“Women always try and tame themselves as they get older, but the ones who look best are often a bit wilder”
I adore this quote from fashion doyenne Miuccia Prada, and it got me thinking, why do we have to conform to societies ideals when we get to our best years yet?
As women we spend our teenage years usually following the pack, trying to work out which tribe we belong to.
Are we preppy, hippie, alternate, punk, mod or maybe goth? These were the tribes around in the 1980’s, my impressionable teenage years.
I guess I’d have to say I was a mod/alternate hybrid.
One minute happy to embrace low slung hipster stovepipe pants usually teamed with a black and white striped long sleeved tee and the next a mini skirt fashioned from my grandparents crazy psychedelic pillow slips.
Always creating and always trying to work out my street style.
In my early 20’s, grunge was huge.
It was the 1990’s, work boots and lumberjack shirts were the look du jour and when designer Marc Jacobs launched his first collection featuring high end versions.
It was time to move on and find the next underground style, which was all about lace and flowers in my bouffant hair, the bigger and messier the better!
I was also known to wear a pair of red tap shoes out on occasion, which kept friends highly entertained!
My fashion was fun and crazy, a little like my life at the time.
And maybe that’s it, maybe when we don’t feel fun and crazy anymore our frocks aren’t either.
Do we dress for our responsibilities in life?
If you are a mother, I hazard a guess, it’s all about being practical and comfortable for the most part.
If one has a high powered job, to be taken seriously there is certain dress protocol to follow.
If you are a creative, it is seen as acceptable to be a little zany in your sartorial choice.
What I think is important, is to never forget the essence of you.
Whether you are one or all of the above, tap into that teenage girl every now and again.
I don’t mean wearing platforms and a mini skirt, but if you’ve still got the legs for it, knock yourself out.
It’s more about remembering who you are style wise.
You might have worn a black leather jacket, you still can now.
What’s great is you can probably afford a stunning butter soft lambskin that is divine to the touch and the cut just right.
With age comes a keen eye and maybe a bigger budget, which is pretty fabulous in my book!
Last seasons looks get packed away or donated to the local opportunity shop for someone else to love.
The fashion merry go round keeps on turning.
Now I find myself in my mid forties, and I still love to wear velvet and lace, and have been known to still put the odd flower in my hair.
Just because it’s 25 years later, why should I stop? The very essence of me is still the same, and that can’t be tamed.
It would be a foolish thing to try, as a grown woman I know my mind and style even better now than I did at 19.
So, a few laugh lines may have descended, but that’s just the map of where I’ve been and the life experiences I’ve survived. And those can never be erased thankfully.
So to all you wild women out there, wear your look proudly.
You’ve come a long way baby!
Jo Bayley, Fashion Elixir, The Culture Concept Circle, 2016