23 May 2007

I've officially become my mother

With all the recent blowback I've received in my blogospheric life over my claim that there is indeed - or should be - a universally accepted set of rules when it comes to what an individual should, shouldn't, can or can't wear, I was honestly beginning to question my convictions. You might, too, if you had nearly a 10:1 ratio of "you're-what's-wrong-with-Washington-style!!" flung at you and your beliefs in setting what seemed to you like obvious venue-and-figure-appropriate boundaries.

But then, just as I was about to put fingertip to Word document in the form of a why-do-I-believe-what-I-believe? piece, I came across this picture of Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher and her daughter, Tallulah "Lulah" Willis at last night's Mr. Brooks premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood.

Aside from Ashton's unnecessary Bret Michaels 'do-rag, my first impression of the threesome was that they made a nice-looking bunch. Nothing tremendous, nothing traumatic, but somewhere in the middle. And just as I was about to click "back" to spend some quality time skipping Jessica Alba's highly annoying new InStyle interview but gazing upon the hot accompanying snaps, something hit me and I stopped short.

How old is Tallulah? 14? 15? Can't be, because Demi was pregnant with Scout in '91 (I remember like it was yesterday sitting on the Meijer floor in Traverse City, wide-eyed and big-dreamed, flipping through that Vanity Fair spread), and Tallulah is the youngest of the Willis girls. That must make her...12?

Well, I was close. She just turned 13 in February.

When I look at this picture (and those below), I can't say Lullah doesn't look fabulous, because frankly, she does. Her shoulders and birdlike limbs are perfect for the halter trapeze mini. Her hair is right at the equidistant point between coiffed and tousled, and her fierce posture - oh, the posture! - belies the fact that she's only been eligible to watch Mom get her bikini-bod on in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle for about two and a half months.

I know this is Hollywood, and I know kids there grow up quickly, especially those with three A-list movie star parents, but 12 and 13 year olds clearly braless in very adult-looking mini dresses? I just can't get on board. Not at a premiere, not at a party, not even if she wanted to dress up as Edie Sedgwick for Halloween. I have no groundbreaking explanation as to why I disapprove, but I suppose it all goes back to what my Mother told me when I begged her to let me trade-up to silk Victoria's Secret bikinis from my striped cotton Jockeys briefs back in 6th grade:

"Be a girl right now. Give yourself something to look forward to when you're a woman. You'll thank me."

So yes, in addition to venue and figure, I throw age into my setting-boundaries rulebook as well. Though for different reasons, seeing a minidress on a 13 year old is just as likely to elicit from me a pair of pursed lips and a slow, downward-looking head-shake as seeing one on a 43 year old. Sorry, Demi, you've got the gams, but you've also got a shorter hemline than your daughter. Not good.

For a couple more pics of Lullah wearing dresses (and heels) I wish I could've worn to my 8th grade dance but would never have passed the Mom-test, see below:

Mr. Brooks premiere (22 May 2007 - 13 years old)
Open Season premiere (9 September 2006 - 12 years old)


may west said...

I don't know why I am piping up now, but what the hell.
I like the blog, I really do. I've found some great style tips and ideas (I now mosturize every morning), and I have simply started walking taller and more confidently since I started reading. I definitely don't always agree, but you are very articulate and have great wit, and I ususally enjoy the read.
But I have to disagree about Demi's dress. I think it is fantastic. You're right, she does have the legs, and with the long sleeves and high collar, the rest of the dress is very mature. Any lower of a hem, it would be too boring.
And also, I have been steamed with you since Oscar night when you put Abigail Breslin on your "worst dressed" list. I though she looked adorable, she probably loved that dress, and if it wasn't "age-appropriate" I don't know what is.
So you're wrong on two counts. But my legs are really smooth. Thanks.

Noelle said...

^I think you've misunderstood the post. Johanna is criticizing Demi for allowing her 13 year old daughter to wear a minidress, not for doing so herself.

Johanna said...

May West-

I'm so pleased you've taken to my moisturization routine! Nothing could bring a bigger smile to my face than that. After I go, it'll probably be my longest lasting legacy.

On Abigail, it wasn't that I thought the dress was age-inappropriate. Not at all. I just thought it was one of the ugliest little girl dresses I'd ever seen. It looked like a planter. You're right, she probably did love it and I never said "instead, she should have worn this..." for that very reason. But just because a little girl likes an ugly dress doesn't mean I have to like it and doesn't make it exempt from being included in either of my best/worst dressed lists.

On Demi, I think I was unclear. Yes, she's got great legs and can pull of the mini. Yes, objectively it's a cute dress. But being the more conservative girl I am (and I'm only starting to discover this through resistance from others to my ideas), I just don't think mini-dresses have a place in the post-40 year old woman's wardrobe, regardless of how smokin' hot her figure is. And this is true especially when said 40+er has her young daughter with a slightly longer hemline at her hip. I'm not saying it's wrong or right to show most of your thighs at that age, it's just a general rule I know I'll stick to long before I hit my fourth decade.

But then again, I like to think of myself more as a Cate than a Demi.

intern in the city said...

I'm 75% with you on the no minidress over 40 rule. Just because you've got the goods doesn't earn you the right to do something, but at the same time, this is a married woman out with her husband. She's clearly not trying to use the higher hem to gain male attention but instead doing it to please herself.

But there's two ways about it, minidresses on older women almost always reek of "I want to be in my 20s again" desperation.

dc girl said...

It's the difference between wanting to look "hot" and wanting to look "elegant". You're obviously in the second camp. I'm with you, but you should let others who want to be described by the same adjective as they were in their teens do their own pathetic little thing.

mary j. said...

I think it's kinda sad to see a just-turned-13 year old wearing such mature, sophisticated clothes. Unless being around her stylish Mom for so many years has given her a beyond-her-years sense of style, I'm assuming both these dresses were dresses a stylist picked out for her. Part of being a kid is learning to like what you like just because you like it and not stressing about what you *should* like.


bff in chicago said...

well put, "dc girl" and "mary j."! you took the words right out of my mouth!

and even though abigail's dress was hideous (just looked it up), at least she looks like a kid.