Last spring, I began interviewing women over 50, 60, 70 and 80 for a video series about the importance of staying visible as we age.
Recently, a client asked me to go through her husband’s closet with her to see what he had selected to discard. Her husband commented, “My polo shirts alone will last me for the rest of my life.”
I was quite taken aback. I had never thought about someone’s wardrobe in terms of its longevity before. But clearly, he had a point. Do we really need much after a certain age? Who are we trying to impress? What would we rather spend our money on?
We typically expect autumn to be the season when we pack away our linens and break out more of our traditional comfortable woolies in familiar neutrals, with the occasional bright pink or spring green cashmere thrown in just for fun. We wear them with wool pants, dark pencil skirts or plaids.
In case you hadn’t noticed white is “in” this year. We’ve seen it everywhere from the runway to the Royals. It’s been worn by religious figures to representatives of both sides of the US political arena. It’s been suggested that white is the color of purity and signifies loftiness. This implies that the wearer exists on an elevated plane. Think, Mother Teresa.
Many years ago a friend recounted that for her still-stylish mother’s 90th birthday she bought her a magnifying mirror. “Because,” she added, “Well, you know…” Frankly, I didn’t know. I do now.
Although older women are becoming more visible in the world of fashion, I fear that we are also becoming somewhat fetishized in the press and on social media. I chalk that up to the enormous popularity of Ari Seth Cohen’s Advanced Style Blog.
Several years ago, while out shopping with a close friend, we had a somewhat disturbing conversation. This friend is about 18 months older than I and, at the time, had just turned 60.
In a recent book review about good taste, Jeffrey Felner, the witty and often acerbic arbiter of fashion, suggested that, yes, you can learn tricks to develop your personal style, but taste isn’t something you can learn; you’re either born with it or you’re not.
Well into her late 70s, Elaine Stritch, the boozy-throated Broadway legend, performed her award-winning one-woman cabaret show, wearing a simple outfit: black high heels, black sheer stockings and a thigh-length white silk blouse, unbuttoned to reveal her cleavage. It went with the whole package of who she was.