Showing posts with label Women of a Certain Age. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Women of a Certain Age. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Fashion Essentials for a Woman of a Certain Age

I don't know why I do this to myself but despite the fact that the models could be my granddaughters, and I can't afford the clothes and accessories they wear, I can't resist fashion magazines.  I may not have much in common with Gigi Haddid and Kendall Jenner but show me a "Harper's Bazaar" or a "Vogue," and I can't help myself.

But that doesn't mean I am immune to it all.  Reading these magazines brings up all kinds of angst and bile and regret about growing old, not to mention I can't wear or afford most of the featured items.  So at least once a year, I am inspired to rant about fashion magazines and rail against what they say we should be wearing and doing.

So speaking of "Harper's Bazaar," they have a column called "The A-List," where someone famous "shares her essentials."  It's kind of like Nina Garcia's "What Nina Loves" that I ranted about last year ("What Rosy the Reviewer Loves and a Rant About Fashion Magazines.").  Now Nina is a woman of a certain age like myself and she can be forgiven for hawking outrageous items such as Tom Ford soap for $35 a bar and beaded Balenciaga sandals for $1375, because that's her job as a fashion editor, but when a twenty-year-old like Kendall Jenner is telling me what fashion essentials are, I have to draw the line.  I am a woman of a certain age and have pretty much given up on buying designer clothes and pricey soap, but, Kendall Jenner is a fashion icon who has millions of followers on social media and I would guess they aren't women my age.  They are young women who also can't afford some of the stuff she is saying is "essential" either.

Let's see... (and I am quoting here):

"When it comes to tops, I like something simple and easy to re-wear." Chanel sweater, $2050.

If I had a Chanel sweater that cost over $2000 it wouldn't just be easy to re-wear, I would be wearing it every day because it would be the only thing I owned!

"I wash my face a lot, wear sunscreen, drink tons of water and use Estee Lauder Products." - Rouge, $82. 

Uh, $82 for rouge? I just squeeze my cheeks like Scarlett O'Hara used to do and save myself the $82.

"I wear a watch every once in a while, usually a vintage Rolex that I really like." 

I would think she would like it.  It costs $11,000.  I would really like it too.  You notice she says she wears it every once in a while.  For 20-year-olds, a watch is not for telling time.  They have their IPhones for that.  A Rolex would be a fashion accessory that just happens to have a little thingy on it that tells the time.

"I'm a big shoe girl.  Shoes of all types, really, especially if they're comfortable."  Balmain, $1540!

For $1540 I sure hope they are comfortable, because you would have to wear thing constantly to get your money's worth!

"For jewelry, I really love chokers and sentimental necklaces.  And Chanel is always a go-to."  Chanel bracelet, $2200

OK, I can't take any more.  Speaking of chokers, I want to choke her!  Twenty years old and throwing around words like Chanel, Balmain and Rolex.  I can barely afford a sweater at Old Navy.

And I would imagine Kendall's 20-year-old followers can't afford Chanel, Balmain and Rolex either.

So why do we women, especially women of a certain age, read these magazines that show impossibly thin, impossibly young women talking about their essential fashion items that are impossibly expensive for most of us?

Well, I don't know about you, but I do it for the same reason I go to the movies.  For a short time, I can hang out in a different world.  I can imagine myself in Prada and Chanel, wearing a Rolex watch and sipping Veuve Clicquot with the beautiful people.

But more practically speaking, I also like clothes and like to keep up with the trends. I may be old, but I am not out of it.  I liked clothes when I was twenty, and I like clothes now. Certainly I can't afford the high end stuff, but if I know what's on trend, then I can usually put together something that shows I know what's going on. 

We women of a certain age tend to become invisible.  I am not having it.  I will not go quietly into old age and give up my big earrings and my leopard leggings.

And right there, that's the #1 fashion essential for a woman of a certain age.

Your Fashion Essential is YOU!

Don't give up on yourself.  Get on out there and stay there!

We may not be a 20-something Kendall Jenner who can afford to buy whatever she wants and has the best hair and make-up people at her beck and call, but we can still be presentable and look like we belong in the 21st century.

Yes, some days I don't get out of the bathrobe until noon, but at least I do get dressed and when I do, I try to look like I give a damn.

