50 year old women should not be seen in jeans

Just to be clear, I’m not a fashion victim. I haven’t bought a fashion magazine for about twenty years now, and about the only place I read them is at the hairdressers. And sometimes I glance through the fashion pages in the newspaper. Okay? Just so that you know that I’m not spending all my waking hours agonising about what to wear.

The Australian Weekend Magazine ran a piece last Saturday about what style of jeans women of varying ages should wear. It’s not on-line, so you’ll have to rely on my description.

The article opines on what style of jeans you should buy at what age. Apparently women in their twenties can wear whatever they like. Women in their thirties should go for the straight leg and boyfriend cuts. (Previously unknown to me – these are jeans that look like you’ve borrowed them from your boyfriend. But not your husband.) In your forties, it’s wide leg jeans, and when you’re in your fifties, you should be wearing boot cut jeans. There’s no mention of what women in their sixties should be wearing. Evidently it is not the done thing to wear jeans when you are sixty plus. Just don’t tell my mother. She wears jeans, and purple, fabulously.

There’s the obvious issue of telling women what clothes they should wear in order to look good. What about wearing jeans which are comfortable?

But that’s not the real beef I have with the article.

The section telling women in their twenties what jeans they should wear is illustrated with a picture of a woman wearing the prescribed jeans. She’s in her twenties (or maybe even younger).

The section telling women in their thirties what jeans they should wear is illustrated with a picture of a woman wearing the prescribed jeans. She’s in her twenties (or maybe even younger).

The section telling women in their forties what jeans they should wear is illustrated with a picture of a woman wearing the prescribed jeans. She’s in her twenties (or maybe even younger).

The section telling women in their fifties what jeans they should wear is illustrated with a picture of a woman wearing the prescribed jeans. She’s in her twenties (or maybe even younger).

Evidently we may contemplate women in their fifties wearing jeans, but we ought not to actually see it. Even in an article telling women in their fifties that they will look great in these jeans.

Feh!

And while I’m on the subject of jeans, I bought a pair a few weeks back. David Lawrence straight leg cut (oops! wrong decade), slight stretch, very, very comfortable. Also one size smaller than the David Lawrence jeans I bought a couple of years ago. But actually, I have not shrunk in that time. And they’re about two sizes smaller than the jeans I was buying about 10 to 15 years ago. In the years since then I have moved into my forties, and carried two pregnancies, one of them a twin pregnancy. I have definitely become somewhat larger in the last ten years or so, in the normal course of childbearing and aging. But my jeans are (officially) smaller.

Please explain.

About these ads

26 responses

  1. My Mum hasn’t worn jeans since she was in her 30s, but my mother-out-law is in her sixties and still carries off both jeans and shorts successfully, perhaps I should send a photo of her in to the Australian?

    My mother-out-law is the mother of my boyfriend, from whom I do not steal jeans because he has a smaller bum than me now that we’re in our 30s on account of me doing the childbearing, and also he’s usually wearing his jeans himself. My jeans are from Kathmandu, my sister-out-law has the same ones, because it’s hard to come by nice jeans for a maternal-sized bum, we try not to match at family lunches. These are the pressing fashion issues faced by 30-somethings that the Oz has failed to address.

  2. And for whose pleasure and benefit, I wonder*, are women supposed to stick to these rules?

    *Not really, it’s a rhetorical question

  3. Adele Villemez | Reply

    I wear jeans on a regular basis. No idea what style of jeans I wear, but since I will be turning 40 in three days and have no plans to throw away all my jeans and buy new ones I’m sure I’m wrong – either now or later, or possibly both!

    I found this article about changes in clothing sizes interesting: http://www.justsaywhen.com/Vintage-101-Sizing.htm

    It refers to changes in US sizes, so I looked for into on Australia sizes and discovered that “the previous sizing standard was dropped two years ago”: http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/story/0,28383,25555063-5007192,00.html

    So I guess, now Australia is like the US and the number representing the size on women’s clothing is essentially meaningless!

  4. I wear whatever is comfortable until it isn’t suitable for wearing any more. Then I go and find some more. Quite often at Target these days. I’ve been wearing boot cut jeans for a couple of years now. I rather like them. Only four and a bit years until I should be officially wearing them!

