Stressing About The Latest Trend Makes You Look Old

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There I said it. All of you folks stressing about how to part your hair and whether you should part with your tan suede ankle booties? You look incredibly out of touch. Stressing about the latest trend makes you look old. Don't let these so-called style experts make you look old with their marketing ploys.

Microtrends are a Scam

These trends are all bullsh*t anyway. It's all an attempt for someone to go viral. In this day and age of the 24-hour news cycle and every TikTok an opportunity for 15 minutes of fame, you'll have so-called experts creating things to worry about and a bunch of fame chasers emphasizing them.

And right now, it's so hot to tell women over 30 that they're horribly out of style. These things you bought 3-10 years ago that you're wearing now are so out of style they make you look… omigod they make you look your age!

It's all a ploy to make you click, heart, follow, and buy. It's all a scam. You must burn your skinny jeans immediately and buy new ones (and then shoes to go with the new jeans and tops to fit with the new jeans and shoes and…). You must start anew, or you look like a clueless old lady, and no one will ever love you, respect you, or find you attractive. You must spend excess, create waste, and keep up not with the Joneses but with the generations behind you. And that makes absolutely no sense at all.

History Repeats Itself… But Now It's In Your Phone

Every generation teases the ones before them about how they dress. Hello Mom jeans and Grandpa sweaters. But did our parents feel shame when we teased them for their generational cliche fashion? Nope, they had better things to focus on.

  • Those jeans were comfortable, and made it easy to wrangle a kid into a carseat, pick up toys off the floor, while also making it easy to get dressed in a jiffy. And when they got sticky fingerprints on them, they were durable and simple enough to toss in the washer and dryer.
  • That cardigan sweater easily goes over a shirt and jeans. The v-neck and length is like a retiree's blazer; it feels familiar. Pockets for necessities and a silhouette that looks good unbuttoned and thrown on without much fuss. Heck, you can nap in it and remain comfortable.

And why do these items have nicknames we know so well? Because those garments went from being “dated” to being stylish. As we see with 2024 fashion trends embracing trends from several previous decades… fashion is cyclical. Hell, the side part became fashionable at the end of 2023 when, just in 2021, we were all called dated for not having middle parts. Don't try to keep up, it will just waste your money and your time that could be spent on more enjoyable things.

Chasing Trends is Not Cool

GIF of Amy POehler ib the movie Mean Girls wearing a pink hoodie and winking. The text overlay is, "I'm not a regular mom. I'm a cool mom."

Remember Amy Poehler's character in the original movie Mean Girls? She was a “cool mom,” trying to dress like her daughter and her daughter's friends. She offered mocktails and condoms and wanted all the high school gossip. She was a try-hard, or as the kids say these days, a pick-me girl. And try-hards, regardless of the generation, are never cool.

Chasing the trends to look hip to a younger generation is incredibly uncool. What's cool is wearing whatever TF you want to wear without shame. If that's skinny jeans with tan suede ankle booties and a fitted blazer, then do it with pride. You're a grown-ass woman, and you have earned the right to wear what brings you comfort and joy.

screenshot from the movie Mean Girls of Amy Poehler in a pink sweatsuit. The text overlay is "So you guys, what's the 411?"

Chasing trends is not only uncool, it's aging. One may think that keeping up with the trends keeps us looking youthful, but doing it with desperation and at the expense of personal style, comfort, and joy is not stylish, not cool, and not youthful.

What is youthful is taking risks with fashion while taking opportunities to play with your style. Trying new things because it keeps you thinking and changing and evolving not because some woman on Instagram told you what to do. Remember what brought you joy when you were 16, or 25, or 32 and see if a concept of that may bring joy now. Wearing what makes you happy, what provides comfort and joy.

A New Dress Will Not Change Your Life (Nor Will a New Cut of Jeans)

I've been saying since 2005 that a dress will not change your life. The same holds for the shape of your boot's toebox, the cut of your jacket, and the leg opening on your jeans. It keeps you young to try new things, but it won't make you look youthful or stylish to embrace current trends just because you feel a younger generation considers your style to be aging.

Do you think the women of Advanced Style have ever been worried about what a younger generation thinks of their shoes? Do you think Tracee Ellis Ross, Tilda Swinton, Carla Bruni, Queen Latifah, Brandi Carlisle, or Joan Collins is chatting with their stylist to ensure their attire is GenZ approved? Eff no, they're wearing what gives them comfort and joy. It may fit the trends, it may not. What is stylish is they're doing it on their terms.

Trust Yourself, You Fabulous Grown-ass Woman

Stop the noise. You're a grown-ass woman, and you will not look cool or hip or youthful getting rid of perfectly good clothing that makes you happy to follow what some younger so-called expert preaches. Try new things and break out of your routine, but always focus on yourself, your comfort and joy, your needs, and life and world. The less you listen to others and the more you listen to yourself, the more stylish your wardrobe and your life.

