Karyn Rudance - Curly Hair Vancouver

“Perfectly Average” by Karyn Rudance

When I hit 40, I gained 30 lbs, got glasses, and my curly hair went straight.  Most women I talked to laughed it off casually as “welcome to your 40’s!”

So here I am now, middle aged, mid-sized, and no feature so notable that it’s worth a brag.  Except I keep getting compliments on my “style,” or the way I carry myself.  Women ask me “where did you get that outfit?”

I was a teenager in the 90’s!  “Heroine chic” was the societal goal, a la Kate Moss.  Every other commercial on TV was for Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers.  Then the 2000’s normalized plastic surgery and the term, “you’re not ugly, you’re just poor.”  I was lead to believe that “perfect” was not only a narrow standard of beauty set by the highest powers of the fashion industry, but that it was attainable (spoiler alert – it’s not).

At 5’1″ I will never stand eye to eye with Cindy Crawford. Unless I surgically remove some ribs, I’ll never have the waist of Naomi Cambell. And without a face full of collagen, I’ll never have the jawline of Christy Turlington.  But y’know who I do look like – everyone else! I’m not old, I’m not young, I’m not thin, I’m not plus size. I’m not short, or tall, or striking in some magazine worthy way…like most everyone else.

The compliments I get aren’t because I stand out against the crowd for my supermodel-esque beauty.  They’re because I look like you. And you look like me.

We crave inclusion. We want to be included in the world of fashion.  Fashion is fun!  It helps create our identity, and advertises to our fellow “tribe” who we belong with. But the fashion industry has told us that because we are not young, or thin, or tall, that fashion doesn’t include us.  But we are the majority, and we are each perfect in our own way.  We fit the “average” standards, and each of us is “perfectly” average.

It is now up to us, the middle aged, mid-size girlies, to disregard the decades old standard, and enjoy ourselves, advocate for ourselves. By sharing where we get our clothes, how we style them, and by complimenting one another, we can help shed the narrative that there is no place for us to feel confident, or be interesting.

Like Iris Apfel said, “you can get old, but don’t get boring!”

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