Is “Dressing Your Age” No Longer Relevant?

jennifer lopez white dress

As the title of Jennifer Lopez’s new movie Second Act suggests, her career resurgence at the age of 49 is one of notable cultural significance. I would argue, though, that the parade of outfits she has donned over the course of the film’s press tour is even more so. Highlights include:

+ A bubblegum pink gown with a high-low hem and a train that stretched the length of 1.5 Vince Vaughns (roughly)

+ A black lace babydoll dress and black knee-high boots

+ A ballerina-esque frock with a neckline that plunged to just above her navel

+ A sea-foam blue sequin jumpsuit with a coordinating coat

+ Trouser-cut track pants and a statement-making turtleneck sweater that extended to the floor like a cape

+ A skin-tight red midi dress with orange pumps and a teeny tiny white purse

Her aesthetic has been unilaterally bold and colorful, not to mention frequently form-fitting or skin-baring. More than simply ignoring stereotypes about how a middle-aged woman should dress, it actually undermines their very existence, prompting me to wonder whether the rhetoric around “dressing your age” is finally extinct.

It’s been chipped away at for years — notably by women like Diana Vreeland and Diana Ross whose respective fashion choices (from statement-sleeved tops to ruffled red swimsuits) have conveyed the kind of sex appeal typically associated with ingenues. But seeing a literal leading lady with enormous star power like Lopez do so in such a deliberate, public manner carries the weight of finality, particularly because it’s all happening on the red carpet.

Red carpets provide an interesting barometer for fashion in that even though they rarely push the envelope when it comes to trends or aesthetic movements, they often seal it. In other words, they showcase the “safe” choice, stamped with celebrity approval. It therefore stands to reason that refusing to dress your age is becoming less of a crusade and more of the norm.

What do you think? Do you still let age dictate what you choose to wear, or is that hang-up becoming obsolete?

Photo by Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photobank via Getty Images.

Harling Ross

Harling is a writer and was most recently the Brand Director at Man Repeller.

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