Sunday, June 28, 2009

Top 10 Items You're Too Old to Wear

In times past you could count on TV commercials to tell you about age appropriate products in a fun way, with jingles (do people use that word anymore?), catchy tunes, and an appropriately aged model or spokesperson who let you know just by looking at him/her whether this is something you need to pay attention to.

Remember Bucky Beaver and Ipana toothpaste? That little guy made kids WANT to brush their teeth, and adults knew that it probably contained enough sugar to rot half of his mouth but hey, it made them WANT to brush their teeth, and they would have a new teeth coming in later anyway, so parents happily went off to the grocery store for Ipana. Kids paid attention to Bucky Beaver. He wore that cool cap, remember?

A woman's "specials needs" were a little easier to cope with knowing that the attractive 20 something aged model could help us little ladies be "just like her" with the mere purchase of a bottle of Midol. Golly gee, we had our own "special" wonder pill that made those "special" headaches and abdominal aches magically go away and we could still stay sober. Personally I remember my mom giving me a bottle of those little gems as a teenager and I think the ONLY way they would have worked was with a martini or two which I was not of an age at that time to request. Of course, those little ladies also met her man at the door each night with that liquid concoction all stirred and appropriately iced, apron appropriately tied in a cute bow, so who knows if she spiked her portion with a Midol or two?

Who out there remembers Ben Gay ointment for arthritic pain (which, by the way actually did work and is still on the market) and Geritol. These products were steered to the "older crowd" who had gray hair, dentures, and a distressed look that miraculously disappeared the moment they properly rubbed/ingested their way to a bright, happy smile...at least until they were off camera. But we knew, just by LOOKING at the models, that those products should work because -hey - those dad-gum people looked just like us!

Those commercial models/spokespersons let us know by their appearance how to dress, wear our hair, and how to be properly seen in public. We didn't need articles to TELL us how to do these things, we had moving pictorials - the forerunner of today's online tutorials - to show us. But today, the age appropriate commercial actors seem to be younger, their clothes skimpier, and their over-the-counter "helps" have turned into medical procedures: tummy tucks, Botox injections, face lifts. Oh, and let's not forget the wonder drug Viagra which alludes that getting some "afternoon delight" is somehow more important than an afternoon nap.

Well, apparently we have reached the point where we have lost the commercial messages that subliminally taught us how to dress "your age". Rachel Fischer Spalding, a writer for the online Lifescript newsletter (Your Health. Your Life. Your Way.) has come up with this gem:
Now I'm sorry, but if you are intelligent enough to read, you should be intelligent enough to know when something is age appropriate to wear. - Oh, wait, I forgot: this is the generation where kids have to wear it all, have it all, do it all - all by the age of 13 - or they are losers and doomed to be living alone, working, or going to school when they are 18 or 20 or - OMG! - 25!
Perhaps the title of the article should be "Top 10 Items You're Too YOUNG to Wear". Of course, part of the content would be inappropriate for some thirteen-year-olds, like the part about cleavage.
Don't get me wrong, I admire Ms Spalding for putting pen to paper and writing down what most of us "40 and over" ladies think about our sisters who look like hookers while buying a gallon of milk. She makes many valid points, although I was relieved that while she did talk about "inappropriate" tee shirts (damn, I LOVE my Hello Kitty tee), and cheap high heeled shoes with jeans (she missed pointing out those ladies who "click-clack" their way down the mall wearing those little gems), she forgot to say anything about socks, so I guess I'm okay.
I LOVE CRAZY SOCKS!
Of course, my age appropriate boot fit jeans HIDE most of the sock, but I KNOW THEY ARE THERE and I LOVE THEM! There's nothing like coming home from shopping (or anywhere), kicking off your age appropriate shoes and have Hello Kitty smiling up at you! It makes my day!
And, as a purse designer (actually, I can design almost anything! Ask me to make something for you! My husband just lost his job and I have bills!) I do think that one of the fashion expert quoted, a Mr. DeMartino, missed the point on purses and bags. "Try a super-hot-for-fall clutch. Maybe you can’t fit as much in there, but the point of a handbag is to carry your necessities – not your life, he says." Ha, tell that to any woman who has a husband and kids. She ends up carrying the kids' junk as well as anything that won't fit in hubby's pocket (I just bought my husband his first pair of cargo pants. If he won't use a backpack, or carry a "man purse", now he has some jumbo pockets to shove his junk in. Fortunately, he wears a belt, unlike many of our "younger generation".
I'd love to see some cool dude trip over his fallen-down pants after he stored a full baby bottle, a couple of diapers and maybe a jar of baby food in those pockets and not have sense enough to put on a belt! I'd probably go into cardiac arrest from laughing so hard!
One last point about purses: they MUST have a shoulder strap. It can be an optional clip-on one, but it MUST be available. Kid in one hand, groceries in another, how do you carry a "clutch"? Older lady, using a walker without an attached storage tote (poor dear, she's new to this contraption and hasn't realized yet that a WOMAN wasn't the designer or these things would have been included in the design) - how the heck does she carry a clutch? Sheesh!
Take a look at Ms Spalding's article and see what you think. Maybe you'll see yourself in a whole new light.
I wonder if copies of the article with sections appropriately hi-lighted and thumb tacked to certain ladies' doors would constitute copyright infringement?

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