Monday, February 13, 2012

Dress Your Age?

Dear Helen Hartman,
As a trend setter in the fashion statements around the world, I trust you with this question. I see on a daily basis, women 50+ wearing those low riding, jeweled jeans with oversized stitching. Love to get a ruling here – what is appropriate age to wear these jeans?

Dear Loved One
Helen has been giving this question a lot of thought. It used to all be so simple, it seems.

When Josephine talked about hitching up her pair of low riders she meant pulling up her bra straps not her jeans!


But coming on the spiked heels of 50-something Madonna’s Super Bowl Performance… 

No, the OTHER Madonna.  Though isn't my new find too wonderful? Nice touch that her former owner attached a plastic rhinestone bracelet, yes?
…one does wonder if the new rule is no longer if it feels good, do it, but if it LOOKS good, wear it?

I said if it looks GOOD, wear it.
  
Once upon a time young ladies might have worn this kind of pink quilted dress coat with rhinestones to a spring wedding:


Her mother would have been expected to wear this:


 And grandma?

Looks more like something grandpa would wear when Grandma is away. No self-respecting woman of any age would think THIS was a good idea.
 
The truth is that by the age of 50 you should have some sense of personal style. The most UNattractive thing on a woman is the look desperation borne of chasing a trend, trying to be something she’s not.

Leggings? Check. Ballet Flats? Check. Cropped jacket? Check. Extra bold false lashes? Check and mate.  Hermione didn't understand it. She'd done everything the magazines said. So why wasn't she the prettiest girl at Elk Club dance?

Trends will come and trends will go. In 1967 THESE were expected to be the next big the rage.

You know they don't have much faith in their product when the ad looks like it's pushing cheeseburgers, not "foil fresh" Whistles snacks.

Speaking of whistles – I remember when, a few years after this photo was taken… 

If bee hive hair dos were a measure of royalty, Aunt Ileene was the Queen Bee!

…my glam-but-sassy (I tried to combine the two words but all I got was glamourassy – that ain’t right, is it?) Aunt Ileene raised many a penciled eyebrow by running around Enid, Oklahoma wearing a mini skirt and go go boots! (can't find that photo)


Despite scandal no one could say Aunt Ileene wasn’t being her true self – not to be confused with her natural self, which anybody with this fabulous of a sense of style knows is totally overrated!



So Helen’s conclusion? Wear the clothes that tell the world who you are, not who the world tells you to be. If it’s genuine it will shine through. If anything else shines through, you’ll be hearing from ME!

You'll always look your best on Pink Saturday!

49 comments:

  1. You know, I have to agree! I don't care if anyone wears what makes them happy but I hate to see people painfully following trends. I don't know that most women of age really *enjoy* not being able to bend over without their underpants showing in those low-rise pants but if they do..go for it. If not, do something else. And wow...Aunt Ileene! Go Auntie go!

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  2. This is a conversation I have frequently with a friend of mine. I'm all about personal expression, but you hit the nail on the head. What makes an older woman look desperate and pathetic is refusing to accept that she's aged and trying to be what she was 30 years ago (or, worse yet, trying to compete with her daughter).

    With today's great fashions, there's no reason a 50+ woman can't look gorgeous without sacrificing her dignity. Nothing looks sadder than a crepey decolletage...unless it's varicose veins and a mini skirt...or flings (flabby arm wings) and spaghetti straps.

    That said, I look back at photos of my mom when she was 20 years younger than I am today, and she looks OLD. Off-the-rack fashions of the 50s and 60s generally went straight from collegiate to matronly with nothing much in between.

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    1. FLINGS! Argh. I have a small set forming. In a few years I may be able to sail from tree limb to tree limb like a flying squirrel! I do agree looking at all these ads how old everyone looked even in their 20s.

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  3. Funny you should bring this up today. Yesterday, I went to the mall looking for any blouse that would look flattering on my 40-something body, and had very little luck. Just as I was about to burst into tears, I came to to "old lady" store. (I overheard one clerk tell another how teens at Christmas time told their mothers not to shop here because "that's where all the teachers shop".) It was the only place with clothes that fit me *and* looked good.
    So, I'm an old lady, then.

