We Already Feel Too Old To Wear Some Stuff. And We’re Not Even Thirty Yet. WTF?

Short shorts be gone...

Why Do We Already Feel Too Old To Wear Some Stuff When We're Not Even Thirty Yet?

by Charlie Byrne |
Published on

There are two reasons that I chuck an item of clothing out of my wardrobe these days - I’m either too fat for it (hello unnecessary late twenties pelvic spread for the children I don’t even want yet) or because I feel too old for it. I'm 27.

Now I'm far from over the hill. I'm not in the same postcode as the hill, hopefully. But on the other hand, there’s some stuff that I was wearing at Uni nearly a decade ago that I just wouldn’t be comfortable wearing now. In 2006, I was the queen of over-the-knee socks. I could give Pippi Longstocking and Cher Horowitz combined a run for their money. And remember those American Apparel body-con dresses that were basically one giant half of a pair of tights? Well I had a metallic version. It’s a pretty long list of stuff I don't want to wear anymore, if I’m honest; cropped tops, gingham, sticky-out skirts - I’ve ditched them all because I just feel a bit, well, daft.

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Admittedly I currently spend most of my evenings watching re-runs of House trying to work out what sort of Magnet kitchen I should save up for, and if I was sitting on my sofa in a cropped top and a body-con mini skirt then I'd feel like a bit of a tool. But having done a quick survey of my mates, it turns out I’m not the only one who feels like they’re being shoved out of certain clothes because of their age, regardless as to whether they're living it up every night, or eating take aways in their onesie.

Jess, 28, The Debrief’s culture editor, tells me that she feels weird buying into flash-in-the-pan trends now. ‘Basically anything that teenagers buy from Primark to channel a particular trend, especially if it’s too hipster, just doesn’t feel right anymore,’ she explains. ‘If I do that, I look at myself in the mirror and think “Come on, you’re 28. Wear normal clothes.”'

It’s definitely got something to do with the same clothes not feeling the same in our heads once we’re closer to 30 than 20, and less about what they actually look like IRL. ‘I always used to wear loads of 1950s style skirts which looked really cute,’ explains my mate Becky who has already passed the 30 threshold, ‘but now I worry that they make me look frumpy.’ I’ve had similar worries, that if I wear the prom skirts I swore by five years ago, people will think I’m either a) far younger and less experienced than I actually am or b) too much of an adult to be wearing them and taken seriously. Neither of these vibes are what I’m aiming for - it’s like being in a weird Britney Spears Not A Girl Not Yet A Woman sartorial limbo. But does the actual skirt look much different on me now, than how it looked then? Nope. And is there an actual cut off point that works for all of us? Of course not.

There is, however, a feeling among my mates in their mid-late twenties that there are certain brands that we have already outgrown. ‘Anything from the young bit of H&M, loads of stuff from Miss Selfridge, and the whole of Forever 21 - basically because of the name, and I remember being 21 and thinking ‘ooooh can I wear this stuff now?’ explains Emma, 26, ‘Because being 21 was five years ago...’

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Maybe it's just that now we have to think more about the impression our clothes are making, what with having bosses and all that. ‘I just feel like I can’t wear anything that I wore as a teenager, or at university,’ says our staff writer Stevie. ‘Now if I look super casual and don’t brush my hair, it’s no longer a badge of honour, it just looks like I haven’t got my life together.’

Sophie, 27, makes a good point, that it might not actually just be about realising what looks good, but also about what makes good sense. ‘Some things I now realise were a stupid idea, like vintage clothes - there's something to be said for going to charity shops and giving money and getting good finds, but paying £30 for a shirt someone else has worn for aeons, a shirt that now smells of fireplaces and has holes in, is a mug's game. I’m glad I now realise that.’ She also points out that before we might have been more bothered about logos when we were younger, and less bothered about ethical fashion. ‘I think once you get past a certain age you realise the value in wearing unbranded things - you become confident enough to realise that the label doesn’t make it great to look at, and people now ASK where you got it instead of seeing where you bought it plastered all over the front.’

So realistically, you might feel too old for stuff, but it's all in our heads. The likelyhood is, you can probably rock a pair of short-shorts just as well as you could at 19. And if you want to, then you should. I chucked mine out a few months ago, stroking the grass stains before I threw them in a bin bag for the charity shop, unable to look at the bag without wincing. But I made sure I went out and bought a new (slightly bigger) pair the week after.

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Follow Charlie on Twitter @Charliebyrne406

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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