What Pisses Me Off: The term 'age appropriate'


“Age appropriate”

What does this mean?

“These clothes are not age appropriate; that behaviour is not age appropriate”

Whenever I hear these words, I want to go out and buy, or do, whatever is not age appropriate! My age is 65 – where is the stone tablet dictating what is age appropriate for me and who will deliver the new tablet when I turn 66?

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Take for instance above knee length skirts. Well for me they are totally inappropriate and it has nothing to do with my age, it is all to do with my figure type! They were inappropriate when I was in my teens and I was an early adopter of the maxi!

On the other hand a friend, a good 3 inches shorter (and 4 dress sizes smaller) than me, wore her skirts as short as decency allowed. She also looked great in hot pants. Even today her figure easily allows her to wear her skirts above the knee, although they are longer now than back “in the day”. On the other hand, a maxi makes her look as if she is playing dress-up.

After three kids, she can still wear a bikini without scaring the seagulls! I’ll save myself the blushes of describing how I look in a bikini – suffice to say not only the seagulls would be scared or should that be scarred?

I wear bright colours, my friend prefers more neutral tones; I love heels, she rarely wears them; she wears shorts, I don’t; my hair is short, hers is shoulder length. She goes trekking and climbs mountains, I don’t.

As we are both over 60 which of us is “age appropriate”?  Neither is the correct answer! We are both well-groomed women with our own individual style, and lifestyle, that we embrace!

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There is a delightful page “Advanced Style” which features photographs of people of a certain vintage. These men and women have their own style and they dress to suit themselves. Check them out on Pinterest here.

Some are elegant, some are smart, some are outlandish, some are grey, and others will not admit hair ever turns grey (certainly not their hair). They wear tailored slacks and flowing harem pants. Now tell me, which images are the epitome of “age appropriate”? You will have to tell me because frankly these people are all too busy living to give a brass razzo for your opinion or mine. Would I wear some of these outfits? Probably not, but I admire the chutzpah of those who do.

I believe by the time we reach our 60s we are fully competent to decide what is “age appropriate” and if that means wearing a bikini or 6 inch heels, so be it. You can, and will, criticise me for not being “age appropriate” – but like the people on Advanced Style I’ll be too busy enjoying life and applauding my friend as she climbs another mountain.

So what do you think Starts at Sixty readers – do you get the tom tits when a fashion or lifestyle is described as not age appropriate for us baby boomers?

Thank you to Midlife Mona Lisa for the image.