  5. The seinfeldian progressive reduction of the numbers given to dress sizes is a notorious clientele-flattering gimmick developed by the fahsion industry over the course of the Nineties I believe. I’m expecting we’ll move into negative sizes any time now.

  6. OMG!!! I can only wear jeans for two more years then? And I’ve been wearing the wrong ones for over 30 years. Apparently I have major FAIL jeans genes. But I’m really comfortable with my style, which is comfortable with lots of handknits that people often want to drool over and rip off my back and try to get me to knit the same thing for them. Is this a problem?

  7. Stop press: they appear to have ripped it off from the New Idea.

    I know this because I was flipping through the mags today at the hairdressers’ waiting for my colour to take (they have mags for all tastes). The May 16 issue (I think) ran just such a feature — it sounds almost identical. And here’s the kicker: they DID have a ’50+’ section. So not only does the Oz appear to have ripped it off, but also to have proactively erased the existence of women over 50. As though we weren’t already invisible enough.

  8. What are ‘wide legged jeans’? Palazzo pants made of denim? Just, you know, so I can go and buy a pair.

  9. ” But actually, I have not shrunk in that time. And they’re about two sizes smaller than the jeans I was buying about 10 to 15 years ago.”

    When I started my first job in 1983 I was working in a mens wear shop. Small size was the same waist measurement as boys age size 16, that is 72 to 76 cm (28 to 30 inches) but different fitting in the legs and butt. At that stage I still fitted boys 16 size. By 1987 I still fitted boys size 16 in the waist but had to go up to a mens small for hip and leg fitting. Some 20 years later and I have obviously retained my youthful good looks because my waist size is about the same but if the size on the shorts, underpants, jeans etc says small then they are usually far to big. It is a major effort to find small size pants on either side if the tasman. It is the same with tops. i was a small to medium size from my late teens and there is no change in my chest size but even small tops are too big nowdays. I am a builder and struggle to get tool belts that will fit. I also sometimes recieve giveaway t-shirts or sweatshirts. Reciently I recieved a T-shirt and on the 0rder form the sizes started at m and went to xxxl. I got the m and was able to shrink it to fit. Other stuff I just hand on to friends or family.

    Whose ego or adgenda are we all catering to/suffering from that even though I am about the same measurements as i was 25 years ago I appear to have shrunk by about 1 1/2 sizes??

  10. Fifty year old women should not be seen in shrouds, either.

    Secure in the knowledge that whatever you wear, you are going to offend someone’s idea of attractiveness, wear what you like. Be comfortable.

  11. I saw the same article and had the same gripe. The model for the “40s” group looked about 14!!

    I have the same issue about sizes too. I’m in my mid-50s and weigh more than I did in my 30s, but my jeans size is smaller. I think they just make them bigger so that we feel better about ourselves. Bit sad really.

  12. i’ve been wearing boot cut jeans since i was 23. oops.
    i love them. they’re great for tall people.

  13. Ha! The teenage model wearing jeans and pretending to be 2o, 30, 40 and 50 years old. About as annoying as the 0 sized model wearing jeans and pretending to be pear-shaped, apple-shaped and all the types of fruit shape we supposedly resemble.

  14. Sounds like rubbish advice to me (btw that dumb thing of using 20-year-olds to model styles recommended to older women is in last winter’s Vogue magazine). The style of jeans you wear should depend on your body shape. Prime example – I am short, so should wear bootlegs or straight legs, which helps lengthen my silhouette. When I get to 50 I will still be short, so there’s no way in hell I’m going to switch to wide leg jeans ‘cos they’ll make me look like I’ve had my lower legs surgically removed.

  15. Sadly I remember a similar article about make-up for various ages or something like that a few months back which used the same model for the various decades. She was of course in the youngest age bracket I think.

    It also bugs me that they have those ads on telly where the woman says my real age is 40-something. And the ones with people in white coats pretending to be pharmacists or doctors or whatever when they are clearly actually actors. Don’t even start me on Family Health Diary. Although if they could get Jude Dodson to advertise the dog care stuff that would make me laugh.

  16. I am 54, happy and healthy. And — I wear the jeans I like. I know, I am looking better than many 30-year olds who think they’ve bought the right to beauty with clothes they actually should not have touched …
    Fashion and style are two very different matters. A woman, in order to look her best, needs to develop and nurture her very own style. Most of all, she should not “dress down” because she feels she should fit in with the rest of the crowd. If you like jeans, wear them; but don’t wear them just beacause you think they make you look younger or sexier or whatever …
    So, I read such articles with my motto in mind: I am the captain of my ship!

