In Women's Fashion, No Irony After 50

Women of a certain age should stick with elegance, some say
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 25, 2009 1:20 PM CDT
Former Cosmopolitan Editor-in-Chief Helen Gurley Brown attends an Emilio Pucci Fifth Avenue store opening celebration on September 7, 2004 in New York City.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – When 50-year-old Madonna showed up at the Met’s costume gala last month wearing a mini-dress and a bow shaped like rabbit ears, it begged the question: How old is too old for ironic touches like knee socks and pigtails? And more importantly, why can’t over-50 women wear certain things, writes Cathy Horyn in the New York Times. “It’s like fighting with the wind,” says one art director.

“People don’t get the joke,” adds a stylist—like Madonna’s outfit, which riffed on Paris fashion. Older women “can’t wear that porkpie hat,” the stylist continues. “People will think you’ve lost it.” Not everyone agrees: “The reason I dress this way isn’t just to have fun with fashion,” says one grandmother/couture collector who recently went out in a pink tulle skirt. “It’s attention-getting—let’s face it.”