This week a clickbait article from 2014 somehow managed to revive itself and start doing the rounds on Facebook. You might have seen it.
I’m not going to link to the article here because it was very obviously clickbait, and I’m not a big fan of the whole “say something outrageous just to get attention” thing, but the gist of it was that once a woman turns 30, she should essentially make herself invisible, by eliminating anything the author of the article deemed “too young”. Women over 30 shouldn’t wear crop tops, for instance. They shouldn’t wear hoop earrings. They shouldn’t wear oversized sunglasses (SAY WHAT?).
Now, I almost didn’t bother even mentioning this, because, honestly, it’s just so ridiculous, isn’t it? The idea that a certain item of clothing can be totally acceptable when you’re 29, but suddenly shocking the second you hit 30 is something I’d like to think no one in their right mind would subscribe to – but, sadly, I know that’s not the case. I can think of plenty of times when friends have asked me if I think they’re “too old” to wear a certain item: in fact, just a few weeks ago a friend of mine posted a picture of a pair of shoes on Facebook, asking exactly that. I was absolutely dismayed to see how many people answered her question by saying, “Yes, you’re too old for them,” or “If you have to ask…” How rude, and unnecessary! And how ON EARTH can someone be “too old” for a pair of shoes?!
The fact is, people DO think this way. I can also think of countless times when I’ve heard people (mostly older people, interestingly enough…) tut-tut over the idea of an “older” woman having long hair. “It’s just so awful!” someone told me recently. “You see them from the back and think, ‘Oh, there’s a young woman with lovely long hair!” and then she turns round and you see this old face – yuck!”
Honestly, I think that’s a horrible thing to say about someone, and every time I hear people say it, I have to struggle to suppress that little inner voice that always pipes up to tell me that maybe it’s time I cut off my OWN long hair: because surely people will be saying the same thing about me?
I’m not going to, though. The fact is, I like my long hair – and I’m going to keep wearing it like that until such a time that I DON’T like it any more. If other people think it’s “inappropriate”, well, I guess that’s their problem – it’s not like it’s harming them, after all, and I happen to disagree that long hair looks bad on women over 30, or that it ages them: in fact, I think it can often make someone seem younger. You might agree or disagree with that, but at the end of the day, it comes down to personal taste – and no one has the right to dictate what someone else should like or wear.
That’s why it makes me really sad to read articles like the one I’m referring to here. These lists of silly “rules” only serve to reinforce our society’s strange idea that older women should be invisible, and to shame those who aren’t. Going by the “rules” laid out in the article, for instance, I should be feeling really bad about all those over-sized sunglasses I own, but what a strange thing to try to make someone feel bad about! Isn’t life hard enough sometimes, without giving ourselves even more things to feel guilty or ashamed about? And what does it really matter if someone a few days past 30 decides to wear a pair of hoop earnings, anyway?
It’s particularly sad to me, because I feel like it was only when I turned 30 that I gained the confidence to be able to wear what I want. It was only then that I started to discover my style, and to really enjoy fashion – which had previously always been a source of some anxiety to me, as I tried my best to “fit in” with everyone else, and never quite managed it. It seems a shame that I only really discovered the joy of fashion at the exact moment I should have been giving it up for good – throwing away all of the fun clothes I was starting to buy, and exchanging them for …. I don’t know: beige trouser suits? “Slacks?” What ARE women over 30 supposed to wear, anyway?
Well, I’ll tell you what I think women over 30 should wear: whatever they like. Because, seriously guys, life is way, WAY too short to be worrying about this kind of thing: don’t you think?