In a recent photo of me and my daughter, both of us are wearing short jean shorts and v-neck t-shirts made out of that thin, very comfortable, almost see-through cotton. I had a large over-the-shoulder bag. Obviously, I don’t look like a seven-year-old…but I was dressing like one.
For the first time, I thought “Hmmm. Maybe I shouldn’t be dressing like a kid.” I’m 29 years older than her!
I was also thrilled to see how fast my daughter’s feet are growing. I’m guessing that in the next two years, we will be able to share the same shoes. My daughter’s shoe collection is nothing short of amazing, so I can’t wait. Eesh. Should I really be looking forward to sharing my daughter’s shoes? Should I still be wearing Uggs? (Sorry, I love them.) Recently, when walking behind a group of preteens wearing the same style of Uggs as mine, I had a moment of “Am I too old for these?”
Also, when I recently met my parents for dinner they said, “I thought you were a teenager!” when I got out of the car. This wasn’t because of my teenage skin (that’s for sure!) but because I was wearing a hoodie and a tank top, and my florescent-pink bra straps were showing. I feel like I’ve definitely matured after becoming a mother, but my wardrobe hasn’t. (I will never get a mommy hair cut. It isn’t happening!)
Then I’ve been paying attention to the summer trend of shirts showing your stomach again, which I went through when I was in my late teens. Could I really get away with that now? Or would I look like a fool? (Like I’m actually tricking anyone into thinking that I’m no longer a teen.)
How the heck did I end up dressing like my daughter? I do shop at Holt Renfrew and Prada and other “grown up” stores. But I also still shop at stores frequented by teenagers too, like Lululemon and Aritzia. But now that I’m older than 35, should I be dressing more grown up?
I asked Jill Zrihen, a fashion consultant who also does publicity for Stylexchange — a new store is opening in the Eaton Centre in the near future! Stylexchange is a store I would shop at — or so I always thought, before I became paranoid that my wardrobe needed to grow the heck up.
1. Enjoy your youth: Zrihen believes that your twenties are for experimenting and trying every different trend under the sun. “Let’s face it. At that age you can!” But, by the time you reach your 30s, while you’re probably still experimenting, she agrees that the question “Am I too old for this?” starts to linger in the back of your mind. “And sometimes,” she said, “as much as you love that baby-doll crop top by Fluo, it can be a little too girlie.”
2. Go for balance: I asked, straight up, if there is anything that is definitely not appropriate for someone my age to wear. “Age is about how you feel, not about the number you’ve reached,” she said. “It’s important to maintain a healthy exercise regimen and have a good self-image.” That said, she doesn’t think anyone can get away with “anything,” regardless of age you are. “I believe balance is key to a great outfit,” she advised. “So if you opt for that bandage skirt, pair it with a loose sweater or blazer. The key is to find something that is the most figure flattering for you and to exude confidence.” Nylons or opaque tights can instantly transform your outfit to be age appropriate, she said. “That short skirt or short shorts look instantly more elegant when paired with nylons.” (Mental note: Buy nylons!)
3. It’s okay to be the cool mom: Luckily, she said, in this day and age, “the cool mom rocks in our world.” Stylexchange sales associates are careful not to offer the same styles to mothers and daughters, Zrihen said. “Yet I think it’s great if a mother and daughter can share clothes. If this is the case, they will almost always wear it in a different ways, or should.” For example, a mother would wear a tunic with leggings, a blazer and flats, while the daughter may wear it cinched at the waist with a belt, bare legs and heels.
4. The grass is always greener: It is true, she says, that teens are dressing older and mothers are dressing younger nowadays. “As a teen we can’t wait to be older and as a mom we crave youth! It’s all about finding that perfect balance.”
5. Go with your gut: So, what should women ask themselves if they are wondering if they can get away with wearing something, but aren’t sure it’s “age appropriate”? “If you have to think twice about what you are trying on, take it off,” she said. “It’s not working for you.”
Zrihen has other useful tips, including that teens and children can get away with wearing a few different colors at once, while moms should stick to one bold primary at a time and complement the statement piece with neutrals. As for the crop top, she says mom can layer underneath and teens can show of their bellybutton rings. (God, I miss my belly button ring.)
So, how do you dress? More like a mom, or still like a teenager? Share!
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