Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Is This Woman Dressed “Too Young?” Discuss.


This Parisian woman was featured in March on The Sartorialist.  Her outfit generated buzz along these lines:   

  • Is she dressed “appropriately” for her age?
  • could she wear this with credibility outside Paris?
  • what is “age appropriate” dressing?
  • who cares… ?

I love her attitude and smile.  I love the Converse, sweater, scarf; but the pants and belt wouldn’t work for me.  I agree that in the U.S. it’s harder for women over forty to wear “young” clothes.  Not sure what age appropriateness is, except that wearing what we like it the most important thing.    

What do you think? 

Photo used by permission from Scott Schuman.


LenoreNeverM♡re said...

I like her attitudes but she reminded me of my neighbor's teenage boy... ;)

Patsy said...

But... but... how old is she?

But beyond that, I think that if she straightened up those pants, she would be fine

Jane said...

I think it is all about your external body shape and your inner confidence as this woman proves.

Zuzana said...

I think you summed it up when saying that you like her attitude and her smile. She obviously seems very comfortable in what she is wearing. That is the key to looking good. I believe in fashion freedom; one can wear anything as long as it feels comfortable; it will most likely look good, no matter on what street and in which city it is.
With that said though, none of what she wears would be my preference, it is simply not my style at all.;)

The Clever Pup said...

I saw this picture when it first came out. I can't tell her age. But I don't think it matters. I defy this notion of dressing for your age. I can't figure who invented it. Is it because there is less to choose from in stores we feel comfortable in?

Regarding the photo. I think the top is flattering. The shoes - comfortable.

If it weren't for the pants the outfit could be "ageless"
They'd look sloppy on any age. She'd look better in a slightly cropped pair of jeans. I could see this outfit on a fit and funky 75 year old. Just fix the pants.

Looking good is all about knowing what flatters you, colours, cuts, proportions.

Finding a fashion niche ie, she always wears stripes, or she always has the best scarves is important. So is confidence. But crawling out from 6 months of winter is enough to sap any confidence one might have.

Sorry, I always rant about this subject. I got the Sart's permission to run a picture. I'll treat you to some eye candy tomorrow.

Lucy said...

I think she looks great, except for the belt, and, her pants are too low for my liking...

Maria Killam said...

I think definitely too young! It does seem to work though knowing it was taken in Paris. (maybe she is young but looks older).

Susan B said...

I'd much rather see a woman dressed "young" in her quirky, individualistic manner than a lot of what you see around LA: bleached blonde long hair, tight designer jeans, Ed Hardy tank tops, collagen-puffed lips, designer shoes and bag, (what Simon Doonan refers to as "ho").

I think what this woman is wearing is more ageless. Would I wear it? Some of it, the sweater, the sneaks, but probably not the studded belt.

The WalMart Vegan said...

I think she looks happy and comfortable in her own skin. Isn't that what fashion and beauty is about?

I think she is fine.

Kat Mortensen said...

I'm with you - the out fit works but for the pants (looks like an old school janitor to me) and the belt (although I used to love studs).
My husband is er, kind enough to say point blank "I think that's a bit young for you." If I cross the line. I fit into kids clothes and am often tempted.
Currently I have a cool rope and bead anklet on that I have just recently started to sport (a la Survivor). Kev has yet to see it (or comment). I'm sure it will come.


ticklishfromadistance said...

Hmmmmm.... if she is likes it, I think she should wear it.

littlebyrd said...

I agree with you ~ if she feels great, who cares! I love her look!

Imogen Lamport, AICI CIP said...

I hate pants like that no matter how young you are - they're way too big and baggy and the crotch is too low. It looks a little 'try too hard'.

Pyzahn said...

I love her style and the fact that she looks very comfortable -- not only in her clothes but with who she is. I much prefer this over mini-skirts and cleavage.

Claus said...

I think it's a matter of attitude: if one feels good and comfortable, why not?! We all have our particular style I think, and there will be those who like and approve, and those who will be horrified at our choices. Can't please anybody but you, and if you feel good, it doesn't matter what you wear. I think the question is where would you wear certain things? There are etiquette rules for certain events, and perhaps that's where the real problem to society is in regards of what is appropriate?

My two cents.

vicki archer said...

I think she looks wonderful - mostly because she looks happy and confident. She is tres 'bien dans sa peau', xv.

drollgirl said...

ok, this is a biggie for me. she is dressed to young. age appropriate ware is important or you end up looking like a goofball. i used to work with a lady that was in her 60's, and she would wear the MOST INAPPROPRIATE AND TRASHY CLOTHING for a woman of her age. when she should be looking classic and stylish, she looked like a cheap floozy wearing short tops, too much cleavagage, skin tight teen girl jeans, etc. it drove me bonkers.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

She looks fabulous, all except the trousers. And really, I don't think I'd like those on her no matter what her age. They look a bit silly to me when they're falling off like that.

