Old Enough to Know Better: Five Things No Woman Over 40 Should Wear

Life Lessons from Nina Bargiel

Old Enough to Know Better is a weekly column of non-advice advice. It's taking everything women are told about aging, tossing it in a dumpster and setting it on fire. There are a hundred columns out there telling you that you’re aging wrong. But I’m here to tell you: They’re right. 

Welcome to middle age. You’re doing it wrong. But don’t worry. I can help.

Read more: Old Enough to Know Better: 3 Roles You Can Play When You Grow Up

Moments after a foal is born, it attempts to stand on its spindly legs. It might wobble to and fro, see-sawing into a sense of balance or brace itself against the earth as it finally gathers the strength to remain upright. It's freaking adorable. 


(Here's another, just because you need it. C'mon, it's good for you.)


Moments after a young woman gets the opportunity to write for the Internet, she attempts to stand for something. And with her new sense of balance, she holds herself upright and pens a life-changing directive: Five Things No Women Over 40 Should Wear!!!

Millennials, I get it: the job market sucks, you're drowning in student loan debt, and dictating the fashion follies of women a decade your senior maybe gives you a small sense of control over your life. (Spoiler alert: you're never in control.) But eventually you, too, will be headed into your fourth decade and ready to join the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pantsuit.

Once you're over that hill and you'll see the valley below. It's filled with eviction notices of every fuck you ever gave. But that's not to say that there still aren't rules. We may act like monsters, but we don't have to look like one.  

So I give to you...

Five Things No Woman Over 40 Should Wear:

  1. A Smile By Request. I know this can be difficult, as some of us have decades to undo. If someone asks you to smile, try extending a middle finger. Even two!
  2. Your Enemy's Head as a Hat. Do you know how difficult enemy heads are to dry clean? Try a nice brooch instead.
  3. The Mantle of Patriarchy. The only thing that could ruin capes.
  4. Someone Else's Expectations. The fucks have been evicted. Do not let them back in.
  5. Hammer Pants. Seriously.

We're not learning to stand. We've been standing.

Now please enjoy this newborn foal who looks like a drunk Taylor Swift. Viva!


Nina Bargiel is a feminist killjoy on the Internet and a TV writer in real life. She wrote the bra episode of Lizzie McGuire. You're welcome.