Friday, March 15

Old Geezer

I love my age.

I'm in my late 30s now and it is fabulous. Thirties are the best. Thirties make up for all of high school. And I'm told by those in the know that my forties will be even better.

So far, I've enjoyed the freedom that comes from shaking off all of the self-conscious angst that was cultivated during my teen years. Yes, it took me a decade. But I'm not the only one.

When I look around me, I see twenty-somethings wearing goofy headbands on their foreheads, Mrs. Roper's maxi dresses, and skinny jeans straight from 1985. If you ask them, they will tell you it's because it looks cool. Define "cool" (or whatever relevant term is actually used now; I'm in my thirties and don't care enough to find out.) In general, cool is whatever the fashion industry tells us is cool. The fashion industry is NOT following our lead. It's leading. So even those who think they choose it because they like the look of it, and they firmly believe they would like the way it looked if no one else were wearing it....not really. Had you seen me wearing the headband on my forehead five years ago, you would have laughed at me. Guess what? Everyone over 30 is laughing at you.

The funniest yet, is the uncool-coolness of the hipster. The hipster that thinks he is above the shallowness of industry-driven fashion. The hipster that looks like all of the other cultivated consumers called hipsters. The hipster wearing black-framed glasses with non-prescription lenses, not because he cares about fashion, and definitely not because it affects his eyesight, but because...wait, why? Because I thought the whole point was that he doesn't care about fashion and that's definitely a fashion statement. The hipster that dresses like me, the old chick.

Hipsters of present day.

That's right. They dress in old lady clothes. But it's cool. Because they're not old. Oh, they make me laugh.

Hipsters from the '90s. a.k.a. The Spin Doctors. 
But I'm laughing at myself, too. Why do I dress that way? Because I like the clothes all on my lonesome? No, because I grew up in the '90s and that's what the fashion industry told us we came up with all on our own. That's right, cute little darlings, the image you thought you were branding before it was a thing was actually the image put out by every "alternative" band in the '90s. Is it just me, or do The Spin Doctors remind you of our parents' photos from the '70s (if our parents had the good sense to avoid flare jeans?)

I've got a joke for you: How did the hipster burn his tongue?

He sipped his coffee before it was cool.

See this? I wore this in the '90s. And honestly, I'd still wear it.
The truth is, every one of us is affected by it. We see it constantly and eventually it begins to look appealing. I think the main reason older people have a higher immunity to it is that we saw it once before; we fell prey to it once before. The fashion industry rotates each decade and are mostly inspired by pulling out old stuff for the last 20 years. I laughed at the beginning of 2000 when '80s styles began popping up. I was young in the '80s but I was old enough to know I hated what I was wearing.

We're 13 years into 2000 and they are still pulling out tired '80s styles. But I'm not totally immune. None of us are. Eventually, immerse me in it enough and even I will be browsing skinny jeans. It's happening already. Even though I held out for years, observing from a distance that NO ONE looks good in skinny jeans, unless they were on a television screen. I feel the poison seeping into my veins as I acknowledge that if one is wearing a voluminous '80s shirt that covers the hips, an '80s belt at a slant, and if one wears boots to cover the awkwardness of jeans meeting shoes, then it's not so bad.

See this?

Yeah, I wore that (minus the sequins.)

And look! It's been around before:

So, back to where we started:  I love my thirties because I finally like what I like because I like it. All pressure is off. I also love the perspective that comes with time, the perspective my parents tried to tell me about, but I couldn't quite grasp.

Fashion is one concept you can't grasp until you're old enough to see it truly come around again. Younger generations think old people are out of style because they are incapable of understanding fashion. I thought it. Everyone I knew thought it. But the truth is, old people understand it all too well. They wear what they like, if they can find it. Sure, they probably like it because it was something they were conditioned to like a couple decades ago, but they have the freedom to do so in a way younger people can't understand that they DON'T have.

If you are between the ages of 30 and 65, you might have a bit of trouble finding the duds you like. Department stores have a dividing line separating teens and the elderly, but there are few sections for in-betweeners. We have to search a bit. Some shopping trips are a choice between having our crack show to the world or wearing a floral patterned blouse. We keep shopping. And we keep hoping that the '40s will someday be a popular style that repeats itself. We missed it the first time.

Yesterday, I discovered a new fun thing about being old: messing with the heads of young people. But that's a post for another day.


Christy Hoagland said...

I love some of the 80s clothes, lol, and a few years ago when I was working at the middle school and kids started wearing 80s clothing I thought to myself..."they have no right, those are mine".
I like lots of different styles, but most I can't pull off ;)

Jenn said...

I'm pretty sure that means you're older than me. Or cooler than me? Both. Okay, we're the same age. But still. We were borderline 80s/90s children/teens. I like the hipster-90s repeat of clothes because it's the era I identified with...the era in which I finally started to pay attention to clothing. I think your appreciation for 80s styles probably means you were cooler than me in the 80s. Are we surprised? lol.

Oddly, music is something I completely changed my mind on. I hated 80s music in the 80s. Now I break out in song with the radio...on the Oldies station that plays 80s music!

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