Sunday, August 23, 2015

Blue Jean Baby

I've had a uneasy relationship with blue jeans my entire life.  I didn't wear them growing up - they were what the farm kids wore, not us "town" kids.  I did have a pair of brushed denim wide-leg overalls that came from either the Eaton's or Sears' catalogue when I was in high school, but that was my entire denim experience until I left home at 18.  I had a couple of pairs of high-waisted straight leg jeans (I am wearing a pair in one of the photos in my "hairstory" post) when I was in university, but after getting my first full-time job, I decided blue jeans were too "mainstream" for me. The only denim I would wear was a pair of skinny black jeans that spoke to my inner angsty punk girl.  I loved those pants and wore them with over-sized men's blazers I found at the thrift stores and pointy black flats.   I never found a second pair that fit me as well, so I wore those pants until the waistband fell off.

I made it through the rest of my adult life without wearing blue jeans until about five years ago when I decided to give them another chance and purchased these dark denim, wide leg ones.  In this photo from 2013 I paired them with a 70's blouse, and this outfit was immortalized in one of Spy Girl's digital catwalk sketches.  Alas, I have since "outgrown" the waist on these and they will go off to a new home.  Part of the reason I didn't wear jeans is that I could never find any that fit properly.   My waist to hip ratio means that anything that fits my waist is too big in the hips and butt, which makes shopping for any kind of fitted pants a frustrating experience.

 What the completely inappropriate almost-54-year-old is wearing this year

I found the jeans I'm wearing in the photo above at Value Village several years ago for $8.  They are by the brand French Connection (FCUK), and were sloppy-big on me when I got them, but I wore them occasionally anyway, cuffed and belted with clunky boots.  Now I'm bigger and they fit better, and I will often wear them on weekends, and they don't feel mainstream at all.   Especially since those annoying "What to Wear (or Not Wear) After 30, 40, 50" lists you can find in almost every women's magazine tell me I should be wearing mid-rise, dark denim, boot cut jeans.   In fact, I am breaking all kinds of rules with this outfit:

1) Several lists proclaim No graphic t-shirts after 40  - I don't think there is a best-before date to wear a Johnny Depp as Cry-Baby t-shirt - below the photo of Depp is the line "good girls want him bad, bad girls want him worse!"

2)  Going "sleeveless" is discouraged after 50 as it may reveal your aging skin (horrors!).   I don't like short sleeves, so I rolled the ones on this shirt up and fastened them with safety pins.  And I do arm weights at the gym, so Fuck you, list people.

3) I'm wearing red lipstick, which some people think is too flashy for us mature dames.  I've only just started wearing it in the last decade and I'm going to keep wearing it until I don't like it anymore.  Bella of Citizen Rosebud did an excellent blog post back in 2012 titled "Real Women Wear Red Lipstick. 

4) I'm sure there is a list somewhere that suggests that Converse are not appropriate footwear for the mature woman, but I beg to differ.   They go with everything from jeans to dresses and I put arch supports in mine so I can walk for hours in them.

5) And then there's the hair, but I covered that in my last blog post.

Here's to all the rule-breakers that I am proud to call my friends and fellow bloggers, many of whom have written blog posts about the ridiculousness of "What Not To Wear" lists.  The only "What Not To Wear" list that should be followed is the brilliant one by Michelle Combs that was published in the Huffington Post earlier this year.


  1. Ah, yes jeans. It is more difficult to find jeans for an older, fluffier body. That are also cool. And you definitely found some cool jeans. I ended up making some. Now, granted they are a comfort waist type. But I rarely tuck in shirts anymore. Who would know? Keep breaking those rules!

  2. Right on, Shelley. You are a fecking great rule-breaker/non-rule maker. We were taught growing up that we could have it all, home, job, family (no thanks) etc, and then suddenly they add an amendment, yeah, all of it except sleeveless tops, cool hair, runners, etc., after you achieved all the hard stuff. I cry foul! We gotta dozer on. You are a role model.

