Fashion Do’s and Don’ts: A Guide for Dressing at Senior Olympics

AYF-YOARF Senior Olympics is back! After an agonizing Labor Day Weekend last year, communities are itching to get back to a good old-fashioned Providence Olympics, and they want the full experience: the crowds, the comradery, the competition, the kebab. But let me tell you something. I’m not going for any of that. I’m going for the clothes. 

Yup. That’s what I miss about Senior Olympics. I love seeing what people wear. Allow me to set the scene. After a full day of sun-soaked athletics, hundreds of Armenians ranging in age from literal newborn to my 90-year-old grandpa stuff themselves into the same ballroom dressed in their very best. I’m talking about a range of textures, fabrics, colors, trends, aesthetics, even dress codes. It’s a fashion lover’s dream. 

This past year has been truly fascinating in terms of trends and fashion, especially considering most of us were locked up in our homes wearing our pajamas all day. Brands and fashion houses didn’t really have an opportunity to impress new trends or looks upon us. In turn, fashion has quickly turned into a sort of no-rules-anything-goes entity, and I’m here for it. But take that with a grain of salt, because when it comes to Senior Olympics, there are still some guidelines I suggest you keep in mind. 

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  • DO think about the weekend in progression. The dress code of each dance basically gets fancier and fancier as the nights go on. Thursday, you can opt for something a little more casualthink hanging in a hotel lobby and running into your closest of friends. You want to make sure your arms are mobile because you’ll be doing a lot of hugging. Whereas Sunday night is your most formal night. Again, you’ll probably be doing a lot of hugging. You know what? Just make sure your arms are free throughout the entire weekend. 
  • DON’T feel the need to buy something new. This past year has seen a major push for accountability and consumer consciousness, and with the fashion industry being a major contributor to world pollution, buyers have been changing how they shop. Buy second hand, check out sites like Poshmark or the RealReal, swap old looks with a friend, or just go shopping inside your closet. You might find something that you can rework and rewear. Trust me, no one will remember repeat outfits. I promise. 
  • DO be conscious about footwear. You can anticipate hopping right from the long jump pit onto the dance floor, and that can seriously do a number on your feet. Make sure you pack a pair of well worn-in shoes that are an appropriate height and that you know you can comfortably wear all night. The last thing you want is to miss the Michigan hop because you just can’t take that marble dance floor another second. 
  • DON’T forget your sunscreen. I’ve learned this the hard way, and after seeing a ton of really terrible tan lines at the dance, I know I’m not alone on this one. Protect your skin, people…if not for your health, at the very least for vanity! 
  • DO make sure your evening bags work for you. I love a good evening bag, but one major issue is size. Before you select this accessory, make sure it can hold the dance necessities: your phone, your room key and your HyePass. 
  • DON’T wear big chunky rings. They hurt me when we’re holding hands during the shoorch bar. Have some compassion.
  • DO wear something that you feel you in. You don’t have to be on-trend or even fall victim to fast fashion. None of that stuff is important at Senior Olympics. Wear clothes that define you. You’ll be surrounded the entire weekend by people who love you for you, so just go with it. And anyway, you’ll be having way too much fun to worry about what people are thinking of your look.
  • DON’T forget to take pictures. One of the things that I find so special about the Armenian community is that it’s generational. So someday, I’ll share photos taken this year with my own kids and grandkids just like how I’ve seen pictures of my parents and grandparents at Seniors years ago. How special is that?
Arev Dinkjian

Arev Dinkjian

Arev Dinkjian grew up in an Armenian household in Fort Lee, NJ. She was always surrounded by art, sourced by her musical father and grandfather, Ara and Onnik, or her creative mother Margo. Arev graduated from Providence College with a degree in elementary and special education. She enjoys teaching language arts to her students and takes great pride in instilling an appreciation for literature in her classroom. She is a former member of the New Jersey AYF “Arsen" Chapter and a member of both the Bergen County ARS and the Sts. Vartanantz Ladies’ Guild. She also dedicated many summers to AYF Camp Haiastan, which she says remains her favorite topic to write about.
Arev Dinkjian

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