Is A Woman Ever Really “Too Old” To Do Anything?

May 21, 2013  |  

AP Images/

For the past few weeks, the discussion of “How old is too old?” has come up a lot for me. Well, not necessarily for me per se, but in reference to celebrities and even everyday women who wear and do certain things after a certain age to the chagrin of others. Writer IndigoBlack did a slideshow a while back about that wretched half-shaven hairstyle that stars like Cassie and Rihanna like to wear, and in it, she pointed out that even Jada Pinkett Smith had tried the hairstyle. While she looked pretty cool in it, it seems that for the 41-year-old mom, some felt she was doing too much at her age (including the author). To that, a reader disagreed with a very interesting comment:

“I think it’s ridiculous to say anyone is too old for anything, except maybe breast feeding. that’s what’s wrong with society. people turn 40 and assume they and everyone else their age are growing old and stale, and the closer they get to their expiration date, the more boring they have to get… do what you want, wear what you want and live your life exactly how YOU want to, who cares what year you were born?”

I kept this comment in mind after checking out the old post. Less than a week later I was surprised to find that on a popular fashion website, they were asking “How old is too old to wear a crop top?” plastering the image of Evelyn Lozada and LaLa Anthony with their stomachs out. Toned with tummies looking even better than my stomach at ages 37 and 33, I thought to myself, “Hell, if their bodies are in shape and looking better than most young women’s bodies, what’s the harm?”

Fast forward to this past weekend when Madonna came out with a Chinchilla fur and no pants on, and Jennifer Lopez performed in a red leotard (booty all out) and thigh-high boots with a boa at the Billboard Music Awards, everybody had a lot to say on social media. Folks were all over Facebook saying that Madonna looked a fool at 54 in her fishnets (though those legs of hers are envious), while others were claiming that despite her very entertaining performance, Jennifer Lopez was too old to be dressing like an extra from the Broadway show, Kinky Boots. Pair that with the fact that even my mother scolded the singer through the television during the Grammys for wearing one of the highest slits I’d ever seen at the age of 43, and it’s clear that many believe that as your age goes up, your levels of rachet should go down.

So now that I have all that straight, I guess I just need clarification from someone about exactly what age I’m supposed to turn in my tight jeans and my crop tops, and start wearing muumuus and mom jeans, because clearly their is some unwritten rule that when you pop out a few kids and get around your late 30s, you’re supposed to start shopping at Dress Barn and wearing dresses more fitting for a character like Madea. But we all know that’s complete bull.

While I can for the most part agree that as a mother, you shouldn’t be out here behaving recklessly (i.e., at the clubs all night, booty shorts on at PTA conferences and rocking belly shirts at graduations), I think we can all be a little too hard on our fellow sisters who would rather dress and act how they feel, and not by what their age relegates them to do. And I’ve found that it’s so easy for either younger women, or older women who’ve turned in their hot pants, to point the finger at the J.Los and other brave souls with banging bodies to say, “Have a seat,” but nobody wants society, especially not strangers on the Internet, telling them what looks appropriate on them because of their age.

I will say though, there is a difference between expressing yourself how you want and being thirsty for attention. If this attire is all you wear, chances are, you’re crying out for help. But if your body can look as right and tight as Madonna’s at 54, why not show a little leg? If your stomach, despite a kid or two, or three, is washboard worthy, why not put on a crop top occasionally? Our bodies are our own, and just because motherhood and older age comes, it doesn’t always mean that you have to dress like Bea Arthur on Golden Girls (love that show!). Life’s too short to start living a dull existence because people you don’t know tell you that’s what you should do. As Kevin Hart would say, “Do you boo boo, do you.”

Oh yes, but let’s keep the hot pants and leotards to a minimum ladies, especially if you want to stay in good graces with your kids. Everything in moderation…

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  • anonymouse

    the only time you’re ‘too old’ for something is when you’re under the ground. I really think that people should mind their business………….if it’s something that you wouldn’t wear or do, then YOU shouldn’t wear or do it. Criticizing others just makes you look petty and a bit jealous.

  • chanela

    it’s trashy. older women are supposed to be wiser and more refined and sophisticated. why on earth would they want to be compared with clueless 20 year olds? why would they even want to wear hoochie crap like that? smh i wish women would stop trying to constantly act like high school girls. what happened to decency?

