Monday, November 3, 2008

I Just Gotta Say It

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.

See you next time...same blog time...same blog channel....

(For more information on wardrobe planning, or to sign up for my free e-zine, please visit my wardrobe planning website.)


S Chambers said...


This was a really cool article that addresses the desire we have to appear young, hip and with it. For some reason as a culture we have substituted the looking hip for responsibility and maturity.

It is wrong. Thank you for calling for adults to reclaim their sense of style and maturity. Your post was a breath of fresh air.

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Philip Graves said...

Without doubt one of the best blogs I've read: heartfelt and thought-provoking.

I wonder if the cult of celebrity has something to do with it?

Now that you can be famous without genuine merit such status can be achieved almost instantaneously.
As a result there is a constant supply of very young (and therefore innately sexy) women available for the media.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that older women can't be attractive, but in evolutionary terms we are primed to be attracted to the younger ones - it makes more reproductive sense.

If I'm right, the prognosis isn't very good.

Consumer Behaviour Expert

Lisa M. McLellan said...

Great article Jenn, an I promise that if I ever grow up and mature, I'll dress that way. As far as everyone else, leaders and such, sure I want them to be mature and responsible. I'm just not ready yet. I'm still just such a kid in my own mind. I just can't see playing hide-n-seek dressed appropriately for my age. My daughter is 12 (closer to 13)and she borrows my clothes once in a while. I do have to say that I don't borrow hers, but we were shopping yesterday and we both picked out the same long shirt with leggings outfit only in different patterns and colors. But, no, I didn't buy it! I dress the way I dress because I like the clothes and how they look. I'm not "trying" to look youthful, it's just what attracts me. But that may be because I think I'm still a kid. I think Peter Pan is my long lost brother. :-)

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RobFromGa said...

I think that most of us still feel young, and can't believe all our friends are getting older while we stay so young. I am pretty sure I feel younger than my Dad and Grandpop felt at the same age.

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Lena Milukh said...

I can hardly believe my age.But ofcourse I don't wear the same things as I did at 16.My wardrobe slowly changes as my age does.But I'm still far from things that cover all my body from neck to knees.I still like miniskirts(not the ones that look like wide belts),shorts,jeans,V type blouses...
In my country vast majority of people wear cloth appropriate their age.Very rare you might see 60 year old wearing tight shorts and short top with "love me babe" logo on it...but sometimes it happens though.Probably they need attention?
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DIYlawyer said...

Think Young, be young

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Cindy Eyanson said...

Fantastic post! I am with you 100%.

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JohnWShoemaker said...

This is a wonderful post.

Eloquent. Pointed. And right on.

I realized not that long ago how immature I was in many ways. "Time to grow up" And every word you said resonated through me.

Intuitive John

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PS I've lived on the Beach a lot of my life. If you want to see Inappropriate....

Scott said...

Great post Jenn,
I agree and you said it so very well.

Scott Bell

Jennifer Skinner said...

Thanks all for commenting upon my "rant". :-)

Your style does not in any way resemble the "young" styles to which I am referring (And I know, because I've seen you!). You have a sense of propriety that so many seem to have lost. Lena says it's the "Love Me Babe" logo that says "I'm trying too hard to look too young" that's the issue.


Michael said...

Hi Jen. great post!! way to go with your E zine. Michael

Matthew Shields said...

Hi , Jenn
I haven’t heard the term “frumpy” is so many years, way to bring it back
Happy Trails
Matthew Shields
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Romance Coach, Online Dating Coach said...

My image in the color coding and style was "lively bright" which is a youthFUL style where I need to be careful about being mutton dressed as lamb. I will often buy my little tops for jeans in the juniors departments for being more body conscious (ruching and tucks) and more lively fun colors.

All the best,

April Braswell

Online Dating Expert, Romantic Relationship Coach, Romance Coaching

Online Dating Sites Review, Internet Dating Sites Guide

Romance Coach, Online Dating Coach said...

and wear them with pearls and diamonds, of course, and the best accessory of all....

a smile with smile lines showing that I have BEEN smiling FOR YEARS!

All the best,

April Braswell

Online Dating Expert, Romantic Relationship Coach, Romance Coaching

Online Dating Sites Review, Internet Dating Sites Guide