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.