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Old October 22nd, 2009, 12:03 AM
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Jason Steele: Dressing young? Well, it's getting old
Dressing young? Well, it's getting old
by Jason Steele

Let's do a little experiment.

Take a look at the people around you on the train or bus or wherever you are. I bet you can find at least one person who dresses too young for his or her age. You've seen them: that adult woman who thinks she is a Kardashian or an emo-looking guy who could be Pete Wentz's dad.

Last week, I sat on the bus across from a not-youthful man who was so obviously trying to hold onto his youth. He was wearing neon Reeboks, black skinny jeans with suspenders, an ironic T-shirt under an American Apparel hoodie. And he had an unkempt hairstyle that probably took 30 minutes to look like he just rolled out of bed. All of this was topped off with a scraggly Grizzly Adams beard.

What is it that makes some people think they should dress 10 to 15 years younger? Do they not want to admit that they aren't in college anymore? Do they feel like they are being shoved out of the "cool" generation and this is their way of rebelling?

I call it a mid-life fashion crisis.

Dressing too young is especially prevalent in the gay community, which can be youth-obsessed.

You'll see it in the clubs: a 50-something guy wants to attract a much younger man so he dresses like Justin Timberlake. That probably won't work when you're competing with a bunch of guys who actually look like and are the same age as JT.

I propose the fashion industry start labeling clothes like they do for kids--in accordance to the relevant age. If you've shopped for children's clothing before, you know those labels that say a shirt is "appropriate for 12-24 months."

Why not do the same for adults? Perhaps if a guy in his late 30s was eyeing a pair of silver, shiny, skinny jeans and then saw on the label that it was "for ages 19-23," then he might think twice about trying to look like a Jonas Brother.

Or if the 45-year-old woman next door realized that the denim mini skirt in Forever 21 was "for 14-20," then maybe she wouldn't be viewed as the neighborhood cougar.

A good rule for the "cool dads": If you and your son have matching outfits and the same Zac Efron haircuts, then there's a problem.

I know I have fallen for it in the past. There was an incident where I almost bought a pork-pie hat until I saw a high school kid trying on the same one.

I'm also trying to wean myself off H&M. I walk into that store and see a lot of cool, inexpensive clothes that look great on the 17-year-old models. Let's just say I haven't been 17 in a long time. And I'm totally OK with that.
Source: RedEye - Reprinted with Author's Permission
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