So to look like you give a damn, here are what I consider fashion essentials for women of a certain age who still care what they look like, but who don't have a lot of money to spend on themselves:


1. Shapewear.
If you are self-conscious about parts of your body - and who of us of a certain  age aren't? - and that self-consciousness restricts what you think you can wear, buy some shapewear, which is just a trendy name for what we used to call girdles or corsets. It doesn't have to be Spanx, which I find impossibly expensive considering all of the places on my body I need to shape.  You can get good quality shapewear at Penney's or discount places like Ross or Marshall's. Mostly I like to wear it to hold up my pantyhose when I am wearing a dress and boots or in summer to keep my thighs from slapping together when I am wearing a sundress. TMI?


2. A fashionable hat
Then you don't need to fix your hair.  However, be aware that once you have the hat on you will likely have to keep wearing it because otherwise when you take the hat off you will have hat hair.  So buy a hat your really like in case you can't take it off.


3. Active wear
This is just a trendy name for work-out clothes.  At least if you have some cute workout clothes, you might go to the gym...or to the mall.  I include mall walking as a work-out.



4. Make-up
When we ladies get old, I think the first thing that seems to go by the wayside is wearing make-up.  I am willing to accept that I have gotten old but I am not willing to accept how I look without mascara.  Given that, I am willing to take the five minutes it takes to slap on some make-up so I can fight the battle that is getting old.


5. Big Sunglasses
For when you don't want to wear make-up.



6. Trousers that make you feel good and look good
You notice I don't use the word pants.  That's for my British friends - in the UK "pants" are usually underpants so I am not talking about that here.  Trousers can be jeans or they can be a tailored trouser but they should be your go-to's, the ones you reach for when you want to look fabulous.


7. A fabulous coat or jacket
I am addicted to coats and jackets and they are essential to looking good when you are outside when the weather is colder.  They keep you nice and warm, and they can cover a multitude of sins. 


8. Black and/or white
Wearing all black or all white is a great look and also makes accessorizing easy.  Or mix the two. Always striking.

9.  A great uniform
Have a great stay-at-home outfit you can pull on without thinking and hang around the house in, but that doesn't make you look like you weren't thinking when you got dressed. You never know...the man (or woman) of your dreams might knock on the door and you don't want to be standing there in sweatpants and a t-shirt that says "My Cat Thinks I'm Cool."  Well, do you?  Even the cable guy shouldn't have to see you like that.

So here's a tip for that: I have just discovered a trick that works really well for looking good every day.  I have a ton of clothes that I have accumulated over the years.  I can basically shop my own closets.  I am not proud of my "collecting," OK, hoarding (I talked about it in May on my post "Confessions of a Clothes Hoarder"), but let's just say I am aware of the problem and am working on it.

But anyway, having so many clothes has its own problems in that sometimes I am overwhelmed with what to wear. When I am riding my stationary bike with the closet door open, I sometimes see items I haven't seen in years and think to myself, "Wow, that's cute. When did I get that?"  Sad.

So I now have this little pile of trousers/leggings and tops that I keep at the forefront of my closet and can just reach for. They consist of a few cute on trend outfits I can put on without thinking.  And I can wear the same thing a couple of days in a row if I am seeing different people.  Who will know but you?

10. Finally, as I said earlier, the best fashion essential is staying in the game.  You don't have to spend a lot to look good but spending a little time to look good will make you feel like a million bucks!

That is the most essential fashion essential: Feeling good about yourself no matter what your size, the size of your wardrobe or the wrinkles on your face.  Don't be invisible! It's your life so live it!

So I will end by sharing with you the fashion trends for fall to give you a little inspiration and to save you having to scout the fashion magazines and hang out with Kendall Jenner and start feeling bad again.

  • Leopard trousers (or trousers in a graphic print)
  • Military coat
  • Modern loafer
  • Puffer jacket
  • Long trench
  • Graphic bag
  • Cross body bag
  • Luxe fabric as in brocade
  • Velvet boots

Clothes hoarding has its perks. Check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check... oops.  Yes, I have all of the items on the list including the leopard trousers...but no velvet boots.

I think I need to go for a mall walk!

Thanks for Reading!
See you Friday

for my review of

"War Dogs"
The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)

and the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before  
 I Die Project."

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Personal Style for Women of a Certain Age

I have always had an interest in fashion.

