What Not to Wear

Photo of a pair of floral-embroidered Doc Martens boots. Caption reads: “Are my boots outrageous?”

What Not to Wear by Iris Carden

I saw an article shared on social media this past week, on what women over thirty shouldn’t wear.

Being somewhat over thirty, I was curious.  (In this context “somewhat over” means “rapidly approaching double that number.”) Sadly, women over thirty should apparently not wear anything fun, or practical either.  So no furs (real or fake ), no low-cut clothes, short skirts or distressed jeans, no yoga pants (no explanation of what we should wear if we’re doing yoga), no high heels or “outrageous” shoes, no underwear that doesn’t have structural support.

They went so far as to say fur was inappropriate because it was a youth-inspired trend.  Please don’t tell that nonsense to your grandmother or great grandmother. 

I don’t know quite how old whoever wrote the article thought thirty was, but when I was thirty I was still regularly wearing high heels, and many of the other things on the list (not furs, I couldn’t afford good quality fake fur.)

I have to confess that even while well into my forties I still wore heels regularly, now I’m in my mid fifties, I don’t wear them. That’s because I have arthritis. I’m sure lots of women my age still wear killer heels and look great in them, and I envy those women. I still like fun shoes, such as my favourite embroidered boots (pictured) which my mother gave me last year.  Apparently my own mother hasn’t realised I’m too old for pretty and fun things.

I’d like to suggest an alternate list of what people should and shouldn’t wear:

  • Wear what you want to wear.
  • If you have clothes that make you feel happy when you wear them, wear those a lot.
  • Don’t judge other people for wearing what they want to wear.
  • Ignore stupid published lists of what you should and shouldn’t wear.

That’s almost the entirety of my fashion knowledge. The other bit is I know how to make clothes I like.

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By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.


  1. Being over the age of 30 X 2, I can relate totally with this fabulous post. I say “Ditto” to everything on your list and to hell with the rest of the world. If I have a hole in my pants or a tag hanging from my shirt, then please let me know. If not, MYOB!
    I love your boots and would happy wear them (and jump in the puddles if I could …. damn arthritis!)!

    Liked by 1 person

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