Go Ahead: Wear Short Shorts

I must have been in my 30's when I began to take note of the "age appropriate" columns in fashion magazines. You know, those sections that show you how to tastefully take on a trend from one age bracket to another.

Hmmm.... My age was beginning to get in the way of my fashion choices. Now I had to reflect not just on what appealed to me, but on whether or not my aging body could take on the latest trend. This was a bummer, but I took on this task with great ambition. I was determined that I would not be that old bag wearing Abercrombie's latest insanely short shorts, which were designed for a 13-year-old.

It turns out I had a lot of help in finding age appropriate attire. I don't know who started it, but I'd argue there is a great media campaign focused on the issue. The magazines break trends down, telling readers how to apply them by decade. On "What Not to Wear," Stacey London and her adorable sidekick Clinton remind women, every week, never to wear mini skirts after 35. And Dr. Phil, along with all the other television hosts looking for sensational smutt, regularly find and admonish women who dress like girls, usually with the help of their utterly embarrassed daughters.

The campaign is hard to ignore, and I listened.

Then I had babies and developed legs full of ugly spidery veins, and I believed. For the last two summers I wore only long bermuda shorts. Instead, I wore capri pants (which look horrible on me; I'm too short for them). I'd decided I was an older woman. Wearing conservative summer attire was my fashion fate. In a couple decades I figured I'd stop wearing sleeveless tops. It just happens. Right?

Then I turned 40. I needed a new pair of shorts, and on a whim, a very rebellious whim, I picked up a pair at Nordstrom. They were cargo style, and they were cute, but they were not bermuda. I'll just try them on, I thought.

I took a look in the mirror. My legs looked hot. These shorts were hot. My bermudas were frumpy. My bermudas said "old, settled, mom." These shorts said, "young, fresh, sassy." I bought them, and I wear them all the time. They are my favorite shorts.

Those columns and rules? I'll still take a look, but I'm loosening up. Fashion should be fun and make you look and feel great. Those are the parameters I'm following these days. Now is 40 too old to donn "mint sprint" on one's toenails? I'm not sure, but I'm going to give it a whirl.


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