Age-Wise Style: Dressing “Younger”
Have you seen “Younger,” the hit TV show from Darren Starr on TVLand now in it’s second season? I’m obsessed! My friend Pam Redmond Satran wrote the novel on which it is based, about a woman who finds herself divorced at 40 after staying home for many years to raise her daughter. When the mom character, Liza Miller, tries to get an entry-level job in publishing, the long gap on her resume raises eyebrows with the millenial-aged hiring managers. So she does what any 40-something would do. She pretends she’s 26.
Sutton Foster, who plays Liza, actually is 40, although she doesn’t look it
Her fashion makeover is delicious, going from neatly tailored jackets, slacks and statement necklaces to flannel shirts worn over printed mini-dresses and rugged boots. Pat Field, who famously dressed the stars of “Sex in the City,” consulted on the costumes here too. Her beauty transformation includes a rosy glow, ombre highlights and long, loose curls. Her look is spot on.
The fun comes when she has to bluff her way through social references among her young peers at work and navigate dating mores with a handsome young tattoo artist. When her daughter discovers Liza’s relationship with her “boy toy,” she is of course disgusted and goes to live with her father.
The show got me thinking about my relationship with my own 22-year old daughter and the gulf between us in the way we dress and, sometimes, think. Whereas I am a big believer in buying the best clothing and accessories you can afford and balancing them with more affordable basics—such as turtlenecks, white shirts, black pants, t-shirts—my daughter rarely buys anything new. She prefers to scour second-hand stores for the odd '80s cast-off, such as a sweater with a Lurex geometric pattern, a hot-pink jumpsuit, faded rock’n roll t-shirts. She likes her clothes to look a little worn (or a lot!). She never wears heels. Her go-to footwear is a pair of high-top black sneakers worn with black ankle socks. Her brunette hair is currently dark at the roots and platinum blonde at the ends. She doesn’t own a blowdryer.
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She was lucky enough to graduate in May from one of the priciest, prestigious colleges in the country, and recently told me, with great excitement, that she applied for a job as a butcher’s apprentice. All I said was, “That’s great!” (P.S. She didn’t get it. Butchering has, I guess, become highly competitive.) The arty, hipster life in Brooklyn is calling to her.
I try to remember what it was like when I was in my 20s, trying on different identities weekly or even daily. At one point, I was working at a glossy fashion magazine by day, and hanging out with my penniless Rockabilly-looking bartender boyfriend on Saint Mark’s Place in the East Village at night— and changing my look accordingly. It was a confusing time. So I try to let my girl figure it out on her own and I keep my opinions about her outfits to myself.
The question that “Younger” really raises for me is, if you could pass for being in your 20s today, would you? I know what my answer is. What’s your’s?