Looks That Date Me, Not in the Good Way!

I try not to prescribe or make judgments for other women.  I do observe, and make judgments about what pleases me, style-wise. At this Certain Age, one of my style goals is to remain not-dead-yet in my appearance. There are some fashion statements that scream to me “I am old!’, and that I therefore avoid. (If they scream “I’m nineteen”, I try to avoid those too.)

I think the following concepts can be worn ironically by younger women, or by women of any age who enjoy and feel good in them. For me, they bring on premature feelings of mushy veggies and Matlock reruns.

Here are my personal “Not Yet!” items; I’d love to hear if you’ve got any too:

1.  The tie-up puffy shoe. Comfortable shoes have gotten so, so cool looking. And brands that were formerly “orthopedic” are now funky and fun, like these:

Adorable! And wear them all day. Zappos.

But these will not pass my toes — they are wonderfully comfortable and functional — but M.M.F.O. (make me feel old). I can’t even articulate all the differences, but I know ’em when I see ’em.


2.  The camp shirt. These are perennially available, and have always looked dated to my eyes. The vibrant prints are hard for my pale complexion to wear, and the boxiness hides and overwhelms my shape. I look like an older gent on a cruise.

Colorful and cheery! But it M.M.F.O. Source.

A more timeless look for me is a slightly fitted cotton shirt or blouse, with a slimmer sleeve and a more modern print. Wearing this, I feel classic and any-age:

From Nordie‘s.

3.  Non-clothing wise, I find a very structured hairstyle aging. When I have “set” my hair, I immediately look older. Loose, casual, a little messy looks better. I have seen some younger women wear fab retro hairstyles that are precision-set. Katy Perry and Gwen Stefani do this very well.

What do you think? Are there styles/items you don’t wear because they M.Y. F. O.?

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  1. I am short waisted with an hourglass figure, and have to be very careful about shapeless and boxy layers. They can add 10 years easily. "Mommy jeans"–the high-waisted ones are also aging.Regarding hairstyles: short ages me because my hair is thick and curly and looks structured, even when it isn't. When it is long, it can get frizzy, which also ages.

  2. Oooh… squeee….. love the pink paisley blouse from Nordies!  I think I may need to go shopping.  LOL  As a woman over 50 and nearing 60, I LOVE your blog.

  3. MMFO ! you make me smile Patti.
    One of these things that could MMFO is stockings.

  4. Oh my, yes, yes, yes!  On all of the above, except, most humbly, on the hairstyles.  But then again I have very, very long hair and I love finding ways to put it up, and I love the very structured updos of the 1950s and 1960s.  In fact, I was going to try and do a shot of one of them some time later today.  But I am so with you on anything screaming 19 or anything screaming I am old.  Great words!  🙂 


  5. I agree with you about boxy tops.- It's a look that is common, probably because it's easy to manufacture, but not flattering on most women. Blouses made with darts or princess seams create a much better look.

  6. I have been trying to make sure my hair is not all the same color so it looks more natural.

    I avoid the quilted/patchwork or art jacket.  I see this a lot at church and it's often paired with wearable art earrings.  It makes for an easy outfit with black pants but it screams aging to me.

  7. I'm hearing you Patti!!  I avoid too cutesy printed tops and too matchy-matchy (like buying a complete Alfred Dunner outfit)
    Structured hair–totally get it. I look better with it short-ish but piece-y.
    My style mantra is–would my mom wear this? If so–no way for me!!

  8. Thank you Patti for coming up with this brilliant post! Until this post I haven't been able to determine what was wrong with hair when it was too structured. I only recently discovered why I don't like seeing myself in lace, I think makes me look older. And although me feet a killing me I'd rather go bare feet than wear those brown monstrosities!

  9. I love this entry because it's so timely for me!  I was just in a dressing room and a chicly dressed woman asked me if I thought a printed tank/jacket combo looked too old.  She was dressed very up-to-date, with beautiful silver hair,  so I said, "Sorry, but I think so."  She was grateful and said she didn't want to look frumpy.  I told her I knew exactly what she meant…just like these examples you posted.  But I agree, if you don't feel right in something then you know it's not for you.

  10. Patti, you are so funny! "premature feelings of mushy veggies and Matlock reruns", what a crack up! And the M.M.F.O is busting me up! I don't have any items that make me feel old because I am such a purger. I give away those items I haven't worn in a year. I know if they are not word at least once in 12 months that I need to pass them on to someone else. I taught my girls the same thing so we are filling the bags consistently, waiting to get them to a new home that will wear them. 

  11. I think you would look great (and very hip) in a cropped camp shirt with long skinny Bermuda shorts.

  12. I try to avoid anything to teeny bopperish. Nothing worse than a 40+ year old dressing like an 18 year old…unless you're Cher or Maddona…and maybe not even then!

