Sister Style: Age Appropriate Clothing

Sister Style Sister StyleLet’s talk about this concept of age appropriate clothing. I don’t know how to feel.

On one hand, I get it. I do feel it’s important to embrace and love every decade. And I feel like my 30-something self is just SO different from my 20-something self. I love that sense of growth and forward movement.

One of my fears is becoming stuck in a past decade or being fearful of aging. When I look at the women I admire most, foremost my mom, I can see that there is a better, more confident way to live. And I want to embrace that.

With that said, what’s with this pressure to dress a certain way. I don’t embrace that AT ALL. I feel like it’s more about instincts and intentions than anything else, and if you FEEL GOOD, that means it’s all good. A couple years ago I read some article about how when you turn 30 you need to start shopping at Ann Taylor. And I was like… “Why?”

And the other day I got a comment on Instagram about that same pressure, and it made me think about it again. These self-imposed rules are kind of a bummer.

At the moment, where I stand is to wear WHATEVER I feel comfortable in, at any age. That’s a simple way to look at it that works for me.

Now… take a look at my CRAZY pin vest. This is the new crown jewel of my closet! It makes me SO RIDICULOUSLY HAPPY.

Sister Style Sister Style Sister Style Sister Style Elsie’s Wearing: Vest/Madewell, Dress/She In, Shoes/Swedish Hasbeens, Bag/Forever21, Hat and Sunnies/Moorea Seal.

Pin Sources: Gimme Flair, Valley Cruise Press, Laser Kitten, Big Bud Press, Georgia Perry, Little Arrow StudioBermuda Press, Rosehound Apparel, Hello Holiday, Buried Diamond, Sleepy Mountain, Coucou Suzette, Penelope Gazin, Culture Flock, Band Of Weirdos.

Take it away, Emma!!

Emma ChapmanOrange and gray Emma of Emma of Fluffy sweater Emma Chapman Emma of Ha! I like your thoughts, sister. I say, you can keep on wearing whatever you like. Maybe they will let you into the advanced style club someday?

I guess I pretty much feel the same. Personally, I don’t really think certain stores are for certain age groups when it comes to adult clothing. I’m more or less the same height and size as I was when I was sixteen. So why do I have to shop anywhere different unless I WANT to. I think my tastes have definitely changed over the years, but there are lots of things I wore in high school that I still think are pretty cool, and I wish I still had them.

The main thing I think I’ve learned/changed over the years is more about fit than anything else. Clothes look so much better when they actually fit you. Go figure. 🙂 And I think the older I get, the more I am comfortable in my own skin and therefore feel more confident wearing clothes that fit well.

Of course, I say that and then I’m wearing an oversized sweater in these photos. Ha! Well, it was cold out, guys. OK! And at least my jeans fit. It’s about proportions in this one I guess.

Emma of abeautifulmess.comEmma’s wearing: Sweater c/o Threadsence, Collared shirt and Purse/H&M, Sheer dress/Foreign Exchange, Jeans/F21 (I should probably stop being lazy and go ahead and hem these, huh?), Shoes c/o Seychelles, and Sunnies c/o Lulu’s.

XO! E + E

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman. Photography: Laura Gummerman and Janae Hardy. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess Actions

  • I love this post and these outfits! Life is what you make it & age ain’t nothin’ but a number. So, keep doin’ you!

  • I find this topic very interesting, from time to time I wonder too.
    When I left university and started working last year, I felt like I had to age over night. Not on the inside, no, I was ready for the grown-up life. It was my outside, the way I dressed. Be serious – and look that way. I threw out clothes because I thought no one would take me serious in them or think I was able to take on responsibility. It got worse when I got promoted some time ago. What is really appropriate and when should I dress which way? I think I´m slowly getting the hang of it, developing my style into the direction which I think is right. It´s so hard to envision anything right now, regarding personal style and so on. I thought I had found it, involving work is kind of tough. Might be a first world problem, but somehow it´s bothering me.

  • That’s tough! I don’t have a tip. I’ve lost a few that way as well. :((
    xx- Elsie

  • I thought you were talking a out Jem and the Holograms. haha!!!
    xx- Elsie

  • Ideally time enables us to know our bodies and our personal style better.

