FU Fashion Industry...Age is a state of mind.
Just like I wondered whether you can tell if your own baby is ugly (you can), I have always wondered if you will know when you've (gasp) "aged". Well, annoyingly, I figured that out on the weekend as well.
Just to set the scene, I'm 38 years old. I'm no Kate Moss, but I'm not exactly Jabba the Hut either. I like to think that most of the time I try to look reasonably "on trend" (to use a ridiculous buzz phrase), except for the days when I look like shit, and then, well, I just look like shit. I buy my clothes from a variety of places and don't like to be constrained by "types" of shops, I'll go to Dotti and Sportsgirl (though must admit pickings are slim in there these days), Decjuba, and Country Road (which sadly is a total snoozefest ATM).
I guess I have noticed over the last few years that the looks from the sales assistants have started to change. You know the look...The "there's nothing in here for you" look?? I generally like to push through their judgements and pick out the pieces I like and that aren't absolutely made only for 12 year olds. But on the weekend, I actually got smacked right in the face with the fashion industry's ageism, and I've gotta say, it kind of stung.
My husband and I had a rare weekend without kids and were headed out to a good friend's 40th at a great bar that night. I decided to treat myself to a new outfit. The final piece I needed was a plain black top to go under a lace number I had, so my nipples didn't poke through the holes (awks). I went into Kookai to find a black stretchy thing with the aim of keeping my boobs covered and my muffin top IN. I found what I was after and asked the sales assistant if they had them in black. Her response? "Sure, what size would she be?"!! I'm sorry, what?!?
Just for a second, the whole world stood still while I contemplated the meaning of what had just happened. This little poppet has just assumed that I could not possibly be shopping in their store for myself, and that I must be wanting something for (I assume) a daughter or other younger someone. In her tiny young eyes, I WAS TOO OLD TO BE SHOPPING THERE FOR MYSELF. Ugh.
While the world seemed to be standing still, in reality I think it only a couple of seconds for me to spit out "It's for me", take the top and head for the change room, cheeks still stinging from the virtual slap I'd just received. I didn't want to buy the top from there, but I kind of had to (see awkward nipple poke-through situation mentioned above), so I was at least vindicated by having to ask for their smallest size* (nice and tight for muffin top control, but they didn't need to know that!) which I quickly paid for and got the hell out of there before my despair took over.
Heading straight to the Mrs Fields cookie stall I realised I had just had that moment. The moment it was no longer implied though an eyeroll-y glance or a tight smile from a shop assistant but explicitly communicated that in the eyes of the fashion industry I am, in fact, considered old. And not just old, but too old to shop wherever I like.
And I just think that's fucked. If I can afford your clothes, can fit into them (and that's a whole 'nother can of worms right there) and feel good wearing them, I should bloody well be able to buy them without your stupid judgements on my 'suitability'. In fact, if the fashion industry would consider hiring staff over the age of 20, the rest of us may not seem so very old, but again, it's all about the youth.
Well I would like to fully extent both middle fingers to the brands, lables, and shop assistants who perpetuate this ageist bullshit. The irony is that the older we get, the more likely we are to be able to spend our money in your stores (except for mortages, expensive kids blah blah boring, but that's why they give us credit!) so you better wake up and get with the program because you're not going to be able to sustain your businesses through the sale of crop tops and floraly shit to prepubescent stick figures alone. Us "oldies" are here to stay, and we're going to do it in style.
Peace Out MOFOs!! xx.
*take THAT tiny Kookai person!!