  13. The puffy shoes!There are some things- I can't explain but some retro are yes, and some are oh no! The shoes and the camp shirt, are two such things. I hadn't thought about the hair- but I think you're right- structured on a younger woman doesn't seem dated, but if I were to get all Betty Page on ya, I think it would look like I was fighting time. 

  14. I know what you mean about having items I avoid for the sake of premature aging.  I can totally agree with the shoes, although somehow I don't see you as a person with puffy feet or shoes.  The camp shirts could work if you were willing to knot them at the waist.  I get what you are saying about structured hair styles…but I'm still learning to be comfortable with the natural look of my hair and I like ironic, vintage hair-styles.  You've got me thinking…we'll see if I can articulate what I avoid.  Tight blue pin curls would be one.

  15. This is a great post Patti: I think I do tend to wear older looking clothes but I don't feel comfortable in the non-older looking clothes … haha … I have always had lol (little old lady) tastes since I was small.

  16. LOL!  There are others I won't wear as well.  The long sleeve button up blouse with long skirt are not on my list. It looks cute on younger women though.

    I do like the retro hairstyles though.  My hair is too short right now but I think I can still wear them.  Trying to grow my hair so we'll see in a few months if I can still do a french twist.

  17. Great post and another "wrinkle" in the MMFO debate. Wearing athletic shoes as street shoes as in tourists on vacation. I won't do it though my feet would surely be appreciative. Peter Pan collars, puffed sleeves— anything too young makes me feel old. I also have the bad habit of carrying my handbag like the Queen. Whenever I catch myself doing it— that makes me feel old!

  18. Like Megan, structured hair makes me feel a little like my Grandma.  It is also hard for me to go curly without having huge, huge hair.

  19. Yeah, you found some good ones.  But I have to say, were those brown shoes EVER fashionable?  They don't have the panache of a sturdy oxford, say a Doc.  And the camp shirt is truly awful, but maybe in a photo shoot an 18 yr old could pull it off, probably unbuttoned down to there and worn with a perfectly ragged pair of denim shorts, in a glorious location.  Then it might look "good".

    I see a lot of eighties pieces in the thrift stores that I'd love to style on a much younger person, but since I wore them the first time around, not so much on me.   But that being said, you never know!

  20. Cool Patti! Great comparisons! I do love the darker hair too though. I totally agree with the shirts. I really have trouble with shoes because I have to wear arch supports. Most of what I see I can't wear at all. It's so hard to weed out the uglies and find the one in about 30 pairs I can't wear. It's very discouraging.

  21. I really like your picks, Patti. I try to steer clear of things that really date in me in the opposite way. It's hard to wear things that are funky and different without straddling the line of looking too young (i.e. in my teens). 

    I do have to watch the structured curls on myself though. I have a round face that reminds me way too much of my grandmother when I have certain styles of curls! 

  22. Ooooo, very good!  Hmmmm, what makes me feel old?  Orthopedic hose would certainly do the trick!  Love your list…..I never even considered the structured hair style, but you're right on!  Hugs! ~Serene

  23. Enjoyed this post, alot!  Lately, when I put on anything lace..no matter the style..it makes me feel old.  I have taken down my lace from my closet.  Anything that makes me feel old…I just do not have  the time and space for it!

  24. Agreed, on all counts. My hair, unfortunately, often looks a little structured in my photos, because I'm taking them right after I've just finished doing it, but within usually about fifteen minutes, it falls into much looser, softer, less-structured waves. I'm growing out my bangs right now, and heavy use of hairspray is, alas, indicated most days.

    I think it's camp shirts that I instinctively recoil from the most. I've definitely seen other women looking great in them, but they totally play up the straightness of my figure in a very unflattering way.

  25.  Debbi – I have seen your shoes and they look cool to me. But I would *never* sit (stand?) in judgment of your feet, anyway  : >  We all wear what makes us feel good and comfort is *very* important.

    Matching poly pants does not sound good . . . .  : >

  26. The shoes you showed as a "no" look like some of mine! But in my defense, there are times when comfort is more important than looks and I do try to make them a bit funky (like a chuck's look.)  The top shoes are pretty, but I have issues that won't let me wear heels that high (I know they are not really high, but anything over 1.5 inches makes my feet hurt.
    I try to keep my outfits from looking old, but sometimes I am sure I still look like an old lady.
    There are some polyester print blouses along with matching poly pants that I would not wear–they do shout old.
    I won't wear the heavily embellished rhinestone jeans as I think they look good on 30 year olds, but would look like I am trying too hard at my age. I might wear a few rhinestones but it would be a very few!

  27. the structured hairstyle is the worst
    i think Katherine Heigel really got nailed for that recently
    laughing at those dirt brown shoes!!!  NEVER, not even if my feet stop working w/o them

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