Many a woman who got into vintage wearing while much younger has now reached her 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s. A woman over 40 may just now be considering getting into wearing vintage. Are there any rules for wearing vintage at 40+ years of age? These are some of my thoughts.

In her 40s in the 1950s

In her 40s in the 1950s

40 is the new...something else. No way is the 1950s-era middle-aged woman stereotype the norm. Being “appropriate” was never before such a vague concept.

Younger women color their hair grey while older women color their’s pink. Many factors blur the edges between young and old, and more than anything your age is a state of mind and what you make of it. That said, with many years of wearing, observing and selling vintage fashion under my (vintage) belt, I can offer some advice for those of us who are somewhere around 40 and up, starting with:


Quit acting like you have something to lose

There are times in your life when you will want to play a certain role that your clothing will costume. If you take a job interview at a law office, you probably know to wear something professional and somewhat conservative; a funeral is not the time to break out your colorful party dress; overly slinky isn’t right for most mothers-of-the-grooms or brides.

By the time you reach midlife, you are starting to have fewer things to costume for, and yet many women continue to dress themselves as if they will be judged by someone who can make a great difference. By all means wear something appropriate, but do consider the ways in which you have paid your dues and are where you want to be. Don’t just be appropriate.

How does this intersect with vintage fashion? I have heard and seen the results of a mindset that considers vintage fine for young women, but not women who are middle-aged and older—that it is “playing dress up.”

If you follow the Advanced Style blog, movie and/or book, you know that there are women and men of a certain age who go all out, dressing each day with careful thought and flair. Whether you go for hot pink, bold jewelry and statement hats, or tweeds, silk scarves and Grace Kelly handbags should be up to you. The way you see yourself is how best to dress yourself. And just as anyone else wearing vintage fashion, you may find the best fitting, best quality, most you items in vintage.

It doesn’t matter who else is in your life; they either love, respect or appreciate you or they don’t for the right reasons, not because you dress to please them.


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