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Mutton dressed as lamb

¬†Should I buy that top or shouldn’t I? I kept thinking to myself. It was a lovely garment, with a lacy detail and long floaty sleeves. I wouldn’t have given it a second thought if it was a standard waist length. It was the fact that it was almost cropped that made me have my doubts about it. As well as debating whether or not my tum was flat enough to look smokin’ hot in it, I was questioning something fairly new. Was I was now a little too old for this sort of style?

In the years since I reached the 30 milestone, I have often found myself wondering if particular clothing and accessory styles are suitable for my age. I could probably get away with them in front of strangers as new people usually think that I am younger than 25! However, I would not feel as comfortable wearing the same items in front of people who know my real age. I would worry that they might think that I looked like ‘mutton dressed as lamb.’

Is 33 ‘mutton’ though? Or can I still wear what I like? I suppose it depends on whose opinion you ask. A teenage girl and a fifty-something woman are likely to have opposite ones. I partly base this assumption on my own thoughts. When I was in my late teens, I read about a 30 year actress who had purchased something from Miss Selfridge and I remember thinking that she was too old to shop there! A few years later, I’m ashamed to to admit that I sometimes thought the mutton phrase about a couple of ex-work colleagues in their 40s, even though they could carry younger clothes off.

It was mean of me but in my defence, 30 and 40 did seem old to me back then! In my teens and twenties, I actually thought of 30 as a ‘cut off’ age’ where I would re-evaluate how I dressed. However, that passed and I still dress pretty much the same as in my twenties. My ‘cut off age’ is now 35 and when that arrives, no doubt it will then be 40. That has got to be the end of the dressing a bit younger road! If I continue after that, I feel that I would be desperately holding back the years in people’s eyes.

But even today, I am a bit conscious of that. Women my age might just fall into the top target age range of outlets such as River Island and Top Shop, but many of their hottest clothes of the season are aimed at women between their late teens and mid-twenties. I don’t want to go around in clothes that make me look like I am still a student so in recent years I have had to be more selective about what I buy from the ‘fashion shops.’ This makes me tend to feel a bit more out of place in them than I used to.

Also, some garments are stereotyped as being only worn by women of a particular age. I would feel a bit age-conscious now in say, a boob tube and hotpants even if I was skinny enough and confident enough to wear them! (You know you’re getting on a bit when clothes that were once too old for you are now too young!) But while clothes like these are obviously aimed at women who are not long out of nappies, I find that it is sometimes harder to distinguish between garments that look a bit younger and too young. Is that skirt too short? Does that top expose too much cleavage? Are those heels too high?

It has become such a bother, asking myself if many items I like are ‘age appropriate’ that I have even considered giving up the trendy boutiques and changing my dress style altogether! There are plenty of alternative clothes websites on the Internet and some styles such as retro and hippy are worn by all women of all ages. This would free me from being in a kind of transition period between spring chicken and mother hen! I am a touch too mature to wear some of the ‘more material in a face flannel’ apparel from shops like TopShop, yet I am not mature enough to fully embrace some of the more demure styles in the BHS and M&S Ladies’ clothing departments!

There seems to be few High buy nolvadex online reviews Street shops which include the 30-45 age range. The majority are aimed at younger women and some even have a clue about their customers’ ages in their name, such as ‘Forever 21.’ Then there seems to a jump to clothing ranges in shops that are aimed at slightly more mature women. Despite this pigeon-holing, I suppose women of any age can technically shop in any outlet, due to something that I think of as ‘universal fashion.’ Each season, I notice a small number of trendy clothes being sold in a number of different clothing outlets. This implies that they are aimed at a much wider age-range. Alternatively, in the shops generally aimed at young women, there are clothes that are not the height of fashion but still look pretty and flattering. I often find myself going for these because not only do I feel that they are not too young for me, they will not look dated after only several months!

Maybe I have become a bit obsessive about this issue. I have increasingly taken a mental note of the styles that women my age or older are wearing to see if can still get away with them myself! Sometimes I think that I am worrying over nothing though, as it does not seem to concern other women. In fact, a recent study showed that many are now deliberately dressing younger. Before finding this out, I had already noticed that more mature women dress differently to how I remember when I was little. I think that celebrities have partly inspired this because many of them who are past their mid-thirties wear teenage/twenties clothes and still look great.

But while there has been a change in the way women dress, there still seems to be a line that cannot really be crossed. Not many women over 40 wear a miniskirt and platform shoes combo, for example. They most likely feel that they would get a negative response. We live in a society that generally makes us believe that once women reach a certain age, they cannot wear particular clothes. How did this come about though? If we have freedom of choice, why shouldn’t we wear what we like?

It is society’s views that have partly created my dilemma! I feel that I am effectively ‘faking it’ by dressing a little younger than I am and that I would somehow get more out of my clothes if I was actually a few years younger. As I get older, this fakery will gradually become more apparent to people and they may start thinking or saying negative things. On the other hand, I don’t want to start dressing almost like a Great-Grandmother soon if women over a decade older than me are still dressing like twenty-somethings. Otherwise I will look frumpy in comparison and miss out on looking younger myself for a bit longer. Also, I am not ready to give up items such as my skinny jeans and above the knee skirts and dresses just yet in order to dress more sensibly. I haven’t got a bad figure and enjoy the compliments I get. If you’ve got it, flaunt it, right?

I like to think that I have found the right dress style balance, at least for the time being. Sexy, yet a little sophisticated too. I would not say that my style looks so young that I have people who know my real age thinking or saying the mutton phrase about me. I hope they don’t anyway! But if they ever do, I guess it will be karma getting me back for the times I have thought it about people. It is probably getting me back already because if I had never thought it, I would probably not be worried about other people thinking it about me!

What was my decision about that crop top? I actually plucked up the courage to buy it but only intend to wear it in front of strangers who will be fooled by my youthful face! I have been reluctant to wear it though because I feel that they somehow know my actual age! I didn’t wear it this summer and I may or may not wear it during the next one at the ripe old age of 34! There is a good chance that it will end up in a charity shop instead of on my back.


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