Dressing my age? Some days I know exactly what that means. Other times, I’m not so sure.

We like to claim that “a woman should feel free to wear whatever she wants,” and I mostly believe that. But that’s also one of those sayings that I wish were true more than it actually is true. I think most of us can think of times we’ve seen mature women dressed in outfits that just seemed wrong—not because they were ill-fitting, but because they seemed meant for someone much, much younger.

I know—who am I to decide what’s “much too young?” It’s hard to say, but I kinda know it when I see it, and I don’t want to be that woman.

In general, my attire tends toward stylish but not trendy. I like to look good, but I’m a lazy shopper, so I need clothes that will work for many seasons.  I can’t be bothered with an item of clothing that has a short shelf life.

And that’s why I actually might have been that woman a few times, though I don’t like to admit it. The downside of staying pretty much the same size most of my adult life is that I can still fit into clothes I wore many, many years ago. At one point, I think my girlfriends were going to do an intervention on me if I didn’t stop wearing my beloved Daisy Dukes (inappropriately short cut-off denim jeans, for those unfamiliar with the term). Rather than admit that I was a little long in the tooth for shorts that short, I chose to believe that my girlfriends were just jealous because they could no longer fit into theirs. (Both statements are probably true). I eventually and reluctantly retired my short shorts…kind of. Now I wear them only on vacation. Mostly I dress like a grown-up now.

So here’s why this whole concept of dressing one’s age is on my mind lately: because I am delighted to say, the mini is back.

I’ve always loved short skirts and dresses. But then, at some point, I started wearing my hemlines at a more respectable length. I decided that if I was going to shake my head at other women who looked like they’d been shopping in the juniors department, then I should stop being one of them.   I had almost convinced myself that they looked foolish, but I looked cute. But it was getting tough to keep up the self-delusion. When I started a new job, I used that as an excuse to try out a new look. I  bought myself a few skirts and dresses with hemlines designed for the mature woman. So boring.

I thought I looked matronly. Like I was losing my mojo. Over time, my hemlines started to creep back up—not quite to mini length, but up above my knees. Where they belonged.

I heard or read somewhere that if you were old enough to wear a trend the first time around then you’re probably too old for it the next time. Makes sense, right?

But you know what? To heck with that. Remember how I said that I no longer want to be that woman who’s rocking an outfit that’s too young? I’ve decided that I don’t really care. I’m wearing my minis. Proudly. For the fun of it all.

Dressing too young? Too dowdy? Or pulling it off? Check our Facebook Page for a photo album of celebs who might–or might not–be hitting it just right.

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  • JL Williams March 31, 2011 at 6:19 am

    I don’t share your enthusiasm for upmarket clothing, but hey, I don’t live in NYNY either!

    I can’t wait to retire my suits and relax back into chinos and t-shirts, forever.

    In the wonderful words of Maggie Alderson in her book Gravity Sucks, “If you don’t bother with makeup, bosom upholstery and foot facials, are you letting yourself go or just letting go?”

    I’m hanging out to let go!