    The day I discovered curvy jeans changed my life. I’d never had a pair of jeans that stayed on without a belt and I always felt awkward. Then lightbulb moment- I have hips! Well-fitting clothes really do make a difference and I wish I could give that feeling to everyone. Love my current pair of curvy jeans from Ann Taylor. 🙂

    Hooray for age giving us confidence to wear whatever we want! When I turned 30 this year I started wearing (curvy!) jeans and a black t-shirt every day and I couldn’t be happier.

  • I’m totally with you! I hate the stipulation that you have to dress a certain way at a certain age. One of my favorite things is to see people, regardless of age, size, what have you, rocking a bold outfit. I love both of your styles!

  • Great post! I feel the same as you, Elsie – some “rule books” would say I dress a bit young for being 32. But I wear what makes me feel happy and like my true self. Amen to that, sister!!

    Also – thank you so much for mixing my pins in on your vest – it’s just too amazing. So good!


  • i support shopping wherever you like at whatever age, but i also feel old when my 29 yr old self waltzes into forever 21. their skirts are super short and i’m like, ‘hm, maybe in the past but i dunno these days.’ mostly it pains me to think that i should stop wearing knee socks. i’ve rocked em since i was 19. still, i look at the short skirts paired with the knee socks and i’m like, “time for a change.” (the change might be longer skirts, hahah. never give up knee socks!)

    i dunno how to dress more aprops for a 30 yr old woman b/c i spend a lot of time doing messy art and being in the woods. i like baggy sweaters, the obligatory knee socks, and boots. shrug. unless your job dictates looking a certain way, i hope you can do whatever you like and feel comfortable in your own skin!

  • Not sure what it says about me since i’m a twenty-something but I really like ann taylor hahaha
    But, in my defense, I pair it with some pretty flamboyant scarves and flats.
    Back in my interviewing days someone gave me the tip “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” That has really stuck with me and in my day-to-day I translate it to “Dress how you want to be treated”. The fact of the matter is that regardless of how hard people try to see past your exterior and not judge based on appearances we are all influenced, even if it’s only just a smidgen, by how people present themselves. If I dressed the way I did in high school I would need to work a little harder to get people to take me seriously. I know that, am not willing to do that extra work, and therefore don’t dress like high school me 😉

  • You’re both on point! I agree with you Elsie – at 38 I wear whatever makes me feel happy. Rules Shmules I say! <3

  • I’m 34 and just dyed my hair pastel pink after years of wanting to but feeling “too old”. I’m glad I did it and it was freeing to do what I wanted without worrying if it was appropriate or not. I feel the same about clothing for the most part. I admit, I once raised my eyebrows when I saw a 50+ year old woman wearing blinged out jeans and a cheetah print top and thought, “ugh,I will never dress like that when I’m that age”. But you know what, kudos to her for wearing what she likes. My 20 year old self never would have thought I’d sport pastel hair in my 30’s either. Now, when I see older women wearing young clothing I smile and think, “good for you”!

  • I wear whatever. Pearls and cardigan one day, pom pom earrings the next. I dress according to whatever makes me happy that day 😉

  • What? You’re 30 not 60. From what I can tell you always seem to dress “appropriately”. Whatever that means. And at 50 I wear what I want. I just happen to not want to wear what I did when I was 20. And that’s okay too. And my 20 year old comes and raids my closet all the time. I just wouldn’t wear the same thing to a PTA meeting as I would on a date with my husband. Dress for the occasion is much more important to me than dressing my “age”.

  • I remember reading somewhere that it’s good to drop a trend every new decade and add in more classic pieces. So in your teens, you wear 5+ trends at a time, ’cause it’s fun to experiment. In your 20’s you wear 4, and so on. I’m in my 40’s and still wear lots of trends, but only a couple at a time with classic pieces mixed in. I think that helps a lot, because then it doesn’t look like you are trying too hard to hold on to your youth. Anyway, it’s a guideline that helps me, and I don’t think it embarrasses my kids!! Haha! 🙂 But when I’m at Disneyland, all rules go out the window and I’m a Minnie Mouse wearing kid again! 🙂

  • I used to listen to that song ALL THE TIME and second this suggestion. I also second this notion that it’s stupid to dress a certain way just because of your age. The main thing that’s changed about me since I was young is that I have less crippling insecurities and thus don’t feel the need to dress a certain way to try to hide them. (I used to dress intentionally super weird to tell the world that I was special, and thankfully I don’t feel the need to do that anymore.)

