Getting “Over” Fashion Rules
Fighting With Fashion
When I was a kid, my dad’s mom told my own mother that her hair was too long for a woman over 30. WHAT?!?!? No long hair after 30? Why was there a magical age for short hair? I followed fashion rules as a teen (see Let’s Talk About that Dress like no black until age 18 and never acid wash denim). As I get older I hate giving up fun looks too soon. I played with different looks, but often dressed older than my age through my 20’s. These days I take more risks, yet still see the fashion magazines with a “style at any age” feature. Even actress Ellen Barkin thinks we shouldn’t wear a hemline over the knee after age 40 (that is not happening here). All these rules can get overwhelming and keep us from enjoying a fun trend.
Making a Misstep
These rules are exactly what kept me out of one of my favorite trends upon it’s recent revival–overalls. I was a GIANT fan of overalls during their last incarnation in the late 1990’s-early aughts. I had traditional denim, corduroy, even black velvet for those ” formal” overalls functions. In 2000, I took them too far. I wore maternity overalls. YIKES! Who DOES that? I believed I was a tiny and adorably pregnant woman, but as I look back at scrapbooks, that is most definitely NOT the case. They became my “fourth trimester” pants also (you know, that time that you’re fighting to get back into pants with a waist?) Then there was the biggest fail of all: I was twinning with my toddlers in their tiny Osh Kosh and COULD NOT MAKE IT STOP.
Fortunately, one of my very BEST friends had a similar overall addiction and we worked our steps to recovery together. We vowed to never wear them again because they were clearly too young for us.
Chipping away at Resolve
Fast forward to 2016 and the overalls revival. LITERALLY everyone was bringing back the cutest overalls. J and I vowed to stay strong and keep away. We texted each other in weak moments. We opted for the “more mature” option–the jumpsuit–and prayed it would suffice.
Here’s what they don’t tell you in the fashion world: jumpsuits are a gateway drug to overalls. You get all used to how easy it is to dress in a onesie, you are well-trained for the acrobatics and speed required for the ladies’ room in a one-piece outfit and BAM! The cravings for soft denim and adjustable straps is insatiable. I trolled the websites for weeks, trying to determine which I could wear without looking like an aged teen. And then, I found them…
Mad love ensued. To keep my friend from abandoning me for betraying our pact, I bought her a pair for her birthday. Most importantly, I developed a plan for MULTIPLE ways to wear them to justify this silly purchase. As far as the summer goes, I think I did pretty well.
Playing with the tops and accessories on each look created numerous outfit ideas and vibes. I love putting turquoise with fatigue (check the camo scarf photos–turquoise pops up everywhere) for a shopping or movie day. Fringed heels dress up any of the looks (like taking the OTS blouse or white with statement sleeves out to dinner or a date night). Finally, a statement bag is a perfect and practical accessory
What I’m learning, folks, is there really aren’t rules. I’ve taken another challenge fashion item and made it my own with multiple ways to wear–and isn’t that what we want from every piece in our closet?
I am really happy to have this JEANS alternative back in the rotation, regardless of my own age. (and *may* have another pair in a shopping cart somewhere)
Stay tuned this fall for more ways to wear this fun trend. Post photos of how you embrace fun trends or send me suggestions!
Photos by Julie Kahlbaugh
Mural by Baron Batch in Pittsburgh’s South Side flats