How a person dresses – at any age – is and should always be a matter of personal choice. When we are comfortable or are happy in (or even enjoy) what we are wearing, we perform at our best. The problem is, we are told that fashion is not a matter of personal choice, but of age and public opinion, and the only exceptions to these rules of age-appropriateness and dress-code deviance are specific highly acclaimed artists and celebrities. People who toe outside of the accepted boundaries of FASHION are insulted, publicly shamed (“Worst-dressed List,” anyone?), and mocked (“Are you going to WalMart?”).
What is FASHION? Fashion is defined as a noun in two ways:
- A popular trend, especially in styles of dress and ornamentation.
- A manner of behavior or doing something.
Fashion is also defined as a verb:
- Make into a particular or required form.
There is a bit of irony in the definitions of the word, if you think about it:
Acceptable FASHION (n.) is only considered to be after one has been FASHIONED (v.).
What happened to “Express yourself” or “Be YOU”?
Eddie Izzard summed it up nicely when his mode of dress was questioned:
“They’re not women’s clothes. They’re my clothes. I bought them.”
We are not supposed to be fashioned into being anything other than who we are. Keep in mind, too, that those acclaimed celebrities were not accepted for their non-conformity until it became recognized that they weren’t going to change; eventually, it became expected of them – thus allowed and accepted.
Wear what makes you happy. Be you, inside and outside.
That being said, there are a few suggestions about things that shouldn’t be worn, however these guidelines are somewhat situational and fall more under the category of personal safety.
What Not to Wear
Too-tight clothing: Clothing that interferes with your breathing is not good, because breathing is necessary for a lot of things.
Stiletto heels: There’s a time and place for high heels, even when you’re not standing on them; however, they should never be worn:
- When swimming, jogging, or skiing.
- In the snow; they don’t have a lot of traction and you could slip and fall.
- While riding a bike or motorcycle – unless you are the token sexy prop in a commercial for some pricey male cologne or, of course, Viagra.
“Mom Jeans”: I hate to break it to you, ladies, you’ve been wearing Mom Jeans since you gave birth. If the jeans are hers, and she is a Mom, her jeans are Mom Jeans. Transitive Property. Do the math.
Miniskirts: These should never be worn when walking a tightrope or climbing a ladder, because others will be able to see your underwear. It’s probably not a good idea to wear them out in the snow either, because it’s cold.
Short-shorts: Like miniskirts, these should not be worn out in the snow, either; they are made for warmer weather. Be careful on slides. Hot slides can burn – especially those old metal ones.
Tops that expose a lot of cleavage: These should not be worn to a wedding; remember it is unfair for the girls (any of ‘the girls’) to upstage the bride. It might also be considered a little disrespectful to wear them to a funeral (unless, of course, it’s your funeral).
Long, dangly earrings: These can be dangerous if worn during sports or on rollercoasters – one could chip a tooth or poke an eye out.
Flip-flops: See Stiletto heels. For the same reasons (although these are not meant for advertising to the male demographic). But please, please, don’t wear socks with them. That’s just wrong.
Bright nail polish: If you wash dishes without gloves, or your hands are in and out of water a lot, bright nail polish isn’t a good idea; this type of activity will cause the nail polish to chip faster, and bright colors show off chips more obviously than the blander colors.
Sleeveless tops and dresses: If you have a sunburn on your arms and shoulders, you should not wear anything sleeveless if you are going back outside. Keep them covered until the sun goes down.
Belly button rings: These may only pose a problem if you work a job with high-level security or spend a lot of time at airports, as some of the metal in certain jewelry pieces may set off alarms in metal detectors. Do you want to spend the extra time removing your belly ring while taking off your shoes, taking your laptop out of your bag, and emptying your pockets?
Laws of fashion are not Universal Law. Ignoring them will not cause you any harm like, say, ignoring the Law of Gravity might.
See also When Will I Be Old Enough to Wear Purple?