I just received an email from one of our contributors (Andra) that while she was in NYC this past weekend it was crazy how much leggings were everywhere – everywhere. On young, on old, with skirts, dresses, tunics, flats and high heels. She noticed that no matter the age, everyone was into this trend.
She also directed me to this article from The Cool Hunter written by Laura Demasi
Grannies in designer denim, Gen Xs in the same skinny leg jeans as
their toddlers. Welcome to the new era of fashion, where generations
have collided and your real age has nothing to do with your fashion age.
A fundamental shift is afoot in the way we dress. If you haven’t
already noticed, the traditional rules that govern our wardrobe choices
– dressing according to our age – are pretty much in free fall. Thanks
to a convergence of social trends – boomers refusing to grow old, 40 is
the new 30, tweens, Gen Y surpassing everyone as the most brand
literate and style conscious generation on earth, to name but a few –
the boundaries between the generations have shifted and overlapped,
rendering everyone virtually the same age in ‘fashion’ years.
it’s a worldwide phenomenon. On the catwalk, “there is no real
delineation of what is ‘child’ and what is ‘adult’ anymore,” commented
Gloria Baume, fashion market director of US fashion magazine Teen
Vogue, to the New York Times recently.
Today, forty and fifty
something mothers wear the same cult label jeans, sexy dresses and
platform heeled stilettos as their teenage daughters and younger mums
and dads dress their babies, toddlers and primary schoolers in designer
‘mini me’ versions of their own clothes.
Even grandma and
grandpa are hip now, embracing the same trends as their children and
grandchildren and buying the same labels and shopping in the same
stores that provide fashion conscious clothes for all of them.
Evans, a therapist in her 50s and grandmother of three toddlers,
travels from her home in the inner west to shop at Tuchuzy in Bondi
(Sydney) because it “has a fantastic range of new and interesting
labels, especially denim”. Her most recent purchase, a pair of $400
Hudson jeans (made popular by young celebrity starlets such as Sienna
Miller and Jessica Simpson) have become a much loved staple in her
wardrobe. “I wear them all the time. They just fit me so well.”
is something of a poster girl for her generation. “We don’t accept
growing old,” she explains of the boomers. “We look after our bodies
and keep ourselves fit and looking slim so why shouldn’t we wear
clothes that flatter our figures? We still read fashion magazines. We
still feel young, we’re still energetic and we want our clothes to
“There’s nothing that tells us we should be
wearing flat chemist bought shoes, pleated skirts and twin sets like
our mothers did – once they hit their 30s and 40s – anymore.”
What are your thoughts? Does your mother dress too sexy? Funny, as I grow older I find myself dressing more like my mother! Not old, just better. I thought she was so square when I was younger. Now I realize that she dressed beautifully and it was I that dressed horribly. I would be uncomfortable if my mother tried to dress too young.
But it’s not all about wanting to stay young forever, Evans points out.
“We’re still out in the workforce at my age, which was pretty much
unheard of for mother’s generation. We’re [boomers] often competing
with much younger people, we need to look marketable so it’s really
important for us to keep up with fashion. You’ve got to look good just
to be considered for jobs these days.”
While boomers are
dressing younger, teens are dressing older – more like their 40 and 50
something mothers. “It’s not about looking pretty now,” says Bianca
Gallo, an 18-year-old, Year 12 student from Sydney. “When you go out
it’s all about who can look the oldest and the sexiest. Especially for
the younger girls. My 13-year-old brother goes to birthday parties and
all of the girls are wearing high heels already.”
surprise that teens and generation Ys are dressing older when you
consider that their fashion references and style icons are almost
always older than them, and are often the same ubiquitous Hollywood
stars and starlets that inspire their mothers. “I look to people who
are current and sexy for ideas about fashion,’ Gallo says. “People off
TV shows like Mischa Barton from the OC and singers, The Pussy Cat
The fact that fashion is so accessible now also helps. Every teen from New York to Paris can hop online
to view Gucci’s latest catwalk collection (or a few weeks later in an
array of fashion and gossip magazines). They may never actually be able
to buy any of it but that’s not why they look. They’re looking for the
trends. They see platform wedges on the catwalk at Chloe in Paris and
they know it’ll only be a few months before they can buy a selection of
affordable knockoffs at their local Showbiz store.
and daughters following the same trends, family outings can turn into
tricky situations. Gallo plans her wardrobe in advance when she goes
out with her 40 something mother and 16 year-old sister. “We’ll be
ready to leave and I’ll come out of my room and my mom will be wearing
exactly the same thing as me but in different colors. I’m like ‘Mom! Go
and get changed, it’s embarrassing!"
“Then other times she’ll
be in the same clothes as my sister. When mom and my sister have
nothing to wear they look in each other’s wardrobes.”
thought teens were dressing older, consider the wardrobe of the average
toddler, preschooler or primary schooler. You’re likely to find as many
pairs of designer jeans, graphic print tops, branded trainers and (for
girls) pretty dresses in grown up styles as mom and dad have.
But the increased availability of trend-following mini-me children’s wear isn’t the only reason why parents are embracing it.
the Gen X parents of the world’s current toddler, preschooler and
primary school aged children are the first generation to grow up with
mass marketing, making them more brand literate and fashion conscious
than any generation before them (superseded only by generation Y – one
can only imagine how they’ll dress their offspring). They follow
seasonal trends and buy designer labels for themselves, so why would
they do any different for their children?
At least it makes
the work of fashion designers a little easier. No need to design for
‘markets’ anymore now that the same trends are adapted for 6 months old
babies right through to sixty year-olds. Not that physical age matters
anymore. It’s all about your age in ‘fashion’ years now – and kind of
like dog years, that’s bound to be a lot more flattering. The Cool Hunter