While I wouldn’t trade the age I live in now for anything (No age has yet been better for women, not that this one is super great but) I do see the appeal of a time when one could know the age of a person simply by what they wore. Ah, sables and such! That there is a man in his settled age! Ah, a ribbon in his cap! That must be a light and careless youth! One look, I’m done! I know so much, just by the clothes!
In our age of freedom, though, you need to look more closely to determine someone’s age. A grandmother might just as easily wear her hair in pigtails. A child might be dressed in a business suit. A man might dress as a woman. A girl may dress as a boy. A person may just in an non-gendered way entirely. We can no longer make any assumption about anyone – even what might have been the most basic understanding before. I firmly believe that looking closer is a better way. When we look without thinking, we inevitably leave someone out and lose sensitivity. But I do understand the longing for seemingly simpler times.
The question though is – simple for Who? Only those who could easily conform. So…in the end, I’m happy to not know a person’s age by their sable. Maybe their age is none of my business.