Truly, I think if one is comfortable and confident in one's own skin and with one's own age....very important, that.....then one tends to dress in a way that looks good. It is usually when we are trying to be what we're not that things seem to go off the rails a bit, sartorially speaking.

Seeker said...

I think I'm suspicious about this.... I've made some posts about this issue and I know people who think I dress too young.

But my opinion is that we must dress acording to our body, to the place we are going to.... or even other factors.
I could be a 20's but if I would work on my office I would not wear shorts, I could be a 50's but if I had the legs and was to a casual bbq, I could for sure wear shorts.
So my opinian is this!!!

And on this right moment I'm very picky about this issue, so sorry, but I leave like this.

Lots of love


PS- and I agree with Pamela about the fallen pants

Frugal Scholar said...

Hmmmm...guess I'm late to the party. So I'll just say, I agree; she looks happy!

Ingrid Mida said...

I like her outfit. It is age appropriate in my opinion. She has on a stylish scarf and jewelery and looks both happy and comfortable. Plus the clothes suit her figure. To me, the issue for older women is more about whether or not they are baring too much skin. Some women just don't seem to realize they are exposing too much flesh.

The Renaissance Chick said...

Hey, whatever floats your boat! You know? I think the older you get, you can wear whatever the heck you want to wear. The only thing that bothers me is the saggy pants. I spent way too many years as an educator telling boys to pull their pants up because we didn't want to see their rears or their underwear! But whatever makes her happy is fine with me!


Sparkling Red said...

The answer is "it depends". Where is she going in that outfit? Is there an particular impression she's trying to make? As long as she's meeting her own goals I don't have a problem with her outfit. I wouldn't wear it to a job interview, but it's fine for going to the store to get groceries.

I got into dressing more conservatively a couple of years back, but I got bored with my clothes when I wore only what a mid-30's woman "should" wear. Now I have some sparkly shoes and fun handbags to spice up my wardrobe. It's much better.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

I think everything about her outfit (except for the belt, as my 17 year old son has the same one) is perfectly fine and chi-chi...

Parisian chic will never go out of fashion a Paris - And we might not 'get' it, but that does not mean that we know any better in other parts of Europe, where we sometimes dress abominably and like pseudo fashion clones...and therefore not always age-appropriately (here I am talking about the UK!) Love to you, sweet SMa nd pusscat x

Eleonora Baldwin said...

Good attitude, great choice of chic-casual and I love the scarf. Were I her size I'd do the low waist pants and the punk belt too, but I'm more of a Mediterranean amphora than a Parisian stick figure.

She looks comfortable and the smile makes her look 10 years younger, so she gets my thumbs up.

(It's refreshing to see someone dress like this, non? It's sophisticated and simple, yet never boring)

Woman in a Window said...

I don't think her clothes are inappropriate. I think someone needs to hand her some fries! She needs some meat! A milkshake. Anything. Something. Or pants that fit. Even that.

Duchesse said...

I invite you to conduct the same experiment I just did. Pull the photo off the site and zoom in as much as you can while keeping resolution. Look at her from strictly the waist up. What do you see? A smiling, casually dressed jeune femme- many 'soft' and flowing elements to her dress and hair.

Now look at her strictly from the waist down. What do you see? I see a 14 year old boy. I'd expect to see a slingshot and a frog in her pocket. The contrast is interesting, femme above, boi below.

I'd guess she is in her late 20s-early 30s. This is a look you see every day around the lycées of Paris, a not-working-yet look.

Too young? Depends on what you want to say to the world.

Rosaria Williams said...

What does she have to worry about? Her boss? I say, let her dress as she pleases whenever she can pull it off. There will be times when she will have very few choices.

Cynthia L. H. said...

It looks to me that she's having fun and quite comfortable with it.
If you can pull it off, go with it!

The Clever Pup said...

To Drollgirl.

It sounds if your boss dressed badly for any age.

The Clever Pup said...

I did my own quick take on this subject over at my place. The Sart ran a picture of a fabulous skirt that I covet. I couldn't let it pass. Hope you don't mind.

Giulia said...

Clever Pup's post today is great. (as was this one)

You don't have to live in Paris for crying out loud a million look good, happy, pulled together, chic, & just fine. Should she wear an old house dress?

I think there's tremendous jealousy (especially in North America) amongst women. Where is the solidarity? I was given two tops by French-friends-with-good-taste as I'm fighting overweight, ill, & poor (for now), yes, really poor. (Both tops rinse out well in the sink & dry quickly.) That doesn't mean I have to dress like an iconic Depression woman. Does it????

Then why do I have to advertise my age? And why am I yelling on a post where most people said, "she looks fine?" Long week, long months.

I am stopped a lot by women in their 30s, 40s, 50s & asked 'do you mind if ask you "where did you get your top? Is it European?"

They're lovely & chic without being revealing. Sensual. I hope I'm like that until I leave the earth.

Ladies, have a great weekend.

