Stop Telling Women Over 50 What to Wear

 I love this apron found on clearance at Target. Would I wear this in public? Yes, yes I would. Photo by Avalon Potter

I love this apron found on clearance at Target. Would I wear this in public? Yes, yes I would. Photo by Avalon Potter

Seeing that I have never bent to the rules of fashion, it's not shocking that I am not bending to the rules of fashion over 50. These rules are almost always articulated by a 20 something or a 30 something or a man or a woman over 50 who is conservative in dress and mindset. Even women over 50 who are rule breakers often make rules for other women:

You can be weird, just don't be THAT weird.

You're only authentic and brave if you embrace your gray hair.

You should dye your hair because the gray makes you look old.

Women who opt for plastic surgery look hideous.

How could a woman give up like that?

She's too old for that outfit.

 Oversize plastic jewelry, vintage neon smock, hot pink slip-ons from Target, sassy side pony tail. Photo by Avalon Potter

Oversize plastic jewelry, vintage neon smock, hot pink slip-ons from Target, sassy side pony tail. Photo by Avalon Potter

I have opined this topic many times, including in my new book about being a woman over 50. (Shameless self-promotion alert.) I believe that women over 50 should wear whatever the hell they want. They should opt for whatever hair color or style they want. They should have or not have plastic surgery if they want. They should be able to be comfortable or outrageous or conservative or understated or over the top or all of the above depending on the day and their ever shifting moods. What a woman wears or how she presents herself to the world is entirely her business. Period. 

As a society, we want women over 50 to fade away. We ask them to "age gracefully." We suggest that they refrain from trying to look "too young" lest they appear "desperate." We tell them not to wear mini skirts or too much make-up or candy colored hair...or we tell them to seek the fountain of youth through anti-aging potions, serums, surgeries, and hair dye. These are the two sides of the same coin, the coin of shame. You are old now, so these are the new rules. Follow them or risk being judged. Try to look younger but don't try to look too much younger. Do this, do that! Wear this, don't wear that! You are OLD now, act your age!

I think it's high time that we stop telling women over 50 what to wear. It's time that we stop making grand declarations about what is and is not acceptable. It's time to stop demanding 'authenticity' as if you know what that is for someone else. Let's make a new rule, shall we? Do what makes you happy, allow others to do the same. Period.

 Thrifted tunic, vintage bracelet, earrings and necklace designed and made by me, glitter glasses Kate Spade. Photo by Jennifer MacNeill Photography

Thrifted tunic, vintage bracelet, earrings and necklace designed and made by me, glitter glasses Kate Spade. Photo by Jennifer MacNeill Photography

Here's some unsolicited fashion advice for women over 50. When deciding what to wear you might ask yourself the following questions:

1. Does this make me happy?

2. Do I feel good when I wear this?

3. Do other people's opinions matter to me?

If it makes you happy, makes you feel good, and you don't give a flying fark what other people think, wear it. If it makes you feel sad or uncomfortable or you are concerned what other people will think, don't wear it. What is in or out or cool or uncool or pretty or ugly are subjective, arbitrary, and mostly irrelevant matters. After 50, you have earned the right to wear what you please. You always had that right. If someone feels compelled to piss in your cornflakes with their unsolicited opinions about your sartorial choices, feel free to tell them to kiss your sassy ass, sister.

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