It started with a pair of Jeffery Campbell oxford creepers I found at a Crossroads store – in my size, no less. While I’d love to be speaking about the beginning of my creeper love, after the pangs of excitement, I felt a new feeling, one I hadn’t felt before. I asked myself, “Are these too young for me?” and before I even answered myself, I was more saddened by the fact that it was something I considered as I considered the shoes. I put them back before I let myself dwell on the question too much, but it was too late.
There are clear and distinct fashions for ages and this is acknowledged without hesitation in the fashion industry. It starts with the fact that Vogue magazine has an annual age issue, continues with the “Fashion Editor Versus Fashion Assistant” feature in every issue of Lucky, and ends with the fact that some lines and brands altogether are dubbed “For the mature lady.”
But in reality, aging doesn’t move as linear a manner as the Vogue age issue. It’s crazy because you change and we grow older, and suddenly you realize some things are (and aren’t) expected from you, especially when it comes to wardrobe choices. Once you end up in the latter half of your 20s, you have to start thinking about what kind of adult you want to be, and then you start to get annoyed, because you never really thought about what anything you wanted to be. You just were and you just wore and that was really all that was required from you. I know many Chictopia members are a little younger than me and might not be thinking about this right now, but I just wanted to write you all a letter, so to speak, about what it feels like to be on the other side and still love fashion.
As women in our 20s, a lot of us probably fall behind the line of caring, because as all these magazines point out, your roaring 20s are when you can wear those sky-high hemlines, those chunky platforms, and those destroyed denim jackets. There are no limitations, and if you want to dress a little older, no one has a problem with that. IDGAF is the motto.
But having turned 27-years-old in 2012, things started to feel different. Decidedly in the latter half of the 20s whether I like it or not, the statements about style I hear so often from my early to late 30s co-workers started to feel like callings to me, as opposed to lines in the sand.
I would say this simply as a matter of fact if it weren’t for the fact that, well, I don’t want to go. It isn’t for the sake of clinging to my youth – being young at heart isn’t something anyone can take from you. But being young in body is something other people can see and thus, silently or not-so-silently, judge. Fashion is a public statement, and as you grow older, you may want to choose what you say more wisely.
But this poses a problem, and since we’re fashion enthusiasts, I think all of us recognize that this love goes beyond fabric – we’re this passionate about dressing not because of brands, because this is a form of self-expression. And while I can’t promise that we suddenly will like things from the 30s section of Vogue when we get there, I think we can all promise to remain true to ourselves, regardless of our ages. As Madeline Pendleton of Jean Greige, who just turned 26, said so wisely on her own blog, on the same topic, “Last week, I dyed my hair highlighter yellow. I did it because. Now, it is an existential quandary. Do I want to be the type of 26-year old who dyes her hair highlighter yellow? Yes, I decided quickly. Yes, I do.” Being myself was a characteristic of an early 20s girl – it was expected. At 27, it’s become a conscious decision that, apparently, we have to remind ourselves we made. We have to choose to never mind the glossies.
When I wrote my piece on fashion’s most known style mavens a few weeks ago, I realized that many of them are older than me, and a few (for example, Anna Del Russo) are much older than me. Even as I searched for other pieces on this same topic, I stumbled upon an issue of V magazine called the “Who Cares About Age Issue”. And as I looked for photos for my piece, I stumbled across an image of Preetma Singh wearing the Prada versions of the exact creepers I wanted so badly. And the ladies from the street style blog Advanced Style have style on lockdown better than a lot of my peers.
Life changes happen, and aging is a part of it – that’s okay. If we sincerely start liking neutral-toned cashmere sweaters when we get older, I don’t see a problem with that – as long as that is what we really want. But I don’t see a problem with not, either. At the end of the day, only you can decide who you are. Don’t let anyone else – or the number that is your age – decide that for you.