Through the years, I have devoured fashion magazines and books about fashion and tried to replicate the outfits.

I think I must have gotten that from my mother.  She was always well-dressed.


Contrary to popular belief about women of a certain age, even though I am in my 60's and retired, that doesn't mean I am dead. I still have an interest in fashion and I like to look good.  So I am likewise still drawn to books about fashion, make-up, health, etc. But these days, there are few books and magazines that cater to, should I say, the more mature woman.

I recently came across a book called "The Elements of Personal Style" by Joe Zee and the Editors of Elle Magazine (Joe Zee is a stylist and was the resident fashionista on the short-lived Tyra Banks daytime show "Fab Life."). I liked the outfit on the cover.  It's the sort of retro chic I always went for. The book features 25 "modern" fashion icons (from 2010) who strive to tell us women "how to dress, shop, and live."

For example, Lea Michele (remember her from "Glee?") says "I try to stay away from super tight dresses, but I love something low-cut, and, of course, it's always got to be short!"  Why, of course, Lea.  Thank you.  I don't know what I would do without my low-cut short dresses. NOT! We women of a certain age have already been through the low-cut, super short and even super tight phase, but now we are more likely in the cover me up, pull it down and let it out phase.

And that's what I am ranting about today.

We women of a certain age may be old, we may be retired, we may be, heaven forbid, a bit on the chubby side, but that doesn't mean we are no longer interested in fashion.  But we can't really relate to fashion advice from a much younger woman and most of the fashion books and magazines cater to that demographic.  Almost all of the women giving advice in this book are under 40, except for Diane Von Furstenberg, Anjelica Huston and Charlotte Rampling.  Yes, they are mature, but they are also skinny bitches (and I use the "B word" in the nicest possible way), which some of us more ample women can't relate to.  But I give the book props for including some older gals, even if they are not only skinny bitches but rich bitches, too (again, I say that in the nicest possible way). But I am more Dita Von Teese (she's in there, too) than Diane, Anjelica or Charlotte.  It's because of her love of retro and vintage clothes, not the stripper thing.  But who knows?  Could be a new retirement gig for me.  There is something for everyone out in that crazy world of ours!

Anyway, I digress. 

One of my most popular blog posts is "Parisian Chic," where I review several fashion books about looking like a French woman.  French women are always held up as the epitome of chic, and for some reason, everyone wanted to write about how to look French in 2013. 

Anyway, re-reading that post reminded me that we women of a certain age not only get left out of many of the books and magazines about fashion, but when we are included, they are not so much about how we can maximize what we have, they are more about what we are NOT supposed to do, as in how NOT to look old, how to NOT get fat and what NOT to wear, as in skinny jeans.

For example, referring back to my "Parisian Chic" post, one book made the point that if you are over 26 (and since when is 26 the cut-off between young and old and fashion forward and fashion left behind?), you should not be wearing Converse sneakers or quilted jackets.  Another book, "Forever Chic," actually did address the older woman, but when she talked about using her Hermes scarf as a cumberbund, she lost me.  Number one, who of us can afford a Hermes scarf and since when do we women wear cumberbunds?

Over the years, as I have aged, I have been told to not wear leggings or skinny jeans, no berets, show no cleavage, no hippie items like tie dyed shirts or fringed jackets, no tattoos, not too much bling and nothing too trendy. And be sure to wear sensible shoes. Then there is the whole issue of size. Heaven forbid that you should be on the plump size. No big prints, no bright colors, no white skinny jeans. There is nothing for you but black bottoms and hip skimming tops and maybe some pearls.

So as I clutch my pearls, let me briefly address the issue of being fat.  We women are not just bombarded with how to dress so we don't look old, but we are also bombarded with books on how not to look fat and no matter what your age, if you are fat, you most likely also can't relate to most of the fashion books and magazines.

I know I could stand to lose a few pounds.  OK, I could stand to lose a lot of pounds, but it's all relative.  Yes, I am fat compared to Charlotte Rampling and I always was, even when I was a skinny-ish young thing 50 years ago.  That woman is S-K-I-N-N-Y!  But when I compare myself to Rebel Wilson, I am my own version of a skinny bitch, so I have given up trying to look like the women in the fashion magazines.  As long as I don't have to shop at Lane Bryant, I'm fine.  That's my bottom line (and believe me, I've been there).  When I lost a huge amount of weight ten years ago, it was one of the hardest things I have ever done and I've gained half of it back, so I have nothing but compassion for people who are overweight and struggling not to be.  No fat shaming here on myself or anyone else.