  • Gigi

    I think an important detail has been left out of this conversation. These women are in show business. The average women over 40 is not. Nor does she have killer legs or washboard abs. That makes a huge difference because we have come to expect a certain amount of outrageous-ness from Hollywood. Even some of the styles of younger women in the ‘business’ would not look good on their average counterparts in the real world (ex. Nicki Minaj). With that said, with age usually comes wisdom, meaning: the older a woman gets, the more she realizes that the world doesn’t need to see her cleavage (front or rear) or every inch of her leg or every tattoo regardless of how tight she’s keeping it.

    • LawGirl713

      This is what I was going to say. I look VERY young and I always get people’s shock when I tell them that I am closer to 40 than 25. I CAN dress like a 25 year old, but it doesn’t come off well in the real world in which I must interact with. If I had the freedom to build a brand that is more image expressive than business conscious, maybe I could dress without a care in the world. But in the world that I live in, the perception of my business and how I am perceived – $how$ me how much I need to care.

    • chanela

      thank you! but of course people are gonna consider your comment being judgmental and policing women’s bodies. *eye roll*

  • Guest

    “All things are allowed,” you say. But not all things are good. “All things are allowed.” But some things don’t help anyone.

    1Corinthians 10:23 ERV

  • realadulttalk

    I think it depends on what it is you are talking about. There are certain hairstyles that I think are very cute on younger women, but at 37 with a career and a child it’s just not something I feel is age-appropriate. Now if you are in your 30’s and your entire wardrobe is from Forever 21…that might be indicative of a problem. But as a whole, it’s what makes you happy. And electric blue skinny jeans and midriff tops just don’t make me happy anymore…they make me feel like I’m trying to retain my youth…and I don’t ever wanna be that dumb again.

  • you shouldn’t wear mini-skirts after 40!

    • Tehani

      I shouldn’t?

    • realadulttalk

      Really now? I have great legs and I will wear mini-skirts until I do not (I don’t foresee them going bad in the next 3 years).

    • LawGirl713

      You should worry about the skeletons in your own closet, and not worry about the mini skirts in mine 😉

  • Guest360

    I think it really depends on the style. I didn’t see anything wrong with Jada’s half shaven look. But I do get the criticism of Madonna and JLo. It’s not so much that they’re wearing styles Rihanna or Nicki would wear but rather they look as if they’re trying TOO hard to appear young and “cool”. Dress how you want, sure. But stop trying to look like a 20 year old. For some of them, their body shows their age so it’s hard to pull of certain things. I have the same criticism for Mariah Carey who insists on stuffing herself in the same skin tight dresses she wore 20 years ago, but no longer has the body to pull it off. Let it go and find another style. There are soooooo many other outfits you can wear that neither makes you look old and matronly. There’s nothing wrong with evolving with the trends as you get older. Just don’t get yourself stuck trying to be something you aren’t anymore.

    • kb

      Exactly grown women should be sophisticated, 20 y/o barely get away w/body suits, but older women, it just looks desperate.

    • Trisha_B


  • silent noise

    i dont think so…i did when i was younger but now that i am 30 and still have the same tastes, i dont see myself changing the things i wear or do anymore.

    the only woman in the pic on this article that looks out of place is evelyn..the other ladies look perfectly normal to me

    jada is a perfect example of just do what you want and dont worry about what everybody else says.

    if a 40 year old woman has a toned stomach, why cant she show it? or shave her head like she wants.

    people need to worry about them and theirs. not other people that are just trying to live their lives.

    in looking for reviews for my sneaker wedges, there were women that were 40 plus who has bought them and reviewed them…i was like go head!i would love to see some of these women with the wedge sneakers on.

    • chanela

      nobody is “worried”. it’s just an opinion. it looks tacky. that’s it and that’s all. you see things, decide if you like or not. that’s all.nobody said that they can’t live their lives.

  • 1Val

    No age limit on female beauty. If you are mature and gorgeous go for it!!!

  • Tehani

    There are things that an adult, WOMAN AND MAN should not do considering their age.

    • ST

      I agree

  • Yvette

    Interesting article.