Okay first of all, I am thirty. Not thirty one. I just want everyone to know that before you read any further, but yes, I’m in my thirties. Barely. But there. No longer in my twenties. Thirty. Oh God.
I was visiting the new (and incredible) Restoration Hardware in Denver a couple of months ago and as I was making my way down the grand stairway, I looked at myself in a mirror the size of a food truck and said, “Woah, I look old”. My friend immediately attempted to comfort me by saying, “No you don’t!”, and I said, “No, no, not like in a bad way, but like…matuuure. I look like a woman who could be the mother of… high school kids”. It was so weird; almost like I was looking into a mirror of the future and seeing myself as an adult, only it was present day and I was looking at me…I guess as an adult? It must be said that I was wearing a black turtleneck (yes, that one) and a vintage Bill Blass coat that can be best described as the coat Kevin’s mom wore in Home Alone (visual), so perhaps that added some years, but I saw her…I saw Brittany, or should I say Ms. Rowan, at forty.
As we age our personal style evolves, or at least it should. I don’t shop in all of the same stores I did when I was twenty one and I tend to buy classic pieces with more structure, but every now and then I see a look and I wonder, “Am I too old?”.
A couple of weeks ago I wrapped up work on a late Friday afternoon and started to get ready to meet a friend for happy hour and a movie. The evening required comfortable clothing, but a cute look given the fact that it was a Friday night and we were heading to a restaurant downtown. I paired a billowy top with some leggings and boots, added a few accessories and light makeup for a look that felt appropriate in a social setting with wine and oysters, yet comfortable in a recliner chair inside a theater. The time came to fix my hair and as I flipped it to one side as usual, recalled the half bun I’d seen around. I shrugged it off; absolutely not Brittany. I know when to shut it down and my shut it down alarm was ringing loud and clear. After a little back and forth, I chose to ignore said alarm and see what it looked like, you know…for fun. It wasn’t bad and I wasn’t sure, but I did know that if there was a time to experiment, it was tonight when the bulk of my evening would be spent in the dark. Perfect. Could I do it? Reinforcement needed.
I texted fellow thirty somethings, my sister (very conservative, brutally honest) and girlfriend (less conservative, still honest) and not only did I get good feedback, I also found that my girlfriend was fighting the same bitter war!
Me: Guys, I need advice. And be realz. Heading to happy hour and then a 7pm movie. Going super casual but still trying to be cute. Can I pull off the half bun or is this my first encounter with being too old to be trendy?
(It really needs to be said that I don’t say the word “realz” for real)
Sister: I think it’s cute. (she’s very cut and dry)
Me: Really? Okay, you are the harshest critic so I think I’ll go with it. Thanks!
Sister: Mmmmm okay
Carlye: Okay, so I tried the half bun last week. I did it in private when I went to the doctor because I was scared of it too and figured the gyno had bigger things to judge. You rock it!
Ugh, what a relief to know I wasn’t alone. Also a huge relief to know I had chosen friends who are also aware of aging gracefully (half buns are very graceful).
Carlye: Keep me postie on the half bunnie feedback!
*It should be noted that Carlye wore the half bun a week later (in public) and received a compliment from her beau. Yes, girl.
So where is the line drawn? How will we know what is appropriate and what is not in the coming years? Can we pull off less as we age more?? Should I start only wearing Talbots to ensure I am never on an offender list?! What if I don’t have a bitchy daughter to tell me when I shouldn’t wear something?! How will I know!?!? It’s so easy to judge when you’re not being judged. Enjoy it while you’ve got it, twenty somethings.
I wish I could end this by saying, be yourself. Who cares? Wear what makes you feel good! But I can’t. Because I care. And I feel good when I look good.
As I transition into my thirties I will try to limit myself on peaking trends, leave costume goods such as hippie headbands and flash tats for festivals (you guys I’ve never worn flash tats anywhere other than a festival, I swear), and if I do experiment with something that is “in the moment”, will try my best to pair with understated and classic pieces.
Good luck to you. Better luck to me.