Guest Author - Cathy Brownfield
Fashion mavens are talking to women over age 50 and they are speaking our language. Perusing the wardrobe can be a bit daunting. But if we want to look our best, we have to do what we have to do to put our best feet forward, even if it requires stepping outside our comfort zones.
When my youngest daughter lost a considerable amount of weight, she passed on some of her jeans to me. And. They. Fit. When she saw me wearing them she said, “Mom, you look great in those jeans!” so I felt good about me when I wore them. Now those in the fashion “know” are saying that jeans and T-shirts are no-no for the over-50 woman. I’m not happy about that. Jeans are so versatile. They go anywhere. They are rugged and durable for years. There’s plenty of savings there since I’m stingy with my spending.
Surely I can find a compromise in all of this, though when I think about it, the over-50 women I know who always look great don’t often wear jeans. They stand out in a crowd. Since we aren’t raising children any more, I guess we don’t really need to wear jeans, at least, not every day. And the T-shirts? Well, even I thought the tan-colored T my daughter bought me was over the rude line: “Don’t let this smile fool you. I just LOOK like I care.” But I wear it around the house. The green one says, “I child-proofed my house but my kids keep getting back in.” I like the implication of that: My children love me so much they keep coming back for more.” But…it IS a T-shirt.
T-shirts are OK when you are cleaning. But, I like to “fix myself up a little” when I’m going out in public. I want to look like I care about myself.
I bought a fleece set: brown pants and brown top with a v-neck and a bit of white piping for contrast. It was cheap, just something to wear around the house. My husband noticed I had “dressed up.” What? I bought it at the dollar store and it’s hardly “dress up.”
“Well, it’s different than your usual,” he said, and I was stunned to realize that he does notice what I wear. So, I am paying more attention to my appearance.
Another fashion issue: get rid of all elastic-waisted pants. But they are comfortable! It’s easier to sit, bend, and much more flexible for those times when you eat just a bit more than you should. And that makes for the potential to gain weight. It is so much easier to gain it than to lose it. So I’m not quite ready to throw out my elastic-wasted pants, but I will. I will. In the meantime, I will watch closely not to overeat.
What I would really like to know is why anyone would design pants in larger sizes with a zipper on the hip instead of at the back or front of the pants. If you have any amount of belly, reaching the side zipper with both hands can be a challenge of Olympic proportions.
“Grandma” undies have to go. I suspect we’re talking about white cotton briefs. Somewhere long ago I read that white cotton underwear are less likely to lead to yeast infections. And who is going to see our underwear anyway? I have it on good authority that just knowing what we are wearing under our street clothes can make us feel good about ourselves. So, toss the grandma underwear and buy some pretty undergarments. Where is your sense of adventure?
Then there are the jewelry pieces that scream, “I am a Grandma!” Those have to go. Personally, I like to brag because I don’t look old enough to have six grandbabies. Even delicate gold chains are out, advise the fashion experts. I recall a woman who once told me she likes the unusual, but not garish. She enjoys the contented amusement of her husband.
This is just the beginning of sifting through my wardrobe and jewelry box. The idea of creating a new, attractive, fashionable, complimentary style for myself is a great way to get around the mid-winter blues.
As you begin to update your self-image this year, accentuate the positives. And read my next article.