the i-D guide to coming of age

If there’s anything more stressful than Christmas and New Years Eve rolling around it’s the addition of a milestone birthday to the mix.

by Bertie Brandes
Jan 9 2015, 9:35am

I turned 25 this week and instead of making a beeline for the nearest Claire's Accessories with eight friends to get another unnecessary piercing I fell asleep during a manicure. The older you get the less exciting and more frightening birthdays become, who will be free? Will I spend it on my own? Oh dear I'm another year older and the only happy memory I have of 2014 is dancing to The Bee Gees at a house party full of boys called things like Phoenix and Hessian. Anyway, it turns out i-D (35 this year) and myself share a significant birthday year, so I've written a not-at-all Buzzfeed style list of all the things that you (read: I) should be prepared to experience as you sacrifice another year of your youth to history. Hate you history.

You're going to start thinking seriously about which out of the next few of your birthdays is the least suspicious to repeat a few years in a row.
I would say 28 because that's probably the age you're least loved by anyone as everyone's so busy trying to get pregnant/trying to get out of awkward engagements from when they were in their reckless mid-twenties panic.

You will feel like this really has to be the year you become known for a signature style, you just have to find it.
Is it lipstick? It probably involves lipstick right? Yep, the cusp of true adulthood is definitely a good time to start wearing Purple Velvet to semi-important meetings until you realise you do just actually hate it. Avoid orange, even in this fraught trial period.

You'll get some good presents but all you think is fuck I'm going to have to get them a good present back now.
Now is about the time people who are also old (you're old did I not mention that) get their shit together and give you lovely things like candle holders and large books, which unfortunately means your until-now failsafe supermarket cava and accompanying bouquet is no longer failsafe at all. Start stockpiling all the presents you don't want in a box somewhere so you can give them on at future over-priced dinners, just make sure you have a list of who gave you what or you'll be forced to try and seamlessly convince someone you gave them those hideous tights back as a hilarious joke.

People will ask what you do and say "cool" and then ask how old you are and not be impressed AT ALL.
Get ready for the little twinge of pleasure you got telling people you were 19 to turn into the dull thrum of anxiety as you realise there are 19-year-olds out there who are qualified for your job and don't even get real hangovers yet.

If you get pregnant it will hardly be a tragedy at all and nobody will wail about your wasted opportunities.
Doesn't feel great does it?

Realising you aren't going to grow out of all your annoying traits and that you're probably always going to be a semi-annoying person.
You know when people still tell you you're childish when you're halfway to 50? That's because you just actually are.

You've given up smoking because you can't be bothered anymore.
Ditto being mean about your ex-boyfriends from a decade ago.
Ditto lying about orgasms.

You keep catching yourself saying "I feel cold just looking at you!" and putting your coat over your knees in restaurants.
I think by this point the jig is up, you were never really going to be one of those adults who wears no tights in winter and you were never going to smoke in taxis because honestly you're too scared of being banned from Uber. Embrace your grouchy grownup self, wear two jumpers and jeans that make your adult bum look amazing and stop feeling upset because you don't look like a 15-year-old Rolling Stones groupie. On the upside, you probably know which deodorant and moisturiser works best for you by now and if that's not progress I don't know what is.

You have a variation on a fringe that actually suits you.
Well here's something to be thrilled about. Even I, the professional avoider of haircuts who has trimmed her split-ends into the toilet for the last 12 years, have managed to figure out a hairstyle that actually semi-works on a daily basis. You will have done the bad hair rounds so many times by this point chances are you've struck upon a parting position, fringe type or colour which hallelujah doesn't make you look like Ja'mie. If not, at least please rule out the dip-dye.

To be honest, transitioning to your later half of your 20s is kind of brilliant. You're allowed to constantly talk about how you've had a life revelation over coffee with friends you actually love because you're still friends with them and once a month you'll have an epiphany, which will result in you deleting four people from Facebook. You probably have at least two great pairs of trousers (took long enough to find them) and a bag that doesn't constantly fall off your shoulder because of its fashion strap. Embrace candles, hang moth-repellers in your wardrobe and then get on with something much more important than anything listed above. You are mature, all-powerful and probably know your menstrual cycle pretty much to the day. No-one can fuck with you.


Text Bertie Brandes 
Photography Sean Thomas
Styling Julia Sarr-Jamois
[The Girls + Boys Issue, No. 332, Pre-Fall 2014] 

Bertie Brandes