Forty is the New Forty

When I hear someone talking about how fifty is the new thirty, seventy is the new forty-five, or wherever the latest goalpost may be, I always find myself feeling a bit irritated at the concept. To me, the implication is that whatever age you are at, your ideal age (look, body, lifestyle) is behind you; that the age to be truly celebrated is whatever you are minus fifteen or twenty.  There's no denying that we all have periods of time in our lives that we remember with extra-fondness, and though it seems (thankfully) to be going out of style, we might even refer to this period as being in one's "prime". You know, like a rib roast that's been ageing in a barn under perfect conditions.  But for many (ok, most) of us, that goalpost of when life was the best that it could possibly be is elusive...things just keep on moving along, and there is always the future.

I think quite a bit about an interview with Gloria Steinem that I once read in New York Magazine. She recounts the story of being in a restaurant on her 40th birthday, when a well-meaning reporter told her that she didn't look 40.  Instead of treating it as the complement that it was intended to be, she simply quipped --"This is what forty looks like. We have been lying for so long, who would know? "

Applying this concept of theoretical age to our sartorial choices,  it's easy to see that things have changed over the years,  and indeed are still changing. As Steinem herself said in the interview, there was a time when "age really was a great penalty for women".  Modern style however, seems to have morphed into a more personal endeavour. Instead of having to crop our hair and wear "respectable" twin-sets and sensible shoes after a certain age, we have options. Many, many options.

Yet in a sea of options, human nature still apparently craves a certain amount of order. There are volumes of books, magazines, blog pages, and television programmes all aimed at what "age appropriate" style is; what is acceptable, what is to be avoided, and how to get it right.

And so here at Highland Fashionista headquarters, a new thread is born. Forty (plus) is the New Forty will be a running piece in which I get my favourite people to weigh-in on this subject. Men, women, other bloggers, the guy who makes my latte (the one who is not my husband)...anyone with an opinion and a laptop can join the fray. So stay tuned.

Now to kick things off; a photographic montage of things that I like to wear that not so long ago would have been considered inappropriate on a forty-one (nearly forty-two) year-old.


  1. I love everything you're wearing, but that last picture is my absolute favorite!!! We're never too old for a bit of silly fun.

  2. If I had your figure, I would wear a bikini, too. :)

  3. Amen! Now, I want the outfit with ALL the "inappropriate" things together. Nevermind. Shorts and a mini skirt together would be, um, bulky.

    Looking forward to more!

  4. Great post!

    I have to admit that my body has changed over the last couple of years (I turned 50) and I wear bodycon dresses with a length around or shortly above my knees but I wouldn't feel comfortable in anything shorter than that.

    It depends on our body rather than our real age.
    You definitely look stunning in everything you are wearing in these photos - including your bikini!!

    Lady of Style
    now on Facebook

  5. Heck yes!! I found your blog because I am in month 2 of growing out my gray hair. You are an inspiration and I love your fashion sense. And I'm with you, 40 is the new 40! This is what 40 looks like!

  6. I love this post.

    So true that we have been "taught" for so long what to think 40 or 50 or 60 "looks" like so that when we see it staring back at us we can't recognize the true 40,50 or 60 anymore.

    Having preconceived ideas about anything in life often leads us astray so getting rid of all those negative images and replacing them with current real ones is a great idea.

    I look forward to this series : )


  7. Fabulous post! I am 43 (well, in a few months) and I still wear what I feel works for me. I don't wear a lot of shorts and short skirt not because I feel they are not age appropriate but more because I hate the look of my legs in them ;) But I am still the silly/fun me in funky heels, string bikini.. I think age is truly just a number, it is how you see yourself in that number that matters.


  8. What a great post! I have no problem with being 44 and I wear it proudly. I tell the college students I work with every day - college was great and so were my 20's but I am happiest right now, just wait so will you.

    And it's funny, most of them think I'm way younger than 40ish. Maybe because I don't dress or act the way they think a 40 year old should.

  9. How on earth have you managed to have such a fabulous body? Tell me it's hours in the gym! If I had legs like that I'd show them off 'till they put me in the ground!

    1. ((blushing)) Well that's the best thing I've heard all day! I actually don't go to a gym, but that's not to say I don't work out. I do, religiously. Workout videos, dance classes, yoga, tennis, and the fact that I'm vegan also helps keep things in check.

  10. I'm with you! I'll turn 39 in July and hear the "you're too young to have grey hair, blah blah, blah" comments. Well, apparently not! And just because we're 40ish and not trying to hide confuses the masses. Why see how many people we can convince that we look 25 when we're damn fine looking 40-year-olds? It's a little sad that self-acceptance and embracing an authenticity seem to be pioneering traits in women these days.

  11. I just bet you are fun:). I don't need to bet on how great you look in a bikini, that's been proved!


Post a Comment

Talk to me...

Popular Posts