Article by Juliet Young
I got a bit of a slap in the face the other day.
My twenty-one year old daughter Em announced that she was going to tidy out her wardrobe. She then proclaimed:
“Anything that’s too childish for me I’ll give to you Mum”…
What? Meaning that I dress childishly? That I’m a bit of mutton dressed as a cheap chainstore produced lamb? That I am far from being a sophisticated, well-dressed, fifty-one year old business woman?
“Yup. All of them Mum. But basically you’re just stuck in a wardrobe rut.”
Don’t you just hate it when your kids are right? And she’s more than right. I’m not just stuck in a rut. I have fallen down a three-mile deep crevasse between two glaciers. And I have no idea how to climb my slippy way out.
So what’s the problem? The problem is I still dress the way I did when I was fifteen, twenty, twenty-five, thirty. And without going through the whole five times table I can tell you that in my thirties and forties I still dressed the same. Today too.
Dressing the same way for 30 years
Here’s the look – jeans, shirt, pullover and cardigan in winter. Jeans, t-shirt, cardigan (if chilly) in summer. Little flat boots or trainers in winter. Flatter sandals or trainers (if rainy) in summer. That’s it. And that’s been pretty much it for the last thirty-odd years.
But don’t imagine that I have no pretty dresses or skirts or blouses or heels in my cupboard. I do, all crammed at the back. Some of them even have the price tag still attached.
I must have bought them in a fleeting moment of rut extraction optimism only to never really dare wear them. Or if I have dared then I have spent the whole day pulling and tugging at the hem, fidgeting with the neckline, or holding in my tummy until I almost feel faint. All of this with an overwhelming impression of being dressed as someone else. Someone who doesn’t feel like me and certainly doesn’t look like me.
So what should I do? My girls think I should go on one of those magic makeover reality shows, but I’d rather jump in a river than be seen on telly.
Or I could hire a professional shopper to come with me when looking for something new and exciting to wear. But I’m sure we’d argue and I’d fire her before we even reached the clothes shop.
Or finally I could just accept that this is the way I dress and will continue to dress for the rest of my life. That comfort will always come before style. That I don’t have to be wearing skirts and suits and stilettos to be happy and fabulous after fifty. And more than anything, that hopefully one day I will be a jeans-and-trainers-clad trendy little old lady.
Option three please, for sure!
About the author:
Juliet Young is the author of the blog – omgimfifty which she decided to create on turning fifty last year. She describes it as a self-indulgent observation of moments which make her laugh or moments which make her cry at this new stage of life.
Originally from Glasgow, Scotland she now lives in France with her husband and two daughters. She works in an English language school when she is not writing. Her next plan is to start working on a full-length comical book about being married.