I keep coming across articles that say things like, ‘what not to wear after 30,’ ‘how to dress your age’, ‘the new ‘rules’ of getting dressed in your 30s,’ ‘things to stop wearing after…’ But seriously, who makes these rules?

This is not the 1950s and I’m not dead yet, so I’m ignoring every one of these damn articles and wearing whatever makes me feel good. Clothing that absolutely feels right to me. Because I’m more comfortable in my body at 37 than I was at 27, and so I’m damn well going to wear what I like regardless of my age.

I’m fed up of reading articles that say, ‘dressing in your thirties can be tricky.’

Tricky how? Because I’m a bit older?. I might be taken less seriously if I dress ‘too young’? Or I might wear something that makes me look ‘too old’? Why are there these self-made CHALLENGES to overcome?. How come dressing in your thirties feels weirdly more pressured than dressing in the decade before?.

I’m not going into a self-conscious self-loathing hell hole again at thirty-fucking-seven

I’ve been there already in my 20s when I had zero body confidence.

I used to read all the articles on the fashion for that season; what to wear, how to do my makeup, ways to be ‘prettier’ and fit in. And I still couldn’t pull together an outfit that made any sense. I still didn’t feel good about myself, whatever I wore. I never felt like I got anything quite right, and my outfits never felt like they quite were at home on my body. All I did have was a constant sense of self-loathing.

And that’s all these articles do – continue the self-loathing cycle into the next decade.

They create this invisible expectation that a woman in her 30s must be smarter, cleaner, tidier, more fashion mature. She must set and maintain a standard, and that standard is basically, to still feel utterly shit about ourselves into our 30s and beyond. So no I don’t buy into this BS.

There’s so much shame for women out there

Shame for our body size, shame for looking a bit older, shame for wearing something too revealing or not sexy enough. Shame for not being make up perfect, or for not wearing any make up at all. And now shame for wearing something ‘non-age appropriate’. You just can’t win. It’s always shame, shame, shame. Rules, rules, rules. And I’m tired of hating myself just for being a woman, and of never feeling like I’m getting it right. So I’m actively removing myself from this toxic space of feeling like I have to be, act, and dress a certain way.

Fashion is individual. Self-confidence is a difficult learned trait. I won’t sacrifice either anymore to meet some random expectation of what I should be embracing in my age and as a woman. Who decides I’m too old to wear something? I’d like to know. I’d love them to freaking well explain themselves. Because clothes are just clothes. It’s us who decides what we wear and how we wear it.

My wardrobe doesn’t need a mature level up and my self-confidence doesn’t need a downgrade

I’m here for unique style at any age. I’m all about dismissing the expectations, and saying bon voyage to these god damn rules. It’s just another opportunity to make a woman feel ashamed, and this time for just walking out the door with possibly the wrong blazer and skirt combination. 

So for anyone – especially the women who write these articles – who conveys the message that our tank tops need upgrading, that we don’t care about ourselves if we wear too short shorts, that our jeans need swapping for high waisted and shouldn’t dare to attempt a low waist over 30, underwear should be ‘pretty and silk’ and should NEVER reveal a panty line. That sneakers aren’t okay for a casual day. That bodycon is out. That our damn handbag needs to be on point just for a trip to Tesco – because we are old as shit now, things like your handbag  apparently matter (and seriously, these were some of the ‘tips’ on fashion over 30 in these articles). Fuck you.

Fuck you for jumping on this shame wagon and being a part of this toxic cycle of self-loathing hatred that leeks into every part of our society, and serves no other purpose than to make a woman feel crap about herself.

If I want to wear hot pants or totally rock grandma style, I will

Women should be able to wear whatever the hell they feel like. So if you see me walking around in hot pants and a boob tube – deal with it. Because I didn’t damn well get to a point of finally feeling a little less self-conscious and a little more confident about every single aspect of my  body, only to have a whole new load of ‘rules and regulations’ dictated on what I should and shouldn’t wear now I’m nearly 40.

And that is one major plus of getting older, in that your self-confidence grows with it. So I don’t need age appropriate tips. I don’t need constructive advice on how to dress, thank you very much. I’d rather not be pigeon holed into a certain wardrobe style just because of my age. Because I’m wearing whatever makes me feel comfortable. I’m embracing everything about how I look and going with what I feel good in. Fuck the expectations to look a certain way at a certain age. I’m letting go of those pre-conceived notions that I’m too young or old for anything.

No, none of this is easy or simple – There are a fuck ton of expectations on us all, and this doesn’t instantly pass me by – But I’m not going to let the weight of other people’s opinions of my style choices in my 30s, be another thing to feel shitty about. I’m wearing whatever I want, age regardless.

What are your thoughts on ‘age appropriate’ style?

By Amy Roullier
By Amy Roullier

Amy is the Founder and Editor of The Authentic Optimist. She talks all things life. From the highs to the lows, to all those messy bits in-between. She is a writer, rambler, lover of carbs (her true soulmate) and she is especially passionate about dispelling myths about women in their 30s. Amy lives in Lincolnshire with her two greyhounds.