Gwyneth Paltrow rewriting the rules of age-appropriate dressing?

Gwyneth Paltrow rewriting the rules of age-appropriate dressing?
Gwyneth Paltrow shows leg at book signings and events in Los Angeles last week.
(Photographs by, from left: Jason Merritt / Getty Images; Susan Goldman / Associated Press; / Chris Pizzello / Invision)
Los Angeles Times Fashion Critic

Celebrity lifestyle entrepreneur Gwyneth Paltrow blew through Los Angeles last week, appearing at a handful of events and signings for her new cookbook, “It’s All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look and Feel Good” and the launch of her trainer/business partner Tracy Anderson’s Flagship Studio in Brentwood.

She wore spring looks by Isabel Marant, Victoria Beckham and Stella McCartney during her whirlwind trip. But the real star of the show wasn’t a designer frock, it was Anderson’s handiwork -- Paltrow’s incredibly toned and tanned legs. Her sculpted legs were front and center in every outfit, including the pair of black Lycra hot pants Paltrow wore with a white Stella McCartney blazer to a book signing Friday night at Williams-Sonoma in Beverly Hills.

The “Iron Man 3" actress looked great, no one is debating that. But Paltrow is 40 years old, and while her physique is unquestionably perfect, thanks to a strict regime that even has hubbie Chris Martin and their kids cutting out carbs, her wardrobe choices raise the question: Is there such a thing as age-appropriate dressing anymore? Or is Paltrow’s diet and fitness plan turning that notion on its head?

We all know that 30 is the new 20 and 40 is the new 30, but to those out there who are 40 and up, I have to ask: Would you wear Lycra hot pants anywhere, except maybe Anderson’s gym? How about a miniskirt so short, you can’t bend over to pick up your children without giving them a peep show?

An informal survey of my office yielded different opinions. One person said, “If I had legs like that, I would wear them until the day I died.” (And certainly, there are many women who subscribe to this belief, Tina Turner and Diane Von Furstenberg among them.)

Others think that Paltrow is out of touch with reality in the micro-minis and midriff-baring tops that have become her style signatures over the past couple of years.

At a party the other night, a friend gave me an earful about Paltrow’s spring fashion edit  on her online lifestyle newsletter Goop, in which she models looks herself from fashion e-tailer Net-a-porter. The most questionable look, described on the site as “Shorts, Dressed Up,” has Paltrow exposing her tanned tummy in a midriff-baring, white leather tank top by Theyskens’ Theory, worn over orange, iridescent pleated shorts.  “C’mon, Gwyneth! We’re the same age! You have two small children! You’re not going to wear that to take them to school,” my friend said.

So what do you think? Is Gwyneth rewriting the rules of age-appropriate dressing? Or are there no rules, and should women’s magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar give up annual issues devoted to age and fashion and move on?


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