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Age Appropriate Style: Debunking Old Myths

Madonna turned 59 yesterday and as I poured through post after post and photo after photo of the Material Girl through the years I couldn’t help but think about age appropriate style.  In fairness, no less than Vogue has made note of her prominent role in fashion as both an inspiration to designers and a trendsetter for the masses.  That makes her fair game for any discussion about her fashion choices.    And though she looks amazing at 59, she has been raising eyebrows of late with some of her sartorial selections.

Age Appropriate Style Madonna dressed like Marilyn Monroe

MADONNA pictured at the 1991 Oscars, where she sported a Marilyn Monroe-type look

Iconic style. Madonna in her 20s. age appropriate style

Iconic style. Madonna in her 20s

Age Appropriate Style Madonna dressed in a scene from her movie Evita

Madonna dressed in a classic fur collar in a scene from her 1996 movie Evita 

Iconic style. Madonna in age appropriate style

Madonna 2008

Age Appropriate style in question, Madonna, 53 with daughter Lourdes at the 2011 Vanity Fair party after the Academy Awards

Age Appropriate style in question. Madonna, 53 with daughter Lourdes at the 2011 Vanity Fair party after the Academy Awards

56 year old Madonna rocking a gold grill at the 2015 Grammy Awards. Age Appropriate style

56 year old Madonna rocking a gold grill at the 2015 Grammy Awards

Age Appropriate style in question. Madonna bared it all in a blush-worthy Givenchy matador costume at 2015 Grammys

Madonna bared it all in a blush-worthy Givenchy matador costume at 2015 Grammy Awards

Madonna with her son David making their way through the airport in 2015

Madonna with her son David making their way through the airport in 2015

Age Appropriate style? Madonna's 2016 Met Gala red carpet look

Madonna’s 2016 Met Gala red carpet look

Age Appropriate Style: Is It Still Relevant?

But just what exactly does “age appropriate dressing” mean?  Who gets to decide what “age appropriate style” is all about?    Much is written about what to wear in your 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and so on.  Harper’s Bazaar has become famous for their “Fabulous at Every Age” feature.   But in an era where few 30 year olds can rock it like Jane Fonda and Cindy Crawford, Halle Berry and Elle MacPherson look like time is running backwards, aren’t we redefining the notion of age appropriate dressing?  Here at Furinsider we devoted an entire series of posts dedicated to age defying beautiful women proving that 70 is the new 50, 50 is the new 30 and so on.

what exactly does “age appropriate dressing” mean?  Who gets to decide what “age appropriate style” is all about?

what exactly does “age appropriate dressing” mean?  Who gets to decide what “age appropriate style” is all about?

77 Year old Jane Fonda in 2015 at 68th annual cannes film festival. Age Appropriate Style

CANNES, FRANCE – MAY 16: Jane Fonda attends the Premiere of “The Sea Of Trees” during the 68th annual Cannes Film Festival on May 16, 2015 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

Jane Fonda at 78. Age Appropriate Style

Jane Fonda at 78

Jane Fonda at 79. Age Appropriate Style

Jane Fonda in 2016 at 79 years old

Jane Fonda on the cover of The Edit March 2nd 2017 Age appropriate style

Jane Fonda on the cover of The Edit March 2nd 2017

Cindy Crawford on the red carpet at Marie Claire's Image Maker Awards 2017. age appropriate style

Cindy Crawford on the red carpet at Marie Claire’s Image Maker Awards 2017

Cindy Crawford 2016 Meta Gala look by Balmain. Age appropriate style

Ageless beauty! Cindy Crawford at 50 years old donned a memorable 2016 Meta Gala look by Balmain

Cindy Crawford, Golden Globes, 2015. Age appropriate style

Cindy Crawford, Golden Globes, 2015

Halle Berry appropriate style 2015 Espy Awards

LOS ANGELES, CA – JULY 15: Actress Halle Berry arrives at the 2015 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater on July 15, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)

Halle Berry in Atelier Versace age appropriate style

Halle Berry in Atelier Versace at 2016 Oscars

Halle Berry appropriate style 2017

Halle Berry at Kidnap film premiere, Los Angeles USA, 31 Jul 2017

Elle Macpherson in 2013 at the GDay Black Tie Gala exemplifies age appropriate style

Elle Macpherson in 2013 at the GDay Black Tie Gala

Elle Macpherson, 51, looks as youthful as ever age appropriate style

Elle Macpherson, 51, looks as youthful as ever

Elle Macpherson Winter Style steps out in Aspen December 2014 age appropriate style

Elle Macpherson Winter Style steps out in Aspen December 2014

Elle Macpherson Harper's Bazaar Australia June July 2017 age appropriate style

Elle Macpherson Harper’s Bazaar Australia June July 2017

Elle Fanning and Hailee Steinfled prove that grown-up, sophisticated elegance has a place among the teen set.  A mini-skirt may be the domain of the teens and twenty-somethings, but at 44 Gwyneth Paltrow can pull off the look just fine. On the other end of the spectrum Iris Apfel proves that even at 92 you can live your life bold and out loud and show it in your dress code.

Elle Fanning hits the streets of NYC in a Fendi Karlito black leather jacket and matching with hard-to-pull-off harem pants in age appropriate style

Elle Fanning hits the streets of NYC in a Fendi Karlito black leather jacket and matching with hard-to-pull-off harem pants

Elle Fanning Cannes Film Festival 2017 age appropriate style

Elle Fanning Cannes Film Festival 2017

Hailee Steinfeld in a polished Valentino dress at the designer's Paris Fashion Week show in October 2016 age appropriate style

Hailee Steinfeld in a polished Valentino dress at the designer’s Paris Fashion Week show in October 2016

Hailee Steinfeld 2016 age appropriate style

Hailee Steinfeld 2016 street style

Hailee Steinfeld Performs at 2016 L.A. Pride in the Perfect Outfit age appropriate style

Hailee Steinfeld performs at 2016 L.A. Pride in the perfect outfit

Hailee Steinfeld street style age appropriate style

Hailee Steinfeld

Gwyneth Paltrow's Street Style - 2017 age appropriate style

Gweneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow's Street Style - 2017 age appropriate style

Examples of Gwyneth Paltrow’s age appropriate style from the streets in 2017

Iris Apfel showing her age appropriate in 2017

Iris Apfel is a style icon for women of all ages

Iris Apfel showing her age appropriate style at the Dries Van Noten Fall 2016 fashion

Iris Apfel showing her advanced style at the Dries Van Noten Fall 2016 fashion

Iris Apfel showing her age appropriate in 2017

Iris Apfel in 2017

Clearly, the concept of “age appropriate style” choice is no longer as simple as a number.  Lifestyle, energy and confidence matter.  If a woman has worked hard to stay in shape and she feels comfortable in her own skin why shouldn’t her fashion choices reflect this?

Helen Mirren showing her age appropriate in 2017

Helen Mirren is still as sexy at 70 as she has always been.

The rules for age appropriate style are not what they used to be.  Don’t you agree?

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