Are You A Rule Breaker?

Are you a rule breaker? For most of my life I have been a rule-follower. I have never been late with my taxes, I come to a full stop at stop signs, I go out the out-door. My car registration is up-to-date and prominently displayed. I have never parked in a handicapped spot, not even in the pouring rain, when I just needed a quart of cream. My strict upbringing instilled in me the value of conforming to society’s guidelines, and the harsh penalties (including Hell!) for Having a Mind of One’s Own.

A landmark work in feminist theory, and I will read it, soon.

In my twenties and thirties I outgrew my fear of independent thought, but I have continued to be a rule follower in most areas. And in many areas, this is an admirable quality. We can’t have 60-something women suddenly deciding to blast through red lights or refusing to pay taxes, can we? What’s next, divorcing our husbands, dying our hair red, and moving to Vegas?

Bouts of mania aside, I’ve been mulling over the myriad rules for “How to Dress Over 50.” You have seen them, I’m sure, because you care about fashion. There are a lot of reasonable suggestions in these lists, that apply to all ages, like:

  • Don’t go about town with your personal parts exposed.
  • Short shorts and bare tank tops are best for the beach and barbecues.
  • Same for flip-flops.
  • Wear your best colors.
  • Etc.

Some other items on the lists are quite limiting and, well, boring. Even at 65 I find I like to bend and break the rules, and I admire other women who do. My page of favorite blogs contains many bold and beautiful women of a certain age who are not confining themselves to navy blue skirt suits.

Some of the ways I enjoy messing with style rules are:

  • Leggings: love them with skirts and boots.
  • Speaking of boots: ankle boots in the summer, a “young” look that I love for myself.
  • Navy with black. Love it.
  • Dangly necklaces with a sense of humor.
  • Going hose-less even though my pale legs are far from youthful.
  • High top sneakers.
Add 5″ to the skirt length and I’d wear this today. Source.
Black and navy: Yves St. Laurent did it beautifully.
An octopus necklace keeps the fun.

I’m not sure all of these things are the “very best” looks for my age and body, but I enjoy them, and I feel great. There are many more items I will not wear because I know they don’t flatter me and/or they are truly too “young” for my style. (The cropped tank top would fall into this category).

How about you? Breaking any rules today? Vegas, anyone?

“There are a million rules for being a girl. There are a million things you have to do to get through each day.”

Elizabeth Scott, The Unwritten Rule

Stay fab, xo

Wear what you love, always. Here are some goodies to browse:

Please be aware that links to vendors may be affiliate links. I may benefit from your purchases through the links on the blog. Header photo by Ian Barsby, at Unsplash.

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  1. I am wearing camo leggings with a long Disney print t-shirt. I find I like to keep my arms covered now, no tank tops. I bought the face mask you had on one of your posts, really like it. That octopus necklace is darling. You are on your way to being an Influencer, if you aren’t already.

    • Hi Tami and I love your day lounging outfit! And thanks for the encouraging words, you’re too kind. Stay safe and fabulous, xx.

  2. Definitely a rule breaker. No bra, underwear, or shoes for about two years between high school and joining the army. Had a white baby and a black husband. Sometimes I don’t wear a seatbelt! And I didn’t quit smoking until I couldn’t breathe anymore. I still might wear a tank with no bra and flip flops anywhere I need to go. But how the HECK do you guys wear those darn boots in summer?

    • Hi Barbara and thanks for your comment – you are def a rule breaker, as you say! Please wear your seat belt, but as for the rest, you do you and celebrate yourself, xx.

  3. I’ve never followed any rules when it comes to what I wear, but like you, in other instances (work, the law, street signs, etc.) I follow the rules in order to stay safe and not get fired!

  4. Patti,

    I tend to shy away from the “how to” types of posts because I nearly always doubt the authors expertise on the subject. The only style “rules” I’d follow are the ones that protect me from any risk of overexposure otherwise, all options are in play.


    • Hello dear Rena! I am with you, lists of “how to dress” seem dated and dull for modern women like us : > Stay well and safe, xx.

  5. Great outfits and question. I do follow goverment required laws and behavior I think moral . In regard fashion I create my own rules based on what I feel appropriate and in agreement with my personal style .When much younger I followed fashion rules set by the magazines and the fashion industry but know better now one of the rewarding gifts of golden girl maturity.

