Thursday, July 20, 2006

Age appropiate clothing.


I had a meeting this morning with a company across town. I grabbed a cab over-enduring a never ending rant from my taxi driver about polish drivers. Apparently one pranged his other cab the night before and drove off.
'How did you know he was polish then?' I asked.
'Becasue I know the cunt that did it.' he replied.
Fair enough.
Anhoo I eventually reached my destination and let myself into one of those smotheringly bland new office type building that are popping up all over the place like liver spots on the back of Hugh Hefner's hands.
I trotted up to the reception desk and said ' Ah Good morning, I'm here to see-'
And then I stopped talking and said 'Snarf' Not actually snarf, but a choked laugh nonetheless.
Behold oh receptionist evoking the great spirits of Patsy and Eddie.
It was mutton carefully disguised as lamb.
Before I continue with this most minor of rants, I should point out that I realise I might come off a bit snobby but...
She was forty if she was a day. She wore her red/blonde/orange hair in two bunches high on her head. She wore a sparkly boob tube red top with the words 'angel' printed acoss her chest in diamante, over her shoulders a shrug cardi, you know the tpye, only covers the shoulder. Her glases were square and red. Her makeup, well a drag queen should have been writing it down.
'Yes?'
'I'm fatmammycat, I have an appointment with-----.'
'Oh right, just take a seat there' she pointed at a comfy looking leather couch with a much bejewelled finger. Her nail varnish was vermillion, except for the tips which were sparkly.
While I sat she carried on with her work, but I was at one point able to catch a glimpse of the rest of her ensemble.
She wore-and I shit you not- a mini kilt in reds and greens. It just about covered her saggy arse and orange peel thighs. Her wooden mules finished it all off.
I was bewitched, I was bewildered, I was awestruck. I was wondering why any company would let this lady be the first thing a client sees coming through the door.
(yes I know how that sounds like I am a terrible snob- well no I'm not, there has to be a line)
Fortunately the person I was to meet wore black, she being PR and so on, so I was almost able to put the whole ghastly sight out of my mind.
Almost, but not quite.
There has been a proliferation of these woman in the last few years. Women in their thirties and forties dressing like japanese school girls, or, at the very least, their teenage daughters. Saturday night is rife with mutton tops and overly tanned bodies squished into dresses that display every lump and bulge. Ironed straight hair and sparkly alice bands. Eurgh. Enough.
It's time to reclaim the night!
The whole point of being a teenager is that you can get away with wearing the most god awful stuff and you still look cute and happening, you buy cheap tat because tha's all you can afford and you make it work, you create a sort of style-even if it's like every other teenager on the planet.
But there is something awfully tragic about grown women clinging to the vestiges of youth by dressing so utterly inappropriately. Unless you're a singer or an actress you can't really get away with it. And I know I know, the world would be a sad place if all the individuals were gone, but this woman wasn't being individual at all. I know a few artists that have a very distinct style, I myself am a very fussy dresser, Etheline has a very preppy style. But we are all in our thirties, and not a single one of us would charge into Miss Selfridges, wave our credit cards about, copy a look amimed at seventeen year old girls and even hope to pull it off. And if we could we probably wouldn't. Why? because we had our day of hanging around town in day glo pants and over the knee socks, we wore crop tops and pleather and thousands of bangles. We dyed out hair ridiculous colours and stretched our eyeliner half way out to our ears. We did it when it was our time to do it. Then we got a little older and our style evolved.
I guarantee you that receptionest probably has a teenage daughter of her own and they are 'best friends'. Well sorry Oldie spice, no best friend would ever let their mother out the door looking like that.

13 Comments:

Blogger finn said...

interesting words from a woman who not so long ago was orange.

:)

if we must dress our age (approximately), must we act it too??

2:19 p.m.  
Blogger Andraste said...

Couldn't agree more, FMC. It's embarrassing.

You know what forces people to do that, though? Currently, there is no middle ground in the fashion world between these extremes:

Slutty teen
Dreary, frumpy old hippie
Sleek, professional suits

For a 40 something woman who is not a 'professional,' the wardrobe pickings are very slim. You don't want to wear the sleek suits (they're too expensive, uncomfortable, and too much for your average office worker to afford) but the other options are...slutty teen or dreary hippie.

Luckily, I can wear jeans to work, so my wardrobe is easy to manage comfortably. But when I was doing temporary office work in the financial district? I tried...I tried so hard to find decent, affordable, age appropriate, comfortable office clothes. YUCK. Nasty Dockers chinos and tight blouses? No fucking thank you.

3:03 p.m.  
Blogger SheBah said...

FMC - I usually agree with everything you say, but this time I disagree. I love Joan Collins, Pammy Anderson, Zandra Rhodes, Vivienne Westwood, Patsy from AB fab and all types like them etc. Why melt into the wallpaper when you are older when you can be completely outrageous.....look at Grayson Perry, isn't he great? The art world is full of such terrific characters and I love their sheer chutzpah of not caring a damn about convention. When I am old I will definitely be one of the "wear purple" varieties!

4:44 p.m.  
Blogger finn said...

how about flip-flops, shebah? will you be wearing flip-flops?

4:51 p.m.  
Blogger SheBah said...

Absolutely not, Finn, it will high, red stilletos until the bones disintegrate, and then some kind of glittery Indian style slipper!

5:05 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I totally bow my head to the tangerine episode but flip flops? I don't think so. High heels until my legs no longer work. I can even run in them these days, and that took much effort!

12:15 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Amd missy Shebah, I LOVE Eddie! All the gays love Patsy, but I love her most.

12:16 a.m.  
Blogger Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

At 32, in California, I am fast running out of age-appropriate options that don't involve some sort of tie-dyed hessian.

In addition, it's damned near impossible to tell how old some of the women here are and nothing gives their plastic surgery away these days except maybe an eerie fixed smile and some faint vestigial frown lines way, way up at the hairline. There are 60 year-old women going around looking better in their jeans than me but, as i gasp in envy at the perfection they have bought, it cheers me, in a schadenfreudey way, to know that their bums only look that good because they've had the half of them pumped into their lips, giving the whole idea of a peck on the cheek a rather different cast.

But, having breast-fed twins and consequently now having to factor my bust size into my waist measurement, my most pressing sartorial need is not outerwear, but underwear with some serious engineering going on. If I could get NASA to have a look at my boobs, I'm certain the lift and thrust technology they'd need to develop for my boobs could be used in some rocket or other. The outer arm of the Milky Way would suggenly become a lot closer thanks to may sagging sad-sacks.

10:51 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

You're right Sam, a really good bra is essential. One of the ladies I know works in a delightfully posh department store and she reckons two thirds of the women she dresses wear the wrong size. A good bra should provide a killer rack and still be comfy.

12:04 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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9:16 p.m.  
Blogger I am the Big Bad Wolf said...

I just found your hilarious post about age appropriate clothing while searching for "cute clothes for 40 something women." So, I see you're a marathoner too? Awesome!

2:39 a.m.  
Anonymous Women leather jackets said...

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10:52 a.m.  
Blogger Duncan Faber said...

I couldn't agree more. We always dress my two little girls in age appropriate clothing. I'm sick at how society sexualizes children. This is the site that my wife and I buy a lot of girls clothing from, because they seem to get it. http://www.twirlygirlshop.com/girls-birthday-dress

2:49 a.m.  

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