But being old is one thing.  Being fat is another thing. Put the two together and you might as well be invisible when it comes to fashion books and magazines.

So I am putting an end to all of that negativity toward us women of a certain age and certain weight.  It is no longer about what we can't or shouldn't wear, it's all about what we CAN!

Personal Style for a woman of a certain age?

I say that Personal Style is:  

Wear whatever the hell you want!

If you want to stuff yourself into leggings or skinny jeans, do it!


If you are over 50 and want to wear a beret, Viva La France!


If you want to wear big prints, go ahead!


If you want to show some skin, by all means!


Like bling? Bring it on!

If you want to wear bright colors, let your colors shine!

No tattoos?  Too late!

(And there are two more I don't dare show you!)

If you want to wear fringe, let your freak fringe fly!

Sensible shoes?  Hell, no! 

Ladies, we've paid our dues and we have the big butts and floppy arms to prove it.

Enjoy the time you have left! Wear whatever makes you happy!

Now I am going to try to put together that outfit on the cover of that book I talked about at the beginning of this post.  I wonder if I have any ankle socks!

Thanks for reading!

See you Friday

for my review of

"The Secret Life of Pets"



The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)


and the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before
 I Die Project."

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A Woman of a Certain Age Reflects on her Birthday

When you are a woman of a certain age, you can't help but do some reflection every time another birthday rolls around.  I just had one, so that's what I am going to do.  Reflect.

Growing up, birthdays were a big deal.

My Dad was always on hand with his ever present camera to record the events, and he wasn't above staging a moment or two. 

Though I have to say, he didn't have to stage this one. That expression on my little five-year-old face in this last picture, as I look at my current love, says it all.  I look like a little spider spinning my web!  I have plans for this kid. One learns early!

Four years later, here I am holding forth on my 9th birthday and clearly I have a new man next to me.

At ten, I have become more pensive among what look to be opium poppies in our back yard!

By 16, though, I have clearly had it with the posed birthday photo ops. You can tell by the expression on my face.  I look like I am saying, "OK, look!  Here's my new dress.  Can we be done now?"  My mother clearly has the posing down, though.
(By the way, my Dad bought me that outfit, hat, coat and all. As you can see, he was big on red, white and blue)!

However, I learned well from my Dad and carried on the tradition of birthday photos and continued making a big deal out of birthdays for my own children.


In fact, I instituted "Birthday Week." 

So what is Birthday Week? 

We didn't just celebrate the birth-day, we celebrated every day of the week leading up to the birth-day with a gift.  When the kids were at home, each day they would get a wrapped gift which would lead up to the big present on the actual birthday. Even when the kids were grown up and off to college, we still had Birthday Week. I would send them a big box with seven gifts, each individually wrapped, and they were supposed to open one each day.  Our son was five years older than our daughter, so he was probably 25 or 26 when I stopped doing it, and I would probably still be doing it, except for an incident involving our daughter. 

As I said, when the kids left home, we would still have Birthday Week. I would send them a big box with seven presents in it, and each present would say Day 1, Day 2, Day, 3, etc. and each present was supposed to be opened in sequence one day at a time.  I usually choreographed some rhyme or reason for the order, and there was an accompanying note or card explaining the gift.  When the kids were older the present on Day 7, their actual birthday, would usually be money. 

Our son was very good at this.  He would wait and open one present each day and let us know how he liked it.  However, one year, during our daughter's birthday week, I happened to be checking our bank account and noticed the check I had sent her, the Day 7 present which was supposed to be opened on her actual birthday, Day 7, had been cashed -- ON DAY 1 OF BIRTHDAY WEEK!  She didn't bother to open the present for Day 1, she went straight for the cash!  Needless to say, I got my nose bent out of shape big time for that and Birthday Week was canceled -- FOR BOTH KIDS - FOREVER!  Even though our son was already going on 27, he resented his sister for that for a long time.  

But that was then. 

Now we can make a big deal out of our grandchildren's birthdays too.  Not sure about Birthday Week, though!

