dressing for age?

Still a bit caught up in the idea that one style of dress fits all.
I have always associated the high waist, muslin, white, with youth and Summer. Thank you costume dramas. Obviously in my personal universe this is possible but not in the everyday world. In some vague way I'd assumed that there were different modes of dress for different ages as well as status.

 Do I want to be seen dressing like my mother? Would she wish to dress like me? How would we look in the clothes and styling of an 18 year old? 

In the Mirror of the Graces the idea is that young and old follow the same fashion with only minor adjustments to cloth, colour and degree of ornament. Don't think Goya agreed that was a good idea.
 I have been trying to find as many contemporary portraits as I could showing older ladies to compare. Not a rigorous investigation  but interesting to do. Conclusions so far are flimsy in the extreme but the some of the  portraits are entrancing.

These paintings  I  assume are of reasonably wealthy women and probably wearing   fashionable, presentable or best clothing.  The dresses are remarkably similar, high necked and high waisted, tied with a ribbon, Both older ladies' are relatively plain - heavier denser fabric than muslin, frilled ruffs at the neck.  The style of the  middle one  is certainly more decorative and intricate but the shape is very much the same as the right hand one . There is a more romantic poetic look, open at the throat and a more animated pose so less formal and with less gravity, but there doesn't seem to be any real concessions to age or figure, the bodice shapes look to be the same - stick a frilly cap on the middle one and give her a shawl and they are all but interchangeable.

These two ladies look younger than the ones above, more of middle age, but both are dressing in the fashion. The covering of the throat seems to be a desirable thing - even when the dress is the fashionable low square cut, the chemisette is all but invisible apart from the ruff. I have seen designs like these on willowy, sylph-like models on the fashion plates.

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