Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Am I Too (Blank) To Wear This?

The lovely Anne of The Frump Factor wondered if her outfit looked too young for her yesterday. It didn't, it was perfect. But like nearly all women over 40, I understand Anne's thoughts.

Most of us have had that moment in front of the mirror:  Am I too (in my case) old for this look? Most recently it was a very pretty tiered skirt, with ruffles and a slightly gathered waist. I eventually decided against it, and went for a "safe" knit midi with a foldover waist. My choice was still flattering and modern, and I felt more comfortable in it. Something about the tiers and ruffles felt like I was trying too hard to rewind the clock.

Not this exact skirt, but similar. I told it "no."

Something like this feels just fine. Let the clothes do the hard work.
Skirt from Bloomies

Yesterday my beloved "baby" sister (age 41) sent me an email of a tote with Katy Perry's picture on it. Sister is getting it free with purchase at Dillard's. She asked "Am I too old for this purse? Tell me the truth, Pat!" So I told her my opinion: it was a tote for a very young woman, but she should get it if she loves it. And that she is not too old, it's the purse that skews young.

I am slim now so I don't currently suffer from "Am I too fat for this skirt, these jeans, etc". I was a plump child though and heard plenty of it in my head through my younger years. When hip-hugger jeans first came in style, I "knew" I was "too fat" for those. Ditto two-piece bathing suits and short-shorts. It still hurts to recall those moments of body-hate.

I'd like to turn the title question around and rephrase it: does this (garment) make me feel special, beautiful, feminine, proud? (If you haven't already, go read Pam's Foundational Five for more about this concept.) It is now the job of the clothing to do the hard work, because I am not too (blank). If that tiered skirt doesn't make me feel confident, sorry skirt, you are on your way to live at baby sister's house!

It's still a struggle to not fault myself for failing to look good in every outfit. I must remind myself that I have my own face, shape and age. What looks stunning on Kate Moss is, well, stunning on Kate Moss. Somebody's gotta be me, and it looks like it's going to be me.

Image via AnthonyBurrill.com

Have you ever asked yourself if you're too "whatever" to wear "whatever"? Please share your stories, and thanks as always for reading.


  1. I wouldn't wear the first skirt either but I'd have said it was too fussy for me. The second one is a maybe, if I were visiting Seville. You're in Florida with all that sultry Latin influence so it's good for you!

    One of my gripes in recent years has been t-shirts with ruffles. I have broken down and purchased a few with pleats or gathers, but draw the line at ruffles.

    I'm a girl who changes her own tire, not someone dripping with ruffles.

  2. Well, I'm 5'!0" and have been since 5th grade, and somewhere between chunky and bigger, so yes, I ask myself whether I'm too fat/big/tall and now, at 51, old to wear things. Sometimes I think I'm too young to wear things (a lot of Misook stuff, St. John Knits)...

    Some of it is related to fit-- hip huggers simply don't fit my very curvy hips--they fall down--it's gemometry, unless they are uncomfortably tight and cut a new waist into my skin. Sometimes the proportions are just off--the reverse of the issue that petites face. Sometimes something is too girlish or too mannish for my size--puffed sleeves and ditsy prints are the former and too much menswear with no feminine touches makes me look and feel like Chaz Bono--which is fine for Chaz Bono.

    I'm debating whether to keep or consign a print Max Studio dress with a tie back waist--partly because the knot at my spine annoyed me the whole 60 minute drive home from my parents', and partly because it feels too girly--though it flatters my shape.

    Mary Janes kind of fall into the "too" category often--they are comfortable, but too young/frumpy depending on the style. I prefer a more ballet/pump shape....

  3. Thanks for the mention, Patti!! I am so proud of you for saying NO to the skirt...I am learning that it is so important to put more thought into our selections and our rejections. Sometimes I want something to work, but know deep in my heart...it doesn't. You are right, the guidelines help us make it about the garments and NOT about what is wrong with us! Its a more positive way to say NO!!

  4. Oh yes, I think "Am I too ..." all the time! Hmmm...I'm trying to think of what it was that I wore earlier this year that made me think that, only to give me the follow-up thought that, "I'm not getting any younger, might as well try to get away with it now."

  5. I think it's more a matter of what I am comfortable in than an age issue. As long as it's appropriate for the occasion and I'm comfortable in it.

    I think you could pull both skirts off !

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  6. I love that you are turning the negative inner dialogue around! And I prefer the first skirt to the second....

  7. Oh my....YES YES YES! And frankly, I hate that feeling. But I HAVE found that if I'm doubting something, it's just best to forego it. I wonder if we really think we're too _____ for it or if maybe we're using that as an excuse for not being crazy about something that maybe we THINK we SHOULD like? Hmmmmm..... Hugs to you Patti! ~Serene

  8. Thanks, Patti! You are so right: this "am I too (blank)..." business is part of a larger phenomenon! I think we should never reject things we love because of arbitrary "shoulds." But Pam is also right -- sometimes the item isn't right for us and is best left behind. But we don't usually LOVE those.

    At the end of the day, I go on instinct. If something makes me smile when I first put it on, I usually decide that it's right. (And that is actually what I did with the outfit you mentioned). Once I've experienced "the smile," it's easier to ignore any little doubts that creep in.

  9. "I'd like to turn the title question around and rephrase it: does this (garment) make me feel special, beautiful, feminine, proud?"

    I love this. Thank you.

  10. I know that I have taken all kinds of risks this year--Paula has coaxed me into trying shorter skirt lengths and my experiments with color are all my own. In my mind, if I am not free to experiment at my age, when will I be. And if I make an occasional fool of myself, what does it matter?

  11. I just found your blog, and had to respond to this. Oh yes! At 42, I feel trapped in a netherworld, and I constantly worry that things are either too young or too old for me, without even considering really who I am and what I really like. And for what it's worth, I think you'd look great in skirt #1!

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