Friday, March 2, 2012

Now or Never? (Thoughts and a Fitting Room Review)

I know that age is a relative thing. And that it's all about perspective. That there's no definitive line - at least one that's polite to point out - where you can say, "on this side, is youth. On that side, is old age."

I am also aware that more often than not, I'm mistaken for someone younger than the age I actually am. But what's funny is that lately, I've been feeling my age creeping up on me.  I'm in San Francisco right now, for work, and last night, I was walking around Union Square, checking out Madewell and Zara and H&M - and well, in nearly every store, I tried on things which were adorable, but which also made me wonder...hmmm...are these clothes too young for me?

I know that part of this has to do with the fact that my birthday is just a couple months away now, and I'll be turning an age that just sounds old to me (for those of you who are familiar with Chinese astrology, I'll tell you that I was born in the year of the Dragon - now you do the math) and this number - well, I guess it's bothering me more than I'd like to admit. 

But it's also that I vividly remember thinking 10-15 years ago - with the sort of disdain that only occurs in the youthful, when they perceive others trying to look the part when they're so obviously not - that women should not dress in clothes that are "too young for them." It just looks bad.

So it crosses my mind - is it now or never? Should I go ahead and wear the clothes now, that I want to wear, even if they are too young for me because they make me look like I might be Kate and Rowan's babysitter instead of their mom I can sort of (maybe? not really?) get away with wearing them now and may not be able to for much longer? Or do I use my money (and limited closet space) to buy items which I can wear for decades to come?

Is it now or never?

Just one of the dresses I tried on last night is the Madewell Roseblossom Songbird Dress (which I should note is priced at $10 less on Shopbop than it is on Madewell's site). I tweeted about this dress a couple days ago, when I saw it on Madewell's new arrivals page, so when I saw it in the shop, I felt compelled to try it on. I'm wearing it in the size 0, and I found it fit TTS. The skirt hit about an inch above my knee, so taller women should keep that in mind, when considering this dress. I liked it more than I thought I would, even though I look a bit like death warmed over in these photos (I'd only had about 5 hours of sleep, and a very long workday by the time I ended up in this fitting room). The dress has a fairly simple silhouette, is made of cotton, is machine washable, has a back zipper, and pockets. Essentially, it's everything I love in a dress. But will I spring for it? Hmm...only time will tell.

Oh, Time. You wascally wabbit, you.


  1. I was in love with that dress in the brown striped colorway and went to try it on at Madewell - and I was SO disappointed in how short it was. I'm 5'8", and it just wasn't going to happen. I tried sizing up, but that just made it baggy.... and still not quite long enough. Le sigh! I love everything about the design, though, and it looks great on you!!

  2. Seize the day! I've already decided I'm not cutting my long hair for another 20 years. At least. This dress is darling on you.

  3. Oh man, I hear ya (year of the rabbit here, and very, very soon...) I sometimes feels weird just because of the outlandish colours and patterns I sometimes want to wear, so I'm not sure if worrying about age appropriateness is just a similar fear about public perceptions. I say this dress fits you very nicely, and looks great, and that's what it's all about, right? I think if something were truly innapropriate you'd probably be more sensitive to that than others. I think it's all in HOW you wear something, right?

  4. life is too short! dress how you feel and if you feel youthful inside, go for it. plus it looks cute on you, not awkwardly inappropriate.

    pandaphilia style

  5. i bought all these dresses! i love the cut of them. I love how they look on women and they're perfect for spring! also, it's fun to layer a chambray under. go for it! It looks absolutely adorable on you!

    also i'm 5'9'' and loved the length! it hits mid-thigh

  6. if it makes you happy, go for it. if you're still getting compliments on your look, do it.

    some people age badly, like 60yr old rock stars still going at it wearing ed hardy and playing country fairs in middle america. that's terrible cuz they want to feel relevant, but aren't. they're wearing stuff that isn't them anymore, and just are trying to follow brands that they think will make them seem cool. if people are doing their own thing and love doing it, i don't care how old they are (like bjork, who will never outgrow a swan dress).

  7. Get the dress! It fits just right and it's cute. You can wear it with the purple leather rachel zoe jacket that may have gotten (?).
    I often have the exact same thoughts about the way I dress. Is it too young? Will people take me seriously? I love dresses, cute prints, flower details etc. But what I find helps is wearing dress/garment that may seem "too young" with a blazer and carry a simpler, more business appropriate bag. A structured jacket/blazer or bag seems to temper the cutesy-ness of a dress and brings overall balance to the outfit as a whole.

  8. I agree with what everyone has said above; but I do too hesitate to purchase items that are really cute but probably too you. I am a fairly slender 48 year old, but for the most part, I can't wear the dresses and skirts at Modcloth without looking a bit goofy. And feeling I'm past my prime for hipness. I have tried on the beautiful green Pleated Ponte skirt at Anthropologie, and no matter how many times I do, the skirt is just a bit too short and full (think cheerleader), that going into my 50s, I might very well look like 'what am I trying to do?" I could probably get away with wearing the skirt for now, but once it really is clear I'm fifty-something, the skirt will just not work. But there are plenty of items that can span generations with how you wear the item, and the dress above seems timeless and cute. As long as you feel good, then the item is perfect; when it no longer does, it's time to pass it along.

  9. It looks gorgeous on you and I'm pretty sure you feel gorgeous in it - that's all that matters!
    Dragons unite!

  10. I'm always second guessing certain things, wondering if it something looks more appropriate for my teenage nieces than me. I love magazine features where they have a wardrobe item and style it for several age groups. It helps me figure out how I can make a certain item work for me and not look like I'm "trying too hard".

    That dress is cute. The pattern is fun but the cut is classic. I say go for it!

  11. The dress looks awesome on you, I bought the blue dotted one and LOVE it and I am year of the Dragon as well:)

  12. I say go for it. I love the cut and print of the dress. I think how you stylish the dress will determine if the dress is age appropriate. =)

  13. That dress is super cute!
    I am very conscious of not dressing "too young" (except during the summer months when I give myself a total pass). I look younger than I am, but I teach high school kids and don't want to even try to dress like my students or for people to think that I am... However, when I'm not bound by 'teaching clothes', I do try to enjoy the occasional fun and/or funky top, skirt, dress or shoes.
    Personally, I would say balance the two tendencies - buy some of those "long-term" items but definitely throw in a fun one or two.

  14. This dress is perfection on you. I say go for it. I think age-appropriateness is something that cannot be determined by one piece alone. It takes an ensemble and an aura conveyed by the wearer. And I empathize as I've thought more than once recently if I am too "long in the tooth" to be wearing some of the shorter or more whimsical pieces to which I've gravitated. With your figure I'd definitely wear whatever I wanted whenever I wanted.

  15. is the madewell sizing chart accurat for this type of dress (songbrid dresses)?
    I am 5.3' and 120lbs should I get 0/2/4?

    1. I'm 5'2" and 110 lbs. and I wear a size 0 in the Songbird dress. Not sure how that will scale for you. For this particular dress, I'd describe the size chart as fairly accurate.