When Ms. Meta wrote this post, which was picked up by MidLifeBloggers.com, I wanted to comment. In fact, I started to comment, but I had so much to say on the subject that I decided it merited its own post.
I really had an issue with the quote by Tim Gunn:
“Women in their ’40s should always try to avoid horizontal stripes, jackets that hit at mid-thigh, pleated pants, double-breasted blazers, Capri-length pants and low-rise jeans.”
Quite frankly, I don’t know who the hell Tim Gunn is, but according to him I’m a walking fashion faux pas. If women over 40 shouldn’t wear Capris-length pants, then just shoot me now; you’ll take my capris when you pry them off my cold, dead ass. The same goes for my mid-thigh jackets. I’ve got news for you, Mr. Gunn – I’m exactly five feet tall. Every jacket I’ve ever owned hits me at mid-thigh (the sleeves hit me at mid-shin). My slacks are almost all pleated because they hide that “you’ve had three kids and the last one was by C-section” tummy bulge extremely well and while I don’t own any double-breasted blazers it wouldn’t matter anyway because I’m not buttoning one up in this lifetime, let me tell you right now. A blazer’s sole purpose, in my wardrobe at least, is to camouflage my butt. Period.
Now, the horizontal stripes and low-rise jeans aren’t an issue. The stripes because anyone who grew up with my mother has an emotionally crippling horizontal stripe phobia; the mere thought of wearing horizontal stripes brings on a post-traumatic flashback of “No horizontal stripes! NOOOOO horizontal stripes! They make you look fat! FAAAAAAAAAT!” The next thing you know, you’re lying on the floor in the middle of Macy’s womens department sucking your thumb and whimpering. (I was in my 30s before I’d wear white for the same reason.)
As for low-rise jeans – you’ve GOT to be kidding me. When I was 10 years old, they were called “hip-huggers” (back in the days when it was socially acceptable to actually have hips). I didn’t wear them then, and I’m not about to wear them now. The entire free world may rejoice; I’ve just saved anyone who crosses my path from wanting to rip their eyeballs out with their bare hands. You all remain safely sighted. Besides, I have yet to find a pair of low-rise jeans with a gathered, elastic waist.
Ms. Meta’s Fashion For The Middled Aged post was spurred by an earlier post where she pondered if she was too old for Doc Martens, saying she wears them because they are so darn comfortable she never wants to take them off. Honestly, that is the basis for my (according to Darling Daughter) abnormal love of Crocs shoes. I shudder to think what Tim Gunn’s opinion of my collected footwear would be, but hey – at least it doesn’t consist entirely of 2 for $5 flip-flops from Old Navy. My Crocs are comfortable and they come in such a vast array of styles and colors that I have a pair that will coordinate with just about any pair of capris I own, which is saying something. Yes, I do own dress shoes, but not one of them has a heel over an inch-and-a-half; my days of wearing 6-inch stilettos outside of the bedroom are long behind me.
Thank gawd. For, like Ms. Meta, “I’ve reached an age when I’m no longer willing to be a slave to fashion if it HURTS.” So, if you happen to see a really short, dumpy middle-aged woman with curly brown yet gently graying hair, metallic pink bifocals, wearing an oversize pink-and-lime vertical striped shirt over a lime green tank with white capris and hot pink Crocs, she’s making a statement. She’s comfortable and could look a helluva lot worse.