You’re never too old to wear what you want

Is there an age limit on how we dress? Should there be a dress code for life, or is it about freedom of personal expression?

My daughter is having a “Twilight” themed party this weekend. All the guests will be decked out in their New Moon finery. My daughter insisted it would be “so much fun” if I wore a Twilight shirt as well. I slunk into Hot Topic and nudged two teenagers aside so I could settle on a shirt. I finally choose one featuring Taylor Lautner. Not only is he extremely attractive, but he looks young enough that I felt a little like a sex offender.

I am not old, per se, but why do I feel too old to wear this type of shirt anymore? Do we just wake up one day and say, “You know what, I am now too old for the Hello Kitty and Harry Potter shirts (things in my closet); I think I’ll slip on some khakis and a polo (things not in my closet).”

I have always wondered what that age was when people decided to get boring, or if maybe some of us never quite get there. I have long been obsessed with Emily the Strange, and now boast quite a collection of shirts, bags, shoes and stickers. My boyfriend watched me open another package from the Emily Web site with disdain. “Aren’t you getting a little old for those shirts?” he asked disapprovingly. “Yes, I suppose I am,” I replied, forlornly folding my cool Hello Kitty Superhero top. However, I did wonder how a man wearing a G.I. Joe T-shirt could be so critical.

I thought about how depressed it always makes me to see older women wearing Winnie the Pooh appliques on sweatshirts, or grandmas sporting Mickey Mouse watches. Maybe they are just being whimsical, and I am being judgmental. Perhaps I feel like my Emily the Strange and Hello Kitty things carry a cool quotient that the Disney characters haven’t reached. I am a proud mom but never wanted to look like a soccer mom. I want to be taken seriously, but I want to express my personality.

The way people dress has always intrigued me. I see people of all ages wearing pajamas outside of their homes like we are all lounging around in a spa. I see people, especially here in Texas, wearing absurdities like a winter coat over shorts and sandals. I live in a small town where fashion faux pas such as men wearing overalls without shirts underneath exist alongside ladies wearing their curlers to the supermarket. Perhaps these naked overall men serve as an example. Be comfortable, be yourself and be happy. I have heard many a man denounce the way Ugg boots look. I would challenge these men to pull on a pair of the now legendary shoes and tell me they are not like walking on a cloud while angels are singing. Sometimes it’s not all about what’s on the outside. There’s always more to the story.

So rock that Mickey Mouse garb, grandma. Dare to wear sandals with socks. Rock your mini with your Uggs, because they are comfortable, darn it. And feel free to be untucked, unmatching and jammied up. Why not? As for me, I’m putting my Emily shirts back in rotation, so if you see me wearing one, please be kind.

Christi Aldridge is a senior strategic communication major from Hillsboro.