Age Appropriate

The craziness of Paris Fashion Week has opened my small town girl eyes to some of the most bizarre, eccentric and avant garde fashion choices out there. Feasting my eyes on the arrivals at the Vivienne Westwood, Chloe and Valentino runway shows this past week has shown me just how far some people will go to catch the eye of a photographer.

People wore blood red tights with lime green stilettos; or a tiny floral balero that barely covers half of their neck; or a sequin diaper-like apparatus over black tights; or a pink tutu over black lace tights, complete with magenta shrunken jacket. Are these people really this edgy with their everyday fashion decisions, or are they trying to impress the photogs of the crazy mixed-up fashion world?

Bustling about the outskirts of the runway shows, or bumping into the most fashion forward people hours later at the fashion week after-parties, I was exposed to quite the array of interesting attire, to say the least. But one thing I have noticed remains the same, among all venues of gatherings of people: there will always be girls who dress to look older, and there will always be women who dress to look younger.

Even in the United States, teenagers want to look 25, and 50-year old women pay the  bug bucks for Botox and gym  memberships to make themselves appear younger. There has been much analysis, research and eventual scrutiny of women going to lengths of plastic surgery to acquire the fountain of youth, but I believe the opposite side of the coin is equally worthy of attention- prepubescent girls wearing 5 inch stiletto heels and miniskirts, carrying $2000 handbags.

Are these girls trying to attract older guys to buy them drinks? Are these older women actually “cougars” on the prowl for a younger guy? Are these ridiculous ensembles an attempt to attract the opposite sex, or are they dressing this way for another reason- insecurity, low self-esteem, or jut poor fashion sense? Is this what they see in the fashion magazines and on their favorite celebrities, and hence have taken the exact style and copies it, regardless of their own input, taste, age or body type? Have women in our society become incapable of forming their own opinions about trends and style and fashion, and are destined to just follow aimlessly the 20-year old starlets of Hollywood enjoying their 15 minutes of fame, and making thousands of young girls and older women look ridiculous in the process?

Paris is no different in this phenomenon than anywhere else in the world. I find it extremely interesting to see that even in the year 2009, in this chic, European atmosphere, in this fashion center of the world, there are females who feel an overwhelming desire to dress in an age-inappropriate way.