I don’t want to dress my age!

I am forty-two years old but I feel like the same person I was at eighteen, and that teenager inside does not want to dress for her forty-year old body. No, I don’t want to dress my age. Not at all. Is this weird?

No matter how I feel I know I have matured a great deal. Youthful insecurities have been replaced by a confidence that only comes from experience. My responsibilities have tripled since the time I needed only to finish my homework, make my bed and be home by midnight. I have a family to nurture, laundry to clean, design projects to complete and a mortgage to pay, but I still look at the world much the same way as I did as a teen. I have the same optimism, the same girlyness, and the same likes and dislikes in music. Now that the 80’s are back in fashion I could dress the same way I did as a teenager too, and you know what, I kind of want to. Certainly I don’t want to wear the kind of clothing I think a respectable forty-year old woman should wear.

I have this idea in my mind that at forty I should be wearing knee-length skirts, fitted blouses, loose draped sweaters and simple dresses. My shoes should be elegant. Even if the heels are high they should not be trendy. Colors should be muted, prints should be restrained, and all leather goods should be of the highest quality. But the teenager inside rebels. I don’t want to dress the way I think I should.

The other day I made an executive decision. I have worried long enough over looking like mutton dressed as lamb. Who cares, really, how I dress? As long as I don’t embarrass my children and my husband is happy there is no reason not to dress how I like.  So I am no longer going to worry if a garment is “too young” for me. I’m going to look at it and ask myself if I love it, if it’s flattering and if it works with my lifestyle. If a knee-length skirt looks great I’ll be pleased, but if a denim miniskirt looks good I’ll take it home, if only because I have lots and lots of knee-length skirts in my wardrobe, but miniskirts are in short supply. So I bought one. Here it is.

I felt bad for the poor kid at The Gap who helped me find the right size. “Is it too short?!!” I squeaked. “Does it look OK on me? No, no really. Be honest. Am I too old to wear this?” He looked bewildered, but he reassured me that the skirt looked good and it wasn’t too short, in fact it was the same length as the shorts I walked into the store wearing.

I took the skirt home and my husband loved it, so I wore it out Friday night with a hot pink jacket and chunky platform sandals to celebrate the decision to care less about the age-appropriateness of my attire.


  • Thrifted pink denim jacket
  • Blouse by Bellatrix
  • Denim skirt from The Gap
  • Platform Sandals by Roberto de Carlo

What do you think of dressing your age?

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38 Responses to I don’t want to dress my age!

  1. Alexis Grace August 28, 2012 at 9:55 am #

    My mom andI were talking about what it means to “dress your age” this past weekend. My mom is 59 (don’t tell her I told!) and she is HOT. Seriously, she looks amazing for her age and amazing in general. Lukus jokes that after meeting my parents and finding out what kind of genetics I was working with it sealed his decision to marry me…..
    But my mom is concerned that with 60 around the corner she needs to change her style. I tend to be of the mindset that as long as the fit is there and she isn’t trying to compete with 20 yr olds then she is good to go.
    One thing we both agree is that she need to buy quality products, not cheap pieces, that separates her from the kid shopping at Forever 21 and helps her pieces be more life appropriate…

    Anyways, you look great. And as long as you are feeling good you should keep doing what you’re doing!
    Alexis Grace recently posted..From Navy PierMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca August 30, 2012 at 11:13 am #

      I avoid the cheaper stores for sure, but then Forever 21 wasn’t around when I was 21 so I don’t miss shopping there. I do still shop at The Gap though and probably always will. I do try to buy better quality garments, but I like clothes so much it’s hard for me to say “no” just because something is cheap. Sigh. I’m sure your mom is beautiful Alexis, her daughter is gorgeous too!

  2. M August 28, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

    You don’t look over 37. So there.

  3. Shanti August 28, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

    love the lighting in these photos, especially the one with the lighted lanterns behind you. As for dressing for age, well, I don’t think it matters as long as you feel good. you look great in this outfit, and someone younger wouldn’t pull it off the same!

    • Heather Fonseca August 30, 2012 at 11:11 am #

      Thank you Shanti! The photos were taken with my new Fuju Film x100. I was told it had a “huge” sensor, which makes it good for taking night shots. We did use the flash that comes with the camera for some fill light, other than that it’s all existing light. I was happy with the way they came out too. Night shots can be really tricky.

  4. Jeannie
    August 28, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

    I am SO with you on this!! What is “dressing my age” look like? It’s such a personal decision. You are one hot mama, and you’re rockin’ this outfit!
    I LOVE your attitude!

    Way to go, Heather!
    Jeannie recently posted..LBD with splash of colorMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca August 30, 2012 at 11:10 am #

      Thank you jeannie! You’re a big inspiration to me too. Love that orange motorcycle jacket you were wearing on your blog the other day.

  5. Sandy August 28, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

    I think “dressing your age” is inappropriate 🙂 and completely for the birds. I’m not looking to feel, look or be any younger — just be me. Sometimes me is mini skirts (often, actually) and platforms, and sometimes it’s pencil skirts and pumps. Always, I hope anyway, it’s about what you too stand for, which is feeling stylish and happy in your skin. Because like you perfectly explain, while the skin may change, the me stays the same!

    • Heather Fonseca August 30, 2012 at 11:09 am #

      Thank you so much for that perfectly worded reply Sandy!

