Skip to comments.Do I Look Old in These Jeans?
Posted on 05/12/2006 7:26:17 AM PDT by qam1
Dressing like your daughter doesnt make you look hotterjust stupider.
Creepy futurist/author Douglas Coupland once wrote that in the 1960s, everyone dressed as if they were 35 years oldbut that by the 90s, that age had dipped to 25. Alarmingly, it didnt stop there, and one wonders if Couplandwere he not currently embroiled in increasingly weird artistic pursuitsmight not notice that in the few years since he made his point, masses of adults have taken to dressing like 15-year-olds: a trend that, if it continues, should by the 2010s center on sippy cups and purple overalls.
Men get partial credit for this descentbut puerile as it is, mens fashion is now less pointedly teenaged than womens. Flip-flops, board shorts, logo tees and scruffy hair are hallmarks of the contemporary mens lookbut guys have a long history of resembling the homeless. The current surf hobo thing is but the latest devolution in their casual wear.
No, it is adult women in their 30s and 40sparticularly in Southern Californiawho have taken up the standard, and who now dress like teenagers. They are the new Teen Moms, a demographic that is pack-like in its affinities (crossover SUVs, satchel purses) and equipped with the financial capacity to indulge its most egregious whims. As we will see: elsewhere in the world, women with moneyand women who dress as if they have moneymay expend their shopping energies on classic jewelry and durable designer pieces. But not here.
Forget refined, elegant style and aging gracefully. The aesthetic raison dêtre for an enormous cabal of Orange County women is one of battle: of slaying each passing day with a fiery sword of Botox. For them, the next big trend has become less about the serene simplicity of a Ralph Lauren offering and more about what their daughters drag home. The new Teen Momclinging tightly to youths untucked shirttailshas no qualms about pillaging cuts, colors, fabrics, brands and stores previously reserved for her female progeny, with their nubile bods and nascent ideas of attractiveness.
And she and her ilk are everywhere: grown women with adult lives and mature bodies, flitting through grocery stores and dog parks in hot-pink Juicy sweats, sequined tank tops scrawled with some declaration of foxiness, and pigtails. Bad taste taken to the next level, theirs is a situation rich in ironythe more pains middle-aged women take to resemble young girls, the more obvious their age becomes.
From the bottom up, Teen Mom wears a sort of Barbies Closet collection of separates: a mix-and-match of items whose colors and textures resemble Target at Easter. Her footwear is either stilettos or flip-flops; shoes are usually sequined, snakeskinned, accessorized and brightly colored. Her jeans are, obviously, upscale boutique denimtight of leg, sculpted of ass, low of waist. Her sweats are not sweats at all but tightly fitted velour pants in burnished shades of pink, purple, green or blue. Her miniskirts may be denimin the tradition of the Cougar (the Cougar is but one or two genera away from Teen Mom)but they are more likely short and ruffled: a style worn last year with Uggs by real, live teenagers.
On top, Teen Mom varies, but she maintains a fondness for some combo of tight-ribbed tank tops, T-shirts and zip-front hoodies. Enormous sunglasses and some form of gaudy jewelrycostume or real, so long as it looks cheapcomplete the look. Which leaves only the hair: blond. It is rare indeed for Teen Mom to have hair that has not been colored very, very blond; on this style point, her clans consistency is truly stunning. Think Amy Poehler as the dizzy, clueless teen queen mom in Mean Girlsa character intended as a Teen Mom parody. Yet, aside from one movie moment where a lap dog nibbles her presumably artificial nipples without her noticing, the character seems less an exaggeration than an absolutely spot-on tribute. But are her real-life counterparts in on the joke? Or do their Roxy tees somehow imbue Teen Moms with rock-star confidence or the fashion frisson moment of This is my destiny outfit?
Its not as if Teen Moms are physically ill-suited for their assumed wardrobes. Thanks to spectacular amounts of leisure time spent on workouts, grooming and ignoring food, Teen Moms are usually rail-thin, with cut and refined prison bodies. It can be incongruous: as I discovered yesterday in the line at Starbucks, the bird in front of me with the legs and a** packed into the awesome jeans, the teeny hoodie, the bleached-out beach hair, and the Quiksilver ball cap was not, in fact, in her senior year. Her voice, which I heard when she ordered her skim-decaf-whatever, belied her youthful outfit. But her face, which I saw when she migrated to the drink pickup counter, was ravaged by sun and age: deep lines cut across her cheeks and neck, screaming to be filled in by five extra pounds of middle-aged softness.