    • Hi Joan and thanks for coming by. I remember following the magazines’ advice about fashion and even about where to put eyeshadow! It’s wonderful to create your own rules, and I love that phrase “golden girl maturity.” Stay well, xx.

  6. It’s important to look behind rules to learn their purpose. I believe we don’t have to follow fashion rules but would caution against disobeying traffic laws. You won’t suffer injury from wearing odd clothes but you could die from blowing a stop sign. Road safety is a serious subject.

    • Good morning Ally and how nice to see you! I do follow traffic laws and I know you do too. Fashion “laws”, we breaks ’em. Stay well and safe, xx.

  7. Your title made me laugh! My first thought: of course I follow the rules, I’m Canadian! LOL! Over the years I’ve lived in 3 Canadian cities during police strikes, & after a day of silliness we all revert to our normal boring, law-abiding selves & life goes on as always. As for fashion & feminism, however, I have usually broken the rules. Became an engineer back when women were supposed to become teachers, nurses or secretaries until they married & had babies (I don’t really like children, don’t like medical stuff, can’t type & did I mention I don’t care for kids?), ignored my mother’s advice about good girls preferring nice boys & instead loved bad boys with big motorbikes & fast cars (married one, in fact) & have always thought the phrase “age appropriate” is just another excuse to shame women & keep them quiet & in their place (good luck with that). And yet, there are still things I’ve given up or modified. My heels are lower, my hemlines longer, my hair shorter. Bikinis are a thing of the past. I still live primarily in jeans & tees & paint my toenails the brightest red possible but for some reason have stopped wearing lippy that bright. I swear like a long-haul trucker & have no problem speaking out when it’s needed & confronting things that need confronting, yet have learned when to keep my mouth shut, too. Following the rules or just getting smarter with age? Interesting discussion!

    • Hello Janet and thanks for coming over with your insightful comments. Love the “good luck with that” for “keeping us in our place.” Rock on with your red toenails and big motorbike (drive safely!). Stay fabulous and have a great weekend, xx.

  8. I think I will always be a rule follower but as I get wiser, my personal “must not break” rules have certainly changed. For example I never wear the quintessential old lady color of lavender (doesn’t suit me anyway), I won’t wear oversized multicolored jewelry, which I again equate with being 50 plus, and I eschew garments that are art pieces in favor of pleasing fit and modern styling.

    I’m so glad that flat shoes are in fashion, as my feet are beyond high heels these days. In my youth it was only hippies and old women with bunions that wore them and my mind has been conditioned ( I can’t go as far as “Dad” sandals even though they are now popular and the latest “thing”).

    Definitely I care less about what anyone else thinks! Despite the move to more casual dressing and my lifestyle along with it, I’m wearing what’s in my wardrobe rather than toss it all out!

    • Hello Sonya and thanks for coming by, and your brilliant remarks. You could write a blog post with what you said. High heels are so far in my rear view mirror, I cannot see them anymore : > Stay fab, xx.

  9. Those articles always infuriate me! I’ll wear whatever the hell I want, thankyouverymuch. A tutu and a tiara for a day at the park? Yes! Leather shorts? Yes! Heels and a mini? Yes! Lavender hair? Yes!

    It’s far more important to feel good about yourself and put your best self out there – no matter what that means to you – than it is to conform to a set of arbitrary and often contradictory “rules”.

    Here’s to wearing what makes US happy! Thanks for the brain-food, Patti! Rock on with your badass self. ;-P

    • Oh hi Sheila! Hope you’re feeling great, and loving life. I know you are a rule bender and breaker, in all the best ways. Stay true to your fab self, xx.

      • It’s always a pleasure to read your blog, and I wish that you would write more!

        I think I understand Sonya’s remarks about choosing not to wear certain items that for her, spell “old lady.” But for me, being older means choosing to wear what is comfortable and pleasing to me. Which includes multicolor necklaces (usually made by me), cropped pants (the uniform of older ladies in the South), and cardigans (the lab coats of library science). Oh, and comfortable sandals! I mostly wear bright colors and black and white. I get compliments from people of various ages on my necklaces. In my world, clothes should be fun!

        • Hello Goddess and thanks so much for your comments and kind compliment! LOL at “the uniform of old ladies in the South” : > And I totally agree, clothes should be fun. Stay fab, xx.

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