Forever 21

When people I’m meeting for the first time learn that I am 31, they are usually shocked or comment on how young I look.  Mostly, they assume that I’m in my mid to late 20’s, which is quite flattering.  However, I was recently at my younger cousin’s bachelorette party, surrounded by girls in their early 20’s, and one of them thought I was nineteen.  My old ass was mistaken for a teenager!  I could have taken that as an awesome compliment to my apparent slow aging, but instead, it made me entirely self-conscious.  Why would a 24-year-old believe me to be five years younger than her?  Were my jean shorts and tank top too skanky for my age?  Does my quiet, reserved personality reflect that of a child?  I have not been able to stop thinking about this, and since then, if anyone comments on how young I look, I immediately become embarrassed.

My friend, Kate, had a similar experience recently.  While working in her daughter’s kindergarten classroom, a student told her that she looked more like a sister than a mom.  She jokingly pondered whether or not she should update her “mom” wardrobe.  This sparked a conversation between us, where she enlightened me to the fact that some women cut their hair short for the sole purpose of becoming a mom.  That just boggles my mind!  The “mom haircut” is no secret, but I had always assumed it was a style that trended amongst the women of our parents’ generation as they aged.  I never thought of it as a purposeful style trend today.  Sometimes I like my naturally wavy hair long and flowing, and sometimes I like it in an above-the-shoulder bob that I blow dry straight, but I’ve never decided my hair’s length or style due to any outside factors.  I’ve always gone with what makes me feel cute and confident at the time.

Ever since I was told that I looked nineteen, I have begun to evaluate my attire.  As I’ve mentioned, I like my clothes to be comfortable and sensible.  This means that my go-to outfit is jean shorts and a cotton tank top during the summer and jeans with a sweater/long sleeved cotton shirt during the winter.  While I admit, my shorts’ hemlines are pretty high and close to the crotch area, I can assure you that my butt is entirely covered, and I don’t believe anyone is thinking that they are inappropriately short.  (or maybe they are, and I’m kidding myself like those 40-year-old “Forever 21’s” you see at the bar)  The length and tight fit of my shorts does give me reason to pause sometimes.  I am 31 years old, you know.  Is it time to transition to shorts that run halfway down my thigh and hang loosely off my hips?

Basically, here’s what I really want to know: Is there an age appropriate look I should be going for, and if so, when is it time to update my clothing?  Or is there really a time that one has to change their look?  I don’t want to be one of those older women dressing like they’re 19, but I also don’t want to lose the sense of being me.  It’s probably not necessary to start integrating blazers into my attire just yet, but all those, “You look so young!” comments are really getting to me.  If you have any thoughts or feelings regarding this topic, please feel free to share them!



15 thoughts on “Forever 21

  1. I too tread along the lines of vagueness when it comes to my age, and my wardrobe varies greatly depending on the look I’m going for, but I am noticing I am no longer getting away with more “youthful clothing” either. I am of the “wear what makes you happy” camp, but you’re right – sometimes you don’t want to be mistaken for a nineteen-year-old. When I find the answer, I’ll let you know!

    • I know I’m starting to change on my own ’cause when I walk into Kohl’s, I breeze right by the Junior’s section on my way to the Women’s area. (Okay, I slow down and slyly glance in the general direction of the Junior’s section, but I haven’t made a purchase from there in a long time!)

      As long as we can wear our Bloggess t-shirts forever, we’ll be happy. 🙂

  2. “I can assure you that my butt is entirely covered”

    – much to the dismay of all Y chromosomers everywhere, I’m sure…

  3. I came over from Thoughts from Paris because I thought your comment was hilarious.

    I had this problem a few years ago. I got carded often at age 31. Now I’m 41 and it doesn’t happen anymore, except when required by law. I don’t know when that age-appropriate wardrobe transition is supposed to take place. In my mid-30s I became a mom and it was an easy transition into jeans and t-shirt territory because I never left my house other than to go to Target. I have a “wedding outfit” that I wear to all weddings and I think it’s a little young and dated. It’s the only time it gets worn, so I never think to replace it. I think I look about 6 when I wear it. Too much ruffle and floral print.

    • Thanks for stopping by! I’m with you on the one dress for every wedding. Why spend more money or time trying on others when you know one that fits just fine? And too much floral print?! Never! haha

  4. Oh Erica!!! Was it Michelle?!?!!? hehe She’s a little silly, I’m sure she didn’t mean anything by it. She tells Ron he’s about to be 40 every birthday he has because he’s older than her. I kinda know how you feel though. I get the “you look younger than you are” comments sometimes, too, and I don’t want to have people look at me and think geez you’re too young to be married or even worse when I want to start having kids I don’t want to be mistaken for being too young so they think I didn’t mean to get pregnant!

    I say wear whatever is comfortable for you and that you like while you still can! You look good in your shorts and I’m jealous! 😉 I was recently at the store trying to buy shorts and Ron so nicely told me they were “Mom” shorts so I put them back 😦 haha I guess I need to learn how dress!!!

    P.S. Try to take it as a compliment that you look young, when you’re older everyone will be jealous!!! ;D

    P.P.S. All I’m thinking as I post this is, “Erica’s gonna read this and I was horrible at grammar and punctuation in school!” I never paid attention! 😛

    • hahaha Don’t worry about your grammar here! Actually, you did a nice job! I’m more critical of my own writing than anyone else’s. When I read old posts and come across an error, I get so embarrassed and fix it immediately.

      Mom shorts can be comfortable, so I don’t blame you for trying some on. haha

      Well, while both Ron’s sisters ALSO thought I was younger, they thought I was your age. It was actually Friday who thought I was 19 (and I totally took a guess at her age too, so she might be offended that I aged her at 24 if she isn’t). haha I know she meant it in the nicest way, I’m just an over-thinker. And like you were saying, you know what it’s like to look younger than you are. Take comfort in the fact that when you start having kids, you’ll at least have a ring on your finger to show that it was intentional. We should probably just stop caring about what other people think, but where’s the fun in that?

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