Daughter, May I?

In Depth

My mom’s friend Molly sent me this email the other day regarding fashion and aging:

One of my favorite sayings is one your mom taught me: “Am I mutton trying to look like lamb?” Where is the line? We would all like to think we are still hip and relevant as we age, but we’ve all seen women who make the mistake of dressing wrong for their age and body type. The 60-year-old with her mini skirt on and her bare legs with wrinkly knees showing. My next thought is always, “Do I do that?” I am not able to be objective about how I look. More than once I’ve purchased something for myself, brought it home, my 21-year-old has put it on and in a deflated voice I say, “Oh, THAT’S how it’s supposed to look?” Then I give it to her and think if my 21 year old can wear it I shouldn’t be buying it for myself. HELP! I’m a 21-year-old trapped in a 59-year-old body.

My first thought when I read this was, “Do NOT let your daughter try on your clothes!” Punish her! Ban her from the house. There, doesn’t that feel better? But, okay, I hear what Molly is saying. I’m pushing 40 and had a kid a few years ago and things are just… not what they used to be? Looking at (most) magazines and reading (most) fashion and beauty blogs, it can feel like no one is talking to me, let alone to my mom or my grandmother. Let’s change that. In this column, we’ll tackle questions like Molly’s, beginning with this one about swimsuits from another friend:

When traveling to warm places, I prefer two-piece bathing suits to one-pieces. Being 53 [menopause], I’m always hot and ready to rip off my clothes. I don’t think it offends anyone but wanted your take on this. I’m in pretty good shape for my age.

I truly hope to start a fight with this answer: there are no rules regarding swimwear. None! Not a one. As long as it’s legal, you’re good. Go to a nude beach and then your problem will be solved.

Swimwear is not about fashion. Sure, it’s possible to look fashionable in a swimsuit. Some people even wear high heels and jewelry and hats and purses with them, and more power to those amazing, ridiculous creatures. I admire them and they are one of the reasons Miami is such a great place for people watching. But, let’s be honest: so few of us can pull that off, or even want to. What, are we supposed to just not swim? Fuck you.

Wear whatever you want to the beach. If people don’t like it, they can look away, preferably into a book for their dumb heads.

You’re reading Millihelen, Jezebel’s new home for personal beauty and style. Follow us on Twitter. If you’ve got a question for an honest and loving daughter, please send us an email.

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