This whole topic was sparked by one of my best friends. She is 19 years old and is planning on purchasing the famous, timeless quilted Chanel bag. Let's drool, shall we?
It's gorgeous, it's the epitome of the "classic bag", it'll last her forever and...
She would look ridiculous wearing it.
My friend doesn't wear makeup, and only looks about 16. On her, a bag that expensive and coveted would be assumed to be some knockoff she picked up in Chinatown, or something she borrowed from her mother. In any case, it's a black leather bag with a heavy gold chain and anyone carrying it ought to at least be in her thirties. This is simply not designed for a very young woman to wear.
Which made me remember this picture.
Ashley Tisdale, best known for her role in Disney's High School Musical, age 26, with her blue Birkin.
Yes, the bag that has notorious waitlists to get it, a glamorous and romantic history like no other, and is the only purse to be a status symbol and the subject of several books.
Even in the funky blue color she owns it in, the handbag looks absurd hanging off her arm. She's just too young for it.
For comparison, here are some other Hollywood women who also carry the coveted bag:
Eva Longoria owns it in several colors, but even with this somber black one, she looks perfectly fine with it at 36.
Though I hate to include her, here's Kim Kardashian with the Birkin, also in black. Maybe it's another part of her in-your-face persona, but I think she looks a touch off with it. It's not something you immediately notice, as with Ashley, but even she looks a little young for it at 31.
But when you see this iconic purse on an older woman, it looks so much more fitting and suitable. Here's Martha Stewart (in her sixties) pictured with a gorgeous chocolate brown Birkin. It's so becoming on her, and it's also understated in a way that doesn't come across with the younger ladies. This is the very difference between being able to pull off a fabulous handbag, and a fabulous handbag looking right for you.
What gives, then? Is it a question of age or the age you dress? Are certain "classic pieces" only meant for a certain age bracket? I would say that you ought to be in your forties, at least, for the Birkin to look appropriate on you, but Eva doesn't look wrong with it and there's nothing off-putting about Kim's photo (apart from who she is).
And exactly what is it that makes the Birkin only look right for a certain age? Is it just the style of the bag itself, or is it also the amount of money, and to a certain extent, prominence you need to own one?
I completely understand dressing and accessorizing older to come across as more mature (I'm sure I'm guilty of it all the time!) but when do we know when it's visibly strange like with the picture of Ashley? At what point can we get away with dressing more mature until it has the opposite effect--when, instead of coming across as more elegant and ladylike, we look like girls playing dress-up?
Tell me what you think!