Monday, November 10, 2014

Stuck In My Craw

The following is from a conversation between fashion designer Mona Kowalska of A Détacher, Heidi Julavits, author and one of the editors of the book Women in Clothes, and writer/childbirth educator Ceridwen Morris (p. 29) ...

      "Ceridwen: I just turned forty-five, and the look that's being pitched to me is about being MILF-y, sexy -- but whatever you do, don't look like you're forty-five. Like the idea of being a capital-W Woman is not so great. We should all look twenty-eight.

      Mona: And the result is these terrible human collages. Sometimes you see someone from the back and they're all worked out and wearing skinny jeans and then they turn around ....

      Heidi: Eep! And they're seventy!

     Mona: I'd prefer someone dressed in a dowdy way."

I've gone on lately (and on, and on ... I know) lately about attitudes toward aging that I see and hear. I'm going to do it again. The above bit from the book Women in Clothes has been stuck in my craw, and I need to hock it up and look at it. Disgusting image, I know, but I'm pretty put off myself with this little snippet. Right here, I'm going to issue a note that I do not intend to condemn the whole book because it is a book full of a variety of opinions and experiences. I will, however, note that one of the elder-bashers is an editor of the book. Just saying.

What we have here are women complaining about ageism in our culture and particularly within the fashion industry. Then they make a quick 180 and wind up firing on women older than themselves. I understand that they deplore social forces that demand youthful looks. I also understand that they believe when women dress to appear younger and meet an impossible standard of youth, some Baby Jane-ish looks can result.


Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? 1962

Most of us would agree that this horror movie still from the early 60s reaches the level of a "terrible human collage." (This great role as a deranged, former child-star was a career boost for an aging Bette Davis and won her nominations for the Oscar, Golden Globes and the BAFTA awards for this performance.) I don't know about you, but I'm having a hard time equating this image with that with the woman who is "all worked out and wearing skinny jeans". The woman they describe as "all worked out" suggests a healthy woman with a great shape that is admirable from behind. And one who chooses to deck out the admirable figure in contemporary style.

Please note the following images. 

Lauren Hutton at 70 for Lucky Magazine

China Machado at 85 (really ... freaking 85!!!!)

Of course these women are exceptional and both won the gene pool contest big time, but the fact remains that they are old women in skinny jeans. No "terrible human collages" here.

 "Eep! And they're 70!" says Ms. Julavits of the woman she imagines in the conversation. This is not happy surprise she's expressing. Her response implies that it's inappropriate for women to look good in their 70s. Please understand, dear reader, the comments are not about a woman who looks bad in her skinnies. This is about a woman who looks good until her face shows her age.

But it's the last comment that really steams my rice: "I'd prefer someone dressed in a dowdy way."
There's no equivocation here ... this woman states that when you're old, you're no longer permitted to dress in the same way that a younger woman might choose. You gotta look old so we're all clear that you really are old. You are no longer free to look vital and modern and part of the world you live in. You're relegated to a syle-nil status. Get out on that ice-flow and stay there! Don't confuse us and disturb our stereotypes about age, and especially don't cause us to adjust our world view. We need you to settle down and look how we expect you to look at your age.

But absolutely, no matter what you do, don't show us that youth can be overrated and is not automatically present in all examples of female beauty. You just can't fly your flag as an old woman and get away with it.

Eep, indeed!

The three women in the conversation above are not 20-somethings who still hold on to the callow assumption of immortality. These are really bright and accomplished women in their 40s who clearly have some kind of concept of their own progress in life by this point in their lives, and are plainly resistant to the pressure to look younger. It makes me wonder if they assume that there is some mysterious cut-off point where they will only be graceful in their aging if they give up all interest in dressing themselves in any interesting or attractive way. Do they truly feel that being a capitol W-Woman is achieved by sometime in ones 40s but you have to give the trophy back after you get older?

These comments are not from a group of gnarled, dusty, old misogynist fellows kvetching about uppity women. These are otherwise smart and accomplished women talking this way ... and that is what really, truly what bugs me.

I sometimes have the uncomfortable suspicion that one has to actually get old before we realize that we can always, always be all that (or only that) we think we can be. If I had known this earlier, I might have done things differently. These three women will get there, if they are lucky, and I hope they remember this conversation with some chagrin.  In fact, I hope the chagrin starts anytime now.

Finally, this is the second time in a couple of weeks that I've been pissed off by something said by someone named Heidi (click here to see my other Heidi rant.)  For all you Heidis out there, and for the record generally ... I don't think or mean to imply that all women named Heidi are women of limited empathy for other women further along in the the aging process. Just these two particular Heidis.


