From No No to Yes Yes
If you’re a woman over 40 (and especially if you’re like me who is fast approaching 60. . .) your head has to be spinning over the way the fashion rules have changed so dramatically since we were. . . well, babes. I’m not talking about the days when we wore (can you believe it) girdles to keep up our stockings. Really. Thank you, thank you, thank you to Allen Gant, Sr., who invented panty hose.
No, I’m talking about the rules that have existed forever. And now they’re gone. Dust in the wind. But I can’t let go. And I wonder if I’m the only one who can’t.
Let’s start with hair. When did we start to move away from straight parts? Growing up, you would labor forever to get your part absolutely straight. Now, straight is passé. Sigh. But not for me. It’s still a yes yes.
Messy hair used to be a no no, too. Now, it seems like the messier the better. But not for me. I’ve tried that look and just can’t help pulling out a brush if I catch myself in the mirror.
When I worked in NYC in the 80′s, even in the heat of the New York summers, we were expected to wear stockings to work. Now? Ha. You’re simply style-less if you do wear stockings. Really? In the northeast in the winter we’re supposed to go bare legged? Forget about it.
It used to be a real no no to wear a see through blouse, at least during the day. Now, you see them on everyone – even me. But at least I wear something under it.
Tattoos used to be a no no for anyone who wasn’t a biker chick. Now, everyone has them in the most obvious places. I have four – but they were put there by a doctor, so that doesn’t count. Still a no no. I just can’t help picturing a stretched out, lopsided, wrinkled rose on the chest of a 65 year old women. Yuck.
Showing your underwear was always the sign of either a sloppy dresser or a bimbo. Now, not only do women let their bra straps show (and actually do it on purpose!), but letting your thong show above your pants is no longer reserved for construction workers (nor is butt exposure. . . ).
Then there is this weird dichotomy regarding body image. On one hand, women/girls strive to be model thin (fat is still a no no). However, those on the losing end of that battle no longer worry about actually hiding their excess poundage (but we still do, hey ladies? Hooray for Spanx.). Hiphugger wearing females (and, yes, I’m calling them hiphuggers) proudly expose their muffin tops for the world to see. We used to call muffin tops simply “fat” and we wouldn’t even consider letting it all hang out.
There are some practices that went from no no to yes yes back to no no. In the 70s, many of us (read: Lucille) decided that we didn’t have to adhere to the social rules that were imposed upon us by society and we proudly went bra free and unshaved.
Until we were told, quite pointedly, that it was inappropriate for the workplace.
Oh, well. So much for making or breaking the rules.