Recently, I wore denim overalls to my mother-in-law’s 65th birthday party.
Now, when you think of overalls, your brain probably conjures images of farmers, gingham and toddlers. Holmes on Homes, perhaps. The kids from Kris Kross . The 1990s and Doc Martens. I’m pretty sure, however, that a 43 year old mom doesn’t come to mind.
Like everything in fashion, what goes around comes around and I started catching whiffs of an overall resurgence last summer. On a whim, I bought a pair – even though I had a nagging thought that maybe I was too old to revisit this trend.
They hung in my closet for a while, tags on, until one day I felt brave enough to wear them out of the house. I layered them with a simple white tank, a pair of heeled ankle boots, and a swipe of red lipstick. I felt a little self-conscious, but I also felt pretty cool and fashion-forward. A few months later, all traces of self-doubt gone, I wore them to my mother-in-law’s party with a crisp shirt, a rhinestone necklace, a black blazer and a pair of heels.
Some of you are probably thinking that I’m insane; that a 43 year-old woman has no business wearing overalls.
Maybe you’re even of the opinion that wearing overalls is some desperate attempt to cling to my youth. You might say that about a lot of the items in my wardrobe. I have a thing for Converse, ripped jeans and sweatshirts, all clothing typically associated with youth – unlike the age of forty-three.
I wouldn’t argue with the idea that I’m trying to cling to my youth. Getting older is freaking hard. Grey hair and wrinkles suck. Knowing that you’ve reached your life’s halfway mark is sort of unpleasant. But I try to fight time with exercise and a healthy lifestyle, not with my wardrobe.
Do a Google search on “dressing your age” and you’ll find rules galore about what you should and shouldn’t be wearing based on when you were born. I’m not big on rules, and I’m certainly not big on fashion rules. No mini-skirts after 35? No long hair after 50? No bikinis after 40? I have trouble with these sweeping generalizations. What if you love your legs, have a gorgeous mane of hair or want to show off all those hours at the gym in your two-piece?
Fashion is my place to play.
My clothing allows me the opportunity to be creative and have fun. But – and this is a big but – when I dress, I try to make choices that allow me to express myself – while being respectful of my stage in life.
To me, this means finding balance: wearing those overalls with heels rather than Chucks. Pairing distressed denim with something tailored and polished. Avoiding anything too short or midriff -baring. I think about what flatters me and my body, but also my age. Those are my rules.
Being in your 40s (or 50s, or 60s, or 70s…) doesn’t mean you have to forgo your personal sense of style. In fact, it’s a time in life when you finally know WHO you are and what best suits you.
Hopefully, it’s also finally the time when you stop caring so much about what other people think.
Ultimately, fashion is about having fun. So decide on your own rules and enjoy getting dressed, regardless of your age.