I’m not sure how I feel about those magazine features that tell you what to wear at 50, 60 or 70+.
I always find myself going a few pages back to see what they say 20, 30 or 40-year-olds should wear because I think the stuff they show for older women is boring.
When I was in fifth grade I begged my mother to get me a chemise dress (a no waist, straight line number) because I thought it was a trend worth following. I’m not sure any other 5th graders wore chemises to school on the first day, but I did and felt like a million bucks.
One of the most liberating aspects of being an older woman is dressing for yourself. I may have worn the chemise in 5th grade, but as I got older I was intimidated by peer pressure and, like everyone else, adhered to what a high school or college girl or career woman was supposed to look like. When I was on television, I wore little bows at the neck and conservative suits or dresses. Plus, I had 80s hair and my look, looking back, was like every other woman’s on TV.
Now as an older woman, damn the bows and structured clothes, I’m free to wear whatever I please. And so are you.
Fashion may not be your thing. I know a lot of women who eschew trends and don’t want to think too hard about what to put on every day. Which is fine because I believe women (and men) should do what makes them happy. Plus, we as a society, have loosened up a lot since the 80s.
But I also think older women who don’t like clothes often aren’t happy with what they’re wearing. They don’t see the donning of apparel as a creative exercise. They think it’s a chore.
But maybe it wouldn’t be a chore if they viewed dressing as a way to share themselves with the world. Clothes are how every woman can show others how she feels about being mature, and curious, interesting, creative, and fun. When you walk out the door wearing something you like, you’re more likely to feel good about what you’re doing. And, the older you are, the more sure you are of what you’re about. Why not show that off in the way you dress?
Dressing to please yourself doesn’t mean investing in a new wardrobe. It means deciding how you’d like to present you to the people you meet. You probably have clothes in your closet right now that you already like. Wear these clothes more often.
The best boss I ever had (when I was a writer at an ad agency) used to tell me when he handed over an assignment, “have fun with it”. That’s what I was trying to do with the chemise dress. That’s what I try to do when I get dressed every morning.
Do you feel artistic today? Bohemian? Mysterious? Feminine and like you’re yearning for ruffles? Don’t let fashion magazines put you in a category. Wear the clothes you like as often as you like. And never be bored.
At the top of my post: Feeling rebellious in a vintage Madonna t-shirt and Blur leather jacket. I bought both recently at Common Threads in Denver, my favorite consignment store.