This is me, trying to look reproachful and smile big all at the same time.  A difficult face to achieve, and I admit the fail.  Nor am I an "all worked out" old lady, but I do wear skinnies without shame.  If I am a "terrible human collage" then they must just look away if they see me coming. Eep.

This tunic-sweater is the one thing I got from the Altuzarra collaboration with Target.  I really love it.  The low shoulder embellishment is flattering without looking like 80s big-shoulder pad extreme.

The appliques were much nicer than I thought they'd be.
My photos didn't show the detailing on the neubuck booties,  so here they are: by U.S Polo Associaton, and I loved wearing the gold with the gold.  The funny marks just above the heel are their embroidered logos that show a couple of polo players and their horses. 

(Disclaimer: I have never played polo, but I do know how to ride, so I guess I can wear these if non-riders wear "equestrian" boots.)  


I'm taking it all over to The Leafy and Lovely Patti's Visible Monday with all the other Capital W-Women! Join the movement!
And, late breaking, I'm joining Our Wonderful Sacramento at her Share In Style!  Come see the shooooooes!


  1. Patti_NotDeadYetStyleNovember 10, 2014 at 6:32 PM

    Brava, brava, and so well expressed, Jan! That "Eep!' is going to stick in my craw for a while too. If we're lucky, we'll get to age 70, "dowdy" or not. Men are just not judged for the crime of age the way we are.
    All my venting done, I love, love your applique'd tunic. Thanks for sharing it all with Visible Monday, xox.

  2. You rant so eloquently and with such conviction. I totally want you in my corner in every fight! I fully support your opinions. Huzzahs to you!

    Ah, Altuzarra! I have yet to style my acquisitions, but I must admit to being covetous of your sweater now that I see it in action. J'adore!

  3. Important objection and I'm glad you voiced it. Criticizing older women is wrong and limiting their freedom of dress is wrong. Putting them in a box disregards their individuality. Interesting people are interesting at every age; boring folks are boring when they're young.

  4. Great post Jan! I am a strong believer that you wear what makes you comfortable and that's not following the latest trends. Being confident in your own skin is the best way to pull off anything.


  5. Yeah, that attitude chaps my hide too. I think the fact that their in their 40's is telling, and will be curious to see how their attitudes shift when they hit the 5-0 mark. I think for a lot of women, 50 is seen as some sort of cutoff point, after which we're supposed to lose interest in style and fade into the woodwork. Your Altuzarra top is fabulous!

  6. I can see why this made you fume, Jan, me too. I just don`t get other women telling anyone else how to dress, whether they be 40 or older or younger for that matter. As for saying we should all look dowdy, I don`t think so. By the way, you look so good in your black tunic and black skinnies and those "riding boots"., no one will look away quite the opposite.

  7. Oo-ee, that's nasty stuff indeed that came out of your craw, absolutely. But I enjoyed your dissection of it immensely!! I would be satisfied if old woman rocking skinnies whipped around and did a cat hiss with claws looking like Bette Davis, coolest maven. Right on!! My own ass may look 30 (okay, in one of my Disney dreams or when I'm not wearing my glasses) and my face may look, um, older (depending on the light and how much vaseline you put on the lens), but at least I hope to have the chutzpah to piss people off with my oxymoronic body until the end of days. Dowdy? Pah! I think not. You look aces, lady, with that blinged out top and boots.

  8. I just had to jump over here straight away, before i even read your post and apologise! You called me on my "old lady" comment and its so true! I did say that! So sorry if you were offended, however I suppose I was thinking of the fact that it made me feel like my mother's generation when I looked at it. However when i wore it it was fine with my short dress. Have i totally confused you?
    To someone of twenty I would be an old lady. Its all relative!
    Glad you read past it and stuck around to comment. I hope you give me another chance :-)
    I will try to be more conscious of my use of the term "old lady" in future.
    As to your post, which I have now read, I wonder if we are not used to people looking great and having an older face, as we are bombarded with youthful images.
    As I have many times told you, I don't see you as "older lady" at all! You rock those bird shoulder pads. Black and gold is so classically elegant. Rock on, babe!! xo JJ

  9. Hey as long as you, and I and other fashionable women above 50 keep dressing the way we want, maybe the perceptions will change. You look fashionable and happy, and that's all that matters! :)

  10. Laurie@elusiveonionsNovember 11, 2014 at 8:44 AM

    "Get out on that ice-flow and stay there!"
    Well said. Thanks for the rant.
    Now I'm going to go wring the coffee out of my bathrobe.