  3. Hear, hear! I'm not a major jeans fan myself, but I love these boyfriend cut ones on you. And YES to Crybaby (gawd, I loved that movie so much!) and Cons! Fuck that prescriptive shit. :)

  4. Being a rebel rouser when you're over 40 and a woman is such fun stuff. There's so much more opportunity then when you were under 20, what with all the rules now. One of the many benefits of the wise woman, of a certain age, crone figure. yeah.

  5. No list makers! I only read them for amusement. Love all this - esp the Converse and red lips. Rock on with your awesome self. xo

  6. I agree...wear whatever you want. It doesn't hurt anyone so why should anyone else care?

    Love the vibe of the tee and jeans with the Converse. Maybe I need to get some arch supports and try them again. I do so love them but they always give me blisters and hurt my feet.


  7. I do agree with you, better a rule-breaker that enjoys life than a boring follower of the stylists´ tips. Down with the rules! You rock with both blue jeans but I prefer the boyfriend jeans with the graphic tee and the red Converse sneakers. You look very cool and daring! Well done.

  8. Oh you look wonderful with your Converse and jeans and T-shirt. Love the look.
    (Of course I will say that.... I am 61 and I wear this too haha.)
    Catherine of Not Dressed as Lamb (English blog) is heading a cry-out against those silly lists at the moment. On Instagram she posts (and many others) pictures of all the things women over 30 (... yes you read that right, over 30) should not be wearing. Like big sunglasses hahahaha.
    Shelley, you look fab and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

  9. aren't rules made to be broken? If I followed those don't wear that over 50 (60) rules, I'd have nothing to wear. You look wonderful

  10. I think you could make white gloves and a Chanel suit look cool just by your attitude! Actually, I could see that Cry Baby shirt with a Chanel skirt, just for laughs. My favorite jeans ever were my brother's hand-me-down Levi's 501s - he had them perfectly broken in.

    The HuffPo list is the definitive list - screw all the others.

  11. Vests with logos, bare arms, dyed hair, noticeable make up and Converse. You are naughty. Those Over 40 style bloggers will be getting their knickers in a twist over you. Me, on the other hand, would stop you in the street and drag you off to the pub.
    Great idea about the Converse, mine cripple me. xxx

  12. mwahahha, you rock your t-shirt and lipstick and converse (which I love but can't wear anymore, even with my orthotics they hurt me!) and love your hairstyle and attitude!
    And I'm absolutely tired of all those unsolicited advice about what's 'age appropriate', particularly if they say I can't wear graphic t-shirts (wtf!), or red lipstick!!!. And I'm going sleeveless, as anybody does here (even ladies which ages double mine) because it's damn hot!
    Thanks for sharing that refreshing HuffingtonPost article!. Perfect finale!

  13. Ah, the checkered (so to speak) history of jeans in the 20th century! I was a city kid in Brooklyn, and everyone wore jeans except me and my family. (Blame my European mother, who probably would have preferred to see us in Liberty fabrics [which we couldn't afford stateside].) Just getting her to let me wear PANTS, to say nothing of JEANS, was epic. Finally, when I was 12, she had to relent on the jeans 'cause that's all I asked for as my birthday present. When I was 15, she took me to Europe to meet my relatives. For that trip, more or less at the height of the hippies-in-jeans period, she bought me a pair of deathly un-cool STRETCH jeans (wrong color, wrong material, wrong weight, wrong texture), AND made me wear a DRESS on the plane, as if only barbarians dressed casually on a 6 hour flight. And now we have casual Friday, and get to wear jeans to work. All my mother's hopes for me dashed!

    It is my secret belief that all the people who write those what-(not)-to-wear-after-you're-fill-in-the-blank are 22 year old interns. They get a few pointers from their direct superiors (who were interns the previous year), don't really understand the parameters but are afraid to ask, close their eyes, cross their fingers, hand in something totally made up expecting to be called on the carpet, and when it gets published with no revisions come to believe they have genius instincts, not editors just looking to fill an empty page.

  14. You're the perfect example of someone who wears what she loves. And your arms are killer! I think Valerie's assessment is brilliant!

    I too have difficulty finding jeans that fit, but when they do I wear them to death. Secondarily, trying them on is labor intensive, so I seldom do so. Therefore, I have a deficit of pants in my inventory. It's much easier to try on jackets!

  15. I think you look great at 54 in your inapropriate wear.