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Why I Stopped Caring About Age-Appropriate Clothing

Recently, I knit myself a hair bow. I’ve been ogling the cute little patterns from Augustins for a while, and I had some scraps I needed to use up. This felt like a good opportunity.

A pink, fuzzy, knit bow sits in the center of the photograph, surrounded by a vase of pink and white roses, some small balls of yarn, and a polka dotted teacup

So I knit it up, and it was big and floppy, and very pink, and very fuzzy, and I was pleased. I put it on, snapped a picture, and shared it on social media. In my posts, I mentioned that I was tired of caring about whether what I wore was age-appropriate or not.

And goodness, did that ever get a swarm of reactions. It seems I’m not the only one feeling this way!

So here are some important things that have come from the conversations I’ve had with people about my hair bow. I’ve cheekily written them as rules, but I think these might be rules you’ll actually enjoy.

Rule #1 for Age-Appropriate Knits: If you’re wearing it, and you’re happy in it, and you’re whatever age you are, then it’s age-appropriate for you.

This was a tidbit of wisdom shared with me from a friend on Twitter, and it resonated deeply. Who defines what’s age-appropriate, anyway? Why do they get to decide for the rest of us? And if it feels good and makes us happy and doesn’t hurt anybody, then why can’t that be age-appropriate, too?

Because the joy we find in wearing clothes that make us feel comfortable in our skin is so much more important than superficial acceptance from people who don’t actually care about us.

If they did care, truly care, they’d want us to wear what made us happy. If they care more about abstract rules and conventions, then they don’t really care about us that much so their opinions don’t matter.

A large, pink, fuzzy hairbow attached to the end of a long, blonde braid

Rule #2 for Age-Appropriate Knits: When the outside world is scary, every bit of joy is a treasure.

We are now in our third year of pandemic living, and the international situation involving Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to escalate in really frightening ways. Global warming looms over us all. Things are scary.

So why in the world would we sacrifice small bits of harmless joy in the midst of all that fear just because somebody out there decided to sneer at us for it?

Joy is good. Small, inexpensive things that make us happy are good. It’s okay to take joy where you find it, especially when that joy gives you a boost to help you continue forward.

A top-down image of a pink, fuzzy, knit bow, surrounded by some small balls of yarn and a teacup full of tea

Rule #3 for Age-Appropriate Knits: Life is too short to worry about what others think is age-appropriate.

I’m 37 years old now. By my best calculations and estimates and hopes, I am not quite halfway through the course of my life.

Still, I’ve gone through a decent chunk of it already, and it went by pretty fast. I can only imagine the rest will seem to go by even faster.

So why would I waste any of that precious time letting other people dictate the things I do that have no effect on them?

It’s one thing to take them into consideration when my actions can affect those around me. Then, I am more than happy to consider the community before myself. But when it comes to harmless things like the clothing I wear? Nah. They don’t get to have a say in that.

Now, listen. I’m not such an idealist that I think we should always ignore all dress codes in all circumstances. I still try to be respectful in my clothing and wear things that are appropriate for work, for example. But on my own time, in my own home, with my own family, I’m going to wear what makes me happy.

And right now, what makes me happy is a giant hair bow that makes me feel a little bit like Sarah Crewe from A Little Princess.


If you’re curious about some of my favorite knitting needles, here’s a round-up of the ones I use most! These are affiliate links, which means if you choose to buy something through those links, I’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I will always identify affiliate links for you. Thanks for supporting my work!

The 9-inch circular needles I prefer for knitting socks

The interchangeable needle set I’ve been using since 2011

The DPNs I’ve used since 2009

The needles I use for knitting all my shawls

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Tals

Thursday 7th of April 2022

That's my way of thinking. If I fell good then it's good. And at 55 no one is gonna change it

Lauren Rad

Sunday 10th of April 2022

That's exactly right. We find the joy in what we love and the naysayers can go be cranky in their little corner if they want to.

Cat

Monday 4th of April 2022

Yes. This. Knit what makes you happy. Wear what make you happy. Wear your hair in a way that makes you happy. Please yourself. I am well into senior-citizenhood, and I started growing my hair out a few years ago, for the first time in years. It turned out to be much curlier than the last time it was long. It is definitely not grandma-looking hair. It makes me happy.

Lauren Rad

Sunday 10th of April 2022

I am so happy for you! I bet your hair looks great, and I'm thrilled you're having fun with it.

Ssmdy

Monday 4th of April 2022

Thank you. And good for you. I’m 78 and I’m gonna wear what I like , too

Lauren Rad

Sunday 10th of April 2022

Yes! I love that and hope you find lots of joy.

Virginia

Monday 4th of April 2022

I'm 70 so life's even shorter (future) so I knit what I want. Just made Illuminate by Andrea Mowry. Stripes! So fun.

Lauren Rad

Sunday 10th of April 2022

And I bet it looks great, too!

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