Let’s talk about why an entire segment of young women these days dress like, well, old ladies. First, what do I mean by dressing like old ladies? As clearly I am an older woman, at least older than 50. So are many of you. Is that the same thing as an Old Lady?
We’re talking about the archetypal Old Lady. She wears what we used to call a “housedress,” her shoes are shaped like feet, she keeps her hair close to her head in a bun or permed waves or head scarf. Maybe she’s European, maybe she’s universal, I don’t know. Does she still exist except in our imaginations? I imagine so. Carl Jung would call her The Crone.
So why do young women don full Old Lady gear these days?
Ironically, Crone clothes highlight youth, in bas relief as it were. True Crones like us steer clear.
Stepping back, there’s far more to this than fashion. Unnecessary displays of flesh have invaded the conceptual space belonging to young womanhood. The time between Girlhood and Crone, Girlhood and Mother, or even Girlhood and Sheryl Sandberg is occupied in large part by the Whore. And a very visible large part at that. Leaving many young women few options but to flee to Crone or Virgin camps. Note the many ways now available to wear the clothes of 9-year old girls, and tomboys.
A side question. What archetype would Jung have associated with Ms. Sandberg?
Surely we should know more than Virgin, Mother, The Word That’s Hard To Write, and Witch, by now. No wonder Zooey wears her bangs so far down over her eyes.