  • I am right there with you ladies. I am always going to go with what I feel looks best on me as well as what I find comfortable. Doing so is what keeps my readers coming back for more. I mean, there are limitations on what I will and won’t wear but I want to be myself and not what age-related fashion stigmas say I should be.


  • I have so much to say on this. First of all Ann Taylor? Unless she starts whipping out sassy message tees I don’t think so….
    I definitely think go for whatever you’re comfortable in and what fits well. Clinton Kelly always said, “If you don’t have fit, you don’t have style.” Emma is totally spot on there.
    As far as being “too old” to wear something or “supposed to” wear this or that at whatever age…I’m 34 and I have cashmere cardigans from J Crew hanging next to blouses from Old Navy hanging next to a yellow tee that has a picture of bananas and says “Obviously”. If you like it, rock it!

  • I turned 30 last january and I celebrated my 30th by purchasing ‘Young at heart’ Disney Vans shoes.
    But I do like a mature look. It depends on the situation.

  • Dress how you want I say! As long as you feel comfortable, who cares x

  • Funny. I was just thinking about this this morning. I’m 37 and today I’m wearing a mini skirt and purple tights. This is my style and it feels totally normal to me, but I can’t help but notice that none of the other mums from my daughter’s kindergarten dress like this! I definitely agree with the sentiment that you’ve got to wear what makes YOU feel most comfortable and confident and not change your style to fit in with anyone else’s expectations!

  • THANK YOU! Totally agree with you on being/dressing yourself no matter your age. I also LOVE when you guys do sister style!

  • I know that I struggle with this ALL of the time!! Being a mom and coming into the big 30, I am always questioning wether my clothing choices are age appropriate or not. My goal for this year was to wear and do whatever made ME happy and screw what ‘THEY’ had to say about it!!! GET IT GIRLS!!!

  • Pfft, age propriety is such a load of crap! I say, you rock what you wear, girlfriend!
    Sometimes I myself feel like wearing something sweet and innocent, like something a 10-year-old would wear and that alone turns heads as I walk down the street. But why not?
    Also, love Emma’s sweater! It resembles an abstract painting from over here

    Alive as Always

  • The pictures are beautiful. This is an awesome post!

  • Love both outfits, but Emma’s is the one that would suit me and my age the best. I absolutely love it!

  • LOL I started shopping at Ann Taylor as a teenager and was definitely told I looked like an old lady. I’m glad I ignored my peers and dressed how I wanted, I still wear some of those pieces. Age is just a number, baby!

  • I’m dying over that vest!! It’s so adorable!


  • I’ve thought a lot about this as a 30 something mom, and first, and most importantly, I have to say that I LOVE being part of this generation that doesn’t buy into the “rules” of the past. I definitely don’t choose what I wear based on whether or not it is age appropriate, but I have noticed a natural shift. Some of it is based on my current life phase. It’s just not practical to chase after a two year old in a mini skirt or sky high heels (although I do see a fair amount of that at the children’s museum and zoo, which is great for the moms who can pull it off, but I can’t run in heels!), and I’m not going to wear whatever the kids are wearing to my conservative office. Weirdly though, I noticed last time I went shopping that I just wasn’t interested in what the “teen” stores had to offer. I just didn’t like any of it. I don’t know if it’s age appropriateness, or clothing quality, or fit, but I just wasn’t feeling the window displays. Honestly, I think the main cause of change has been the transition to not caring what people think as much as I age, and being more confident in myself. I still want to be stylish, but honestly I’m much more interested in being comfortable than wearing jeans that are too tight to sit in!