Every generation of teen girl finds new ways to piss off her keepersbralessness, ratted hair, Madonna gloves, genital warts, Dr. Martensbut generational payback doesnt work if Mom embraces your tight jeans and cropped tops. Your only remaining option is to outdo her, and todays teenage girl knows how, thanks to the likes of Mischa, Lindsay, Mary-Kate and Parisespecially Pariscelebrities who are actively sexual and look it, and are scarcely out of their teens. So she gets pedicures, carries purses, and aspires to heels and Ace bandage-length skirtsstarting at an age when style should probably be more about what clothes are best for playing soccer.
Tina Feys Mean Girls character, the teacher, solved the problem for us two years ago: Youve got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It makes it okay for guys to call you sluts and whores, she said in the filmin one of the most trenchant exchanges I heard that year. And everyone learned a valuable lesson, in less than two hoursbut in real life, were stuck with the teen queen Reginas and their psuedo-hooker wear. Theyre not going anywhere.
Nobody's paying attention to Miss Manners anymore.
One fifty-ish mother told me that her daughter got nipple rings and for a minute she thought she would too --that was one way she thought she wouldn't lose her car keys!
She's from California.
Someone should write a book.
Ping list for the discussion of the politics and social (and sometimes nostalgic) aspects that directly effects Generation Reagan / Generation-X (Those born from 1965-1981) including all the spending previous generations (i.e. The Baby Boomers) are doing that Gen-X and Y will end up paying for.
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Certainly ughs by me. That style only flatters rail-thin girls. Everyone else just looks like a barge.
She sounds gross!
My wife complains that these teenager clothes are all taht's available in stores now. She has been looking like crazy for a pair of jeans that aren't low rise, but isn't having any luck. So her choice is to dress like a tramp or wear old, worn out clothes.
Seems to be another reflection of the perpetual adolescence of baby boomers. It's been on the inside for 30 years. Now it's showing on the outside.
Well I have to admit that I still own and wear a pair of Levi's that I bought when I was 16.....back in 1976. I also wear fairly tight, fairly short shorts.........when I'm gardening.....I dont' wear them out in public.
I'm 45 years old, not 16 and I know it....I may fit in those clothes, but I'm not going to be seen in public wearing them..........and neither will my now 7yo daughter if she knows what's good for her.
OH MY GOD!!!!!
Are you serious? People trying to look younger than they are. This is unprecedented in the history of this country. Never before has anything like this ever gone on. We're DOOOOMED! Must be the Clinton legacy.
Shocked, I say.
If they'd stop making everything out of stretch material, it wouldn't show. ;)
My wife uses an irish expression:
"Mutton dressed like lamb"
I have a 21 year old son. Every so often I'll say to him some particular girl seems nice, and he'll say "Mom, I'm not going out with any girl who has 'spoiled rotten' written across her chest".
I'm embarrassed when I go shopping, to see some of the things written on girls shirts.
"Mutton dressed like lamb"
lol! That is a keeper!
At age 50, she probably doesn't even have to unhook the keys from said ring to drive her car.
Bit like those elastic springy things that janitors keep their keys on.
Very handy. Might even tuck it into her pocket.
This is the key for both men and women - no one seems to get that dressing young makes your age obvious (40+ "surf bum" men in nightclubs look just as stupid) , while dressing in a timeless, classic style makes your age very hard to determine. You won't look 18, but you can stay "30-ish" for a very long time. ;)
What would you suggest women in their 60's that are not over weight wear?????
No, it's more that parents are dressing their little girls like street walkers.
My wife (reluctantly) bought some low (not 'ho) rise jeans and couldn't believe how comfortable they were. Now it's all she buys, and she has even recommended them to some of her friends who report similar experiences.
LA/OC "progressive" writers are the generally boring writers like this and boringly talk about their superficial hatreds like this.
You've got that right.
I'm glad I live in an area where we all tend to dress our little girls like little girls.....ruffles and bows on their dresses............and tomboys for playtime.
No, but I wish they were. Here in rural Missouri we have the problem of people going to Wal-Mart in their sweats even if they weigh 400 pounds. My husband has resigned himself to the fact that I won't let him leave the house/yard in sweats.
I have seen more than one in their pj's at Walmart
LOL I agree.
So what if people don't dress their age or conform to a certain look befitting or what society deems befitting for there age.
I would rather mix with people who don't dress their age, than mix with look alike clones in Chairman Moe suits.