  11. To be honest I'm sure I used to say the same stuff about women of 30 when I was 20 then I grew up and gained a brain. Who cares what anyone says or thinks? its our lives and we can live, dress and do exactly what we want.
    You look fantastic and you always do. xxx

  12. Whoa, Jack! Clearly the fault is mine if I made you feel bad! Wrong Jan, Bad Jan ... no kidding. I'm in danger of becoming the Word Nazi! Sweet of you, but you are way behind the fault line. You need no permissions from me, so I trust that you'll use "old lady" however you wish. I admit to trying to reclaim it, and am at a point in life where I'm beginning to want to acknowledge where I am. I'm old, and hope I"m lady enough to apologize if I cause you a second's discomfort (beyond what I meant to be good natured gigging ... not an excuse but an explanation.) So forgive me ... I didn't mean to be a word bully. Eww. The worst!
    That pretty, gauzy jacket looks so exotic to my eye. Hope you wear it in health and gorgeousness, and am looking forward to seeing it at your place soon!

  13. I'm so in love with the details of this those gold birds! you look great!
    I liked what you wrote about ageism...I heard it said that girls is being used as euphenism for women- and that is just wrong! what is wrong with being a woman?

  14. Oh life is just sooo confusing, isn't it? What with women wearing clothes that show off their fit physiques and demonstrate an interest in fashion, but who have the audacity to be over... well, over what? 50? 60? 70? How dare they? Don't they realise they are supposed to shroud themselves in garments of a dowdy nature, so as not to disturb or challenge anyone's preconceptions?
    I think "terrible human collages" is one of the nastier phrases I have seen directed at women, of any age, and Lord knows there's enough bile out there thrown at our sex. That it's been said by another
    woman is very disappointing.
    Hmmm. This terrible 50 year old collage had better move on before she starts swearing...
    You look ultra chic, Jan, in your black gold ensemble. Are you sure you aren't a polo player? You have that expensive look about you! xxx

  15. Oh man...I hear ya sista! This really burns me. What they will come to realize is that their "line drawn in the sand" will constantly be shifting as they age themselves. It is all relative. They might be all judgmental now, just wait till they are it. I don't understand how they can be that naive...I mean they will be old one day ( if they are lucky). It is like saying they want to partially stop existing after a certain age. How on earth they can be that ignorant of the fact is beyond me.

    I love the booties and the sweater.


  16. VersatilestylebytraceyNovember 11, 2014 at 5:20 PM

    I break all perceptions and refuse to be put in a box.. We need more feisty bloggers like you! Love this look so much, the appliques are such a unique touch!

  17. Brilliantly voiced Jan! There isn't anything I can add...although I do confess to liking a certain Heidi...maybe I hear her words in a different context? I guess I hear her actually supporting women to dress uniquely and stylishly at any age....Hmmmmm. know me....I like everyone to be happy, LOL. Thrilled to see you've joined the bird brigade...and in such an elegant fashion! xo

  18. I grew up in Botswana (Africa), and once you hit 45-ish you literally became known by your children's name, as in so-and-so's mother. Their youth literally overtook. And you best believe women were encouraged to dress as elderly women and put themselves out to pasture - but you are so-and-so's mother! qu'elle horreur! But even there things are changing. My sister will be 50 next year and she rocks skinny jeans, push-up bras and has a body that would make a 25yr old cry. She gives me hope that woman! It's amazing to see the cultural shift, and honestly, I think as women get older they realize the ridiculousness of that shifting line in the sand.
    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and leaving such a great comment! Glad to have found you.

  19. In any evolution it takes time before everybody accepts the changed ways. The shift we are making about how old people may look, hasn't sunken in. (Is that a right term?) So thanks for storming the barricades for all of us. I am far too lazy to do that. And, granted, I am not much of a world changer. I just don't care enough because nobody is really in my way. There are enough people in my world which share my views. Thats good enough.
    And the outfit you are wearing is stunning. I liked the sweater immediately when you showed a picture after you bought it. But wearing it, shows its real beauty. And those boots... what a terrific find!
    Well done.

  20. Jan, that sweater tunic is fabulous!! I purchased a Altuzurra dress at Target recently and I love it. Keep on dressing stylish and ageless!


  21. Yeah, I just finished reading the book. At first I found it rather confusing, how it jumped around from writer to writer and topic to topic. After I realized it wasn't in the order of the table of contents, it went down smoother. Many of the things said were weird, or off-base, buy many were right on for me. And some were real eye-openers. Yes, it could've been edited better, I would've liked more of a range in the demographics, and the "collections" pictures were pretty pointless. But all in all, I'm glad I read it. Meanwhile, you look sassy in your gold and black. The golden birds are winged armor along side your gold studed kick ass W-Woman boots.

  22. Good for you for staying on top of this, Jan. You know that I'm right there with you. It drives me crazy when people tell me I look good for my age. WTF? In other words, I look old but not hideous. Thanks a lot! I think that a lot of younger people that make ignorant comments because deep inside they know that one day their ass will droop and their waist will disappear and it scares the s#*t out of them. Now take those gorgeous boots and kick ass.

