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Believe it or not, people aren’t as impressed as you might think they are that you’re still wearing the same jeans that you wore in high school. Same size…perhaps. Same jeans? Certainly not. Even the same style of jeans isn’t necessarily impressive. Baggy and loose-fitting; boundless bell bottoms; low-rise hip huggers–they’re all styles that we reminisce about, but aren’t styles that we need to revisit. That said, some of my favorite clothes have been with me since George Bush was in office…and don’t even ask which one.

Mass media demands eternal youth, particularly from women. The obsession to wind back the hands of time has launched countless beauty care campaigns, employed a cumbersome amount of plastic surgeons, and encouraged the development of incalculable weight loss products and regimens. Worse yet, the desire to be perpetually young has caused an unwavering immaturity in some. It has convinced many women that they should dress like their 15-year-old little sisters, and it has prompted men to wear ill-fitting jogging pants and gym shorts on the daily.

Dressing like an adult is a right…nay, an obligation. That doesn’t mean that you have to retire all of your young adult gear, but Rainbow store-grade crop tops went out with Yung Joc and his motorcycle dance from the “It’s Going Down” video.

Perhaps you’re 40 and you dress like you’re Rihanna, or you’re 25 and you’re dressed like Hannah Montana. The issue at hand isn’t that you can’t dress as young as you feel, but that you need to represent yourself in a way that earns you respect from not only your peers, but from people younger than you. You shouldn’t be surprised that you’re the main attraction when you saunter past the local high school if you’re still wearing glitter butterfly clips, bandanas, and slogan T-shirts that read, “My haters are my biggest fans” and “YOLO.”

Again, none of this suggests that you’re resigned to wearing sweater vests, button-ups, knee-length skirts and penny loafers. This simply means that you need to wear clothes that fit your lifestyle and fit you, even if that means admitting that you’re a size or two larger than the stuff you put on when you leave the house. It also means replacing your shoes when the soles have worn out before they’re just frames around your foot. Learn to hone a mature personal style that embodies your personality and a sense of comfort, and is well-assembled. Simple dresses with fun prints go a long way; well-fitting plain shirts can be sexy; jackets that gently hit the hip but fit around the waist and/or bust are everything; and, great sandals and boots can ignite any outfit. Keep the tights for wearing around the house, store the fringe tops and burn anything that makes you look half your age–and not in a good way.

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