photos of author taken by Jennifer Khut

My personal style can be classified as either girly with a geeky twist, or “sophisticated 12-year old.” So when I go shopping, it doesn’t matter where I go – department stores, Target, or random little places in the mall: I always find myself in the junior’s section. ALWAYS. And without fail, this teeny-tiny voice in my head amplifies itself as I rifle through racks of cute little dresses or pullovers with novelty prints and nags me with questions like, “Aren’t you getting too old for that?” “Shouldn’t you start looking in the women’s section?” “It’s called Forever 21. Bitch, you’re not in your early or mid 20s anymore!” “Who the hell do you think you are? Zooey Deschanel?” “Oh my God, are you seriously shopping at Hot Topic right now?”

Did I forget to mention that I’m going to be turning 30 in 7 months? Because I am.

Anyway, this teeny-tiny voice retreats back to the corner of my brain from whence it came when another voice in my head (that sounds a lot like Shemar Moore) says, “You do you, baby girl.” It also reminds me that Zooey Deschanel is 6-years older than me and sometimes dresses like a sophisticated 12-year old too. Despite her celebrity, if she can get away with rocking Peter Pan collars and whatnot, why can’t I?

This age-ist thought process had me wondering if there are fashion faux pas that women my age should supposedly be avoiding. I decided to Sherlock this and took to Google to construct my investigation, and came across an article called “24 Things Women Should Stop Wearing After 30.” The first thing listed was graphic t-shirts. Last year I bought 2 plastic drawers specifically for my overflowing graphic t-shirt collection. And I have dozens of novelty pullovers with Disney characters and cute little critters — they’re practically the graphic t-shirt’s cousin. How dare she say I shouldn’t wear them because I should dress like an “adult”! As I looked at the other items such as short dresses, mini skirts, blue eye shadow (or eye shadow in general), and whatnot, I couldn’t help but feel extremely defiant. When someone tells you you can’t do something, it only makes you want to do it more. Am I right? I mean, there were some things on the list that I’m personally not crazy about for myself like crop tops, fuzzy boots, or sparkly pants. But if you’re over 30 and you like them, by all means sparkle away.

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Screenshot of article via Rant Chic

I’m going to be exploring some of these fashion “faux pas” one by one (or maybe a combination of a few in case the muse strikes me) every now and then to prove that it’s okay to wear whatever the hell you want no matter how old you are. Because fuck the fashion police.

First up, the graphic t-shirt.

I really don’t get why this is considered a no-no. It boggles my mind because graphic t-shirts are so easy to dress up. If you pair them with a cute skirt or some sleek pants with a cardigan or blazer, or a bold bejeweled necklace, you’re good to go! Graphic t-shirts are a fun way to express yourself and show off your personality too. As you can see, my green graphic tee has a t-rex that’s saying, “All my friends are dead.” It shows that I dig dinosaurs and that my sense of humor is quite weird.

Tucking the shirt into a black a-line skirt and pairing it with gold accents — like my flats, watch, sparkling Peter Pan collar necklace, and purse — helped make my shirt look less plain, and dare I say “childish,” and a lot more sophisticated.

I can’t imagine throwing out any of my graphic t-shirts or my beloved novelty pullovers because an article on the Internet said I should start dressing like an “adult.” What does that even mean?! One of the best things about being an adult is having the freedom to dress yourself the way you want to. Fashion, I think, helps show people who you are and what you love, and nothing literally expresses that more than a graphic t-shirt.

So when it comes to dressing yourself, listen to your inner Shemar Moore and do you, baby girl.

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