    As for Madonna, when it comes to entertainers, all bets are off.
    Clothing has much less to do with fashion as much as it's part of the show. (Please. Did you see the red sequined robe CeeLo Green was wearing? No barbs to throw at him, I see.)

    ;-)

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    1. I know. I have begun to like the old lady store too. The bummer about that is those clothes cost more than the trendy young clothes. CeeLoGreen - if he had shown as much skin or done one one of those open kneed squats that Madonna did, Helen would have had plenty to say about THAT and it wouldn't be um, Forget you! But generally, yes, men have it easier. Except don't get me started on the new older man trend of overly dyed hair!

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  4. I say we get Stacy and Clinton from What Not to Wear to police the area. Better yet, if they show up with a $5000 Visa card for new clothes, I'll split it with you. You in?

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    1. Yes, let's turn each other in and go on a spree. A snap of me right now and baggy pajama pants and a rumples T shirt should do the trick.

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  5. If you gots da bod...go for it. The problem is, so many of whom believe they have the bod and DON'T...eeek....

    Madonna...she's got it, but even she covered up just a bit. Age and wisdom? Maybe after what happened with Whitney, Madonna's doing OK.

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    Replies
    1. Wise point, Gwen

      As to not having the bod - I still have plenty of bod, it's just not all in the same spots it was 10 years ago!

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  6. Let's be honest...A lot of entertainers spend a crazy amount of time with their personal trainers because their livelihoods depends on staying fit. But they're human, just like the rest of us, and up close (and without tons of makeup or digital enhancement to their photos) their age shows. Even if they've had tons of work done, there are parts of their bodies that don't lie. Another creepy thing is a freakishly tight face and old hands...LOL

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    1. And the new veiny look - what's that? I love the Brit way of growing into one's looks and going about one's business. I wouldn't trade one moment of feigned youth for the lines on my mother's face as I remember her. She was an adorable little old lady and aside from some hair dye, didn't try to hide it.

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  7. I think people look so much prettier if they age naturally. Plastic surgery always seems to mess up peoples faces. My husband and I were also just talking about how mom's don't look like moms anymore. I don't think we need to look frumpy, but what's with moms all wanting to look like teenagers? No thank you.

    Have a wonderful Valentines Day!!! :)

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    1. You too! Some of that surgery is scary... but then so are some of those jeans - there should be something between teen and mom jeans!

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  8. I don't look as good as Madonna at 30. ;) Even though her face looks a bit lion like.

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    1. Yes, that cat face is always a bit disconcerting. I wonder if it looks better in person as I once saw Jane Fonda in person and her skin/face looked gorgeous even though she had clearly had work done.

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  9. Totally pinching the phrase glamourassy. I do agree that older women who are chasing trends do sometimes look terrible - i am thinking about those velor tracksuits with phrases like "hot chick" or "babe" plastered across the ass in sequins which look wrong what ever the age but it seems that some 50plus ladies in my town have taken a fancy to these. Scarlett x

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    1. Or Juicey - ick. I never did like track suits but Betty White makes me think that one day it will be a great look for me!

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  10. I could not have put it better myself, Helen! Those are such wise words to live by. However "unsuitable" other people think our clothes look as long as we feel brilliant then let them raise their pencilled eyebrows all they like.
    "Looks more like something grandpa would wear when Grandma is away. No self-respecting woman of any age would think THIS was a good idea". THOSE words have just made me spit tea all over my keyboard with laughter! xxx

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  11. I wore what I wanted today!!
    A RED petticoat *lol*

    That Grandpa dress really had me laughing. Just yesterday there was some comedy show on with old men in womans lingerie.

    YES I AM SURE IT WAS A COMEDY SHOW! HHAHAAH

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  12. I wish I could wear a red petticoat. But not for me. It's not an age thing, it's a short person with a thick middle thing.

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  13. OH HOW we'd love to have seen the gogo boots and skirt....you GO Aunt Ileene :)

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  14. I KNOW! I am sure there is a photo somewhere. If I wore a mini skirt and go go boots there would be a knee flab gap no one would want to see.