When I was young, I couldn't wait for my birthday.  Time would just drag in between each one.

But now that I am - ahem - "a woman of a certain age" - a birthday doesn't  mean the same thing it meant when I was young, and time is no longer dragging in between each one.  It is speeding by.

And yet have you noticed that time also has a strange way of moving just slowly enough that each year that goes by, you don't notice that you are aging?  But each birthday that passes puts a new wrinkle on your face and another pound on your body until one day you have wrinkles, have put on 30 pounds and when you look in the mirror, you go "Yikes!"  What happened?  Or you look at photo albums and suddenly notice you don't look like you once did.

However, some of that was a choice some of us are forced to make.  As you have heard me say on this blog many times, like Catherine Deneuve, I chose to save my face and not my butt (she said you can't do both and she didn't use the word butt), so fortunately, though I have a big butt, I have few wrinkles on the old face.

But even with that, when I look at pictures, I have to ask myself:

How did I get from this

to this?



When did that happen?

OK, that was rhetorical.  I know the answer.  I got old.  But when we are living our lives, running around like crazy, raising kids, working full-time, trying to have a life, we don't stop to notice...time passing. Inside, we think we are still that young person who graduated from school, said goodbye to her parents and went off to live her life.  And then it does. Time passes.

As I said, my Dad was a camera freak.  He documented every first day of school, every holiday, every event and, of course, every birthday, so I can look at those pictures now and remember a happy childhood.  I can also see how I have aged.

So, with that, it's easy to feel a little sorry for yourself on your birthday, especially if your children's cards didn't arrive or you don't get a phone call.  I could whine that no one ever gave me a Birthday Week.  I could get depressed over regrets. I could lament the wrinkles, the rolls of fat, the high cholesterol and that, as a woman of a certain age, I am virtually invisible.  And when I say invisible, I am not talking about no longer getting wolf calls as I walk down the street. I'm talking about the kind of invisible where I fall off the treadmill at the gym and nobody notices. That kind of invisible.

And speaking of regrets.  I don't trust people who say they have no regrets in their lives, because if everything that had happened to them hadn't happened, they wouldn't be where they are now. All that stuff.  Blah, blah, blah.  I don't buy it. If they weren't very nice to people, are estranged from their families, lived dissolute lives of drugs and selfishness or never did what they really wanted to do, then I think there should be some regrets in there, even if their lives are OK now. If you don't acknowledge regrets, then you will never change and grow.

Yes, I could say if I hadn't been married three times, I never would have met Hubby and had our daughter. But I certainly regret getting married too young and missing out on normal college stuff and the opportunity to live in Europe.  I regret letting my kids down from time to time and moving so far away from my family.  I regret signing up for the Columbia Record Club.  I could go on and on...but I won't.  Let's just say, I could get hung up on regrets as I get older and spend my birthdays feeling bad.

But I am not going to.

Birthdays still mean something to me, but what a birthday really means to me now that I am "of a certain age" is this. 

A birthday is a time to reflect, to look back on my life, to think of those regrets and if I can right them, then I should and will.  But it's also a time to be grateful that I am here for yet another year. I may not be the young girl I was (though she is still inside me when I am not looking in the mirror), or the thin-ish girl I was, but I'm grateful that I still enjoy life, that I can do 45 minutes on the elliptical and 20 laps on the track, that I can get into skinny jeans and don't care if I am supposed to wear them or not, that I have a loving husband and successful children and that a glass of wine always awaits.

And you know what?  A birthday is a day to celebrate ME!


This last birthday, I had a wonderful day with Hubby.  I got to do whatever I wanted which included some trash TV and wine, an expensive dinner and wine, and Hubby finally bought me a diamond ring after 32 years of marriage.  Long story which, you know I will share some day, but not now.  The long-distance kids sent cards and a gift (well, one of them sent a gift), and they called me, so that was fine.  It was a lovely day and I was grateful.

I was grateful for yet another birthday which represents another year of life on this earth, and I had better appreciate it because the alternative is unacceptable!

So for every birthday from now on, like Rare Earth sang,  "I just want to celebrate another day of livin'!"

Thanks for Reading!
See you Friday

for my review of

 "Finding Dory"


 The Week in Reviews

(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)


and the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before

 I Die Project."


If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at