How does one transition into “dressing one’s age? In this unchartered and unmapped journey into older womanhood, how do I remember that I just can’t dress that way anymore? I lustfully look at pictures on the Internet, in magazines and in stores of the shoes that I would love to buy and wear. Those Rhianna-type strappy boot-like ones with cutout toes that tie around mid-calf with thin suede ribbons dangling down the sides that sway sexily with each step are the ones that catch my eyes seen through my myopic/astigmatism progressive lensed glasses. Of course, those shoes would require a skirt or dress short enough to display the wonder of the boot shoes. The skirt or dress would have to have pleats or splits or some other type of hemlines that moved easily with each step allowing the movement of the hem to match the movement of the ties on the boot/shoe. In my mind’s eye, I could purchase the ones with the wedge heels; that way walking would not be as much of a problem. These would be worn at mostly sit down occasions â€“ where standing would be timed for best showing of the shoes. Oh, the regrets of age dressing and my struggles remembering how I once was.
I came into my prime years when hot pants were the rage. Did I have hot pants? Or did I have hot pants? I had them and even wore them to work. For those of you who do not know what hot pants were – they were basically shorts designed and made in materials suitable for work or partying. My friend, who is now a minister, so I won’t name her, used to have a leather pair that she wore with white boots to those special occasions and parties where she danced until the leather popped from the friction of her movements. We laugh together now at how we used to dress and how we used to party. Regrettably, I threw out my hauntingly lovely one silken shoe; however, I still have a pair of hot pants that I did not give or throw away after all these years. They are a mid-thigh length yellow gold color that I keep in that part of my closet where the clothes are mind marked for giving to charity; however, those hot pants have remained a wistful presence, in the same spot for over forty years. When I look at them, memories flood that part of my brain that still remembers the good times and forgets the bad.
I really try to dress my age, although sometimes it’s tough. I have a pair of sailor front black pants with the double row of buttons across the stomach that have a split up the right leg from the hem to just above the knee (a la Angelina Jolie-like Oscar gown; however the split is not quite as high on the thigh as Jolie’s) that I won’t wear anymore after my eldest son commented on the split as we walked through Jack London Square, Oakland on the way to a Mother’s Day celebration dinner. I thought that I was looking pretty good, not realizing that a split is always a split no matter that it ends just above the knee. The illusion that the split represents is the killer that my son resented associated with his mother. I haven’t given those pants to charity yet either. I have convinced myself that I will have the split sewed together and then I will be able to wear the sailor front pants out once more. Then again, I think sailor front, black pants on a 73-year old – maybe not. So, the pants remain in my closet while I ponder their destiny.
Thank god purses don’t carry the same whispers of “that purse is too young for her” mystic that other items of wardrobe do. Except for the animal shapes that my granddaughter used to love – for a minute (I never considered one for myself), my purses have remained stylish for the most part, and only wear out from use.
However, the one secret that I will carry to my grave (please don’t tell), is that I love to wear beautiful, sheer, stylish undergarments. If I am hit by a car and am unexpectedly splayed in the middle of the street and have to be taken to the hospital (the warning that mother’s give their daughters regarding wearing nice panties), I have taken that premise to another level. I will love nice underwear to my life’s end. I guess that’s the rebel in me; or the coward in me, I don’t know which.
I still sometimes wear a pair of ankle strap black suede shoes that have a nice heel that I can walk in. I finally gave away the beloved mesh, see-through tee that I used to wear over a swimsuit top worn with thigh length shorts or long pants. I’ve gotten rid of the low-cut swimsuits that were too bust revealing. That short pleated navy blue skirt that slapped my mid-thigh as I walked; I folded and packed for the church charity clothes drive, to be worn by a much younger congregant; even though I (selfishly?) kept the paisley-print blue and gold cover-your-butt length matching top. I could go on remembering…
The change required in dress code has been a struggle for me. I sometimes wish I could be like Dolly Parton. She seems not to give a flying fish what anyone thinks or says about the way she dresses. Even Pamela Anderson and Aretha Franklin seem to be changing their wardrobe to be more age-appropriate. Here I am sitting in judgment as I watch these celebrities through my mixed lenses, progressive glasses that aid this right eye that waters because my Ophthalmologist says is dry (???).
Between the unwanted hair that grows and grows in unwanted places and the crazy needs required of my eyes in order for me to see and maneuver this ever-changing world, I have come to accept that I am required, no forced to change my thinking, my dress, and my attitude towards life. Some changes are promising; some, I regret. However, I hope that I make mostly right decisions in the way that I age. Gracefully, I pray.