Tuesday, September 15, 2015

What I Did This Summer ... and Why I've Been Absent

Surprise!  Remember me? Wouldn't blame you if you didn't. I've spent almost a whole season hiding under my cyber-rock, but I've decided to crawl back out to check in with the bloggy world with hopes there's still somebody out there. Although I've been absent, I've still been out here playing dress-up, so before fall gets in full swing, I'll try to trot out some of the summery ideas that I've been mutilating and trying to bend to my will loving and adapting for my own use.

"Never say never in fashion, because you'll be wearing 'never' in two years' time."
      Alexa Chung

So true, at least for me.

A couple of years ago, when ripped, distressed and destroyed jeans were disinterred from the grunge-era graveyard and then reiterated and conceptually freshened up a bit, I squinched up my nose and said, "Ewww. Why would anybody want to wear ruined jeans?" But as so often happens, my eye trained itself and I'm got used to seeing them out and about on perfectly reasonable looking women, and even some of them like me in my advanced maturity! It's already a cliche classic, so that means it's my cue to try it out. Sad.

Paired with"nouvelle grunge" accouterments, rippy jeans still just look ... well... grungy. I didn't go there even way back when I lived in the Pacific NW epicenter of original grunge and it was hot and new. But contemporarily paired with a slightly snazzy top and a pair of ladylike (or especially unladylike pointy toe shoes with a vampy stiletto heel) they just delight me. 
I got a fabulous deal on these red lacquered cork Ralph Lauren pumps.
Neat with ripped jeans and a white shirt.
You'll see them eventually, I hope. 

 When I try for that unstudied look that is so appealing, I still come off looking sort of clenched and I've never once managed the effortless look. Worn jeans with spiffier pieces takes me much closer, and I've had all kinds of fun wearing them as a summer staple. Not quite a uniform, but worn often enough to function as one. The contrast has a sense of humor, and it's a look that just can't take itself too seriously, or at least not for very long.

"Where," you might well ask, "is your example? How do we know it works for you? Where are your outfit photos?"

And this leads to the reasons I've been incommunicada for the summer. 
In no particular order of importance:

1. I'm exhausted with making photos of myself. It's been noticed (ahem) and commented upon (nicely, though, and by more than one person) that I have about 1.7 poses that I use and that it's getting old. I know that. I'm tired of looking at it too. I'm as vain and insecure as anyone and I use that one pose with only the most minute mutations so I'll look as pretty as possible. That's the pose that makes me look less short and squat than the other possible positions, so I cling to it like a lichen.

Not sure what to do about this. No, Dan is less able than ever to help, although he tries heroically. There isn't anyone else around to play photographer. It's a challenge I have yet to overcome.

2. I just couldn't stand it that I couldn't join some of my favorite women in the whole bloggy world at the Vancouver blogger meet-up. I really, really, REALLY wanted to go. Just couldn't manage it financially (or in the style to which I aspire, at any rate) but the most daunting road block was that the meet-up was celebrated on our busiest, most exhausting weekend of the year for our little business. Dan and I both would rather take a beating than work this particular weekend, so I couldn't jump ship on him even if I'd opted to blow the bank. The upside of this is that I was so overwhelmed that I didn't have time to think about all the fun you all were having in BC.

I'm ashamed to admit it, but I just couldn't bring myself to vicariously share in the Vancouver adventure via your blog reports of the event either. I don't for a minute begrudge any of you your wonderful time, but seeing you all together just felt bad all over again. I was being rude and childish to avoid the blogs of some of the women I admire most, I know, but it didn't seem right to visit anyone while avoiding some. I apologize to everyone, 'cause that's what I did and I'm sorry.

3. Because we don't go anywhere, or do much that varies from our tight schedule, I've been feeling cramped for blog subject matter. Time for a reassessment of why I bother with this at all and how/if I can proceed in some
useful/fun/satisfying way. One version of my personal truth is that I am a short, squat, elderly woman in the middle of nowhere struggling to look as pretty as I can while coping with the limitations of big-box stores, discounted fast fashion and my own shortcomings. (No stature jokes intended.) Since I'm fairly sure a lot of women find themselves in my situation, can I make this worth writing about, or is it just too much same-old-same-old?

