Have you got a big birthday coming up, like my foxy friend F For Foxtrot? Well let me hit you with the positive news, in case you’re not good at reading titles:
For me, getting older has been awesome.
I’m not saying “I can’t wait to be 97!” – although I do think I will have a LOT of fun pulling old lady pranks on the general public.
What I am saying is that I very much prefer being in my thirties to any age that I’ve yet experienced.
I’m sure ages 0 to 5 were fun, but I don’t remember much.
Then ages 6 to 11 are a blur of savage best friend rivalries.
Ages 12 to pretty much last Tuesday are just a graveyard of fashion disasters.
So, if you’re on verge of turning the big 3-0, DON’T PANIC. Because being a “grown up” has its perks.
If you want to go to the cinema on your lonesome so you can cry your eyes out to Pixar’s Inside Out, you can.
And I did last Sunday.
If you want sweets – and only sweets – for dinner, you can.
And I did last Friday.
A legit thirtysomething dinner
YOU are the boss of you when you’re a grown up. And I happen to be a pretty chilled out boss; I regularly send myself home early for good behaviour.
I’m not saying it’s ALL fun and games getting older. You could cause yourself some serious RSI having to scroll, scroll, scroll back to find your ancient birth year when filling out forms.
Words like ‘mortgage repayments’, ‘MOTs’ and ‘bi-focals’ all fill me with dread, but when it comes to your own personal style, age is nothing but a big old blessing.
Who among us hasn’t tried to hide every photo from their teenage, experimental years? You look back at the white eyeliner, shell suits and the ‘100% babe’ t-shirts and just go: “What was I thinking?!”.
Sister Sister made me desperately want to be a twin, but also gave me misguided confidence in the floppy hat department
For the blokes among you I think the biggest style travesty of the 90s was curtains. Most of the blame falls at the feet of those pop gangsters, The Backstreet Boys.
Nick calls this pose his “Dr Evil with hair”
In our younger years we not only struggle with knowing what suits us but, piled on top of that pain, we also don’t even get to be the captain of our own Style Ship.
One of the worst moments of my life, in terms of finding my own style, happened when I was 12. I was to be a new girl AGAIN, joining a secondary school in the second year. But during the summer – before I was to undertake this scary, new start at this scary, new school – my dear, darling MOTHER persuaded me to have my hair cut short because it would be “quicker drying after swimming”.
I’m not Rebecca Adlington…I think I swam once a week.
Plus she has long hair & managed to find enough time to dry it & win 2 bloody Olympic golds
Anyway, against my better judgement, and considering MulletGate ’89 still haunted many of my dreams, I was persuaded to go from shoulder length to that infamous “quicker for drying after swimming” two inch crop.
I looked 1% Natalie Portman
Who am I kidding? I looked a grand total of 0% Natalie Flipping Portman.
Cue my first day at this Big School and I’m sat, cross-legged in morning assembly, all new girl nervous quivers and “will they LIKE me?!” angst.
A new student joining at an unusual time sends a ripple of excitement through a couple of hundred tweenagers. I overheard a boy in front of me, as he turned to share his titbit of gossip with the girl next to him: “Heard there’s someone NEW in our year”.
What came next is burned into my psyche. BURNED. FOREVER.
Unaware I could see her, the girl pointed at me and innocently whispered: “what, him?”.
She wasn’t even being MEAN. This was no Regina George spiteful Burn Book entry. This was a legitimate mistake and – at the time – that seemed worse.
She wasn’t trying to upset me. She didn’t even know I’d heard her. SHE JUST GENUINELY THOUGHT I WAS A CHAP.
That incident started a lifelong fear of being mistaken for anything other than the XX chromosome human that I am.
Never again will I let my mum dictate my hairstyle (Fool me once, shame on me; fool me twice, I’m a crop-haired idiot).
I’m also finding I’m settling more into my confidence with clothes as I’ve progressed all the way up to the grand old age of 31. When I was a teenager I might have seen something I thought was really cool but thought “I could NEVER carry that off”.
Now I give myself a little Mindy-being-Beyoncé power talk if I see something that I love but just think ‘isn’t me’. I’ll say to myself “if you BUY it, then it WILL be ‘you’”.
In a nutshell, people – be happy you’re getting older. Praise the Lord on HIGH that there was no Instagram when you were 15. I don’t think the Internet would have had enough spare pixels for photos of my frizzy head.
So embrace the ageing process: unlimited sweets for dinner and not a mullet in sight. Unless it’s a cool, ironic mullet. In which case, go for it.
Over to you: What’s been your biggest style disaster?