Once upon a time, daughters borrowed their mothers’ clothes. A special occasion warranted borrowing mother’s jewelry, mother’s pricey cashmere, or mother’s high heels. Young girls sought to emulate the sophisticated, feminine styles of the grown women in their lives. Today the opposite is true. Today it’s teen Hollywood fashion that sets the standard of what to wear, leading grown women to seek to adopt the youthful styles of their children‘s generation. Women who refuse to “get with it” risk being labeled “mumsy” or “frumpy” or “dowdy”. Today, the ultimate fashion faux-pas appears to be actually dressing your age. What a strange irony!
Youth is about testing the waters, experimenting with different interests and different personas. It’s all about discovering who you are and how you ultimately want to express yourself. In your teens and twenties this is not only expected, but it is appropriate and even desirable. The goal, however, is to finally arrive…or, as the French say, to “be finished”. This is the mark of maturity.
We have somehow become convinced that if we are stable we are stagnant. We’ve bought into the lie that being stylish is equated with the changeable and quixotic, and that any attempt to be consistent is seen as giving up. Or worse…you have become OLD. No longer do we see arriving at a mature image as being a goal of style. Rather, the goal has become the trendy appearance of youth. Youthful = Stylish. Mature = old and frumpy. We just don’t want to grow older! Nor does the younger generation. And if all the grown-ups want to be young, why grow up in the first place?
Once upon time, maturity was something to be proud of. It was something earned, and not bestowed. Why? Because it was equated with being responsible for your own life. It was the sign that one had graduated from the immaturity of childhood. It takes life experience to gain a deeper understanding of the way the world works. It takes practice to learn how to develop deep and lasting relationships. It takes hard knocks to really appreciate the blessings in your life. There’s just no getting around it…wisdom comes through living. And to live means to gain in years. Yes…it means to grow older.
When we think about the ideal leader of a country, I am fairly confident that “youthful” and “trendy” are not the foremost qualities we are demanding. Would you vote in a candidate that had Britney Spears or Zac Ephron as a style icon? Would you want someone who worships the cult of youth as Commander-in-Chief? Of course not! (At least I hope not!) Inherently we recognize that the Rubicon flows between youth and maturity. The Rubicon is not for straddling. Caesar knew this, and we should too.
As adults, let’s reclaim style. Let’s live by the credo that the goal of style is to “be finished”. Not frozen in time. Not stuck in a rut. But no longer experimenting with the changeable styles of youth. Let’s be proud of our years and the wisdom we’ve gained. Let’s seek to be the role models rather than the followers. Let’s once again let maturity be something that is envied and aspired to, rather than something that is to be avoided. Yes, let’s reclaim style.
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