I have been thinking about style and aging lately. It’s likely because my birthday is coming up and it always makes me think of growing older. Obviously. I have always had a particular and personal sense of style. Fashion was important and I followed trends but as I grew older style and what it was to me evolved. I think that too many of us look for an identity in the trend driven places and shops. Magazines are filled with promises if you only buy this newest thing. I think this society has always been like that. What I think is important is developing a personal style that either speaks to the trends within a developed look or ignores them completely. I think I speak to the trends when they suit me. Right now with the 80″s look abounding in the shops I’m ignoring it. It doesn’t flatter me. The colours and the shapes are all wrong. Again and again I look to vintage since it is most flattering for me being rather shorter and curvy.
Accessories follow trends as much as the clothing so I find it interesting that hats are just not going away. They are still in the shops where what we foolishly seem to think the leaders of fashion are, the mall. I find it disheartening though when many people come into my studio and either say, “Are hats coming into style yet?’ or “I don’t look good in hats but I like them” What kind of statement is that? I’ve said it again and again, everyone looks good in hats and like everything else it’s the shape that suits you best. No one looks good in those floppy “straw” hats that are out yet people keep putting them on their heads because it hasn’t occurred to them that trend isn’t necessarily flattering. So when someone is in my studio saying hats don’t look good they’re just plain wrong. I’ve shown person after person that they can wear a hat. They are surprised and happy that they look good in a hat because they’ve always liked them but never believed they look good. I say it’s perception. “What do you want to look like in a hat?” I ask. They see everything that they are not instead of what they are. That, I believe, speaks to this lack of finding their personal style.
After about age 24 the message from just about everywhere is fashion is for the young and skinny. Where did this come from? It’s in the same logic line as cut all your hair off at 30 or when you have a baby? Why? Why do we do this to women and men for that matter. The message is “Don’t try, you’re old now” What?!
Do you really think at 38 I’m old? Do I? Do I. You bet I do. I fell into that burning ring of fire in my mid 20’s I listened to all that claptrap about how I’m old now, fashion isn’t for you. You’re not skinny enough or tall enough for fashion and to top it all off I stopped listening to my instinct that told me otherwise. Argh! Foolish things we are.
At 38 I have a streak of white hair. I don’t dye it out. I earned it. This hasn’t been easy. I still am not thrilled with the shape in the mirror but I’m beginning to see it differently. I am rediscovering my style. Not one dictated by the mall shops because they need to keep people unhappy so they keep people buying but one filled with things I love. Gloves, belts, vintage purses and hats. I’ve always loved hats. So I am taking this renewal to the studio.
I have always made hats for everyday with a woman or man in mind who isn’t wearing gloves and vintage dresses like I do but takes a little time to find a shape and colour that suits them. Someone who puts a little effort in for them. Someone who doesn’t where things that aren’t flattering because it’s easier, because they have given up. Fashion isn’t foolish. It employs millions of people around the world and is an industry worth billions and billions of dollars. It’s not about trying to be 20 again. It’s about saying I am worthy at (fill in your age) to FEEL good about myself in part through the clothing I put on my body. It doesn’t make you into a fashion whore or stupid or someone else. The best thing is that within the vast world of fashion there is space for everyone.