  6. Donna
    August 29, 2012 at 3:04 am #

    Rules like that are outdated. I think everyone should dress in what looks good on them, and what is appropriate for where they are (ie: working in an office, going to pick up the kids, going out for an evening). You have great legs and you SHOULD show them off! If you have an asset like that, enjoy showing it in the best way possible. When I turned 30 I fell for all of those rules, until someone pointed out to me that I had great long legs and should show them off.
    So kudos to you! You’re not alone in feeling like you’re still your young self inside. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your unique style, unbound by stupid rules.
    Donna recently posted..Mixing the old with newMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca August 30, 2012 at 11:09 am #

      Its funny because I became very interested in dressing my age in my early 30’s. I got rid of all my sparkly eye shadows and short skirts. It was weird. Now that I’m older (and wiser I hope) I’m over dressing my age. Is it just wishing I was younger? I don’t know. But I do know I’m going to wear short skirts again for sure! I’m glad you like my style Donna!

  7. Rachel
    August 29, 2012 at 6:11 am #

    Heather, I have felt 25 since I was 25 and I am pushing 50. I totally hear what you are saying on this. I agree that if you like it, if it is flattering and works for you, wear it. Crack up at the guy at the gap! Your legs are amazing. 🙂

    Rachel recently posted..Designer Brand Wearing and Trend FollowingMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca August 30, 2012 at 10:27 am #

      Thank you Rachel! I’ve been working out. I think it’s made a difference in my legs! I wouldn’t have wanted to show them off last year.

  8. A Brit Greek
    August 29, 2012 at 8:24 am #

    I love this post, and by all means dress how you feel, besides you don’t look a day over 35 anyway!

    I still dress younger than I am but not necessarily inappropriately. If you’ve got, it flaunt it, why cover up your best features & a fantastic body? Like Donna mentioned, rules are so outdated plus they’re meant to be broken too.

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE that floral blouse!
    A Brit Greek recently posted..BEST OF: ANTICIPATING A NEW MONTH, NEW EVERYTHING!My Profile

    • Heather Fonseca August 30, 2012 at 10:26 am #

      Some rules are definitely made to be broken, especially these unspoken age and dressing rules. So glad you like my blouse. I felt a little crazy when I bought it, but it’s very wearable.

  9. Oh to Be a Muse
    August 29, 2012 at 10:40 am #

    I think you look great. I also think that I’ll be dressing the same way I dress today in a few years. As long as it looks good, why change it just to meet some “norm”.
    Oh to Be a Muse recently posted..Lucky Fabb: Blogger Conference Preview & How-ToMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca August 30, 2012 at 10:24 am #

      I totally agree! I got very hung up on dressing my age while I was in my 30’s. Don’t let it happen to you!

  10. Kiki August 29, 2012 at 6:53 pm #

    Well, I have just hit 40 and feel exactly like you. Honestly, I do not want to dress “my age”. I want to wear whatever I want to wear and that’s that. For what it’s worth, you look great. 🙂
    Kiki recently posted..Jersey DressMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca August 30, 2012 at 10:17 am #

      Thank you Kiki! I’m glad I’m not alone.

  11. Chris Travon August 30, 2012 at 2:19 am #

    You’re lucky for your beautiful body structure. I think, you and your dress, both are very attractive for any youth.
    Chris Travon recently posted..http://www.maxworkoutsreviewed.netMy Profile

  12. Sally
    August 31, 2012 at 4:56 am #

    Not weird at all, you look amazing! If I look half as good as you do when I’m 42 I’ll be delighted. Love that jacket.

    • Heather Fonseca August 31, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

      Thanks so much Sally. You’re very sweet. Glad you like my crazy pink jacket.

  13. Arash Mazinani
    September 1, 2012 at 10:26 am #

    I love this post, I feel the same as you in terms of I’m 28 but still feel 18. Clothes wise, it’s a bit different for us guys as I guess some of the same rules don’t apply. I actually looked forward to getting a little older and refining the clothes I wear.

    I think though there are loads of examples on street style blogs of women in the 30s, 40s and upwards that dress age appropriately AND are bang on trend with designer heels and all.
    Arash Mazinani recently posted..Would You Let Your Partner Style You?My Profile

    • Heather Fonseca September 4, 2012 at 10:12 am #

      So glad you like the post Arash!

  14. citizen rosebud
    September 1, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

    I think you look fabulous! Dressing age appropriate is less important than personality appropriate.
    citizen rosebud recently posted..Summer to September + Jumping by the SeaMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca September 4, 2012 at 10:08 am #

      I agree Bella, it’s just taken me a while to get to this point.

  15. glamorous dresses styles September 5, 2012 at 1:29 am #

    So surprising! It’s really give me surprise. I think fashion not include with age, it’s depended on our mind…I’m also in my sixties and trying to age gracefully as well, I don’t mind aging but I refuse to become OLD, that is a state of mind…So cute. It’s proved that fashion has no age. I like this so much. Very beautiful.

    • Heather Fonseca September 6, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

      Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment! I’m glad you like the post.

  16. Angela October 17, 2012 at 10:56 am #

    You look great! I’m so glad I saw this! I’m going to be 30 next year, but don’t really look much older than 23 or 24. I’ve gotten into a funk lately where I feel I need to dress like a 30 year old. Except, I don’t really know how a 30 year old should dress. I guess I’ll stick to wearing what I want, as long as I feel good in it, for as long as I can.

    • Heather Fonseca October 17, 2012 at 11:58 am #

      Angela, stop worrying about it right now. You look 23 because you might as well be. I worried all throughout my thirties about dressing my age, and now I look back and wonder what I was thinking. You’re young! Have fun with your clothes.

    August 27, 2013 at 9:56 am #

    You KNOW I’m on board with this attitude. Totally.

    • Heather Fonseca August 30, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

      Thanks my dear! Here’s to not dressing our ages.

  18. WendyB August 27, 2013 at 8:52 pm #

    Great legs!

    This sounds like a description of what might wear when one’s 85! “I have this idea in my mind that at forty I should be wearing knee-length skirts, fitted blouses, loose draped sweaters and simple dresses. My shoes should be elegant.” — definitely no need to go there now! I’m sure not ready for it!
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