Hi ladies! It’s your girl, Emily! I’ve missed sharing my thoughts with you, and when Charlene asked me to inform you once again of how truly beautiful you all are, I jumped at the chance.
Working in retail, Charlene and I have both experienced, upon multiple occasions, women shying away from clothing they obviously love simply because of their age. Their faces light up as soon as they see a certain top, and when I suggest they try it on, they quickly decline and say something like, “Oh no thanks. I’m too old for this, but my (niece, daughter, granddaughter, little sister, etc.) would love it.” They give it one more longing look and move on to clothing deemed more acceptable for their age. The root of this being they no longer think they have a right to wear whatever they want. Old age has become a synonym for unattractive, and women are taught that the older they get the more they need to cover up, the more they need to hide away from the world. And it’s completely unfair.
The fact that we, as women, deny ourselves the right to wear clothing we love simply because we’ve reached a certain age is absolutely absurd. Sure, your arms at 50 probably don’t look the same as they did at 22, but who cares?! They’re still your arms, and they’re still beautiful.
A few days after Charlene approached me about this topic, I had an encounter that struck a chord with me. I was sitting in the Starbucks at Barnes & Noble, sipping my cold brew coffee, scrolling through Instagram, completely oblivious to the world around me (you know, just living my best millennial life), when a woman who couldn’t have been older than forty came up to me and complimented the tank top I was wearing. I thanked her and preceded to tell her where I got it, so she could promptly go get one herself, but she cut me off before I could finish my sentence saying, “Hun, my tank top days are behind me.”
And you know what? That made me sad. Like really sad. She had sentenced herself to a boring, confining life of sleeves. I mean how HEARTBREAKING is that?! I keep thinking of all the amazing tops and dresses she’s missing out on, of all the sun her arms aren’t getting! I’m sure there were hot days where wearing a tank top would’ve greatly benefited this woman, but she actively chose to be uncomfortable rather than wear a tank top. I mean that is insanity!!
As I thought on this encounter more, I began to think of the women in my life and the many times I’ve heard similar statements from them. I’m too old for that style of top. I can’t show off my legs anymore. Emily, stop buying me clothes you know I’m never going to wear (looking at you, Mom).
Women have always been treated unfairly when it comes to age and beauty. While men are seen as distinguished and handsome the older they get, women’s age and beauty are put on a graph where as one grows the other diminishes. And what’s even sadder is that we’ve bought into the lie. I’m only 22, and I’ve been told on many occasions that I “need to start the war against wrinkles now, before it’s too late!” Now, I’m not saying that I don’t love a good skin care line. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking care of your skin. But these people aren’t telling me I need to take care of my skin; they’re telling me that I need to not have wrinkles. There’s a big difference. Wrinkles on men are accepted, and often times even celebrated (think of the ruggedly handsome Clint Eastwood or Harrison Ford), while women take drastic measures and spend thousands of dollars to keep even one wrinkle from being etched in their face. It’s ridiculous!
I don’t mean to get all preachy millennial feminist on you, but I want you to understand that just because you’re not in your twenties anymore doesn’t mean you’re not beautiful, and it sure as hell shouldn’t limit what you can and can’t wear. See a top you love? Try it on. It makes you feel like million bucks? Buy it! Not only do you buy it, you wear it out of the store! You strut to your car like a Victoria’s Secret runway model! You go home to your significant other and remind him or her just how lucky they are to be graced with your presence. To hell with hiding yourself away just because society says you have to. Beauty has no age, just as fashion has no age. If you need further proof of this, check out Baddie Winkle on Instagram. She is EVERYTHING.
One of my favorite quotes is, “Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.” And it’s about damn time women were included in that mentality.