Few of us adhere purely to one way of dressing. We’ve all taken multiple directions, from tried and true outfits, to the adventurous, to the best of breed. In my High WASP world, Style Archetypes limit the discoverable area.
If this was as Sturdy (Sturdy is kissing cousin to prep) as I get without wearing my son’s khakis, if this was as Grande Dame (little black dress for the win), then the skater dress and moto boots above surely push me to the Artsy limits. Partly because, you know, moto boots. But also because I’m 56 and it’s hard to dress this way without feeling Too Young.
Artsy Cousins Do. Not. Care. About Age-Appropriate; the Sturdy do.
So let’s deconstruct.
This deconstruction will include a survey. We’ll have the unscientific Too Young Or Not Too Young results for you soon. In 3 paragraphs, to be precise. But first, how did we get here, standing by an urban entryway in the San Francisco winter, wearing a peacoat, dress, pink scarf, boots and tights that I’m calling navy blue but might be purple?
It started with the boots. They were given to me, generously.
I owned them for a year unworn. I wrote here that I thought they cried out for a sweater dress. I bought this straight-lined Bompard version but it didn’t work with the boot shape and height. I don’t always get things right immediately. Sometimes ever. We’ll deal with the columnar dress project another day.
Still determined to wear the boots before I turned 80, I decided to try a flared silhouette. I was reluctant to throw more dollars across the Pacific after European cashmere, so I found this dress at Anthropologie, via Grechen’s Closet. Great blog by the way, with a style I endorse 100% and good for plus size too.
For $118, the dress was a reasonable experiment.
(In case you wondered, I didn’t mean for the tights to be purple, or even navy blue. But my middle-aged eyes saw them as black under the Bloomingdale’s lights. Some of us have to fall into Artsy by mistake.)
And the survey results?
- Late 20’s colleague with a rad rocker hairdo: “No, it’s not too young. My mom dresses like that.”
- Early 40’s colleague in executive ranks: “No, frankly your hair reads as blonde, on the street. If your legs were uncovered that would be too young.”
- Early 40’s team member with mad design skillz: “No, you’re mixing textures and colors. If everything were smooth and the same it’d be a problem.”
- Two late 20s early 30s web designers: “Oh I like your outfit.” Unsolicited Artsy testimonial.
So there you have it. Teetering on the edge of Artsy, not quite precipitated into the Canyon Of Mutton Dressed As Lamb. A nice detour, here and there, even for the Sturdy.
One more question. Once we remove the Dressing Too Young filter, does the outfit succeed? Jury’s still out. At the detail level, there are issues. My lower legs might be too skinny for bucket boots. I might want a heavier-weight, longer dress. But at the highest level, turns out Sturdies love a dress, tights and boots because they are inordinately comfortable and innately non-serious.
Also turns out that Sturdies feel Artsy dressing inspires Degas poses.
It’s a gradual process, evolution. In developing an articulated but classic personal style, explore your boundaries to map the center.