We all know that appearances matter. There are those who are paid quite well to design and create beautiful landscaping, stunning interiors, fabulous flower arrangements, elegant or snazzy table settings, and beautifully presented food. We are touched by the creativity of those who put these things together so artfully. We derive pleasure by experiencing their appearance.
So, ladies, what’s happened? I realize that as we grow older, it’s more to difficult to look great. Admittedly there are styles we just can’t wear: sleeveless is out; turtlenecks are questionable, shorts reveal less than good features (those broken veins, yikes!), plunging necklines can be creepy (or is that crepey?) and unfortunately, form fitting displays a form that’s not what it once was. However, I just read a quote from RuPaul in O. He said, “If you have the power to control how people see and interpret you, why not use it?” Why not indeed? With that in mind I’m asking how you and I want to be seen and interpreted. Aging? Matronly? Grandmotherly? Carelessly comfortable? Thoughtlessly clothed, made up and coiffed? Hmmm, I think not. How about Tasteful? Attractive? Well put together? Youthful? Well dressed? After all, our appearance affects you and me as well as others.
Admittedly, as we approach or attain the age of 70 these goals are not easily achieved. It’s much more difficult to find clothes in styles and colors that are becoming, but one of our original premises was to buy fewer clothes but better clothes. In 2018 I again resolve to do that since I am reminded that I have the power to control how others see and interpret me. — Uh, oh. About time for hair color.
I bought a book titled Shopping for the Real You by Andrea Pflaumer. There are a few gems in the book. One point that the author makes is the importance of a good haircut and good shoes. While I’ve always subscribed to the merits of a good haircut, I’ve been lax in the purchase of shoes. I’ve bought several inexpensive pairs that aren’t really that comfortable, or I’ve bought a pair that’s fills only a need for a special occasion. Here’s what Andrea writes:
“Years ago there was an article in Town & Country magazine that ran down the principles of making a home look affluent and refined. If you did just two things, the piece said, you could achieve the look of elegance. Lay out the money for expensive picture framing and good Persian carpets. I would say dressing well follows a similar rule. If you splurge on only two things make them the things people see framing you face and anchoring you to the ground: your hair and your shoes. Well cut, healthy hair will make any outfit look better and will make you feel good inside. Well-made beautiful shoes will do the same. More important, they will likely be comfortable which can definitely show on the outside.”
I’m going to make an appointment for a hair cut this week, and I’m turning over a new leaf in 2016. From now on I’m shopping only for well-made beautiful shoes. I’m sure my feet will appreciate this resolution! It also conforms to our original goals: buy less but better. Happy New Year!
If you were asked what the French are known for, you would probably respond, “fashion and food”. Maybe I should say “couture and cuisine”. Recently I read French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano. At the end of the book the author contrasts the eating habits of French and American women. Here’s a portion of her bullet list:
French women eat more vegetables and a lot more fruit.
French women eat three meals a day.
French women never let themselves be hungry.
French women never let themselves feel stuffed.
French women honor mealtime rituals and never eat standing up or on the run. Or in front of the TV.
French women think dining in is as sexy as dining out.
French women love to entertain at home.
French women care enormously about the presentation of food. It matters to them how you look at it.
On the subject of fashion she writes:
French women adore fashion.
French women will dress to take out the garbage. (You never know).
French women know one can go far with a great haircut, a bottle of Champagne and a divine perfume.
I’ve heard that French men find older women attractive and desirable, ascribing to them an aura of worldliness and seductiveness. According to Mireille, a French women is bien dans sa peau. She is comfortable in her skin–a quality to be admired and emulated and one that other’s find appealing. Hmmmm, I haven’t thought much about perfume lately. I think the French are on to something.
Martha and I drove to Austin last Tues. to visit Susan. What do three women do when together? Shop, shop, shop! This was our first effort at consciously shopping for quality, age-appropriate, flattering duds. We had some success. The shops that Susan chose for us are not filled with 20 and 30 year old buyers. These shops offer very pricey designer labels but also stock some less expensive lines.– We headed right for the sale rack! We shunned all sleeveless garments and were careful about color and skirt length.–Of course, it helps to shop with others who can critique what you’re trying! Martha and I each bought a dress (on sale) that will require Spanks–or liposuction. We’re planning to wear them to an event that the three of us are attending in Aug.
We did make a wonderful discovery. We happened upon a sort of undergarment called Sleevey Wonders. The concept is to provide sleeves to an otherwise sleeveless dress. None of the Sleevey Wonder is visible but the sleeves which are made of lace, gauze or jersey and come in several colors. The state of my upper arms had caused me to relegate my sleeveless tops and dresses to the Good Will pile, but thanks to Sleevey Wonders I think I’ve salvaged at least three outfits! We also began arm exercises which are good but slow in producing results. Better the quick fix–Sleevey Wonders.
By the time most women have reached the age of 40 they know what styles to wear and, more importantly, what not to wear. I’ve never been able to wear a belted dress (Does anyone remember the shirt waist?) or a blazer or large floral prints.– An image of a walking loveseat comes to mind.
I’ve always liked and worn sleeveless tops and turtle necks; however, at this point in my life I’ve found it necessary to avoid both of those fashion features. The turtleneck calls attention to a less than taut neck, and a lack of sleeves exposes my upper arms. What’s going on there? The inner skin of my arms is crepey and creepy! When did that happen?
So what is a girl to do? It seems the only recourse is to shop carefully, choosing styles and colors that are becoming and flattering. It’s obvious that my choices have narrowed. I also prefer solid colors, but it seems like manufacturers are using all sorts of colorful prints.—Ugh! I think the patterns must make it easier to hide construction flaws. At one time I was a pretty good seamstress. I’ve got a great pair of scissors and a sewing machine that still works; so I may try sewing again. Until then I guess I’ll continue to wear a lot of black—with long sleeves and a round neck.
Buying a swimsuit at any age is pretty traumatic with those full length mirrors and unflattering lighting, but buying one when you’re approaching the age of 70 is daunting indeed. There’s just not enough fabric to hide what should not be revealed–even to my own eyes! But that’s where I found myself this morning–in the dressing room at Academy.
I bought my seasonal pool pass yesterday and began water aerobics this morning at 8:00. When I donned my 15-year old swimsuit before heading to the pool, I realized that one of us was past our prime. The only remedy was to replace the suit! After all, altering my body is a lengthy and expensive process. I needed a much quicker fix. After trying on about 10 suits (different styles, different sizes), I bought one. I must admit that the styles are more varied and easier to wear than the last time I shopped for a swimsuit. You can still buy a bikini, but the two-piece style with the top that covers the midriff (an absolute necessity) is a good option.
The class is great–refreshing and a pretty good workout. I’m checking out yoga too, but tomorrow I’m heading back to the pool –in my new swimsuit!