Some call it fashion
So there it was, an article on line with the title “What not to wear after 50.”
Being way after 50, I was a bit leery about opening this bit of advice, but no one was looking, so I did.
Actually we are all aware that clothing is dictated by two functions: The first is that of protection from the cold, the sun, large thorns, ogling eyes, etc. dependent on the environment and resources found therein. Secondly, it is culture driven. Homo sapiens in both male and female versions eschew most of what we would call clothing in forested tropical areas (those that have not been touched by the West or any other direction).
No one in these groups suffers dissatisfaction or shame. Sure they may dress up or put something on for festivals but otherwise is birthday suits for everyone. Then there is the West. Think of men wearing powdered wigs and women in bustles; think of shoulder pads for gals that make the linebackers on the LA Rams look puny. Think of young men wearing pants that are too big around the waste, so big, in fact that any quick movement requires that they hold said pants up.
All of these variations bespeak messages about virility, beauty, “coolness”, etc., according to the changing thoughts about how we are defined by clothing. It’s this latter function of clothing, the who, what and why that this article was supposed to address. Some call it fashion. Others call it … well, I’ve run out of polite words.
These thoughts ran through my brain. Actually the thoughts walked because running was out of the question with my bad hip. First, what the heck is so “special” about 50? Is 50 the edge of the precipice? Is it all one big quagmire after 50? After 50 do you acknowledge that you are over the hill? Have no more room for creativity? What’s next? Orthopedic stockings? A shroud?
Have you noticed, as I have, that all advice to women especially about almost anything making improvements is broken into age groups such as 15-19, “ 50 and over.” The assumption is that once you hit 50, it’s all the same.
I beg to differ.
I wish I were 50 again. I would have knees that didn’t hurt, hips that didn’t hurt, a full head of hair, a lot more teeth and knowing what I know now, the opportunity to do something about what may or may not happen to those body parts in the future.
As for my clothing choices? Those were always dictated by weight, disposable income and what was available in the stores. No computer, no internet, no buying from LLBean on line. I’ve never been a fashionista, but I enjoyed nice clothes and did run like mad from anything that said “matronly.”
Again, matronly is something that we have defined for ourselves. Something to do with “dressing our age,” whatever that means.
But, even then, at 50 I had pretty much decided that for the emotional health of the larger community and with a strong sense of not offending people’s sensibilities, I had resolved not to wear a swim suit in public.
Short shorts were also on the forbidden list as were crop tops, tube tops, skinny jeans, and beanies with propellers on top. Skirts above the knees or even at the knees were not in my wardrobe.
These proscriptions were based on the educational idea of “monitor and adjust,” meaning I was monitoring the effects of gravity, an over- active fork and other natural phenomena on my body and adjusting my clothing to compensate.
But these were my verboten sartorial decisions. I know others, who, even well into their seventh decade (their 60s) wore bikinis. Now, I’m not saying that the bikini looked the same on these bodies as those on, let’s say a 20 year old, but heck, if the wearer was comfortable, why not? Crinkley skin can be thought of a variation on a theme.
So, what did that article say? Nothing about clothes. It was about not wearing a frown, not carrying baggage that ruined your posture…by that they meant not carrying grudges which seem to appear to be more dangerous after 50 according to the author, not judging others by your standards, which if you think about it can be applied to clothes. Just as there are items of clothing that have been removed from my closet in deference to public sensibilities, my choice, of course.
I probably shouldn’t use my yardstick to judge others’ choices, but then, again, there are some things that you see on a beach that can’t be unseen. I do wonder what messages are being sent and received by some. Speedos actually don’t belong on anyone, anywhere.