You know you are over the hill when you start looking at the way young people dress and examine them with a critical eye.
In the same way that my parents thought wearing all black was a “phase” in the '80s, we have a hard time swallowing the choices we see young people making when it comes to so called fashion because it is so different from what we are used to.
For the most part, I am a very open-minded person when it comes to how people choose to present themselves. I get that how you show yourself to the world is part artistic expression. For some people, it is truly theater and it’s part of figuring out who you are and who you want to be. At the same time, I often wonder what reaction they’re looking for when they make certain choices.
There are the statements. In this category, I would put hair color not found in nature, dramatic piercings that you can’t ignore (facial for example), and large tattoos, especially ones that challenge you with violent or obscene content.
Whenever I see the more permanent statements that can’t be hidden by a shirt - the massive tattoos for example, I find myself thinking: “What happens when you go for a job interview?”
Intellectually, I know that there are plenty of companies that don’t care about this sort of thing. Tech companies for one. But I guess I hear my parents’ voice in my head wondering the same thing and I can’t help myself. Piercings can be taken out, hair color can be changed, but tattoos are permanent and should only be gotten after a great deal of thought.
As far as clothing goes, I learn about most styles from my teenage daughters. The ripped jeans, for example, always baffle me, although I do remember something similar in the '90s. And let’s not forget what a disaster stone-washed jeans were.
I’m OK with the off-the-shoulder blouses. Worn correctly, they are flattering. I could do without the micro-mini dresses, but when you have tall children you learn to live with this fashion trend and just hope they will be able to sit down.
But the one thing I simply don’t get is the thong bathing suit. I saw a lot of them this past weekend at the beach, and while some people wear the style better than others, overall, it’s not a flattering look in my opinion, especially for young women. There are moments in life where modesty wins, and I think the thong bathing suit is a big, fat fail.
So, if I can give young women any of my wisdom, I would say to dress in what makes you feel comfortable and what makes you feel attractive - not to others, but to the most important person, the person staring back at you in the mirror.
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.