What would you suggest women in their 60's that are not over weight wear?????
Whatever they damn well please. I just find the hand wringing silly. People trying to look younger is no surprise to me at all. It is certainly not a new phenomenon.
I pretty much do, as long it is within reason, but am not going to raid my teenage granddaughter' closets!!!!!
I always thought Aunt Bee and Clara Edwards were appropriately dressed.
I can sympathize with her. When I was looking for a new pair of dress pants for the office - it was nearly impossible to find any without "pleats". I didn't want pleated pants, but that's practically all they had.
Lois: Oh, what about this, Meg? A pink baby-tee that says "Little Slut." That seems pretty hip.
Meg: I don't know if that's really me, Mom.
Lois: Well, they've got one that says "Porn Star" and another that says "Sperm Dumpster." And they're all written in glitter.
Meg: All right, all right. Give me "Sperm Dumpster."
Lois: That's the spirit!
--Family Guy, "Don't Make Me Over"
Kids can wear them to high school and college classes, so why not Wal-Mart?
Alfred Dunner. Nicely cut slacks, blouses, and sweaters. I have 21 pairs of slacks in different colors along with co-ordinating tops. I'm 65. I dress conservatively but must admit I have seen some women in outfits that I wonder if they looked in the mirror before they left the house. LOL.
I have the same problem. Tell her to try Gap Original Fit jeans--they come in boot leg or flare hems, three different lengths, and you can usually find them for around $30 in the store because they're not the low-rise that everyone else wants (they're less at the outlet). There are different fabric combos with different levels of stretchiness, so it's good to check the tags and try a couple of different styles/fabrics, because some of the less-stretchy are looser in the thigh than the real stretchy ones. And they fit women who have waists and hips!
What I hate are people I work with, men and women, whose age I know because I maintain their records, who show up at the mall, in nice local restaurants and various other places, dressed like they are in the gym - shorts, tank top and flip flops. It is ludicrous that at the same time they are balancing wallet, keys and cell phone in their hands because they have no pockets to put them in.
Oh, aren't you right on target! LOL! Stretchy material and all those mock-wrap tops that practically go down to the waist! Hard to dress like a respectable woman anymore without having to look like a frump. It's annoying, so I'll stick to my jeans (no low-rise) and tops that manage to cover my... (ahem) ...
If she's built like I am (fairly straight up-and-down, not a lot of waist but not a lot of hips either) she can wander over to the men's department at Target and buy the men's Wrangler jeans. The relaxed fit fits almost anybody and they are DIRT cheap.
I have never been able to wear women's jeans, though. If the waist fits, I could smuggle an entire family of illegals in the seat, and if the seat fits I can't breathe.
If she actually has womanly curves, the Limited has a high-rise jean that my daughter buys.
I never understood the rationale for paying $220 for a pair of denim work pants.
"Your wife needs to get on the Internet and start shopping at Cold Water Creek and Talbots (if she likes classic clothing).
Don't forget Chico's. :) Thanks for the suggestion of Talbots. I'd forgotten that one as a possibility.
I refuse to dress my 6yr old in a tee shirt that says raunchy stuff on it. I would rather dress her in boys tee shirts then what I see out in the malls. Some of the stuff out there is not age-appropriate at all.
Im 35ish and wear the same jeans and rock t-shirt style I have worn for 20 some years. Funny thing is I get carded for buying alcohol on a regular basis and my fiance' who is 8 years younger than myself never gets carded. which she can't figure out (I tell her its the white hair--she has albinism, makes her look older than she is, then I get smacked so I stopped saying it).
BS. Two words - Ann Taylor.
Boys/Mens jeans are absolutely the way to go if your wife doesn't want to web shop. Not only are they cheaper and more comfortable than what is available in the women's department, but my experience has been that they last longer as well. Win-win.
I do tend to hate how slobbish way people dress nowadays. I'm probably somewhat acclimatized (unfortunately) to the trashy/slutty, tattooed-freak 'look' that the youth find so spiffy, but it sure is dismaying seeing older folks looking like unkempt slobs. Out shopping, I'm seeing seniors in tacky t-shirts, sweats, etc., often with their guts hanging out. Twenty years ago or so, I always found a bit of solace in the dignity and decorum that the older generations presented in public, but in the past few years all that has been coming to an end. Slobby dressing just does not command respect.
For classic good clothing, Ralph Lauren is my first choice, which I buy on sale :)