Dress Code

by Lee Patterson

I find myself somewhat puzzled by the term 'appropriate for her age'. It seems to me to be confusing, sexist, and ageist. What is appropriate? Who are the garment gurus elected (not by me), to pass down the clothing commandments to 'women of a certain age"?

Some things are obvious. Gravity exists. A time comes when bikinis,mini-skirts, crop tops, and going bra less no longer enhance a woman's appearance. Firmness fades with time. All well and good, but does that mean that because I am 63, I must hide my feminine sensuality under a shroud of long sleeves, baggy clothes, and short hair?

I am no longer able to wear heels for hours at a time but still subscribe to the motto,'so many shoes, so little time'! I have no intention of inhabiting a desperate fantasy wherein I never age. No Dorianna Gray for me. But, by the same token, I reserve the right to be the arbiter of my own fashion sense. For as long as this body remains slim and petite, I will wear form fitting clothes. I disappear otherwise.

I love bright colors, and ethnic clothes, in particular the bright, embroidered suits worn so elegantly by ladies of Indian and Pakistani origin.

Some concessions to age are inevitable. The days of extreme fashion and makeup have passed. At this point, the goth look would likely ensure my immediate arrival at the nearest mortuary. Yet, I reserve the right to paint my nails any shade I so desire, and my son informs me that the nose stud piercing I have still rocks. Ditto, my hair.

I have no intention of being a white-haired old lady, even if untreated it produces streaks of a platinum white. This lady prefers to maintain (with help, of course, thank you Preference), the same shade of copper hair, that nature gave me. I also refuse to have a bob. I am blessed with long, curly, thick hair--hip length at the back. Why would I cut it?

Many women have complimented me on my appearance, stating that they, too did not wish to'dress old'. The Appropriate Police, usually individuals almost half my age, are, of course, entitled to their opinion. I continue to celebrate my life in the manner which suits me. In the end, anyone else's opinion of me is none of my business.

Strut proudly, ladies!

Comments for Dress Code

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Lookin' Good
by: North Carolina

Wear whatever looks good on you and wear the colors that look good on you. You will feel confident.

by: Wendy

I just LOVE this post and all the comments!

KUDOS to all of you! You ROCK!

My mother, at 88, actually is stylish... wears blue jeans, nice tops, cool shoes (not matronly, but flat), with her white teased big hair. She looks great!

Her mother, however, my Polish grandma, BABA, and my English grandma too -- both always wore dresses. Never ever saw either grandmother in pants, ever....

My English Grandmother had bare but beautiful legs and wore relatively stylish (for the era) dresses. My Polish Baba wore knee high nylons, rolled and knotted at the knew... seriously, she DID. :) with her babushka, of course.

Odd, when I think about it, that they never wore a nice pair of slacks, I know my mother did so they were acceptable then, but they both never touched them.

Me, my hair is too long too blonde, as it was at 20. Whatever, its me. I wear jeans almost daily now that i'm retired with nice tops... my new uniform for retirement, totally confortable and cool too.

Interesting Discussion.. .Rock On Ladies!

Enjoy who you are
by: Jeanette/Greater Toronto

Great post! At 69, I work out regularly to keep my shape. Having a body that fits into fashionable and classic styles allows me to feel my best.

My struggle is with fine hair that is thinning as I age. I keep it short and white! This suits me and brings compliments!

well done
by: hampshire england

I like you.. now like to wear bright colours, i used to live in black as i thought it was slimming. Now i paint both toes and finger nails in all bright colours to match my tops and i am 75, would love to lose weight so i can wear my jeans again even if i read older ladies shouldnt wear them. i know of a lady nearly 100 who only wears jeans in different colours. I wear what i know suits me and my age and wear lots of necklaes and bangles to brighten up tops so well done to you and dont cut your hair. Bye Pam

Dressing Your Age ???
by: Daphne

As previously mentioned, we are NOT our mothers' generation. Look at pictures of your mother at 40, 50 and 60. Then compare them with yourself and other women of today. We look so much younger.