  23. I have never listen to people opinions about how should dress, so I am not going to start now, and I do also get annoyed about people dictating rules based on age.
    You look glorious and ready to fly in gold and black, yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    Thank you soooooooooooooo much for being part of Share-in-Style.
    Do forget to come back to vote on Thursday, please, it is all about the fun

  24. Oh Jan! I hear you and try not to feel disheartened for the future if this is the rate we're still going at. You look just fabulous in your outfit and part of that is your great attitude. Off to check if my behind matches my front lol!!!

  25. I hear you... I often think feel like asking some young(er) women criticizing 'old' women for appearing too young/trendy/lively/whatever whether they have a specific cut of point when they plan to hang up their trendy clothes and turn 'age-appropriate'... on the other hand, I've had these amazing women to look up to as role models, all still very much in the media and very vocal about just about anything: (a business woman, well in her 70s) (a dancer/ dance teacher, in her 80s), (a singer / super star, in her 60s), ... and I plan on being every bit as fabulous as them in their age.

  26. First off, I LOVE this outfit (I'm a sucker for anything embroidered)! It's a great look for you and you are stunning in it. Now, secondly, I couldn't agree more with what you have written. We women are our own worst enemies. Sometimes I see things on women—older AND younger—that I would not wear and admit to questioning their taste, but then I think what the hey? I'm not the one wearing it. If a woman likes the look, if she feels good in it, than who the heck am I to say? Bravo to her! As Mae West said, "I'd rather be looked over, than overlooked."

  27. Boy, you know how to write, lady! I found myself nodding along and agreeing all the way through. If "women of a certain age" keep picking on other "women of a certain age" we just aren't going to get anywhere. Sheesh. I LOVE this outfit on you - absolutely gorgeous. And I had to laugh, because I was just complaining to my husband about one of my friends today - who happens to be named Heidi. So maybe you're on to something :)!

  28. Bravo!! Let's see what option these women have when they are 70.....

  29. Thank you, Patti. Eep. Who makes that noise? Ever? That's petty, so I'll stop. In fact, I need to get off my soapbox for a bit ... it's addictive. So I'll strive for a more upbeat post next, or at least one less angry. Looking for the fun, now.
    I'm wearing this outfit to work tonight ... it's cold here!

  30. It's Friday, and I hope you're pounding that keyboard when you have the chance. Thank you so much ... glad you liked the rant. I'm trying to refocus on the fun, but bitching is sometimes in order.
    Thank you, too, for liking my sweater ... I'm shocked at how much I like wearing it. It sure draws the compliments.
    It's freezing here. Below, actually, and that's shifting my focus to outerwear again. I never look better than when covered from nose to toes! No wonder I love winter dressing.

  31. Thank you, SB. It's tough enough attaining some age in our world, and maintaining health at the same time ... too bad we have to continue running the gauntlet of all the judge-y ones. But there we are. There's a price to be paid for being visible. I'm working on my tough skin, and the baby fat I never lost in 64 years!
    Have a great week, kid!

  32. Thanks, Alice. So often it's just the guts to pretend confidence. So often, when it's not working the way I thought it might, I can just shrug it off and carry on. I haven't always been able to do that.

  33. Thank you, Pseu ... I was happy to get this off my artificially, shape-wear assisted and elevated chest. 50 is just a dim memory! (Yikes.)
    I wanted to note that in poking around the Internets, I just found and loved your August article on "gamine" for the rest of us ... excellent! How did I miss this? Great piece ...thank you for reading here, and your own writing!

  34. I love your spitfire attitude and I totally agree! I'm surprised it was women in their 40s saying those things. It does sounds like 20 somethings who think time will never catch up with them. And you look fabulous in your Altuzarra sweater! Bravo!!


    Dawn Lucy

  35. I am SO stealing "... really steams my rice"!

    I have already had a few issues with my 12 y/o stepson not liking something I was wearing because he thought it was "too young" or showed too much. And I'm a modest dresser!

    I'm crazy about the sweater, and I'm sorry that I missed picking one up... or have I?

  36. I've got two words for these chickies - see if you can get what they are?
    It would be convenient if they just had "Judgemental Bitch" tattooed to their foreheads so we don't mistake them for open-minded, evolved women.
    The sweater is perfect on you my friend! I entertained buying on myself but found it too heavy looking for my ample bustline.


  37. I've never listened to anyone as how I should dress. I know as long as I don't show my boobs (not that I have any) or mini skirts that graze my crotch then I know I'm decent looking. I love skinny jeans and I will probably wear them in my grave when it's my time to there! Anyhow, you look absolutely gorgeous in this tunic. I saw this at Target but the embroidery overwhelmed my lack of height. You, on the other hand, look elegant and chic!


