Hannah On: Dressing For Your Age (And Why It’s Total Nonsense)

Hannah On: Dressing For Your Age (And Why It’s Total Nonsense)

Our fashion features editor has had it with ageist fashion rules

Earlier this week my mum asked me if it was still OK for my dad to wear white jeans, now that he’s 72. He’d found a pair at the back of the wardrobe and wanted to wear them for a gig at the weekend, but she was sure she’d read some scaremongering article recently about not wearing white jeans over the age of 50 and was worried about it.

For those of you who don’t know my dad (which I imagine is most of you), he has been successfully sporting narrow-fit white Levi’s since the early Seventies. He has a slim frame, and crucially, is a guitarist; that rock n roll edge seems to give him the ability to make anything look cool in spite of the fact that he’s really not that interested in clothes. He even manages to pull off Crocs with surprising aplomb, though thankfully, I have recently coaxed him into a pair of Birkenstocks instead.

Anyway, my point is – my dad has ALWAYS looked great in white jeans, so I see no reason whatsoever why he shouldn’t still wear them now or even in ten years time. We are often told what we should and shouldn’t wear over a certain age, but who made those rules up anyway? What do they know about you? Because what suits you is far more governed by your own personal style, perhaps your frame, and certainly your confidence, rather than your age.

Take Susan Sarandon in Cannes this week, where she looked pretty badass, and at February’s SAG Awards, for example. The 69 year old actress rocked up in a white satin Max Mara suit and nothing underneath but a black bra. And she looked stunning; in my opinion much cooler, more edgy and more comfortable in her outfit (and her own skin) than many of the younger actresses at the event. But that didn't stop an onslaught of completely unecessary jibes on Twitter about her choice of outfit (I'm looking at you, Piers Morgan) rather than allowing her to wear what the hell she wanted to a ceremony where her acting skills, rather than her boobs, had been nominated for an award.

So, in retaliation, here are some fabulous women flouting the ridiculous ageist fashion rules, and totally winning.

The rule: wear skirt hems below your knees/cover your cleavage/don’t wear skinny jeans over the age of 50

The rule breaker: Susan Sarandon

Age: 69 

Susan Sarandon takes no notice whatsoever of age rules. Whether it’s showing off those boobs, wearing a mini skirt and knee-high boots, or slipping into a pair of skinny jeans, she’s always on the money, style-wise.

The rule: only teenagers can wear clompy boots

The rule breaker: Diane Keaton

Age: 70 

I am so in love with Diane Keaton’s look here. She’s a serial rule breaker, and can also be seen brazenly wearing above-knee skirt hems paired with bare legs and ankle boots. YES DIANE!


The rule: don’t have long hair over the age of 40

The rule breaker: Julianne Moore

Age: 55 

This rule is so ridiculous I'm not even going to comment.

The rule: don’t let yourself go in leggings

The rule breaker: Lauren Hutton

Age: 72 

The closer I get to turning 40, the more I’m interested in comfort. And the fact that comfort doesn’t necessarily equate frumpy. How fantastic does Lauren Hutton look in simple black leggings? All the more fantastic because she knows she will feel great even after dessert AND a cheese course.


The rule: cover your arms over the age of 40

The rule breaker: Michelle Obama

Age: 52 

OK, we all knows she works hard at those amazing arms, but Michelle Obama’s toned guns are far more appealing to look at than mine and I’m 14 years her junior. Of course, it’s nothing to do with her age, and everything to do with her effort.


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