So after returning from BlogHer, where I spent five days with 3000+ women who were all looking fantastic in their own ways, I found out yesterday that an article I was interviewed for was published at CNN. The topic revolved around moms dressing like their teenagers, or in my case, older women who shop in the Juniors’ department of a store.
It’s a quick read – go check it out, I’ll wait.
I think the article does a great job of explaining why it’s OK to shop in the same place as a teenager as long as you’re dressing in a flattering way for your body type. Just because you’re in Hollister doesn’t mean you can’t find a simple, well-fitting t-shirt that doesn’t reveal too much. Of course, I’m writing that sentence as if I have any idea what kind of clothing Hollister carries.
There’s so much I can say on this topic beyond my quotes in the article. Do I think any teen fashion can be adopted by a 30- or 40-something mom? No way. But depending on your body type you can find cute clothing in a store focused on a younger population, or even the Juniors’ section at Kohl’s, that is still appropriate and tasteful for an older woman.
(Gah. I just lumped myself in as older. ‘Scuse me while I go take my fiber pill now…)
When I was younger and in that “appropriate” age range for these stores, I didn’t fit the clothing. I was heavier, I had self-esteem issues, and so I was far more comfortable hiding myself in baggy jeans and loose sweatshirts. I’m still a big fan of casual clothing, but having dropped some weight - both in pounds and in psychological baggage – I can appreciate clothing that’s a little more flattering to my shape. There’s no chance I’ll be sporting a mini skirt and crop top anytime soon, of course; I know my limits. I shop now for clothing that is comfortable and makes me happy when I wear it, no matter where it came from.
It’s always interesting to read the negative comments in the article, too: moms who wear teen clothing must be slutty. If you’re a mom, you shouldn’t care what you look like anymore. If you want to look nice, you’re just shallow and self-absorbed. *eyeroll*
Let’s play a little game: here are some of the outfits I wore at BlogHer this year. I’ll state up-front that I have no intentions of winning a fashion award anytime soon. Guess which one came from the Juniors’ department:
OK, so what’s your guess? Which one was designed for a teenager and not a 35 year old mom?
insert Jeopardy music here …
SURPRISE! It’s the brown layered-look shirt. Yep, this beauty of full-coverage-yet-fashionable ruffles and layers comes from the Juniors’ section of Kohl’s. The other outfits? Lee jeans, H&M top, JC Penney dress from the women’s section, and Ruche lace dress.
I found similar tops to the Kohl’s layered top in the women’s section, too, but they didn’t fit me as well. They were too boxy and made me look completely shapeless. The teen version is better fitted through the midsection and I received several compliments while wearing it. The jeans aren’t from the teen section, of course – no teen jeans would ever fit my hips.
My final thoughts: I’m no fashion plate. I can count dozens more who are more fashionable than me. But I do like to dress in a way that makes me feel pretty. Clothing is both a shallow topic and a subject that we wrap up in our self-worth. It can be a form of expression and a signal of our inner feelings. It can be a tool to empower us or a weapon to tear us down. While I don’t think women should invest so much of our self-worth into a piece of fabric, I do consider it reasonable that we can enjoy what we wear.
My belief is that we’re all smart women – we know what is appropriate for us. Wear what makes you look and feel your best no matter where it came from, whether it be Forever 21 or Forever 65. Because if you feel good about yourself, it’ll be reflected in everything you do, including the all-important task of building self-esteem in your children. It doesn’t matter if you’re raising your kids in a sweatshirt or a pair of pink heels as long as you’re confident in yourself.
What do you think? Are there certain stores that we shouldn’t shop in? Should women who reach a certain age be shunned from the Juniors’ section completely? Is it possible to follow fashion and not be accused of dressing like a teen or being a bad mom (unless you’re Jennifer Lopez)?