  38. Hey, Jilly! Thank you for reading and for stopping by to say you liked it. I'm still surprised to read these comments from any woman over 18 or so. At their age, they should have some concept that although their tastes will change, they won't lose interest in how they look in their years to come. I wonder if it's just that mean girls don't every grow out of it? Sad.
    Glad you like my outfit ... I'm enjoying that sweater a lot. You'll see it again, I'm sure! Those boots ... they're as comfortable as any I've worn. Happy me.

  39. I hope you do just keep on doing what you're doing, my little white cat. Hiss indeed. Some mean girls may not be able to grow out of the insecurites that make them so nasty ... that's what's saddest. Thank you, Mel. Glad you liked my slightly ostentatious outfit. Love that sweater, and am looking forward to wearing it with some bitchy shoes and a slightly-slit skirt.

  40. You make a big point, Laurie. There are growing numbers of Old Ladies out there, as it should be, and it's great to see the club members speaking out. Thank you for your sweet comments, as always!

  41. I'm not sure if I should say "Thank you," or " I'm so sorry!" Inferring that you liked it, so thank you. For reading and laughing. Hope the coffee stain came out!

  42. Didn't we all ... I've revised my shame about some of my unfortunate behaviors and choices made and committed before I was 25 now that I know that the frontal cortex (which governs many of those responses) doesn't mature until then! Phew. Thought I was a real bad 'un.
    I do care, though, when these comments are public. Coming of age in the era of protest and dissent and civil disobedience hasn't made me more patient about this stuff. You're quite right ... we are free to live, dress and do what we want. We should just be able to do it without rude and disparaging comments from the peanut gallery. I'm not really tough enough to ignore condescension. Probably just "short-woman syndrome," truth be told.
    You're kind to say such nice things, always. Your visits are much appreciated ... thank you!

  43. Thank you, Ivana! I'm loving my cranes as well ... always been partial to them in Asian design and culture. It's a lot to ask of a sweater to function as a talisman, but this one feels that way when I wear it! Lucky me!
    Yes, "girl" is probably misused more than not. There's the Old Boy's Network idea, of youthful connections lasting into adulthood, too, and I sometimes use "old girlhood" to refer to my renewed appreciation for things I loved in youth. And "the girls" for friends who have been together since their youth. But "woman" is what it should be most of the time when referring to adult females ... I agree. I don't even mind "old woman" when time of life is important for context. I'm growing increasingly comfortable with being an old woman ... after all, one can be old much longer these days than it was once possible! I'll take it!

  44. What I want .. no, MUST know .. is if you bought that sparkly blue mini I saw you in at Vix's blog! Please tell me you did ... so easy to take up in the bum, and you'd look so good with it with your legs for the holidays.
    Thanks for reading and understanding. There's a look that some young women have when you make eye contact with them... tight smile with disapproval around the eyes, even though they'll say something pleasant about how you look. Although, with me it might just be a justifiable response to my "resting bitch face" ... I frown a lot when I'm just thinking.
    I agree that "terrible human collage" is particularly venomous.
    Thank you for your sweet estimation of what I think of as my " in your face" black outfit. I'm going to wear that sweater again before winter is over ... with a slit midi pencil skirt and aggressive heels!
    Of course I'm expensive.
    But no, no polo. Because I've had occasion to swing around stick-like objects on horseback (and I'm surprised how often I've actually done that) I am in awe of how much control and skill those guys (mostly guys, I guess) have at those speeds, all that swinging mallets in tight quarters and with their horses' delicate legs in danger ... impressive, but must be hell on their training horses during the learning process!

  45. Thanks, Suzanne, for reading. I'm guessing it's not so much ignorance as avoidance. And under the surface, I'm not sure it has only to do with age. The language she uses ... "terrible human collages" ... suggests a deeper repugnance. I'm guessing classic beauties like Machado and Hutton don't offend her nearly as much as one of us oldies who didn't fit the pretty profile when we were younger, either. "Old" and "ugly" are often used together, and that seems the greatest sin. Once, at the restaurant, a college kid called me an "ugly old bat" when I refused him service of more beer. He was laughing when he did it, trying to affect an English Cockney accent, but that did nothing to make it easier to take. He was instantly sorry the minute he saw my face, but people just don't know how painful it can be ... even if it's not completely true. But young men seem to feel free to insult older women, particularly here.
    At the end of all this, it's a reminder for me to be kinder to everyone I judge harshly.

    And thank you, too, for saying nice things about my booties and my crane-sweater ... I'm going to wear it out, I know.

