Travelling back from town on public transport, a gorgeous young girl got on the bus and ended up in a seat facing me. As she looked me up and down she gave me a sort of pitying look as if to say “Why have you let yourself get old?” Granted I wasn’t wearing my Sunday best but looking at myself through her eyes she might have had a point, but this made me smile.
Young people always think that they will never get old.
It will never ever happen to them, they will fight it all the way maybe even thinking that scientists will discover a magic serum that will keep them looking young (it’s called Nivea) because god forbid they end up being invisible, unnoticed,ignored, unworthy,and all the other negative connotations associated with the word “old.” But it’s not as cut and dried as you think. Getting older is an insidious process, it creeps up on you when you’re not looking and doesn’t happen overnight. One day you’re happy to wear outrageous clothes, hair and make up but a couple of years later you might think it best to tone it down a bit if you want people to take you seriously and you just never go back. Instead of shopping in all the quirky shops that sell the things you used to love, you start shopping in different ones and finding a different style but one which still reflects the “real you.”
Things might change again once you’ve had a family and you’re trying to juggle kids, house and work.Easier to just buy things that are easy to wear, comfortable and you can just throw in the wash so the days of buying fabulous items that are dry clean only go out of the window, and let’s face it, where are you going to wear them these days? You tend to spend more on the kids clothes than you do on yours (even though you were never ever going to be that woman) and maybe start spending less on makeup. Obviously you’re still making an effort everyday, especially on the school run as we all know the bitching that goes on at the school gates, but something’s changed. Doing the weekly shop in the supermarket it’s easy to just throw something in the trolley for yourself in the clothing section, not exactly Top Shop but it’ll do.
Once the kids become teenagers you might start to question your choice in what to buy in clothes as you’re entering unknown territory. Too old for a lot of the fashion but still far too young to give up. If you’ve still kept your figure it’s tempting to still try to keep up with the fashionistas but you don’t want to be that woman who people point the finger at as “mutton dressed as lamb.” While you’re open to trying new styles it’s difficult to hang on to your identity as the girl known as the trendsetter back in the day now shops in Debenhams. Instead of Radio 1 it’s now Radio 2. Instead of the latest hairstyle it’s now a shorter one that you wanted to “try out” a few years ago and seemed to have settled with.
Once you’re over 50 you may as well turn to dust, game over. No one is in the slightest bit interested in what you wear, say,look like or have an opinion on. It seems to be one step away from Bon Marche and everything that goes with it. Or so people think. While some people like to say “50 is the new 30!” let me tell you no it’s bloody not. By this time our bodies have slowed down, health issues start, most of us are wearing glasses, we tire a lot easier especially if we’re working a physical job but our minds still like to tease us by making us think we are younger than we are. And this is where it’s easier to buy clothes that reflect how we feel society sees us, bland, insipid, plain clothes that make us feel safe and easy to just fade into the background. But some women might try to make one last stand, running the risk of being ridiculed by wearing skirts too short, tops too low and wearing clothes that draw attention but for all the wrong reasons. So in a way I can understand why the older men/women in their 60’s/70’s end up buying beige. To stand out is to have confidence and not many older people have that as life has a funny way of knocking it out of you. It would take a very brave older person to stay true to their younger self and wear what they’d love to wear.
But let’s not forget. Youth is wasted on the young.