Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Age Appropriateness - A Miniskirt and Thigh-High Boots

Warning: this is a wordy post.

Every morning, while I chow down on my Fibre One and Shredded Wheat (with skim milk), I get caught up on my favourite blogs. I don't always comment, but if I follow you, I read!

This morning, this article on Age Appropriateness caught my eye over on Sal's "Already Pretty". I thought about the questions she asked us to ask ourselves about the choices we make. As I'm now an old bag of 43 (hee!) who still likes to wear so-called "age inappropriate" items, these questions hit home.

Because today I wore thigh-high boots and a mini-skirt:
Oh yes, I did!

Do your friends and peers wear it, and wear it well?
Mini and thigh-high boots. No to the boots, but yes to the mini. I'm a more daring dresser than most of my friends, and I'm okay with that. If I saw someone dressed like this today, walking down the street, I would admire her outfit, regardless of her age.

If it’s outside what your age group normally wears, why do you want to wear it yourself? The boots especially are outside my age group, I think, but the mini probably is as well. I wanted thigh-high boots in general because I just love the look. It's very "out there" and I enjoy being a little (or a lot) different! Wearing a mini is me being defiant in the face of "No Mini-Skirts after 35" (take that, Stacy London!). I think it's good to have general style guidelines for age, but I think by now I know how to style myself so that I don't look like I'm trying too hard, or look sleazy. I hope! Ha!

Does it make you feel fabulous about your body? Why, yes, it does! I love my body - and I worked hard to get it (maintaining my 50 lb weight loss for 3.5 years now). I like how my bum looks in this mini, and I like how my legs look really long in these boots.

Where will you be wearing it? I wore them to work! And although my coworkers went "whoa!" they did agree that they were neither slutty nor costumey (the Dread Duo of Daring Dressing). I have worn the skirt a few times before to work (here, here and here), always with a dark, opaque tight. I'll be wearing the boots again, for sure, probably with a dress or with some skinny jeans.

Who will be there, and whose judgment are you considering? Well, my coworkers (and I just showed them off to some guy friends who arrived). The judgment question is interesting. I know I like to create a stir with my outfits. I enjoy messing a bit with people's perceptions. Do I care what people think of how I look? Yes, of course. Do I care THAT much if people think I look a little nutty? Nah, not really. However, if someone said something nasty to my face, sure, I'd be hurt - I don't want to look BAD...just a little eccentric (like my friend, Steph, The Dashing Eccentric - yes, I'm just throwing that in there because she's given me a few shout-outs and I think she's marvellous).

Anyway, I felt good in this, and I felt ME in this. And that's what counts.
Okay, now I have to gush about the boots a bit. I spent my $300 birthday money on these ($250) and yesterday's shoes ($75) - plus a little bit of my own. It was hard to spend all that money on one item - but I felt I should get myself something I wouldn't buy on my own, something that maybe if I went shopping with my mom or mother-in-law, I might have wanted them to buy for me.

They're Pegabo which according to this site isn't made anymore, but I bought them at Feet First, which is owned by Aldo, who also acquired Pegabo. Looks like they are resurrecting the brand. Huzzah! And it's a Canadian company. Love it. They are suede uppers and leather inside, but I have to say: they stink! Whatever glue they've used on these is stinky-stinky. I'm going to have to stuff some dryer sheets in them and put them on the deck overnight to detox them.

I had two criteria for thigh-high boots:

1. No pirate boots. No fold-over flap at the top. No higher front than back. No laces at the back of the calf (a buckle would be okay, though). No pointy toe. I've had pirate boots before (c. 1989) and loved them. They were purple suede and they got ruined at a GWAR concert when I had some fake bodily fluids sprayed on them, but that's another story. *ahem*

2. No hooker boots. No "Pretty Woman" boots. No shiny. No uber-high heels or hidden platforms. No crazy colour, something neutral but not black.

After dragging my niece to most of the downtown shoe stores, I found these. My heart raced. They met all my criteria! Olive green goodness. I don't need the little zippers to get these on and off, so I leave 'em done up.

The other stuff:
I was pleased with the mix of pattern and tweed.

Blouse (Nicole Beniste for Point Zero), vest (Le Chateau, gift from Ruth), skirt (Jacob, consignment), boots (Pegabo), green necklace (Mom's, vintage), other necklace (Plum).


  1. Valuable post, Sheila. And you, more than most people, show the kind of courage and confidence in your clothing-choices that I wish were more common in our society.

    I believe too many people limit their options by accepting "rules" that don't exist or have no validity. They are usually motivated by fear, which is the worst reason for any decision.

    Besides, just being a certain age doesn't mean we lose our right to be attractive. Or bold. Or interesting.

    The outfits you create, Sheila, prove that. They often go beyond convention but always succeed in terms of being attractive and immune to criticism. Creativity and individual style are never bad.

