Beyond Babedom

We're (way) over 40. Deal with it.

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.


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This entry was posted on Saturday, May 19th, 2012 at 11:50 AM and is filed under Grooming. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  1. Terri says:

    I absolutely despise the bra strap thing! Along with the thong thing! And while we are talking about fashion I need to sidestep to the men’s side and say how much I want to strangle every guy wearing his pants BELOW his buttocks! Maybe now that Justin Bieber is doing it, guys will now think it’s NOT cool!

  2. Pat Wright says:

    I agree too Lucille. It seems like class has gone out the window, along with ANY sense of style. Back in the day if a bra strap was showing a woman was horrified. In retrospect maybe that’s why women went bra-less so that we would not have to deal with straps showing. I am grateful for the strides they have made with bras because they used to look like cotton cones, and of course pantyhose is the greatest invention there is – that and “Always” peel and stick pads…but I digress. When a woman went out there was always a sense of mystery for a man as to what lingerie she may be wearing underneath. There is no mystery anymore and that is very sad.

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