But What If I Want an Update?

Please understand, I am not saying it's uncool and aging to update a wardrobe… if you want to. If you're feeling like you're a different person, or you feel stuck, or you're ready for a change then do it! Consider using a stylist or a service like Fashivly to get a personal experience instead of taking the advice from a stranger who doesn't know you, your needs, your size, age, and may have questionable style and education on the subject.

Change is good. Change keeps us young. But when it's change for others instead of for ourselves, it can actually age us. Style is knowing yourself and dressing the part, not following the herd. I promise you, wearing what you already own is way cooler than shopping willy nilly to appeal to those who could be our children.

I'll continue to provide real-life style advice here at Wardrobe Oxygen, navigating real trends (not the microtrends that come and go), and showing you how to have big style with a smaller closet and without buying a whole new wardrobe!

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29 Comments

  1. Adding my voice to the choir, amen. Let us embrace our diversity and personal taste and make the world a better place. Alison, thank you for being a voice in the wilderness to guide us.
    I am reminded of the one year I happened to be in Princeton on the college’s graduation weekend. A parental-age couple were passing by, the woman wearing a way out of style dress and the man in a slightly too tight old suit. This is what their attire said to me: that they had scrimped and saved to give their child the best start in life they could afford. IMO they were the best dressed people I saw all day.

  2. I think everyone else has said it, but I will add my voice to the chorus. You made me laugh out loud and you are bang on. The irony is that I’m finding my style after retiring a couple of month ago (surprisingly hard) and I HAVE been feeling like maybe I’m a bit frumpy. It’s ridiculous because I’ve always been stylish – there, I said it – and comfortable in my skin and clothes. Just show how powerful these SM messages are.

    Thank you! I need to share your post widely and reread.

    1. What a breath of fresh air your post is! Thank you for speaking to this. I value your perspective so much. I am early 40’s and I work with a lot of young 20 something’s. They’re wonderful, don’t get me wrong, but trying to keep up with their style would be a “fool’s errand.” I have learned that I am the happiest when I wear fabrics that feel good and have a fantastic fit. The tailor I work with is a God send. As I age, I have enjoyed incorporating elements of style from across my lifespan to make my look uniquely my own. I also have a good laugh when I see the young women now wearing all the styles that I wore in adolescence, which were so controversial at the time (i.e. baggy clothes). Trust your gut and hold onto to all the jeans! They all come back eventually 🙂

  3. Thank you for this message! I needed to hear it today. I’m 41, coming back from maternity leave, and revisiting my pre-pregnancy wardrobe. I’ve spent way too much time on Instagram the past few months and was stressing myself out over looking like a frumpy old mom. I’m going to instead focus on finding clothes that make me feel good about my new body, not what a teen or 20-something approves of.

  4. One of the biggest perks of aging is reaching the give no shits stage of life. Desperately trying to follow all the style trends keeps you very much in the give a shit stage. No thank you.

  5. Well said, though I’m still intrigued by those High Sport kick flares. Or the knockoffs, who am I kidding, I’m not going to pay over $800 for stretch pants from the 60s

    1. Right after reading this the other day, I was talking to a remarkable young woman (I’d guess early 30s) who is the program manager for an adaptive sports program I volunteer with. We live in NW Montana, where winters call for function first. We were talking about brands we like and she said, ‘I wear a lot of Eddie Bauer even though people my age don’t wear that brand. But they have tall sizes, and work for me.” And then looked a little sad. I told her I thought she was really smart to wear what works for her, and not to give a thought about those peer pressures. It drives me nuts when women – of any age – feel “less than” when making good choices for themselves. Preach, Allison!

  6. Yes! Yes! Yes! It’s fun to see what’s new, maybe a color or silhouette I have not seen in a while and would like to try, but I don’t want the joy I feel in finding and wearing clothes to be a stress point.

  7. My 21 year-old son asked me if his ankle suede booties were out of style the other day. I asked him if they were comfortable and easy to walk in (he has a lot of walking between classes at the College of Charleston) and if his toes feel good (we both like to have room for our toes, (my husband, his dad, has these squished together toes with a bunion that does not look fun at all, bless his heart).

    He said yes but that everyone else was wearing something with a small heel. I told him since he’s a smidge below six feet he doesn’t need the extra height and to wear what makes his feet and his brain happy.

    And then I thought of things I’d gotten rid of in the past because of other people’s opinions and I told him that I’d buy him new shoes if he wanted them.
    Hahahaha

    He declined.

    Anyhoo, I’m sitting here wearing ten year old joggers, a five year old undershirt, and a zip hoodie I bought at a thrift store at least eight years ago, and I look cute. 😀

  8. Thank you for this message! I tire of the senior influencers who follow the trends and claim they’re aging gracefully, when all they end up doing is looking like they’re trying too hard. I enjoy real-life fashion for grown a$$ women – thank you, Alison, for keeping it real.

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