  2. Love this! Both the outfit and the post. Green and brown is one of my favorite combinations (that I wear not often enough). This looks professional and funky. I think opaque tights makes a lot of hemlines appropriate (as well as awareness when picking things up off the floor. I don't bend, I dip!). Those boots are amazing finds.
    I hate the idea of "age appropriate dressing," probably because what "age" I am supposed to look, I don't want to look like. Also, because I favor high hemlines and plan to do so for a while.

  3. I love the look on you. You're quite covered up with the tights! Honestly, I can't bring myself to read any more "what's age-appropriate" articles in print or online (even though I adore Sal). The arguments are always the same, the comments are always the same....it's not interesting to me.

  4. LOVE the boots. They'll look awesome over some jeans.

    I like what you've said here. I think age appropriate can mean many different things. And if you keep a good balance, you can be both fashionable and appropriate.

    Both of which you do a fantastic job of doing. ^_^

  5. Did no one warn you about GWAR? I wore jeans, jump boots, and a concert T (prolly NIN or KMFDM) when I went!

    Most of us cannot pull off that look, but you are the exception!

    Word verification: "upclan" love it!

  6. Obviously, these boots are a total score. They are perfect in every way - and in a few more ways I'm sure I'll think of after I sign off.

    Also, I enjoy - and share - your thoughts on age appropriate dressing. You've got the legs to wear a mini - why should you have to hide them just because you're not a tween? Plus, you have excellent style, and such a great eye for colour. You've got every reason to trust yourself, sartorially speaking!

  7. Shybiker, thank you - but Sal's original is much better. I just did this as an exercise for myself to see how I feel about wearing this stuff (in a more conscious way). I do agree about rules - it's good to know them, but once you do, you can experiment with breaking them! Thank you so much for your kind words. :)

    Thanks, Rad! That is the look I was going for. Opaque tights rule. I have the same issues with those rules, which is why I enjoyed Sal's perspective on them.

    Wendy, thanks, I thought so too. And I'm in agreement - it's a dead horse that's been beaten to death. Can't we just appreciate others' style without having to pick it apart?

    Megan, thanks, I think so too. Thanks, sweetie. :)

    'Doll, no, not at the time! I wondered what was going on when they started taping up garbage bags. Grrr... I wore my purple suede boots, a black mini and some sort of (probably) black top.

    A-Dubs, thanks! I do trust myself, but as I said to Shybiker, this was a fun exercise for me to do. I also like doing quizzes.

  8. It's a really beautiful palette - you've used all the colours and textures perfectly. The boots are fab - I can't wait to see them at work in your autumn and winter wardrobe. As for age appropriate dressing - it's a hard one, and one that has to be trod carefully because - as you know - women are censored in so many ways regarding their appearance. My own personal rule is whether I feel comfortable, and whether or not someone is going to write it on my tombstone when I die: "Dearly loved, but wore distressed boyfriend jeans after she turned 40." Thus I spend most of my weekend in some seriously satisfying J Brands. And before the men in coats come and drag me away, can I say you have fabulous legs. Those new boots are very fortunate to be worn so well!

  9. Great boot score, and great outfit! You can definitely wear that.

    I'm totally mystified by age appropriateness. I'm told I look a few years younger than I am. I don't really know what age I dress -- but, I'm more afraid that I might be dressing too stodgy, than dressing too young.

  10. Rock on, lady. And thanks for the shout-out!

  11. I always love that you do age inappropriate so appropriately! It's like you're never trying to look young, you just do!

  12. Sheila! you are a gem, and very kind. Thank you!

    i enjoyed reading your answers to Sal's questions. in Sal's original post i appreciated how she focused on audience - who's your audience, how do you want to be perceived by them, WHY do you want to be perceived in a particular way...and i found myself agreeing with your answers more often than not! esp 'do i care THAT much? naw, not really..'

    frankly, i think the way i dress gives people a little bit of a 'head's up' that they aren't going to be dealing with 'Nancy Normal' over here. i try to play fair ; )

    actually, Shybiker put it very well! Thank you again Sheila - and have fun fun fun with those gorgeous, perfect for you boots!! (drool)

  13. Thanks, Baxter! I don't know how versatile the boots will be (probably won't wear them with a longer skirt), but to me, they look timeless. I really hate the age appropriate issue because it seems too rigid. I am like you: if I like it, and I feel good, I'm going to wear it. Lol at your tombstone! Thank you so much for the thoughtful comment!

    Thanks, Cynthia! It's a fine line, isn't it? We don't want to look too young, but we risk looking old. Gah! Not fair!

    Thanks, Sal! You are very welcome. Thank you for the thought-provoking questions.

    Cara, aw, thank you, hon. :)

    Steph, thank you! I liked Sal's questions because they really forced me to look at my motivations (I'm quite happy to blithely not think too hard about my clothing choices). I also like giving people a head's up about my personality - it's a useful short-cut, isn't it? :)

  14. I love your outfit!!..i'm in my late 30's and love wearing mini skirts and shorts, if i like it and it makes me smile i wear it, i never think about age appropraite clothes.

