TBT to 1997 – my friends and I are huddled at a bar, navel rings glistening between the sandwich of low rise jeans and Britney Spears style crop tops, beer bottles dangling from our fingertips. We’re watching the makeshift dance floor that would erupt around 10 pm, when the dinner crowd fizzled and the locals would let loose.
“Dude, look at them,” we’d sneer. “They are so stuck.” They were a group of women, older, sooo much older than us, in their high rise mom jeans, hair way too sprayed for the decade of grunge, waving their hands in the air and dancing like they just didn’t care. They were stuck, we judged, in the 80s – the decade of their youth, unable to let go of the look they sported in their prime.
“That will SO never be us,” one of us would drawl.
Well, here we are, twenty something years later, in the land of never. The irony is, crop tops are back, and most of us wouldn’t even be caught sneaking one on in the privacy of our own attic. We are now the forty year old moms, longing for a night out, wishing we looked like we did in our twenties, and not quite sure how to create a look that’s youthful, but not insane, for our forties. We’re straddling the line between Bebe and Not Your Daughter’s Jeans.
Fashion has always been one of my favorite f-words, and like many things in my forties, I have finally learned to find it freeing. (The alliteration here may even be too much for me.) I understand that sparkly Ugg boots would make me look slightly crazy, but I’m also not ready to shop in Chicos. The forties have, however, let me experiment, have fun, and take some risks. (I also did this in my twenties, but I wasn’t nearly as good at it.) Being married also allows this; I love testing an outfit when going on a date with my husband. It’s safe to look a little wild when you’re with someone who vowed to stay with you through sickness, health, and a gold lame jumpsuit.
The even better news is, I also do NOT want to look the way I did in 1997. Plaid shirts and baggy jeans were not flattering on me, and my eyebrows are now paying the price for all that tweezing. (I blame you, Jen Aniston. All you talked in the 90s was how much you loved to tweeze Courtney Cox’s eyebrows.) I’ve accepted that I am five foot two inches, I have calf muscles that rip skinny jeans to shreds, and straight leg or bootcut jeans make me appear taller. It’s a sigh of relief to not try a trend just because and to understand what makes me look better, and what makes me look nuts. And if gold lame makes me nuts, make room for me on that dance floor.