There has long been talk of whether dressing a certain way is “age appropriate.” The Queens Tribune spoke to Queens residents over the age of 50 about their fashion choices for the season—and they all cited two elements as the most important: comfort and saving money.
Carol Williams, 59, who was sporting a fitted striped maxi dress and flip flops on Friday at the Queens Center Mall, said that she doesn’t believe in age appropriateness, and instead focuses on weather conditions, comfort and price.
“It’s too hot for me to worry about what anyone thinks about me. I know everything is not in its place,” said Williams, referring to the size of her body. “But as long as I am happy with me, that’s all that I care about.”
Williams said that when she shops, she makes sure that the items she buys are worth every penny.
“I’ve been around for a few decades, so I know how this economy and society works,” said Williams. “I remember buying $2 graphic T-shirts. Now, those things are over $20, depending on the manufacturer. It’s a scam. I just make sure that if I’m paying over $20 for a T-shirt, it’s going to be comfortable and universal.”
Abe Walker, 77, walks along Jamaica Avenue every Sunday by himself and occasionally shops on the strip.
“I mostly look around, but if I see something—and it has to be real nice—I’ll get it,” said Walker.
Walker said that he rarely buys clothing, because “what’s being sold nowadays is for the young cats.”
“You see these young boys out here in those skinny pants? I can’t wear no skinny pants,” said Walker.
On a recent 85-degree day, Walker was wearing brown slacks, black slides and a white polo shirt.
“I get hot just like everybody else, but if I’m not comfortable, I’m not comfortable,” he said.
Walker said that slacks are always his go-to, and he’ll alternate his shoes depending on the weather.
Betty, 82, and her best friend, Lucy, 85, spoke to the Queens Tribune after exiting an Access-A-Ride, which dropped them off at Jamaica Center after Sunday mass.
“We usually alternate on whose house we’re going to go to for lunch after church, but the back-to-school sales are out and there’s a dress I’ve been eyeing for some time,” said Lucy.
Both women were still in their church gear. Betty said that her church clothes are not vastly different from what she wears on a regular basis.
“We just wear the expensive stuff to church,” said Betty.
Betty is a firm believer in age-appropriate clothing, while Lucy had another take on it.
“If you look good and you feel good, do what you want,” said Lucy. “But if you have rolls and cellulite and everything is falling apart, leave that stuff to the young girls. We’ve been there and now it’s time for the new generations to live their lives.”
Lidia Lopez, 70, also believes in age-appropriate clothing. She said that when she was younger, she would often wear shorts and tight T-shirts, but now she opts for pants and will only wear shorts if she’s going to the beach.
“It depends on where I’m going,” said Lopez. “If I’m wearing dressy pants, I like them loose fitted, but if I’m wearing athletic gear, I prefer tight pants.”
Lopez said that her two fashion favorites are her shoes and accessories.
“I love accessories, but not too much or exaggerated,” said Lopez.
As for her shoes, Lopez said that she could never have enough.
Although Raul, 68, was wearing clashing plaid shorts and a T-shirt, he said that he takes his style seriously.
“I’m just here taking my grandson school-shopping for my daughter,” said Raul. “Usually, I’m looking neat with my fedora on, but shopping with a teenage boy is too stressful and it’s too hot out.”
Raul said that during the summer, he loves wearing linen shorts and pants, open-toe shoes—such as slippers or sandals—and loose and lightly fitted shirts.
“I’m too big for Jamaica Center, so I shop mostly on Long Island or a bit more north at Big and Tall because I’m big and tall,” said Raul.
Raul said that he rarely wears jeans and sweatpants in the winter, because jeans in Big and Tall sections of clothing stores are expensive as they have more material than the average men’s pair of jeans.
Claudette, 71, said that she loves florals, plaids, stripes and all sorts of prints.
“I love overlapping the patterns and playing around with the color,” said Claudette. “Color is so important because it shows life and happiness.”
Claudette said that she only shops in the sales racks because “clothing evolves.”
Merle, 55, said that her go-to clothing store is her closet.
“I’ve accumulated over 35 years of great classics, which have always come full circle, reinventing effortlessly,” said Merle.
Merle said that when she is in the mood to splurge, she shops at Zara, Aritzia or Anthropology.
“They have minimalist and trendy styles that keep me looking young and fun,” said Merle.
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400, ext. 144, firstname.lastname@example.org or @reporter_ariel.