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I was inspired to start my public Instagram, @DrJustineFancyPants, by Sheryl Roberts of @indigostylevintage, Shelley of @fcfashionista, Jean and Valerie of @idiosyncraticfashionistas, and the glorious Lee Lin Chin and by the many other stylish women over forty, who just by being them, are putting paid to the lie that style and beauty are only for the young.
And by my mother, who is one of the most stylish people I know, and has always been the biggest style influence on me. She’s all about colour and comfort and has never feared mixing patterns.
It’s absurd that society keeps touting the stylishness of the very young. Let’s be real, most young people aren’t particularly stylish,1 and usually don’t feel they’ve found styles that work for them until later in life, if ever. That’s cool. I sure didn’t. But, hey, experimentation is fun.
When I was a teen, I didn’t always have the courage to dress how I wanted. I’d wear vintage and be laughed at for my “nana” dresses. It didn’t occur to me back then to point out that some of the most stylish women in the world are nanas. I swung back and forth between caring deeply about what my peers thought and saying, bugger it, and wearing what I wanted.
I’m much more confident in my sense of style, my sense of self, now than I was as a young adult. I don’t care about being the only one in the room who’s dressed up. I’m (mostly) not dressing to blend in; I’m dressing for joy.
I don’t care about arbitrary fashion rules. I will mix patterns. (You all need to check out the glorious Mis Papelicos for top-notch pattern mixing. She is the queen.) I will wear black and navy blue together, pink and red, black and brown. I will wear horizontal stripes (true fact: they actually make you look narrower, look up the Helmholtz effect–thank you @house_of_edgertor for that tidbit). I will wear multiple bold colours at the same time. I’ll wear red lipstick whenever I feel like it and no makeup likewise. I’ll mix gold and silver jewellery. I’ll wear clogs with evening wear, western boots with anything at all and eschew high heels altogether (except for the occasional photo).
There’s nothing I won’t wear because it’s supposedly too young for me. Mutton dressed up as lamb? Ageist, misogynist expressions like that are pathetic. I dress for me and for my fellow lovers of gorgeous clothes. We appreciate each other.
I’ll wear whatever I damn well please whenever I want. Including the occasional trip to the corner shop/bodega in my pyjamas and/or a ball gown. Because I can. Because it’s fun. Because it brings me joy.
- There are some fabulous exceptions. A friend’s son has been ridiculously stylish since he was, like, four. He’s given to wearing blazers and hats with striped leggings. [↩]