  46. Ha! Fiesty can get old, I know, so the next post will be less confrontational , I promise! Thanks for stopping by with such nice comments, Tracey! Always a pleasure ....

  47. I know what you mean, Sue. I don't dislike Heidi Klum generally, and you're right. I've heard her be supportive lots of times. It's the thoughtlessness of this particular and often repeated phrase that I object to. And this inconsiderateness often comes from very classicly beautiful women. She's probably aware that she won't age like most of us do, in the same way. And in her world, she may well never look genuinely elderly. For many of us as we age, we look a little dowdy no matter how we dress, and it's an accident of birth that we don't have the same physical advantages of Ms Klum. And for the life of me, I cannot abide the notion that designing for the interests and aesthetics of older women is anything to scoff at. She only says "that looks old lady" when she means dowdy or outdated, and it's an unkind thing to say. Wealth and beauty and fame don't necessarily make people live in insulated, privileged worlds and behave as if they don't need to be considerate of the rest of us, but they often do.

    You are lovable and admirable that you want everyone to be happy, Sue! It's completely and purely worthy to hold that intention. I admire you for it, and agree that the high road is often best. I like it best when everyone is happy, too. Including me, and in this case, I take issue with her poor choice and I am not happy with our social acceptance of this offhand insult to a big chunk of the population. I'm not satisfied, but I'm a bit happier now!

    All that said ... I'm happy you read and took the time to comment. Thank you so much for that. I honestly don't know if it makes any difference what I write or think, but it seems better to do it than not.
    So happy you like my pretty cranes ... such a gorgeous motif, one I always love in any iteration. Glad you like them too ... I'm happy to join the bird brigade with you.

  48. You are are a brilliant Woman with an absolutely FANTASTIC sense of style, Jan! I love this sweater and the boots! And you look smashing in skinnies! I too wear skinnies. I probably too said tons of silly and unkind things in my 41 years of life. Especially in the first half of it. Or even first two thirds of it. Or even first three and a half quarters of it. I sometimes think about some of the unkind comments I said to one or another person. Who knows how it affected them... So in my heart I say that I am sorry. Sorry for being stupid. It happened. I did it. I am sorry and I want to let it go, forgive myself, we all make mistakes, don't we. But what makes us say such silly things? The way we feel inside, right? Our own insecurities about OURSELVES make us say silly and unkind things. So... I try, I do try to forgive people who comment unkindly. I try to understand the reasons why they do it. I send them good stuff, quietly, in my heart. And in the last years, the older I get, the more often I think, feel and say that yes, at any point of life anyone can be whatever they want to be and do what they really want to do. That includes becoming a writer, for instance, if that's what we really want. Or wearing skinny jeans for that matter. :) It's all up to us!

    You write powerfully! And you look amazing! Always!

  49. Aya in CouturgatoryNovember 19, 2014 at 4:55 AM

    Jerky thing to put into print, of all things! If it makes you feel better, my little dog is named Heidi and she loves everyone, so I guess she can take some of the stigma off the name.

    All black on you is a nice look! I am all about that embroidery on your shoulders.

  50. (I'm slow getting back to everyone ... forgive me. Better late than never!)
    Wow, that's a tough culture on ageing women! I'm cheered to see your sister bucking the norms, and know that world wide, slow (often painful and even sometimes fatal) progress is being made. Tell her thanks from me ... and my thanks to you for reading and writing. Glad to have met you and your great blog as well, and although I don't get everything I want to read, I try to get there often enough to stay in touch!

  51. I get exactly what you mean about "enough people in my world which share my views." Before we moved here, we were social liberals in the social liberally-strong Pacific Northwest. Thoroughly urban, and so much diversity in every aspect of society and culture. Lots of the women my age grew up with feminism as the norm, and even pre-feminism, my mother was one of those women who took to it naturally as she matured.
    Here, it's very different, and that's what makes me strident about women's issue that should have been settled years ago. There's huge resistance to change, and although the laws are on the books, women get short shrift in so many ways. There's a strange (as I understand it) kind of class consciousness here, too. People are sometimes offended if you do dress up a bit, or if you have a generally dressier style. They assume you're trying to "put on airs" or get out of your role. It hasn't been long since a woman customer said to me " You're all dressed up aren't you. I mean, for being a little ol' waitress?" I don't actually function as a waitress much ... I do fetch stuff, 'cause I like to keep folks happy ... but that's not my primary role. Even if it was, I'd expect civility. To my credit, I didn't pick her up and throw her out. I just said something about dressing up for my customers, but I wasn't at my most chatty that day. Frosty actually, and I let someone else play waitress for her needs. Very often, someone will come in and look right at me, asking to speak to my boss. Cultural blinders. There are lots of women who have a much more evolved consciousness, of course, but they are very much in the minority in our area.
    Because of those attitudes, and the fact that most women here dress WAY, WAY down, I'm a little militant about promoting diversity, especially the kind that brings me an opportunity to talk about clothes!
    Speaking of clothes ... thank you for liking mine. It is a great sweater, isn't it?
    (Sunk is correct and more common, sunken is also correct but used less often. You're good to go!)
    Love your Haarlem post so much, BTW.