We all evolve into our own style and to each their own. I've learned to stay away from trends, but stay current and invest in classics. I dress according to what I'm doing and/or where I'm going.

I haven't "dressed up" in a while since retiring, but sadly, I had a family funeral recently and wore an investment piece, a LBD I purchased in 2001. Adding a belt and designer heels, you would never know the dress was from 2001 because it was classic and the accessories were current. Invest in quality heels, shoes and handbags with a few pieces of good jewelry. You'll always gravitate toward them when needed.

Have fun with the rest...It's also not where you shop, but knowing how to shop wisely and how to pull it all together. It's the thrill of the hunt especially now that I have the free time!

Have fun and be yourself. No Alfred Dunner here!!!

To all post: Well said ladies
by: Tary

I joined this site last year when I was considering an early retirement (I was 56), then my husbands company started cutting positons and he was forced into early retirement. So I'm still working, but as I age and work toward retirement I find the site, and the people on here, inspire me as I move toward my next phase in life.

As I let my hair grow long again and adjust my form fitting clothes to fit a slightly bigger form, I find it very reassuring that women are speaking out and not letting others dictate what we wear or how we choose to let our bodies age naturally.

I look good, not for my age, but just in general. I believe that is probably the case for those that also responded to this wonderful post. I think saying "I look good for my age" is an old an outdated statement. What am I suppose to look like at this AGE? And who sets that standard?

Thank you all so much for speaking out. It's wonderful to see we can just be women for as long as we choose and not just stamped as old ladies.

by: Anonymous

Possibly the greatest comedienne of last century & courageous beyond measure, Moms Mably (create a Pandora 'station' for her).

She created her comedic persona w/old lady clothes (in the 1920's) & wore them until 1975, when she had comfortably grown into them.

Right on Mamacita!
by: Anonymous

i love your post. I am 66 but don't have a petite figure or long hair. If I did I would flaunt it.

Remember the Rick Nelson song:
"You can't please everyone so u gotta. Please yourself."

You go girl.

Dress for your age?
by: Susan Whittenham

We have a saying in the part of England that I'm from, 'mutton dressed as lamb' which refers to a lady of a certain age trying unsuccessfully to dress like a much younger woman and not getting away with it.

Certain ladies with a sense of style can get away with fashions that many would consider more appropriate to ladies a lot younger, but this doesn't apply to everyone.

I dress for comfort not fashion, and I have hair to my waist; and why shouldn't I wear my hair long and loose if I so wish?

Bully for you
by: Ade

Correct, do exactly as you please

You are Blessed!
by: Anonymous

I'd say you have the right attitude and it sounds like you are blessed with more than most of us. Wear what makes you comfortable and more power to you.

I live in Texas where jeans will never go out of style and even the older grey haired women wear them. I sometimes wear things I wish I'd had when I was younger but do not feel I go overboard all that much. I see more people with colored hair than not and I even have a wig. Just wish I could make my face look younger and get rid of double chin!

Anyway I enjoyed your blog and it was well written.

Dressing your age
by: Sheila

It's my belief that everyone should dress to please themselves. If you are happy with the way you look, just carry on. Or if you can't tolerate adverse comments, then tone it down.

The main thing is to be happy.

Strut Proudly
by: Anonymous

You Rock!

I am 62 and although my style has evolved somewhat, I too wear fitted clothing, new styles, but not too many trend-y fads.

I look at the clothes that I label 'old-lady clothes' and wonder how old I would have to be to consent to wear them.

Then I realize - oh, never.

Don't let anyone tell you what is 'appropriate' for your, to act or dress 'your age'. I encourage everyone to continue to 'be yourself' no matter what age you are.

Wendy: Anonymous, I said the same when I first read this but chose to keep my opinion to myself-- until others had posted. HAD to bold you above as I would have said the same words! GRIN!

We are not our mothers or grandmothers... Carry on!

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