What is age appropriate?

10 Feb

It’s happening – I’m getting older. I have gray hair at my temples, store music is too loud, I hate being called ma’am, I often wonder “did I sound that dumb at age X?” and I try Jedi-mindtricking every bartender into checking my ID. I recently turned 30 and I’m not sure I like it. Now I know what you’re thinking, “oh Andi, you’re still so young…!” And you’re right, however it’s weird to think that my 20s are now permanently in the rear-view mirror.

As we all get older, we’re plagued with thoughts on age appropriateness; how we dress, style our hair, act, etc. Thoughts like:

  • Can I still shop at Forever 21? At what age should I stop?
  • When should I stop wearing my hair long? Will I ever let it go gray?
  • Are leggings acceptable at any age? (I know, I know many think leggings are NEVER pants, however I’m on Team Pants!)
  • Can I still drunk dial my friends?
  • When do I switch from a bikini to a one piece?
  • Should I only be listening to NPR?
  • Can I say things like, “OMG” or is slang only for 20-somethings who watch Girls?

What constitutes age appropriateness changes wildly generation after generation. What my mom or grandma thought was age appropriate has in many cases been totally turned on it head. We are now able to dress and act younger, for longer.

So how do I decide what behavior is too young or old? Here are my three guideline:

If Jennifer Aniston would wear it, then I can too. For better or worse, I tend to take many fashion and beauty cues from Hollywood; if Jennifer Aniston can still wear short shorts and long hair well into her 40s, I can too! (That is of course only if my legs stay nice like hers…) The best part about looking to Hollywood for guidance – society tends to be brutally honest when it comes to evaluating aging stars. So if you’re curious to see how your friends and family my react to your new red lipstick, hair extensions or skinny jeans, spend some time on tabloid websites and see how the stars fared doing the exact same thing.

What would Europeans do? Every time I travel to Europe, I’m always amazed how unconcerned Europeans seem to be with aging. Even grandmas wear bikinis, tight clothes and short skirts, regardless if they have chubby thighs, flabby arms or saggy skin. Their “people age, so get over it” and “I wear what I want” attitude is admirable; and a mindset I hope to adopt as I age.

Copy the person who seems to be having the most fun at [X] age. I’m always amazed how quick some people are to act and look older. I refuse to be one of these people. Being mature and responsible doesn’t mean you need to act or look older than your given age. My aging heroes are those that are feisty and young at heart; individuals that are still up for fun and a little adventure, even though they may not move or look as youthful as they once did.

What are your thoughts on age appropriateness? Any fashion trends or behaviors you think should be retired as you age?



5 Responses to “What is age appropriate?”

  1. cynthiamurdoch February 10, 2014 at 7:04 pm #

    I’m retired and still shop at Forever 21 for a “few” things – not many. You are on the right track to let your Hollywood favorites and people around you that you admire to copy their style. Remember classic never goes out of style. I taught high school for years, and although I would never dream of copying the girls’ clothing, I took cues from them and incorporated some things into my wardrobe. I think teaching kept me young at heart – I would look at some of my contemporaries and think hmmm how did they get so old? On the other hand, trying to look like a surfer girl at age 50 didn’t look right either…there’s a balance and your post shows that you are well aware of it. Hugs.

    • allputtogether February 13, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

      You’re absolutely right Cyndi, classic never goes out of style. Words to live by!

  2. Laura February 19, 2014 at 5:12 am #

    It’s also helpful to take a honest and fashionable friend with you when you shop!

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