I'm 53. I'll wear short shorts if I want

Jennifer Lopez, 45, at the Oscars last Sunday.

Story highlights

  • Carol Costello: J.Crew ad advises older women to wear 'age-appropriate' clothes. Spare me
  • She says stars like J. Lo, Madonna don't apologize for dressing how they want and the look great
  • She says she's through with having total strangers tell her what's OK for a woman of her age to wear

Carol Costello anchors the 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. ET edition of CNN's "Newsroom" each weekday. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN)I hate the term "age appropriate." At 53 I will dress as I like, thank you.

So, please, fashion mags, clothing stores and Hollywood, stop with the "how to dress in your 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond" nonsense.
Carol Costello-Profile-Image
J.Crew is the latest to inform me, that at my advanced age, short shorts are not for me. (And I thought legs were the last to go.)
    I love J.Crew. I shop there all the time precisely because they sell clothes I want to wear. Now I have to shop there knowing I dare not go near certain clothes because, well, this is how a very attractive, older J.Crew lady put it: "In my 20's, I wore rollneck sweaters with short shorts. A lot has changed since then. Some 20-plus years later, I still love J.Crew, just...differently."
    I never realized.
    But, then again, J.Crew isn't alone when it comes to schooling older ladies on what they should or shouldn't bare. Oprah.com, way back in 2010, helpfully pointed out "women of a certain age" should NEVER wear mini-skirts with Uggs, never expose their stomach, never, never wear tube tops, absolutely no shredded denim and, for goodness sakes, no neon nail polish because "as you age, skin gets more sallow." Thanks Adam Glassman! Guess I'll cross Uggs off the list!
    I am still a tad confused, though, by a People magazine spread a few months back that featured "sexy grandmas!" (yes, there was an exclamation point!) It featured a 68-year-old Goldie Hawn exposing her cleavage. Does that mean I can expose my grandchildren to my two best friends, but not my thighs?
    Perhaps this trend started with the best of intentions. But after having total strangers instruct me through the years to dress sexy, not slutty, in my 20s, to avoid mom-jeans in my 30s, to find a "signature look" in my 40s and to throw out my Uggs in my 50s -- I am done!
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    And while I'm at it, I'm done with the "she looks great -- and holy sh--, she's 45!" Jennifer Lopez is 45, but she looked beautiful at the Oscars Sunday night ... period. No age qualifier necessary. And, guess what? Her gown, with the deep, plunging neckline was awesomely appropriate even if it would never be included in the "beyond" category.
    Recently I had a conversation with a young male friend who was lambasting a "nearly 60-year-old" Madonna for exposing her bare rear end at the Grammys.
    "Don't worry," I said. "That wasn't for you." Madonna was simply doing what she's always done -- sending a message to women that it's okay to express your sexuality. I don't think I convinced him. But, that's okay. I have my own opinions. And that includes looking in the mirror and thinking, damn, I look great in these short shorts.