  52. Thank you, Cherie ... one big sweater fan to another! Ageless... yes, that's a good goal, a good definition of the personal style I'd like to claim, or at least one aspect of it. Aspire to, at least. You certainly manage it, and manage it well!

  53. Whatever made you decide to move to this place? My father always taught me that I am no better than anybody else. So I have to say "please" and "thank you" to everyone. Respect and be civil.
    But..... he said, by that same token, nobody is better than you either, so they have to say please and thank you to you too. And I live by that rule.

    Very good of you not to throw that woman out of your restaurant. The cow. Weren't you tempted to say:" I own this restaurant so I can dress up anyway I like"?

  54. To make a long story short ... my parents (who were originally from west Texas, both Dust-Bowl kids of our Depression era) bought running Quarter Horses here in 1968 when California (where I was born and raised) land prices began to get very expensive. As a senior in high-school, I opted to stay in California, and I ended up living in California, then Alaska, then Washington state ... all west coast. We came back here to be with the folks as they were getting very elderly, and I'm glad we did, even though we aren't a good fit here. We needed a job, and decided to leave corporate life behind and open our own pub. Which became much more of a restaurant. But in only a few years, the folks were both gone, and here we are. Our recent American recession hit us hard, as we are already in a poor area of the state, and it's remained problematic.

    Actually, I'm glad I didn't say the first thing that comes to mind, which was
    "And what is it you do that's so important?" Knowing damned well she doesn't do much at all. Small town nastiness, and I'm guilty too.
    There's a slightly evil thing that lots of southern women do just after saying something catty about another woman. They let fly with the insult, then pause for just a second, then say "Bless her heart ...!"
    So ... bless her heart! Ha!

  55. Thanks, Pao. Glad you like my outfit ... I was going for ostentatious/badassy ... or as close as I could get. I just can't get over how fond I am of that sweater. Sad to invest so much affection in a cheap knit!
    Dan read "Women In Clothes" as well, and his response was a lot like yours. Like you, I'm glad I read it. There sure is a lot of different ways to think of clothes ... that's what makes it an endeavor where high creativity is possible, huh?

  56. Hey, Connie. I'm feeling like it was worth addressing. So many of us come from a generation of women that learned NOT to sit down, shut up and maintain a lady-like patience with all the stupidity we saw. I'm cantankerous by nature, so perhaps it will serve me well with the new issues that I'm seeing as I age!
    You look adorable for any age, actually, and thanks for reading and bothering to drop a line! Always happy to see you!

  57. Thank you, lovely Sacramento. I'm always delighted to hear from you, and you inspire me always. We have a lot in common, you and I ... and when you get as old as I am, we'll have even more!
    Big cyber-hugs to you!

  58. That's the thing ... we need to call it when we see it, I think. At least among ourselves. If the young won't behave better, we can remind them when they behave badly. It's really too bad to have to actually GET old to gain some real empathy for the old, or so it seems.
    Your front and behind look great, I promise you!

  59. Excellent attitude! Thank you for reading, and especially for sending these great links. I'd have never known about these accomplished and lovely women, otherwise.
    So glad to hear from you, always!

  60. Awwh. Thanks, Shani! So glad you like my outfit ... was looking for a little badassery. Hope I got it.
    You make a really important point here. I really think it's one thing to use discernment, and use the tastes of others to develop your own by seeing and deciding what works and what often doesn't. Very different to make age the only criterion. I can't say I don't see what other women wear and decide privately what I think of it, but I surely wouldn't tell her she is too old to make her own choices. Or say anything at all if I wasn't driven by the need to pay a deserved compliment. We could all use more of that, yes? So often, I admire very brave women when they are bold with styles that only youth is supposed to be able to claim. I'd love to have some of their courage!

  61. Wow, thank you Lana! I'm thrilled that my longish rants are enjoyed when they are! So kind of you. And so happy you liked my outfit ... I was shooting for a little badassery.
    I'm always surprised how easily we turn on our own! This, in itself is a woman's issue, complicated and situational, for sure.
    What is it with our particular Heidis? I'm sure there are lots of lovely ladies with that name!

  62. Thank you, CC! Glad you enjoyed it and happy you stopped by to say so! What's frustrating is that they'll have it easier that we old ones do now, just because we are trying to clarify the issues! Someone always has to speak up...

