October 8, 2013

Ageism and shawl-things


The silk shawl-ish garment pictured above is one of my favorite purchases of the past year. It is black, billows in the wind, and is adorned with vintage lace. I found it at Buffalo Exchange and said many words:

Done.” “Fabulous.” “Shut it down.” “Sally Bowles.”

I wore it often and people said other words:

Kinda old.” “Granny.” “Yo, what's Poppins?” “Babushka!”


My dearest ladies, gentlemen, and everyone in between: you are now a collective witness to my first real-life interaction with agism (at least on the sort-of receiving end, as I reluctantly admit that all of us, at some point in our lives, have judged someone because of their age). I've concluded that the best vehicle to experience such a disaster of culture is, conveniently, fashion, because I can't really be offended or affected by a simple aesthetic opinion.

In fact, my clothes absorb compliments and criticisms and, through a chemical process much like photosynthesis, turn them into moth-repellent. Simply put, these clothes you do or don't like will be around forever and it's your fault.

The real victims of such a scenario are the people who are "supposed" to be wearing my shawl-thing; entire generations pigeonholed into a lacey-silk prison.  Okay fine, so that doesn't sound so bad.  But who knows!?  Maybe when I'm eighty-three I'll revert and only want to wear skin-tight bikinis in the day time.  I'll let you know in fifty odd years.

Some criticisms, though, make me think.

Old.”

Yes, I “get it” - some think that my mind-blowing shawl-thing is similar to something a culturally-appropriate “old” person would wear. But much like the general interpretation of the gender spectrum, my shawl-thing and I refuse to accept this analysis.

There is no age requirement to appreciate the romantic nature of lace touching your skin, or to fall in love with a train of silk floating behind you in the wind.

Similarly, there are no age requirements for turbans, toe rings, or tube tops. Thus, I will give the nerdiest, most enthusiastic high five to the next turban-toe-ring-tube-top wearing eighty-three-year-old I see. 

Where did this idea of “old” being bad come from, anyway? Why are we scared of old people? Why are we scared of becoming old?

Old people have lived for a long time. I'm twenty-four and I thought I knew everything, until I met someone who was eighty-three who actually knew everything. EIGHTY. FUCKING. THREE. Eighty-three years of working, playing, saving, spending, talking, sexing, thinking, loving, hating, living, and styling.

Old people know what the fuck they are doing. To solidify this fact, go here.

All of that said, it seems much more logical to come to this conclusion in a contrary manner. That is, appreciating ageless style by first appreciating people of all ages. This makes me feel a little petty, realizing things the other way around. In the end, though, I think the sentiment is still valid.

So please, celebrate your age by wearing exactly what everyone says is “too old” or “too young” for you. Frankly, I'm just glad I realized how amazing shawl-things are now, so that my collection will be unsurpassed when I become one of leading cast members in the 2072 reincarnation of Golden Girls.

For the comments: Is my shawl-thing too old for me? Do you wear things that are too “old” or “young” for you? What do you think about age and style?

Related:  I have professed my love of vintage clothing before. The quality is often uncanny, and the styles surpass all trends.

6 comments:

  1. Hear hear! This reminds me of a quote I once heard about how women over 35 should never wear miniskirts. I am 45 and wear miniskirts/mini dresses on a daily basis. Paired with knee boots & a funky pair of leggings, it's what I feel most stylish, and most comfortable, in. I look forward to being an 83 year old booted miniskirt wearer one day.

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  2. Jason... your shawl-thing is gorgeous and it's something that makes you feel good! It looks good on you, wear it with pride and reverence for vintage clothing. Who the eff should care about what YOU love? They can go rot in some judgmental hole... well, that's harsh but you get my gist. I wear things that make me feel good, I'm a 41 year old "goth-y" mom of an autistic child and I don't wear soccer mom, business woman, pampered housewife clothing. Nothing that wrong any of that (well, some styles are just ugh!) but it doesn't make me feel good, I won't wear those things on my body. No one has really ever told me what I wear is too young, they probably only see me and think, "she's too big to wear THAT" (size-ism?) but I don't really care if what I'm wearing makes me feel good and look good. Now, I won't muffin s-top it, I wear long shirts because that feels better to me and while I do wear leggings, my tum is covered. My tits aren't busting out of my t shirt (that never looks good on anyone). I wear clothes that other moms don't wear and my closet is without pastels. I don't "drip black" anymore though my wardrobe is a rainbow of dark tones... and it makes me feel good! I would wear my wardrobe even if I was an 83 year old...I'm not trying to act like anyone other than me. That shawl-thing is you and you rock it!

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  3. And this would make an excellent vlog =D *hint*

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  4. Old folks are the shits.

    watch?v=CLwZgLHSZnc

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  5. so glad you are "back". i came for a visit the other day and i received a notification that the domain name had expired and i promptly became a sad panda.

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  6. Lisa-Maria J1/7/14, 7:37 AM

    Jason, I love your blog and relate to your posts. I love your style of writing and your way of reflecting over these kind of things. Miss your blogposts and vlogs! Hope you had a great Christmas and new years! (:

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