Everyone seems to be talking and blogging and reporting on the most recent Wall Street scandal — the AIG multi-million dollar bonuses. No doubt about it, we all have plenty of reason to be majorly upset. Our country is riddled with thieves, and try as he might, who knows if even the president can stop them.
But enough about that.
I am looking in the mirror and wondering if I should be wearing what I’m wearing — which is just about what I wear every day, home or away: jeans, layered t-shirts, sneakers. I’m wondering what is considered “age-appropriate” dressing for someone almost 70. While this issue is of absolutely no importance in the “Big Picture,” it is one that seems to periodically rise into my “little picture” consciousness.
Even though I asked my daughter to take notice and tell me if she thinks that I’m dressing too young for my age, she hasn’t yet done so. But I’m still wondering.
The problem is that I have always loved clothes, used them more as costumes, depending on where I was going to wear them. I had my ballroom dance clothes (nothing too fancy; mostly swirly skirts and dressy but comfy and washable tops), my fashionable work clothes, and my funky other items like embellished jeans and jean jackets. Also, dozens of pairs of really cool shoes, none of which I can wear any more. And, of course, attention-getting jewelry, some of which I had made myself.
Well, I got rid of my work clothes and packed up my dance clothes. I gave away my embellished denim and my cool shoes. What’s left is rather boring and ordinary, and maybe that’s the issue. I am not used to looking ordinary, certainly not like an ordinary older woman. It’s disturbing to me that I am finding myself so awfully ordinary.
I know that clothes don’t make the woman. But they can sure perk me up.
I try to search around the Net for what striking older women are wearing and realize there are no models out there — except for older actresses. So I begin to search out photos of older actresses — the ones who don’t look all plastic.
Judi Dench is 74 and looks fabulous with her gray hair and colorful accessories.
Lauren Bacall is 85 and dresses with classic simplicity.
Faye Dunaway is a year young than I, and she has her own individual style. I love her long hair and wish I had the patience to grow mine. (Of course, hers could very well be hair extensions.)
In my searching for “age appropriate clothing,” I run across a few forum comments that suggest that older women look much better than younger women in eye-catching accessories. As I was watching the new tv show Castle the other night (I got hooked on Nathan Fillian in his Firefly and Serenity days) I couldn’t help notice Susan Sullivan‘s outfits. She wears
unique and colorful clothes and accessories and looks smashing in them because they are not designed for 20-somethings.
When 80-year-old Doris Roberts played Marie Barone on Everyone Loves Raymond, she was dressed in black pants with a different printed shirt in every episode — sort of the typical and ordinary outfit for many older women who are not as slim as all of the others I mentioned above.
As herself, however, and dressed to the nines, Doris Roberts chooses fabrics and colors with flair and she looks positively stunning.
Well, my body type falls somewhere between Doris Roberts and the others I’ve mentioned.
So, what have I learned?
1. Slimmer women of any age look better in any kind of clothes.
2. If you’re not slim and older than 65 and you want to look striking, cover your arms, don’t wear anything too tight, and wear eye-catching accessories.
In another couple of weeks, I’m going back to my home town for my cousin’s daughter’s wedding, and there will be relatives there I haven’t seen in a while. I really want to feel good about the way I look. One of the things I’m going to do is go through some of the jewelry pieces that I made and see what might work. I might even make something new.
Black wide legged pants, a black, light-weight, scoop-necked, 3/4 sleeved swing sweater with metallic threads, and a necklace made of amber and silver. And metallic flat shoes. That’s what I’m thinking.
I wish I had a face like Judi Dench and a body like Susan Sullivan (who is only two years younger than I). But we all have to work with what we’ve got.