I was on my way home the other day, and while waiting to cross the road, I noticed the woman who happened to be standing near me. She was fairly tall, quite slender, and wore her hair short. Her outfit was what got me to look twice - she wore a pair of dark skinny jeans, a loose cotton sleeveless shirt left untucked over the jeans, and pair of beige ballet flats. Nothing special, except that I happened to be wearing dark skinny jeans, a loose white sleeveless shirt untucked over my jeans, and a pair of gold ballet flats. We were even carrying the same sort of shopper tote - her one of those foldable Longchamp ones, mine one of those similarly shaped ones from Agnes B. I'm also tall, not quite as slender, and I wear my hair short.

The best part: she was in what looked like her early 50s, and I'm in my early 20s. We were definitely discreetly checking each other out, and she was possibly, like me, wondering whether to laugh out loud, start a conversation, or move away from each other. Eventually, the red man flickered to green, and the crowd around us started to surge forward, so we settled for swapping slight, knowing smiles.

The moment boggled my mind for two reasons. One, she was wearing skinny jeans! I've never seen a women over 50 wearing skinny jeans. She looked extremely elegant and not at all vulgar (it helps she still has the figure) and it's great that at her age she's pulling off a style that was probably intended for far younger. I wished I had a camera.

Two, we were dressed completely alike. Seeing someone dressed in a similar fashion as you is unnerving and discomfiting enough; here was a woman at least twice my age, dressed just like me. Either one of us is dressing really old, or one of us is dressing really young, but to be honest, I think this moment totally throws away all the "age appropriate" nonsense for me. You can't define what is age-appropriate - the whole point is whether you pull it off. While I have some reservations myself about this point - however stunningly well preserved, I don't really fancy the sight of a 50 year old in babydolls - I have to say that when it comes to style, it's "never say never indeed". What might look completely wrong and misguided on most women, can sometimes look unexpectedly wonderful on a rare few.

She reminded me of this woman captured so beautifully captured by The Sartorialist a little while back - that's an outfit I would kill for, at any age. I shall post her photo below for inspiration. Such elegance.


editor said…
one problem is that ppl try to do that "well preserved" thing and think that is the secret to being able to dress/look young. that isn't it at all. being your age and wearing whatever suits your personal style, rather than resisting your style or your age, and the aging process, is usually what produces the "wrong wrong wrong so very wrong" impression.
the woman in the picture you admire, she has greying hair, and a very aged neck. nothing plastic about her. expensive watch (and by her age, she's earned it, it doesn't look like she's trying too hard), funky bits of jewelry that we imagine has a backstory, found on travels perhaps. she is flaunting that she has had a life, rather than pretending she is still in puberty.
i wish people would enjoy the stages we have of life, and not try to idealize just one of them, even for aesthetic purposes.

the style you described today - lol, i guess those pieces will last you another 30 years. ;)

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