Anonymous said...

well with the 'je ne sais quois' french women have they could wear a refuse sac and look a la mode! She can of course wear what she chooses to...but enfin I think it a little too young look for her....

I can talk, fat frump and fifty wearing jean a ce moment la...avec a too low top, but I wouldnt wear it au dehors!

saz x

Saz said...

shit the last comment was mine FFF....and l was singed in as sorry girl!!

Jamtart said...

Too young? Shouldn't that be up to the wearer?
He clothing gives away nothing about her age, but speaks volumes about her personality. She looks playful, unconventional, creative, relaxed and approachable.She looks as if she enjoyed choosing her outfit. She could be anywhere between 30 and 45.
I'd much rather see a woman dress to suit her personality than for a number, or to appease an outdated convention. She's a whole lot more interesting and attractive than someone who feels that because they had X numbers of candles on their last birthday cake, they can't wear this or that.
Two cases in point - two girlfriends of mine, both of whom are around 50. One wears ultra feminine, ultra pretty girlish skirts and frothy blouses, the other wears bohemian/hippy ensembles, complete with beading, fringing and the like. Their clothing choices probably would not be 'age appropriate' in the eyes of most people, but these two women look wonderful and individual -because their clothes are an expression of who they are. I'm younger then them, but if I wore their outfits, I probably would look like 'mutton dressed as lamb'.Telling them to dress in a manner 'appropriate' to their maturity, would rob them of their individuality. Who has the right to do that?

sallymandy said...

Lenore: A lot of people agree with you.

Lorna: I don't know how old she is. A lot of people are agreeing with YOU, too...

Jane: Agreed. Knowing one's body shape is so important.

Protege: Yes, if she were cringing in this outfit, we'd all be embarrassed for her!

CP: I'd love to be wearing this at 75, with different pants. I agree with you about the confidence-sapping experience of a loooong winter.

Loved your post today.

Ms Lucy: Yes, the pants would not work with my tummy.

Maria: Paris makes a difference, doesn't it?

Deja: Wow, you said it so well. Thanks for the perspective.

MM: I like what you said. You summed it up.

Poetikat: I hope you can wear your bracelet happily if you like it!

g. and littlebyrd: I agree with you. Life's too short not to wear what we want.

Imogen: Interesting thought about those pants.

Pyzahn: I agree with you as I did with Deja.

Claus: Good point...event and location make a big difference.

vicki: bien dans sa peau. I like it. Thanks for visiting.

Droll: Poor lady. Sounds kind of sad.

Pamela: Trying to be what we're not. So true.

Seeker: Thanks for your thoughts!

FS: She does look happy, doesn't she. I like that.

Ingrid: Agreed. Would rather see teenage boy jeans than short shorts.

Renaissance: You've had your share of slouchy jeans, I guess!

Sparkling Red: I guess it's a balancing act between individuality and fitting in socially.

WNI: Thanks for your ever-sparkly comments, Fhina.

Lola: Mediterranean amphora! Lovely! I'm not a stick figure either.

WinW: Love this! Maybe give that girl some spam loaf with her fries.

Duchesse: Very good point. I did it and I agree.

lakeviewer: That's a very wise comment.

Cynthia: She does look confident and happy.

giulia: You're right. We are too insecure. Where is the solidarity? Now I want to see your European tops! They sound wonderful.

Moannie/Saz x two: funny, no problem, and you're right about the refuse sacks.

Jamtart: Of course it's up to her. I would never deem to tell anyone she/he was dressed too young, though I would tell my twelve year old she's dressed too old! It's so true that this says a lot about her personality--and I like it more than a severe, buttoned up look. "Age appropriate" can sometimes look resigned and like someone's checked her individuality at the door--in my opinion.

Relyn Lawson said...

Hmmmm... It's hard to comment on someone else's clothes. At least publicly. Still. I think she looks rather silly. She needs to pull up those pants. Of course, I think that would be true at any age.

Grace Albaugh said...

Everything works for me but the pants as well but that's just because I don't like that look on anybody. I think there is something to be said for age appropriate dressing to a certain degree. Showing the mid section is something that should stop by 35 or so and micro skirts as well perhaps. Most things though are up for grabs as long as you are really comfortable in it. Some things need a certain amount of age before you are ready to wear them. Plunging necklines don't belong on 15 year old girls.

Jennifer Campaniolo said...

Personally, her messy style wouldn't work for me, but I think in Paris you can get away with a lot. I have this battle with myself lately--how short is too short for a skirt/dress? Is this print too girly? But ultimately I think you have to be comfortable with your style, whatever it is. And honestly, I wouldn't have pegged that woman for 40. She looks younger to me--she has the "attitude."


Sheila said...

That style is a little sloppy for my taste, but being an "older woman" (41) I like to dress young. I think it's all in your attitude, and as long as you keep it classy (not too much skin, not too tight) you can get away with a lot!

My not-so-guilty pleasure: the rocker chick look.