  17. I’m with you on Family Health Diary, Julie. I loathe it. There seems to be no condition that they can’t sell you a product for.

  18. This is what I’m thinking about this whole “what women should wear at this age” dribble. And make no mistake that it’s dribble. Honestly who gives two sh* if some crone wants to wear a mini?It’s a marketing ploy.

    Women in their 20s can wear anything because they shop more often and spend more money on trendy things and the fashion industry wants them to continue doing so.

    Older women generally, historically, don’t buy as often or as many trends. Besides, if old women are running around in trends, this would turn 20 something women off. Also, these younger women wouldn’t feel as special and “cool” and they would stop buying the trends the designers are lining up for them.

    So, the advice for all the old bags is to wear the clothes the fashion industry has created for you: the boring, staid classics that cost a lot more for you to buy – and which they don’t have to waste their time and creativity on.

    Why bother? Old bags care for comfort and are difficult to satisfy anyway.

    So that’s my take.

  19. sigh…let us now praise women who have the patience and wisdom to carefully plant healthy seeds but not spend too much time weeding the garden…

  20. As a 5’10″ 50 year old women…size 10 I have NEVER found jeans that FIT.
    Once I find slacks that fit, I buy them in every color… and 3 black.
    I believe it is called “personal style”!!!
    I am over trying to be skinny… as long as I look like I can kick someones booty… I am good!

  21. Stop giving up! What the heck are you thinking? Buy what makes you look good and feel good. I just turned 50 and I look great in skinny jeans.
    I care about myself. Do not give into the old or you will look old. Get on that treadmill. Not only will you look great, it is a great way to stay healthly. DO NOT GIVE UP ON YOURSELF. Do not let people label. Stand up for yourself and look beautiful. You deserve it!

  22. What is happening in our world. Isnt there enough rubbish going around without telling people what age they should wear what clothing! For a start, it doesnt matter what your age is and who ever said women over a certain age cant wear some clothes, obviously has a chip on her or his shoulder regarding fashion. People making comments on what others should wear is like telling someone how old you should be to have children. If people took it seriously you would have a world of women over forty wearing tents, and teenage mothers! The world is already corrupt enough, so to anyone who loves to dabble in fashion and wants to wait before starting a family, ect ect, go to your hearts content. If you feel good wearing something, wear it and even if you are ninety nine years old. If Jesus, for those who believe couldnt please the world and those making the rules, what hope do we have. Enjoy wearing what you like and as for wearing jeans. Oh please, it was only a year ago there were articles in the Womens Day about women from twenty to sixty plus, wearing jeans and they all looked apsolutely bloody fantastic. Wear what you want and show it off, there is no limit to what you can do, just what you can take in. If we bend down hard enough, maybe we will also be told what underwear we should be wearing!!!

  23. I think a denim pant with pencil thin legs, worn with ankle boots and a soft tunic top that falls to the hip is a great look on any woman. Some jewelly at the neck and a nice purse also dresses up denim. The only mistake (again for women of any age) is to wear denim pants with t-shirts, sweatshirts or casual blouses and sweaters. Denim looks good dressed up.

  24. Hrmm.. I think if you have a nice body, you can wear jeans whatever your age. My mum has a smaller bum than me (she’s apple shaped whereas i’m sadly pear shaped :( )so she has a more slight bum than I do..

    hence, she looks better in jeans whereas i look better in dresses :D and thatsjust the way it is. if you have it, work it, flaunt it :D

    p.s. mum’s 55 :D

    1. Hmmm… I’m more inclined to think that you can wear jeans if you want to, and to hell with anyone thinking that you ought not to because you don’t fit their ideals of what women should look like. But above all, you should wear clothes that you feel comfortable and good in, and if someone else doesn’t like them, then that’s their problem, not yours.

  25. wmn hs t hv nc, fll bhnd t pll ff wrng jns. g s nt th ss. Wth d rspct t Dbrh, t s nt bt nyn fttng m dls. t s bt th ss fttng th jns. Otherwise I agree with her, wear what makes you feel comfortable.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 522 other followers