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Pointing her finger at my faded blue shirt, my sister shrieked “You still wearing that?”!!!! I stammered out an “Obviously I am”. She rolled her eyes. Only an older sister who has been with you since birth would have an intimate knowledge of your wardrobe.
Her comment was stuck in my head all day and I finally came to the conclusion, that since I was exploring retirement by downsizing, re-locating, etc. my clothes should be part of it. So, I walked into the closet and there they were: the offending garments that I’ve had since forever. I tried some on – but it was no use – they had to go. Empty hangers were then waiting for the new me.
Clothes do not define a person – we all know that – but what we wear does make a statement. I know of a woman in her early seventies; she dresses like a pre-teen and looks ridiculous. There is such a thing as “trying too hard” which fools no one but yourself. I know an 83 year-old woman who dresses in cool and hip outfits – with a hat to match and fun jewelry…yeah Ethel B.!
I love the leggings and a long tunic look. It covers my tush, makes me look thinner and taller and is comfortable to move around in. I can dress it up or down as I need to. Leggings can’t be too tight for me though – they make my legs look like a leg of lamb! What my absolute preference is, is the gauzy or light cotton clothes that seem to float around my body and can be layered in multiple ways.
Women are not the only ones that are apparel challenged. Men have this issue too. Short spandex pants are often too tight and really, are they necessary to wear to them to the market or to dinner? Do we really need to see everything?
And then we have the ragamuffins…the ones that throw clothes on simply to cover themselves. Often mismatched, pants dragging on the ground, hair unkempt. It is as though they have given up caring about themselves. Or, perhaps a touch of dementia? Perhaps that’s all they have or can’t afford to buy new ones? It is sad to see this.
We are not our grandmothers or even our mothers, who at middle age they were considered old by society and indeed thought of themselves as old. Most dressed the part. I remember my dad bringing home a pair of shorts for my mother to wear; she wore them around the house to get used to them and cried throughout the entire day. My dad took them back. A house dress and slippers was the norm for indoor wear. Our neighbor wore nylons rolled to the top of her knee! The women of my era dressed the part with old lady underwear and sensible shoes. And always a sweater over everything. TGWANT – thank goodness we are not them!
The good news is that there so much to choose from – entire magazines are dedicated to us. Stores and online sites abound at all price levels. We don’t have to be dowdy or frumpy. We can create a look for ourselves that exudes energy, vivacity, strength and fun! We can wear skirts and pants, shawls and capes, all types of hats and scarves, shoes, sandals and boots, dangling earrings and dazzling bracelets and carry large bags and satchels. Our haircuts can be sophisticated and modern (and easy to care for), we can get facials and massages, and our fingernails can match our toes! The possibilities are endless when we begin to explore. And we look fabulous!
As a generation we are so much younger looking, feeling and thinking than are ancestors. Fighting time is not our issue – we are having the time of our lives!
We are on it!
PS. The old things that I am keeping are: my mother’s short, pink, soft cotton pajama top, my father’s blue sweater and my aunt’s Christmas sweater – black with red and green appliques; these items bring me comfort.
Aunt Fanny’s Christmas Sweater From The Personal Collection of Helene and Zaf
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