  15. Wonderful boots!

    And, frankly, I think I want to be you when I grow up (heh, you're not that much older than me, but you're lightyears ahead in the style stakes).

  16. Those boots are absolutely gorgeous! And the outfit? The colours and textures make this outfit beyond fabulous!

    Where what you want, when you want, and know you look damn good!

  17. I am totally with ditching the "age-appropriate" crap. You look great! At 46 I have no problem wearing my black suede thigh-highs, and they do have a fold-over in the front (but since I'm not that tall, it's better that way). They are a flatter style like yours though, and that helps - I am utterly uninterested in hooker outfits as well.

    One has to wonder - who "benefits" from these kinds of rules? I am so sick of all the ways women are supposed to submit to controls, and it's always about how we should look a certain way, so who's that for? Someone else who feels entitled to get clues about our age, so they can avoid anyone over 25, or what? What a crime, that we should age well. If someone doesn't like us having fun with what we wear then I say they can shove it.

  18. Yay for you for wearing what you love! I love your outfit, and I think you can pull it off, so why not go for it? Age is only a number, and really, I think by dressing younger, one can appear younger. My mom, who is in her early 50's, dresses relatively stylish (no mom jeans, most things fit properly, and so on) and everyone always thinks she's in her 30's.

    Also, I like your rule: NO hooker boots! That's so important. I really don't like ANY shoes that shine, but boots are the worst!

    Thanks for your comment. I'm glad you enjoyed the interviews, and I agree--Ralph is a gem. :)

  19. Hi, and welcome, Alexandra! Thank you for commenting. I love your attitude!

    Cat, thanks! Nice to see you - ha! No one has ever wanted to be me, but thank you so much!

    Thank you, Jen, you are such a dear. Love it! What a great slogan!

    Thanks, Someone, and thank you for commenting. I bet your boots are awesome. I know...maybe the entirely clueless might benefit, but really? are there that many women out there who really don't know what's right for them? I guess there must be, or shows like "What Not to Wear" wouldn't exist. Hee! Yes, let's tell those nay-sayers to shove it!

    Ashley, thank you for commenting - I will be back to visit your blog again. :) I will admit, I have shiny boots (and they are a little hooker-y, hee) but I love them anyway. And why can't I even bend my own rules? Those were only the rules for thigh-high boots! :)

  20. Ok, what everyone else said...and what you wrote.

    I think I'm having boot envy here. Is that a bad thing? Maybe that should be the next hot topic in the blogosphere...Boot ENVY..do you have it?

  21. Thanks, SU! Nah, boot envy is good...it's what you do with it that counts, right? Right??

  22. You don't look fabulous "for your age." My dear, you simply look fabulous.

    I turned 30 this year and still shop in the Juniors dept. and don't plan on quitting any time soon!! I think a lot of it is in the attitude you carry. You definitely strike the right balance!

  23. Ha, thank you, Jen! I do believe you are correct. :) I stopped shopping in the Juniors department, but only because I thrift/consignment shop a lot more, and I demand better quality fabrics and construction than what most Juniors clothing has.

    I fully intend to keep dressing the way I do!

  24. Yes, Yes, Yes !
    I should "hang out" with you more often.
    I tend to stay away from certain things in fear of being "too old for..." I have something I call a "judge complex" where I am the one judging myself ALL THE TIME.
    You totally rock this.
    You look great and you know it.... and actually since you are leaving that job soon you can wear anything you please.

  25. Ha, Lorena, you're such a creative dresser - I wouldn't have guessed you are so tough on yourself. I know you could do more if you wanted to. :)

    Thanks! Well, hopefully I'll get this new job...their office is casual, so I can really be wacky. Yay!

  26. I am of two minds about this. On the one, I think the outfit is AMAZING on you. I love the colors, the patterns, and you are ROCKING the thigh-high boots and mini-skirt very well. (The dark tights make it work for sure.) I don't get any "too young" vibes at all about it.

    On the flipside -- and this is likely because I work at a Nun Hospital -- I don't know if it is office-appropriate. I know you have a much more relaxed office dress code, but I can't shake my own rules off enough to appreciate yours, you know?

    But outside of work, I think you could wear that anywhere and not get any flak about "age appropriateness" at all; you've taken a youthful style and given it an adult twist, and it looks great.

  27. Kristen, thanks for your thoughtful reply. Of course, I wouldn't wear this in a more formal office - it's not just about what's age appropriate, but also wearing what's right for the environment. Yes, my office is very casual (we're supposed to be business casual, but lots of people dress much more casual than that), but in an evironment like yours, I would save these for the weekend (boots and skirt).

    Thanks so much!


Comments are so incredibly special, and I love them and hug them and treasure them forever. Please feel free to tell me what you think!

I'm not currently able to respond to comments, but I will make every effort to answer questions. I do read every single one, and appreciate your comments.

Please note that comments containing affiliate links spam-y sites, spam comments and anything I deem inappropriate will be deleted.