Cindy Crawford and her daughter, Kaia Gerber.
If someone says age-appropriate flats to me, so help me … I’m not sure I can be responsible for my actions.
I mean this mainly in the context of how people believe you should dress when you hit a ‘certain age’ and have teenage girls. Seriously, since when did I have to suddenly retire my individuality and my sense of style because I hit 50?! I can’t actually believe that people still ask if it’s a problem shopping in similar stores to my girls.
I do understand that it’s a hard line to walk when you are a mother to two girls in their teens, struggling to find their own style, independence and identity. But does that mean that us mums should be banned from the stores that all of a sudden seem to be their favourite haunts? Imagine being told you can never cross the threshold of Zara again … just let that sink in for a moment!
Yes, I’ve borrowed clothes from my girls and vice versa … but am I doing it because I want to look like a teenager? Of course not! I just don’t accept that now I’m 50+ I have to succumb to a uniform that is acceptable to some societal perceptions and expectations.
Grace rocking her daughter's jeans.
In fact, you know what, I’m not sure what society perceives as the acceptable ‘norm’ anymore. I think things have shifted so far from when our mother’s had teenage daughters that part of the issue is we have a cross-generational confusion. Even our mothers are dressing with more influence from fashion than perhaps they had anticipated. And why not!?
Of course I am conscious of how my girls feel about the way I look, but I dress for me. I dress for how I feel. I think ultimately we would style things differently anyway – but isn’t it better for kids to see their mothers as in touch? Fashion is so broad now that it’s less about having a narrow ‘look’ these days. One day it’s jeans and flats – the next it’s a wrap dress and heels. Fashion retailers are making it easier to capture the style influences at every level of size, fit and age. Style, like beauty, does not just belong to the young. It’s ageless and age is most definitely no longer a predicator of worth.
In a study of 50+ Women by We Are Superhuman, a huge 96% of us shared that we don’t feel middle-aged and 81% don’t identify with society's perception of what it looks like. The truth is that we’re nothing like the outdated stereotypes suggest. We’re experienced, ambitious, informed and as beautiful as our younger counterparts. A massive 67% of us consider ourselves in the very prime of our lives.
So why must society even raise the question that if we want to dress in a certain way, we should feel bad about ourselves? What on earth is wrong with wanting to be in touch, fashionable and feel good about ourselves? As a mother, a career woman and wife, so often we come last on the list, so why shouldn’t we get a kick out of a funky trainer, a biker jacket, a snake print boot and a ripped jean ….
Reese Witherspoon and her daughter, Ava Phillippe.
The growth of social media and Instagram in particular, has given opportunity to some fantastic and very normal women in their 40s/50 plus, working mums who share their outfit of the day, shopping finds and style tips. They have an impressive following and by sharing this they are helping women to find a style that works for them, taking the time and hard work out of finding the solutions and making it an easier way to ‘steal her style’ with a simple ‘swipe to buy’. So women who may have been cautious to try before are bringing new influence into their wardrobe through borrowed confidence. I love that!
Something that perhaps you wouldn’t have picked up in a store, but see a short video of it on someone your age and shape, and you think – that’s so me! Suddenly you see your style evolve and it feels good. The same has happened in the beauty industry. Fear has been eroded and the judgment and high-pressure changing room environment has disappeared as you self-style in the comfort of your own home!
So no - I’m not going to change where I shop. I do swap clothes with my girls sometimes - but there are a few rules! Don’t do the matching mother/daughter look at the same time. It’s important psychologically to allow our children to find a sense of individuality. If they are wearing a certain look that you know you could also emulate when you’re heading out together …. don’t! Wear it tomorrow, change it up and give them their space to own it on that day. Other than that – wear it your way and enjoy!