When I was younger, I fed my love of fashion a steady diet of women's magazines. Seventeen, Vogue, Elle, Self, Glamour—I read them all. One of my favorite features was Glamour magazine's "Fashion Don'ts"—a photo spread of women on the street, a black bar obscuring their faces, who had been caught committing a fashion faux pas. Bad wardrobe selections were corrected on a page of "Dos" with models donning stylish solutions to these fashion choices gone awry.
Somewhere around age 19, my love of fashion started to wane. Though I liked looking at the pictures in women's magazines, I grew weary of the articles they featured, which mostly focused on women flaunting their sexuality. It seemed that in order to showcase high fashion, one also had to be hypersexual. As my values shifted, these magazines no longer matched my morals or how I thought the world should be. Fashion simply wasn't a good fit for me. And besides, who was I kidding—I've never had a natural sense of personal style. Take a peek in my closet and you'll know what I mean.
But no woman can escape fashion completely. We're bombarded with messages and choices about what to wear. As I moved through my 40s, and now at 50, I've noticed how many women in my age range try hard to dress as if they're still in college—even high school. The lines have blurred between what's appropriate for women.1