  63. Thank you, DL! I'm extra flattered you got by to make such nice noises considering how busy you must be! Spitfire ... thank you! And glad you liked my sweater ... I'm ashamed at how much I love it!

  64. Hello! Haven't seen you out and about in quite a while, so I extra glad to hear from you! Steal away ... I'm sure I got it somewhere, too.
    Everyone has something to say about what we wear, don't they? I hope you had a word or twenty with him about his youth, gender and possession of an unformed and uninformed taste. And besides, who does he think he is, and further more ...
    You get the drift. You let them watch Project Runway, just once, and see what happens?
    Re the sweater; they pretty much disappeared the first day, here, and I expect you might find one on eBay. This one is a small ... they are plenty roomy for size! I almost always like a medium.
    Once again, so glad to hear from you!

  65. Thank you, Alicia ... hope all is well at your end. Thinking about you quite a lot today.
    I was surprised at how sleek the knit is ... did you get to see and feel one? I know what you mean about ample bustlines and sweaters. One of my best unicorn finds was a foam cup minimizer. My only problem now is having to go back to my other bras!

  66. Life is a bitch sometimes. Depression could have hit us hard as well, if it wasn't for Ron, who said to me one day: "I don't know, but this mortgage business in America... I think it might spread to Europe. How about selling our stocks?" And we did. One of the best decisions we made. But of course pure chance. Sometimes you make decisions which turn out the other way. You were there for your parents which is ever so sweet. You can look at yourself in the mirror. At least you weren't here all your life. I hope things will get better.

  67. Actually, we used to watch " Project Runway" and "What Not to Wear" together a few years ago... it was pretty cool seeing this little boy actually having opinions on the clothes!

  68. That's a very kind attitude, Natalia. And certainly we are none of us perfect in our life-histories. I stop myself several times a week for unkind thoughts about women who look slovenly (my pet peeve), but I'd never insult anyone or say anything nasty to them because I know there are reasons for it, often unavoidable. You are completely right about projection and fear. Forgive them? Maybe ... I'm never sure what that means. If forgiveness means acting like it doesn't matter, then probably not. I'm not responding to a private conversation, I'm responding to a conversation intended for publication ... I expect dialog about what was said in this instance is what the editors intended.
    Women, in particular, have historically had a more difficult time with equality and parity as we age, and the older we get, the worse the general dismissal and devaluation becomes. The real awfulness of it is that it extends to all aspects of life, and can limit our life chances, health and ability to fully participate in our culture. If it were just about fashion, then I wouldn't care so much. It's important to me to not encourage that by silence when I see it happening. Just "raising consciousness" about the issue, an old feminist tenet I still feel can be effective.
    Thank you so much for reading and considering and writing so thoughtfully. And for your kind compliments. Always appreciated, and I'm thrilled whenever you stop by!

  69. Awwwh. Heidi is a lovely name, most Heidis are lovely, and I'm glad your little dog is the most adorable of all Heidis! Good they have her to represent! Dogs are the best, anyway.
    Thank you ... I love black always, and especially this year. My crane sweater is right up there with my all time favorites, and I love how it looks.
    So happy you dropped in, as always!

  70. "Don't confuse us and disturb our stereotypes about age, and especially don't cause us to adjust our world view. We need you to settle down and look how we expect you to look at your age..."
    Well screw that! What a life limiting and depressing future awaits us all if we succumb to this!
    100% with you on everything you've written here. Have to say that I do enjoy when something gets in your craw because your comeback in the written word is always a thought provoking and enjoyable read! I especially found the reference to "all worked out" as being somehow inappropriate for older ladies offensive. What a stupid thing to say! My mother is one of those "old ladies" who works out and enjoys greater health, mobility and vitality in her older years than many less physically active women half her age - not to mention that as result of her great shape she is still a knockout in sexy clothes that these harpies might consider inappropriate for her age.
    You're looking fab! Glad to see you got your hands on some Altuzarra for Target and also love your new pink coat (from your previous post). Keep fighting the good fight stylewise against the naysayers!

  71. Thank you, V ... always so glad to see you when you pop up! Harpies indeed, and yeay for your mom. Lovely that she's staying in shape. If she's anything like her daughter, she must look pretty snappy. I remember seeing her ( as you do, just from the neck down!) in one of your posts about your home-style Christmas some time ago. She looked fabulous there ... you gotz good genes, girl! We should all look so good, right!?


Thanks for stopping by! Comments are wonderful, so feel free to let me know you were here. I try to respond to every comment, and try to answer within a couple of days. Please note: comments are moderated to avoid spam, so don't panic if your comment doesn't show up right away.