about whether others might perceive you as ridiculous. At the end of the day, all that matters is your own opinion of yourself. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  14. So true. I have seen those people who look ridiculous in what they are wearing and said to myself “Don’t they have a mirror to see how they look?” I’ve repeated my mom’s words about how my husband or my kid’s outfits are a reflection of my wifely/parenting skills, which is totally absurd. It is hard to find that balance but comfort is key for me. I applaud your wearing the hat that keeps you warm. No sense freezing to death because someone else doesn’t like your hat!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I mostly dress for comfort rather than sexy anymore. I go to work without makeup, and do my own version of business-casual. If I want to be sexy, I dress for it. I have great boobs and legs (thanks grandma’s!!), so shorter skirts, a nice décolletage, and taller heels are in order. That said, it’s classy-sexy, not Grandma-Ho sexy LOL. I just think you’re overthinking a bit. I do understand that you don’t wanna look ho-girl sexy, but from what I infer from you, through your blog, I’m certain that you are super-classy whether dressed up or down.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well thank you! I hope to be classy sexy, but I don’t even know what the line should be. It’s confusing! Oh…I tried to follow your sisters blog but I had trouble. What the name again?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. as far as drawing a line in the sand between ho-bag and classy, I think you will know the difference without really thinking too much about it. Since society is so much more relaxed about the “shoulds” of fashion (can’t wear white before Memorial day, etc), I would not stress yourself.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. I have always worn jeans and t-shirts. Until I got heavy. Then I wore sweats and t-shirts. Now I’m wearing leggings and t-shirts. Mostly because its what I have that fits. I don’t have a “style”. Probably wouldn’t know what to do with it if I did. I think if you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing, it shows in how you act and present yourself and you’ll ALWAYS look great. Obviously, some people will wear something that they shouldn’t, in my opinion. But its still MY opinion. Not theirs.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I think if you’re questioning it you might want to dial back. Are you still using Stitch Fix? I love it because of the cards that come with clothes that show you how to dress. They know my age, and are showing me what’s good for me. Most of it’s a lot hipper than I’d come up with, so I appreciate it. Hard to know these days, so I find it very helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m fine with normal situations. I don’t know how to dress for parties at bars. In my head when I go to a bar I’m still 35….I don’t know how to transition the fun night out look.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good idea. I understand the velvet shirt. I’m sort of an addict myself. Actually as long as you are confident I think you can wear anything except a leather mini skirt. That’s got an age limit of about 40.

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Had the laugh at the “directions to the shelter” line. Since I rarely go anywhere these days, that’s sort of my default look. I’m glad you dress in what looks and feels good for you. That’s as it should be. End of story.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Your post is so timely today b/c I’m meeting friends for dinner and my outfit was going to be faux leather leggings and a cashmere sweater with boots. And I was overthinking it and still was as I read your post. But after reading, I realize that I look good in that outfit (in my opinion lol) and I’m comfy in it. I know my friends will tease me but they’ll be ok with my choice so I’m going for it. And I’m happy you did too…I’m tired of the fashion police and for second guessing everything I wear. If it fits and is in my age category, it’s a yes for me. I want to be happy and yes, I’ve critiqued others (ashamedly so) when they were dressing way younger than I thought was appropriate. But I think that’s human nature. Although I didn’t voice my opinion to them, it made me stop and think. If it fits in a classy way, I saw go for it and humbug to the naysayers. Glad you wore what you wanted and looked fabulous! I’ll be thinking of you tonight when I wear my faux leather leggings too! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I believe that living a life they way we feel we *should* rather than in a way that makes us feel happy and confident is a surefire way to looking terrible (and I’m sure dressing by those rules is the same). I know I looked older in my 40s than I did in my 50s, because I did the former in my 40s and the latter in my 50s (and now 60s).

    That said, I do sort of agree on the uniform thing. Sometimes it’s just easier to have a code to dress to. It’s why my wardrobe ended up as mostly black, with the odd pop of colour here & there. It meant I never had to think too hard. I’ve recently been persuaded into colour. So it doesn’t alter my keep it easy attitude to wardrobe decisions, I’ve kept colour mostly to dresses. This seems to work.

    When you catch your daughter looking at you sideways, or avoiding looking at you at all, *then* you can worry about whether you’re trying too hard. Till then, you’re fine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would sort of love a guide to dressing! Even a please don’t ever wear that over forty sort of pamphlet. Or maybe a rule that you can’t buy clothes in the same store as your teen daughter….I too rarely wear color. If I add it’s mainly as an accessories. My clothes are mainly black, with a little grey, white and olive, a little pink here and there. It’s what makes me comfortable, so I go with it. But people always tell me to wear color….

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 🙂
        Like my mother, I find “people” are really good at telling others what to do. I got desperate for cool dresses last summer and could only find colourful ones, so I went with the flow. Now I rather like them. But when I need to feel comfortable and confident and not just cool, you know I’ll pick black!

        Speaking of my mother – she’s one of the best dressed women I know. Always beautifully turned out, always on the receiving end of compliments, yet she’s so conflicted about what to wear. Her mother gave her a whole heap of clothing rules and they still prey on her mind today. Crazy!

        Trust your instincts! If still doubting, then believe your friends when they compliment how you look.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s a good point. A friend wouldn’t bring it up unless they meant it. The other day I was at the gym and I saw a young woman in just a great look, and I complimented her in it, which is something I don’t normally do. I could see her in the mirror, not preening but thinking…..so I thought she might like the thumbs up, which she did. At least I think she did, because do you want to take a compliment from someone in a tank top and leggings with her hair half out if a pony?

        Like

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