Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Debate: How Old Is Too Old?

Here is the first debate for Girl Is Poison: The Zine. How old is too old for lolita-ish clothing?

Never Too Old!
By Lux
I know one day I’ll hang up my maryjanes. Let’s face it as we get older pretty shoes give way to orthopedic comfort. Buttons and bows are replaced with Velcro and sweatshirts proclaiming one the “World’s Greatest Grandma”. At the age of 26 this seems a long way off now, but the thought of retiring my Alice headbands, petticoats, vintage dolly dresses and, yes, maryjanes for good leaves me with a certain amount of wistfulness. I didn’t exactly give them up in adulthood did I?

I was told once that I am a young soul. I not only believe this, I live it day to day. And thank goodness I have the opportunity to express it how and when I choose. (God bless America!) I’ll admit my skirts are less full these days, I haven’t worn peter pan collars in ages and I’ve taken to picking out more solid colors rather than the wacky colorful prints I was once known for. But every now and again I feel like having a little fun. What is life without fun? I believe we are only here for a short time. If donning a ruffled party dress makes a 65 year old woman (or man for that matter) feel good then let ‘em! They’ve sure as hell earned it. The truth is anyone who has the cojones to go against the norm and endure the inevitable stares, comments and sometimes laughter has earned it twice over.

You’re never to old to live each day to the fullest. You’re never too old to have spirit and appreciate life…right down to your maryjanes. As silly as it may seem to some, clothing is a huge part of life to people like me. Clothes will always equal art no matter how old we get. Just ask all the people who crowd New York venues during Fashion Week. Or ask the seamstress who spends weeks constructing a single couture garment. To fashion junkies like us, clothes are part of who we are. A coat does not just keep us warm, it says something about us. Those of us who will leave the house in babydoll dresses and knee socks are saying that we are truly young at heart and don’t care who knows it.

You might ask: “But Lux, who really wants to see a 65 year old woman in a jumper?”. My answer to you is the 65 year old. And I counter with: “Would you rather see her in a micro mini and fishnets?”. The fact is Lolita fashion represents more than just youth, it represents a time when people had a little more modesty. Clothing was more conservative and people dressed with just a bit more care. Appearance was more about the fine details. The beading, the lace! It’s high time the pendulum swings back! If you see that 65 year old on the street just know that she understands this and a lot more. Before judging her as an old lady with a couple screws loose, take note that you are witnessing someone who is truly free. Do I read too much into it? Perhaps, but I personally prefer cute, sweet and fun to messy, slutty or boring any day. It’s for damn sure 100% better than that “World’s Greatest Grandma” sweatshirt.

Is there an age limit to wearing Lolita?
By Emily Buresh
The Lolita style is a very beautiful fashion that originates from Japanese subculture to look like Victorian dolls. This trend has several subcategories: Gothic Lolita, Punk Lolita, Classic Lolita, Sweet Lolita, Wa/Qi Lolita, Ouji/kodona/dandy Lolita, Manga/Anime Lolita, and other more do-it-yourself Lolita styles. The Japanese tend to wear more conservative ensembles while Americans have taken their spin on things to show off some skin. The style first emerged in the 1970’s, but has gained popularity in the 1990’s and is now a widely known fashion that is sold in many stores worldwide.

The general effect of the Lolita style is to appear youthful and almost fragile, yet alluring. The colors and fabrics vary widely from traditional Japanese kimono silks to plaids and lace. Some feel that this look is ageless and can be worn by anyone, but the truth is that this isn’t so. As we mature, our over all look changes dramatically. Many use products or surgery to get back this appearance. Others hold onto the age of innocence with garments. I’m not implying one should stop wearing this style at say 40 or 50. However, if your look requires diabetic stockings and orthopedic shoes, then it’s time to retire the look.

Over time our skin wrinkles because it loses elasticity, our hair grays, and our overall figure loses to gravity. Some start earlier in life than others, but to see a woman with a cute school girl’s uniform, platform shoes, a parasol, and have a face that time has not forgotten isn’t attractive and defeats the purpose of the whole ensemble. One might also run the risk of having total strangers ask why you are wearing your granddaughter’s dress.

Lolita takes a lot of time to prepare just the right look. One needs to apply their make-up giving it a light appearance, yet draw out the lips, cheeks, and eyes just so depending on what direction of Lolita is chosen. Next is to coif the hair to give a youthful appearance. Some do their hair in ringlets while others pin up their hair with elaborate clips. A corset or bustier can give the waist a young girl’s curvature. Adding stockings or socks elongate the legs. The shirt can be simple or one can add a few layers with a vest or jacket. Bustles accentuate a small tush, then petticoats and generally a knee length skirt. Of course like any other fashion style the look can be simplified or be more elaborated.

I have talked to several maturing women and they have said that they enjoy as few steps as possible when getting ready in the morning. To them the thought of anything more than brushing their hair and putting on pants is way too much. All that bother isn’t really worth it and they find their time is better spent doing other things that are needed to get done or sleep in.
By no means am I saying not to go for it and buy that cute anime style dress, but realize societal norms and how you will be stared at. As time passes there will be less and less of your peers who wear similar fashions. This is a major part of the look to have others who look similar and be able to mix and match with your friends. If all this doesn’t bother you, go for it!

I look forward to growing old gracefully and enjoy wearing such lovely Lolita garments. However, I know that there will be a time in my life when I need put away or give away certain clothes. I say everyone should rock each year to the fullest, wear that purple shirt, be comfortable in your own skin, but please know when to hang up your kitty hoodie.
Best wishes and blessings to you in this journey called life.

What are your thoughts? Should there be an age limit? At what point (if any) should people stop expressing themselves in this way?


Anonymous said...

I totally love your part! I actually do agree more with you, but have the ability to see things on all sides and I see you do too. Keep the great work up and look forward to reading more in the future!

Emily =D

Girl Is Poison said...

Thanks Em!

Anonymous said...

I agree to an extent. I feel so long as you are comfortable wearing the clothes, whatever style they may be and don't care about people laughing then heck you wear what you want. Admittedly I go out (though less so now for some reason) in a kitty ear headband so I would say that!

Girl Is Poison said...

Same here. I personally wouldn't keep dressing this way forever. I'm just not that brave. But more power to those who are!

Jill Hawk said...

Is there anything worse than being out of date, or rather frozen in time?
I think that is the biggest danger of growing older is that our fashion sense can become snagged upon the talons of life, (read "the eighties") and OOPS! We become dated. I'm not a radical dresser, but Heavens. One must be au current. Non? I'm 42 and LUV my Maryjanes.

Lenox Knits said...

I just blogged about something similar. I don't think we are ever too old to express ourselves. There is a time and place for everything, but I say be whoever you are at whatever age you are.