My fashion conflict: does fashion have a best before date?

Here is my fashion conflict. Given that I am going to be working from home for the foreseeable future, with no parties, theatre trips or holidays booked I am having a bit of a rebellion. I am into fashion favouring uncomplicated trends to work within the classic wardrobe that I have been curating for decades but every now and then I feel like stepping outside this predictable style.

It all began when my daughters were home and one of them was wearing a pair of dungarees. I looked at them longingly and said how I loved to wear dungarees when I was young and I had forgotten how much I missed them. Both daughters then said, “But Mum why don’t you wear them now as they would suit you?”


So I did just that and popped my daughter’s pair on and I soon remembered why I liked them so much. They are just so comfortable, loose and forgiving. And yes they are stylish. Style does not have a sell-by date or even a best before date, style lives on but sometimes you need to adapt it to your own look. Young people would wear dungarees with a vest or bandana with one side of the bib unbuttoned. I have adopted a more practical workwear look but the bright tee-shirt (Kettlewell Colours make the best tee-shirts) brightens the dungarees up. I am having a bit of a love affair with orange this season!

Iris Apfel is 98 yrs young and wears oversized glasses, layers of colourful jewellery and equally fun clothes whilst Diane Keaton is the Queen of neutral and understated tailored clothes. Both work and it just depends on what makes you happy. My point is I don’t want to be described as mutton dressed as lamb so I will not be sporting a bandana top with low cut jeans – I will leave that to younger bodies than my own. However I also will not be wearing twinset and pearls with an A-line skirt anytime soon. Part of my issue is that I tend to keep it safe – I go for plain trousers rather than ones with a pattern. I am not someone that wants to stand out in a crowd so I am more of a Diane than an Iris but the quote below got me thinking.

I just want them (women) to have a good time. Be individual, be themselves.

Iris Apfel

Another fashion conflict – bikinis are for young women only. Not if you have a body like Helen Mirren at the age of 74 yrs. But even if you don’t have that body but you feel comfortable wearing a bikini then go for it and no-one should be judgemental. What do they say? One man’s meat is another man’s poison. So you may prefer to only see a size 10 woman in a bikini but another person may like to see a more voluptuous woman. It is personal preference and at our age we should not be swayed by public opinion. If I want to wear dungarees I will even if the shape is not the most flattering but I love them and that is all that matters!

Grace is less obsessed with fashion than me. She has a healthy attitude and wears what she feels comfortable in. However she too has, more recently, enjoyed experimenting with clothes. Online shopping enables this as you can try items on with your own accessories.

Meanwhile Grace’s marvellous mother-in-law (MMiL), in her early 70s, is most natural in neutrals but Grace persuaded her to try on this outfit from Artichoke Collection. The frill at the bottom of the trousers is a little flirt with femininity and by her own admission something she thought might be a bit young for her. However, worn with the masculine style, oversized shirt (also Artichoke Collection) it gives it a good balance if you don’t want to do the all over feminine frill look.

Shorts are back on the style agenda but they are another item that causes a fashion conflict. My favourite shorts from Hush (above) do not appeal to all. However I believe that in the summer if you have good legs then draw attention to them. Maybe not with a mini-skirt but wear shorts and choose a length that suits you. Also wear a size up as spray-on ones will dig into you. I would wear these shorts (above) on holiday with no concerns but I would not go shopping in my local town in shorts however I would slip this cardigan (Kettlewell Colours past season) over the top to protect my modesty! I have been nagging Kettlewell to make this length again as I think it is so flattering and also perfect as an easy-to-pack throw–on for cooler summer evenings, on holiday, or for the new 2020 staycation that many of us are planning.

However the longer capri length, made famous by Audrey Hepburn, still shouts summer but is obviously a little more low-key than short shorts. These coral orange capris with a plain white oversize shirt zing with summer vibes.

Magic Stretch Jeans rom ARTICHOKE COLLECTION click HERE
SHOES from HUSH click HERE

Finally for ankle length I have popped on my Magic Stretch Jeans (Artichoke Collection) with a Grenouille chambray shirt that is totally acceptable at my age and still gives a shout to summer but if you are feeling a little pale and pasty and don’t want to reveal pancake knees or those tell-tale less than toned upper arms then this is a perfect outfit.

So I haven’t been really daring but occasionally I like to step out of my 61 year old box and enjoy fashion that is considered to have a best before date of 35. I am not going to be defined by my clothes or influenced by others into conforming to what the world thinks a 61 yr old should wear. Fashion conflict is only created by oneself. Wear what you like with confidence and like Iris Apfel it can become your own style.

For more Fashion posts click HERE

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2 years ago

You look great in the dungarees! Well done for giving them another try!
I also have a fear of looking like mutton dressed as lamb – and I’m still smarting from a Facebook remark (I post very rarely) about how I should cut my hair, and that more generally, women over 35 should not ‘indulge’ long hair – mine is curly and not much beyond my shoulders and yes, has not been cut since before Christmas – I was due a cut as lockdown happened. Normally confident and outgoing and a lover of bright colours, I’m surprised at how this has knocked me sideways and it had left me wondering if it’s time to fade into the background. Your article was a welcome reminder that I can dress for myself, the brighter the better if that’s what I feel like – and I continue to wait patiently for my salon appointment – only another 3 weeks to go (I’m in Wales so salons only opened this week…)

Carlos sam
Carlos sam
2 years ago

Hello friends god bless you thank to meet you.