My digital newsfeed is filled with advertisements for clothing brands I’ve never heard of, all designed for the “mature woman.” The clothes are cute and pretty much the exact style of clothes I’ve worn all my life. Apparently, I’ve been a mature woman since I was ten. These ugly knees require longer hemlines and I’ve never been one to bare my midriff or wear plunging necklines. Maybe it’s body image issues or maybe it’s just my conservative and modest upbringing? Whatever the reason, I like to think my style is comfort casual, classy and timeless,…….on a good day…….when I try. The fact is, I live in oversized t-shirts and yoga pants on most days. I’m a Texan, raised in the country, and feel most comfortable in baggy work clothes. One of my most recent purchases came from Duluth Trading Company, a pair of gardening overalls I absolutely love!!! Although I do try to dress appropriately for work or professional functions, I am grateful I no longer have to worry about a Stacy and Clinton ambush while walking my dog or shopping for groceries.
Another phrase that keeps popping up is the concept of dressing “age appropriately.” My style hasn’t changed since grade school, should I be concerned? I hit the internet searching for answers; over 560 million results came flying back at me in less than a second. According to Bellatory.com, at the age of 50 you should get rid of bright colors and instead opt for dark or soft colors. Crap! I just bought two blouses yesterday, one in a vibrant coral and the other in a bright Kelley green with spring flowers on it. I love bright colors! My closet is full of beautiful jewel tones! My favorites are fuchsia, purple, aquamarine, ruby red, emerald green, ok, yes, I love them all. Apparently, my affinity for color is contagious because when I met my husband, his closet was nothing but gray, black and khaki. Now, his side of the closet is just as colorful as mine. Not gonna lie, this does create some wardrobe problems. For example, I have to ensure I have enough solid pieces for the opposite half of my body, crazy top means solid pants. Plaid pants mean solid top. I’m not knowledgeable enough to know how to mix and match patterns although I’ve seen it done. Not gonna risk that.
There must be a way I can keep my jewel tones. According to Elle’s fashion writer, Lauren Cochrane, using “‘Pops’ of brights is a good start – a neon bag instead of black, a pair of lilac socks with your sliders, even a red lip.” To be fair, her article did not specifically address age so it may just be wishful thinking on my part that wearing my novelty socks and sliders is ok to do in my 50’s.
I probably come about my love for color, honestly. My grandmother was a bit eccentric herself and I loved her for it. She lived in a very conservative section of Salt Lake City, Utah, on a very long street lined with white, wooden houses on both sides. That is, until you spotted hers. Grandma’s house was painted Neon green and had plastic, pink flamingoes perched in her front yard. She wanted something “a little more exciting.” I’m wondering if that’s how younger people see me, as that eccentric old woman? If so, I kinda like that about myself. Is that weird?
Cashmere sweaters are apparently a must-have. Uhh Texan here. We don’t wear sweaters. Plus, I have cats. That cashmere sweater will last exactly one wear before it has a major snag in it, not worth the investment in my case. As for shoes, I’m always reminded of Alicia Silverstone in “Clueless” when she says,”Those are so last season.” The experts at ELLE warn me to “stay away from trends.” Easily done when I don’t even know what the trends are! With the exception of my YOYO phase in the early 80’s, the 1″ pumps have been my go-to for a dressy occasion since childhood. I’m way too clumsy for anything higher.
And so, fashion is yet one more thing I must ponder in midlife. Why has my style never changed? Why do I not feel the need to wear makeup or fashionable clothes if there is no specific event or occasion to prepare for? Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Am I comfortable with who I am or have I given up trying out of hopelessness? Cochrane’s article also stated, “never forget to assess how you feel when you put something on. Does it make you feel like the best version of you? Does it make you happy? If yes, that – ultimately – is when you should buy it.” These are thoughts I must ask myself. More midlife musings.