Am I too old to wear that? A definitive guide to the trends

As grown-ass women interested in looking good, you’ve probably asked this question at one point: “Am I too old to wear that?”

Are we too old for those boots, or those shorts, that crop-top, or those accessories? Are we too old for glitter and green lipstick or pastel hair? Are we too old to wear Sam Smiths or too old for scrunchies or chokers or any of the trends we lived through the first installments of? Should we dress “our age” or dress in all-black exclusively or in blazers and pant suits and whatever it is defined Dorothy Zbornak’s aesthetic? Are trends for the young and staples for the rest of us? Should we perpetually wear outfits that deserve and demand the Businesswomen Special?

Of course not.

To assume style has an expiry date is as problematic as it is boring. Does fashion cater to youth culture? Well, duh. But that’s arguably because youth is the fashion gateway. As teens, we experimented with prints, colours, fits, and whatever-it-was-we-saw-in-YM, but it took most of us well into our twenties to gain a better understanding of what works for us, what doesn’t always, and what makes us feel powerful. But that doesn’t mean fun, experimental fashion is no longer an option.

In fact, it is more an option than it’s ever been. Not only can we finally financially splurge on pieces we previously only dreamed of (see: buying more than one pair of shoes every six months), adulthood has afforded us the luxury of interpreting teen trends in grown-ass ways. No, we may not cover ourselves in glitter (or maybe we will—my rules aren’t gospel), but we can interpret it in a way that allows us to appease both our teen selves and the adults we are now.

And I will prove it to you right now. Meet me at the mall after school.

Photography by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

Crop tops

Kylie Jenner looks great, but she’s also 18 so she can get away with a crop top, high-rise jeans, and a long sleeve top tied around her waist and still look better than all of us. And so can you! Just not at work. (Unless you work from home, and if that’s the case, why do you care what I think?

The grown-up equivalent: This one’s easy. Sub out the long-sleeve and tight jeans for an ankle length skirt. Crop tops are for everybody, but sometimes it’s a question of dressing it up.

Fun footwear

There are a lot of shoes roaming the world right now. There are Keds with bows and Marc Jacob smoking slippers with cat faces, and general bright colours, and jelly shoes, and Doc Martens based on the characters in Adventure Time. One pair is fine. All pairs is… well, let’s just hope no one’s asked to deliver a eulogy.

The grown-up equivalent: It’s very simple—just buy these boots. (Especially if asked to deliver a eulogy.)

Photography by Steve Granitz/WireImage


Circa Y2K, we were covered in glitter. Our tops had glitter on them, our shoes, our actual bodies. Technically, were were actually made of glitter—and we all know you can’t go home again, so now we must compromise.

The grown-up equivalent: A shirt made entirely of gold. Or: a very sparkly metallic shirt. Let’s leave the Tommy Girl body gel in the past.


I wasn’t allowed to participate in this trend, but my friends did by pairing a sheer button-up with a spaghetti strap tank and a very obvious bra. I was jealous, and I still am.

The grown-up equivalent: Nothing I just mentioned. Today, we are adults. It’s no secret we wear bras, nor is it a secret that we occasionally buy bras meant to be seen. As a result, skip the middle-man and pair a sheer tank or button-up with a bra or bralette that means business. Never wear it to work, never wear it to your friend’s kids’ birthdays, but for sure wear it every other day, you’re welcome. Adulting: we can do it.

Photography via Instagram/bellahadid


As soon as you read “chokers,” you thought of baby graphic T-shirts and super-flared pants you wore with Fila running shoes (or platform shoes, if you were cooler than me). And between 1999 and 2014, absolutely nothing has changed.

The grown-up equivalent: You know that terrible saying, “less is more?” I’m sorry, it’s still awful, but it’s also true. Now, instead of re-visiting every Y2K-centric trend of our youthful heydays, pick the choker, pair it a T-shirt, sweater, tank top, or T-shirt dress and live your best life.

Distressed denim

Since distressed denim is like all denim (in that it comes in many shapes and forms), the easiest rule to abide by a strictly summertime thing: If your shorts are distressed and/or short enough that we can see the pockets, dial it down. This is not Laguna Beach.

The grown-up equivalent: They’re controversial, but they work: Gigi Hadid’s distressed denim looks like they’re seconds from disintegrating, she wears them well. Paired with boots and a blazer, she keeps herself from looking too business-centric, and also looks like a human adult enough not to warrant concerned moms asking what happened to her jeans.



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