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  15. Well put Miss Helen.

    I'm at a stage (sixty next birthday) that I want to keep my style current but don't want to look like I'm tryin' to be a teeny~bopper either. It's a fine line baby!

    Back in the day I did the go~go boots, mini skirts, bell bottoms, hot pants....whew...I'm a fashion whirlwind!!!! Heeehehehhe!

    God bless ya girl and have a wonderful day!!! :o)

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    1. I had a pair of hot pants in Jr High that my dad wouldn't let me wear outside the house. Honestly at that age they were more like luke warm pants.

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  16. Oh please find that pic of Aunt Ilene! I'm at an age like Nezzy - did all the above and so glad I got to! It was a whirlwind and, well, it was fun looking like a trollop! Haha! Yes, one must accept painful things as old age sets in but at least blue hair is "in" ;- ) I'm fighting the whole growing old thing tooth & nail but ok, at least TRYING to do it gracefully - is that possible? There is NOTHING graceful about growing old. I'm confused but at least have my flappers covered and elephant knees concealed under clam digger's. Is that what they're called now? Well whatever - my knees are concealed. As for the rest, I haven't been able to find a sequened berka for the formal evening wedding I'll be going to in April.

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    1. I'll ask the family for outrageous Aunt Ileene pics. Of course, I do have OTHER aunts and relatives who would make fine fashion icons! I can't wait until St Patrick's Day to introduce Orpha McGuigan.

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  17. "Glamourassy"?! Love, love, love YOU!

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    1. That's because you are so glamourassy yourself! Takes one to love one.

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  18. It reminds me of that line in Hard Days Night when the reporter asked George Harrison, "Are you a Mod or a Rocker?" he said...."I'm a Mocker!" I just try to wear what's comfy and love the retro stuff. Not trendy...though. I guess if I wear too much vintage, it could be mistaken for an old lady that never got new clothes over the years! LOL!!

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    1. Haven't you heard? Everything old is new again - so you're actually ahead of the trend.

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  19. You and Maxine would make a great pair.

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    1. Thanks _ I Love Maxine and not just because that was My Mom's name.

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  20. Adore the new word you just coined "Glamourassy".

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    1. I guess I Need to start taking notes for a Helen Dictionary! Thanks.

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  21. Following you via Linky and hope you will too!

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  22. This is perfect -- "The most UNattractive thing on a woman is the look desperation borne of chasing a trend, trying to be something she’s not."

    And my first thought? "GLASSY!" I think GLAMOURASSY is better haha.

    Happy Pink Saturday!

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    Replies
    1. LOL anytime you can make up a word that sounds a bit naughty it's a win win!

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  23. Ooooh, Sugar, you're now speaking my language!!! I see some of those women in WM and just feel so sorry for them, trying to look like their daughters and failing miserably. Sad, very sad...
    xoxo,
    Connie

    First time here so it's nice to meet you, chickee...

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    1. Thank you for stopping by Connie - so nice to meet you too.

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  24. LOL! And we all had to weigh in on Madonna! Which, of course, had a different meaning when your props were made. I was okay until the pompoms came out in her show. Then I had to post on FB, "I'm definitely getting pom poms to go with my hair extensions!"

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    1. You mean you don't carry a set in your bag at all times?

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  25. I'm a little 'older' but I still like to dress 'nice'! Not fancy...just nice! This was a fun post! I saw styles I haven't seen in awhile! lol ♥

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    1. Of course the key is to be yourself. Some people are every youthful and some people just try to look young. I'm sure you look lovely.

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  26. I was just thinking about Elizabeth McGovern (Downton Abbey) and how she seems to be aging "naturally". I admire her. She will at least be able to get cast in age-appropriate roles instead of trying to compete with the 20 year old girls for the ingenue part.

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  27. Helen, your style is amazing and your sense of humor is the perfect companion for my Saturday brunch coffee. Thank you for commenting on my pink coffee tables - I've browsed through your uplifting blog and will all my heart I am your newest follower!

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