4. At 65, It's been bugging me that I suddenly find I have about as much in common with the "over 40" set as they have in common with the 20-somethings. In terms of dressing challenges, anyway. Even you 50-plussers sometimes seem like carefree youth to me. Some of you late life beauties can carry on looking beautiful and chic forever, but I'm aware of a movement that relegates us ordinary elders to an ice-flow of brightly eccentric and wildly artistic dressing as our only final style statement option. I'm not ready for that, or drawn to the aesthetic for myself at all. I'm having a hard time finding living style icons. Bummer.

Because of the above, I find myself embarrassed at my own behavior and floundering creatively. Blogging should be fun, at least for the most part. Instead, I'm learning some unpleasant things about myself ... and that's the problem with even the shallowest "voyages of self discovery." There's always the danger that you'll discover some not so nice stuff.

So there we are. And here I am. As much angst as I'm whipping up for myself right now, I still miss the camaraderie of mature-woman style blogging, so I am still trying to figure this out. But there are no photos of me in my rippy jeans, or in any other kind of outfits today, okay? Good.

I return you now to our regularly scheduled programming ... and more of what I did this summer.

I've been cultivating my eyebrows and readjusting my bangs so the brows will show. Stay tuned for more on this fascinating subject.  The fun just never stops here.

A Burlington store is going in in the Big City and will open sometime this fall.  Dan and I have been watching the construction with excitement. (I could just weep that I wrote that and that sentence and that it's so TRUE. See what I mean?)   

Another idea from the "never say never" files: I've resisted mirrored sunglasses for a couple of seasons now. They used to remind me of mullets, Tom Selleck's big old mustache from back in the day, and institutionalized male chauvinism. However, I finally overrode my own good taste and fell hard for the modern version for women. Hot weather-floaty fabrics aren't really much support for the little bit of edge I try to sport during the summer, but classic aviators with hot pink mirrors just say something.

(Photo by Shade Traders.) 
I got a pair of these in pristine condition from
good old T.J.Maxx at a reduction so deep that even 
I felt like there must have been some mistake.
They were more a gift for my pink
winter coat, so you'll see these later in the fall, too.

I also have some icy blue classic aviators that are even better, and Dan has even found a similar pair he likes. We do our matchy-matchy, old-folks thing when we wear them to town, but with a soupçon of old-school swagger that I really need to throw right now. Yes we do.

Obviously not Dan and I, but if you squint 
and imagine this couple a lot older,
 it's sort of the same idea ... we are, in fact,
a little cooler than these two. 

Completely OFF-Topic weirdness: Do you remember wishing for a pony at any time in your early childhood? I do ... and am living proof that some wishes do eventually come true, but with completely inappropriate timing. A couple of weeks ago, I was sipping at that first cup of coffee of the morning, looking out at our messy pasture when our dogs went completely berserk. About that time I saw what looked like a big spotted dog trucking off across the pasture toward our remaining big old mares. It took me a minute to figure out that it was a very tiny pony who had broken in to our pasture. So little that he just sneeked right in under a missing wire in the fence. There was no doubt at all about his gender, clearly a stud horse and sporting the most optimistic erection as he headed toward my hefty old girls. First, they regarded him with curiosity, then disdain, then with aggressive annoyance. He ended the day hovering wistfully, unsuccessful but undaunted, at the edges of our little herdlet, and he remains with us still.

No one is claiming him, and I've notified the local authorities, and we do NOT need a pony. We'll find his family eventually and make them come and get him. I know Dan blames my 6 year-old-self for that long forgotten wish, 'cause he says he does.


Late as I always am, I'm happy to sneak in to the return of the always lovely Patti's Visible Monday  link up ... feels like homecoming! 

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