    Sorry, that turned into a bit of a ramble. Now excuse me while I yell at kids to get off my lawn 😉

  • I think what makes me so happy about today’s style game is that everyone is free to express themselves. We are all getting away from those outdated rules and it is so great to see individual styles and interpretations.

  • I agree have fun at any age and dress like you want. Some times you may have to dress more “age appropriate” but I say still stay true to you and do it with a twist for those occasions.

  • I agree have fun at any age and dress like you want. Some times you may have to dress more “age appropriate” but I say still stay true to you and do it with a twist for those occasions.

  • It’s so funny, when I turned 18 and was preparing to go to college I dragged my Mom to Banana Republic for my back to school shopping, thinking I was an ‘adult’ now and needed a more mature look. Now when I look back at my high school photos, I wish I’d held on to my hippy skirts and my jean vest- my style was actually a lot cooler back then :-/ oh well…

  • I’m 25 and I shop at Ann Taylor! lol. Their clothes are just so pretty and classy. I work at a pretty corporate office though, so I have to dress up.

  • Wow. I was just talking about this the other day. How I won’t be able to dress a certain way cause I’ve passed that age? But then I quickly got out of that thinking and was like ‘I’ll wear what I want to wear. I want to be comfortable!’ So much truth in this post! xx

  • I love that attitude! I think everyone should wear what they feel comfortable in, feel comfortable wearing a mini skirt that barely covers your bum and your fifty brilliant keep wearing it, love Ann Taylor clothes and your only 25 go for it, the only person who should makes rules for your life is your self, clothes are the best way to express who you are and your personality without speaking a word, so wear whatever you damn well please!

  • I love how you ladies think! I turned 28 this year and I still feel like I dress similar to how I did in my early 20s. That being said these days I’ll walk into Forever 21 and “feel old.” I definitely do not want to change to Ann Taylor- just find a happy in between!

  • Elsie, do you have any tips for ensuring that pins won’t fall off? I love your pin vest! I have a denim jacket that I love to put oodles of pins on, but I’ve already tragically lost some of my favorite ones from the backs just coming undone during normal day-to-day movement. Any advice on getting them to stay? I’ve thought about super-gluing the backs but don’t love the idea of potentially having to keep them in the same spot on the same jacket forever…..thanks lady! Love both these outfits and your wise words!

  • Kudos to you! And don’t listen to the haters, never stop dressing how you feel or how to want to dress. I think you can rock that vest in your 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond! Your Sister Style posts are such a source of inspiration and (no disrespect to Ann Taylor) your personalities really shine though with your creative and FUN outfits. Keep it up, I absolutely love your blog!

  • This is the way I feel. I’m 35 years old. Beyonce is 34 years old. There! I pretty much justify anything with Beyonce hahaha…jokingly of course.

    My 35 y/o self is totally different from my mother. Although I was 11 years old when she was 35, I remember my mom wearing mom jeans and mom dresses and wishing she would ditch those clothes and go shopping in younger, hipper stores. My daughter and I shop in the same stores: I’m several sizes larger than her but we have very similar tastes. Well, she comes to me for outfit advice all time and that’s saying something for a mom of a teen lol.

  • Totally agree! My step-mother-in-law has LONG beach blond hair, in her late 50’s, and she and her husband are always joking about how it doesn’t look right for her age. I can’t imagine her cutting it though, or why anyone would think she should! She definitely doesn’t look her age either, and I’m sure it helps 😉
    The pin vest is awesome – so much personality! It would make me nervous while driving though! My mom was in a very minor car accident, and her only injury was incredibly bruised and sore bones on her chest from a larger necklace that lay under her seat belt.

  • You rock, there is no way that you ever whore something “inappropriate” anyway. Have a great day everybody! (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧

  • I’m going to be 36 in June (gasp! How did that even HAPPEN?!), and I couldn’t agree with you more. Love this post, and I just sent it to all my other 30+ gal pals, because I know we could all rock a pin vest.


  • It’s been so long since I last saw your blog! Love both of your shoes.
    – Belen
    Check out my work-life balance blog! A Hint of Life

  • you guys should totally listen to Jem`s song “They”. it talks about these anonymous people who make all the rules and how that`s so ridiculous. i agree 100% with y`all.

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