My favorite styles of clothing and accessories tend to be whimsical, cute, and generally suited to children or teenagers... but I’m in my late twenties. I obviously need to outgrow this eventually, but I’m not sure when or how.
I love wearing things that are fun. I love cute. I love bright colors. I love Hello Kitty, neon eyeshadow, Claire’s Accessories, and dinosaur shoelaces. I even love Hot Topic. If there were no dress codes, I’d wear lobster-print pajama pants or deliberately mismatched flip-flops everywhere I went. This is not to say I can’t dress myself appropriately: I do have suits, and various Ann Taylor separates for work, but I don’t really like wearing them. I generally have the good sense not to do a full tilt boogie Harajuku Rainbow Brite Punky Brewster rollerskating in drag in space ensemble, but I like putting on a clump of plastic bracelets or a smidge of glitter eyeliner if I go out.
I have always known, in the back of my head, that the day will come when I can no longer pull off. I fear that day may be coming faster than I’m ready for, or that it may already be here. As much as I love Betsey Johnson’s
spirit, I’m probably not going to be able to pull off her look at 35, never mind 65.
When is the time to put the cute stuff away and start dressing one’s age? Is it a numerical age, a change in one’s life (such as becoming a parent or getting a promotion), or the point when you start to notice wrinkles? Or is it one of those "I know it when I see it" things? Was it in fact five years ago, and no one told me? I very much doubt I’m going to wake up one morning, look at my closet of glitter and pink, and say, "Gee, I’m just too old for this and I don’t feel like wearing it anymore."
And how can I let the kiddie fashion go without tears? I have eclectic tastes and a good eye for style, so I know I’ll probably find things to wear that are both appealing and age-appropriate, but sometimes that plastic jewelry really does seem like the only thing standing between me and a slow slide into corporate casual, mom-jeans, three-shades-of-beige sartorial senility. And I can’t just decide to stop liking Hello Kitty… or can I?
(Please, please, please do not suggest that I watch "What Not to Wear" – even though I admit they sometimes have okay advice, overall I hate that show, I frequently disagree with their taste and half the time I’ve seen it they’re trying to get some poor soul to wear a blazer and heels to the supermarket.)