Cargo Shorts To Blame For Closing Of Generational Fashion Gap

It used to be you could pretty much determine someone's age by what he or she was wearing. Not anymore.

I blame cargo shorts.

Cargo shorts bridged the fashion gap between generations a while back, and since then the lines of demarcation have been steadily eroding.

There was a time when the young dressed trendy, the middle-aged claimed conformity, seniors occupied the land of matching fuddy-duddy.

This is no longer the case.

The good news is everyone now has a lot more options when it comes to attire. I should mention that this is also the bad news.

Where do baby boomers fit in? Given that boomer hood encompasses an 18-year span (1946-1964), this depends to some degree on where you fall on the time line.

If you are a leading-edge, child of the '60s, baby boomer and are still wearing bell bottoms and tie dye, well, you just keep on keeping on.

If, on the other hand, you sold out to the man somewhere along the way and adopted the conventional garb of the bourgeois, the most important fashion advice that can be offered you at this stage of life is this:

No matter how popular they may become, no matter how much off the original price they may one day be selling for at TJ Maxx, do not, under any circumstances, buy stretchy, skinny jeans. Mature men in such jeans conjure up images of a sausage that has been recklessly overstuffed and is about to explode. As for women who may be so tempted, it might be well to remember there are some obstacles even SPANX cannot overcome.

Turning to the other end of the spectrum, the late-40-ish boomer demographic, this is a group that still harbors illusions of hipness, and thus can be influenced by what their children are wearing. You do not want to go there.

The latest trend among 20-something men is to wear suit jackets and pants that look like they might have been too small when purchased and have since been machine washed and left in the dryer too long. As stupid as your kid looks in this attire will not even scratch the surface of what you will look like.

Finally, it is not uncommon for women boomers in this age bracket to take fashion cues from their daughters. There is no way to sugarcoat this: If you and your daughter are wearing the same thing, one of you has a problem.





Look for this special section in your
Baltimore Sun newspaper on Dec. 29, 2013.
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