Brasilmagic\’s Weblog

Venting to the World

Maturity and Dress Style: America vs. Brazil

A friend of mine went to Rio de Janeiro and was very surprised to see her friend’s mother, who is in her 70’s, dressed in a tiny bikini. If that happened on any American beach, there would be staring and heads shaking in disapproval. If you happen to be on an East Coast beach in America, women in their early 30’s who have had a baby or two wear swimsuits not too different from the ones worn by women in the turn of the century-last century, that is. They even have little skirts on them.

In the streets of Brazil you see older women-even the ones who are chubby-wearing the same clothes the younger girls wear: tight tops, tight pants, sky high heels, bright colors, fancy jewelry, shorter dresses, cleavage. And nobody cares. Nobody criticizes.

The issue here is that in Brazil there is a lot more freedom to express oneself and age is not a deterrant. When my children were in middle and high school, I felt the other mothers disapproved that I dressed young (low cut bootleg jeans, tight tops, shorter hems, etc). I had my children in my 20’s, while many of these women waited until their 30’s to be a mother. Therefore, when my kids were in High School and even College, I was a relatively young mother.

Why is that in America once you have children-or once you hit a certain age, like 40 or 50, you have to cover up? What’s wrong with looking sexy until you can-and whether you are a mother or not? It’s very common to see couples in America where the man looks very decent and the wife looks old-no make up, no jewelry, overweight, drab clothes, no femininity. I guess these men chose to marry accomplished and intelligent women, and while that is admirable, I question: why can’t you be both feminine and accomplished? Why is that when you try to look feminine in America people think you are shallow? Is it a result of the 60’s women’s lib or is it the Anglo-Saxon puritanism that colonized America still in the works?

Why is that once a woman hits 40 or 50 she needs to dress a certain way and give up certain things? What if she has a good body and fashionable clothing looks nice on her? Why can’t people just have the freedom to dress any way they want and decide how they want to look without others judging them? As in my posts about American men not being able to wear small swimwear in American beaches and new mothers getting disgusted looks while breastfeeding in public, I am here advocating that older women and older men can wear whatever they want, without ageism interfering.


April 16, 2012 - Posted by | Difference between cultures, Fashion


  1. chubby or old ladies in small swim suits and BRAZIL doesn’t care? Oh they care, I hear stuff all the time. People do it who are older and chubby, but all the women will turn complaining about them the second the said woman turns her back.

    Comment by nina | July 22, 2012 | Reply

  2. Unfortunately Brazilians do criticize. A atriz Betty Faria for criticada por usar um bikini por causa da aparência dela. Triste, mas não somos um exemplo nesse sentido. Exemplo mesmo encontrei no mediterrânio, nas praias da Espanha. Lá todos usam o que querem e todos respeitam.

    Comment by Rita | July 10, 2013 | Reply

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