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What exactly is age-appropriate fashion?

Fri, Jun 11, 2010

Aliceann Toole, Lifestyle

How do you define “age-appropriate” when it comes to fashion? Would the answer be different if you were Susan Sarandon in the Boomer vanguard, Ann Curry in the middle or Michelle Obama on the youngest end of the spectrum?

Why do we automatically relegate women “of a certain age” to mom jeans, orthopedic shoes and Alfred Dunner two-piece double-knits? These Boomer ladies wouldn’t stand for it and the rest of us shouldn’t either! Just because we reach that “certain age,” we don’t throw our fashion sense out the window. Just because our bodies have changed over the years, we aren’t ready for shapeless “granny” clothes … even if we’re grannies.

We are who we are, and if we want to express our fashion sensibilities through current trends, I think we should … with a little balance, of course.

The website whowhatwear.com is a fashion site for young women that identifies what’s hot in Hollywood and on the fashion runways. In no way is it targeted to Boomer chicks. BUT, let’s take a look at “summer fashion essentials” noted in a recent post and see what might work for us.

  1. Panama hat — why not. You could wear it with anything from a bathing suit to a casual sundress. JC Penney has a cute straw safari hat with a slightly different shape.
  2. Skater dress — no way, JosĂ©.
  3. Army-inspired shoes — hmmmmmm … let’s say maybe. One Nine West sandal style has possibilities.
  4. Canvas tote — absolutely. You’ll find them everywhere this year, including some great Lands’ End totes that already are on sale.
  5. Sporty bikini — it’s okay if you can still wear a bikini (and you know who you are); these trendy bathing suits made of work-out-wear fabrics are comfortable and wearable. For most of us, though, no more bikinis … we’re likely to find the age police swat team gunning for us. (See a previous post on bathing suits.)
  6. Crochet cover up — absolutely. Here’s a cute version from Target. You can find them pretty easily at a variety of price points. Or perhaps you’d prefer a top embellished with crochet trim like this one from Talbot’s.
  7. Chic sunglasses — you betcha. Most of us are going to need prescription sunglasses, and Lenscrafters has an entire line of retro-cool versions exactly like the ones suggested by whowhatwear. Both the aviator and Wayfarer styles are right on target and have been for decades.

When you go for the fun, inexpensive accessories that make up the list of “essentials,” you get a look that’s right on trend and completely age appropriate. I can picture Susan Sarandon in Wayfarer sunglasses, Ann Curry in a Panama hat and Michelle Obama poolside in a crochet cover up.

I’m all about the colorful tote and sunglasses. What summer look interests you?

P.S. I am not associated with any of the companies I mention. I just enjoy finding and sharing fun things.

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  6. I would never say that all skater dresses are bad for older women. It depends on the length and the fabric… and the body of the boomer chick.

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