The expectation of dressing one’s age appears to have gone back far into history. It was harder back then to disguise one’s age as there was little to do about the ravages of time. Well, at least that’s how it was for the less fortunate. Those who were better off, as usual, aged rather better than the hoi polloi.
Society’s restrictions on age and dress lasted until the middle of the 20th century when they gradually eased until we have the state we are in today. I, for one, am very happy to have been able to wear jeans of one style or another throughout my life, the style changing with the fashion instead of with passing years.
Of course, fashion and its dictates are not the only things that have altered in society as time went by. It is often challenging to try to understand the reason for change in lives in the past. Try as they can to be open minded, even historians are the product of their times, their attitudes and understandings fashioned by modern thought. Sometimes when it looks like research is at the end and conclusions can be drawn there are other avenues that can be explored. I am reminded of that when the unexpected shows up in my research.