Okay, my darlings, we’ve been talking about fashion tips every woman over 60 needs to know about.
I tackled a few complaints yesterday, things I’ve heard women over 60 express. I’ve challenged each complaint with another counterpoint and some visuals to inspire you. (By the way, I adore you especially when you complain!)
Let’s see, we’ve tackled:
- My feet hurt; I can’t wear heels anymore.
- No one sees me. I’m invisible.
- I look at magazines and I don’t fit in anywhere.
- I never find anything in the stores.
- I’m bored.
If you missed it, here’s how those complaints were covered in Part One. Now on to Part Two.
[Brenda stands at the podium on the sound stage in Century City, CA in front of a live audience and says to the stagehand, “Bring on the next five contestants with complaints!” Audience cheers wildly as five women over 60 come forward and take their places next to Brenda. The stagehand goes backstage to prepare the goody bags for all the audience members: new pairs of stylish, comfortable shoes.]
Complaint: I refuse to let fashion dictate anything to me; I just want to be comfortable.
I’m going to share more about these lovely ladies below but I want you to take a good look at these women who were all strangers to me until this Monday. They are stylish! They are beautiful! They’re over 60 (except for tall Elizabeth who is 56). They are comfortable! This idea that looking put together and enjoying outfits can only happen if pain or discomfort is involved is all FAKE FASHION NEWS. There is no person in this photograph who is uncomfortable. We’re all wearing shoes that don’t hurt our feet. Nothing about our outfits are compromising our thoughts about ordering dessert. Nothing’s pinching or poking.
People who listen to that fake fashion news may believe the only answer for comfort is staying in something like pajamas all day (call them yoga pants if you like). That idea won’t fly here. Fashion is on your side with comfortable stylish garments that will look great together!
Complaint: I never get compliments anymore.
Sandra is one of my fashion muses. If I lived near Palo Alto where she works at Phyllis Boutique, I’d drop in every day just to see what she’s wearing and how she’s wearing it. I could keep gushing but I want to point out how fabulous her hat is. Women in hats get complimented like crazy. Erin and I must have complimented her twenty times that day.
I’m someone who spent decades believing I wasn’t a hat person. Other people were hat people, but not me.
Something changed that. I’m not sure I even remember the moment. This white knuckle belief that hats were no good for me was challenged when someone put one on me and said, “Wow, you look great in hats!” Me? That seemed impossible.
I started playing with this new-to-me form of decoration and adornment. Now every time I wear a hat, I get compliments. (Compliments are free sources of energy. Complimenting others gives you energy as well. It’s a great practice.)
Today I was with a client who’d been shopping in the men’s department for her college bound twin grandsons. She spied a hat in the men’s department and bought it for herself. She wanted me to see it. It was fantastic on her! I ended up creating half a dozen outfits for her that highlighted her hat. I can hear the text coming through any day now: “Brenda, I got so many compliments on my hat!”
I have this rule for myself. I try to wear a new purchase within 24 hours. I think this would be a great rule if you’re buying hats for the first time. Buy it and wear it within 24 hours. I think I know what’s doing to happen! You’ll be showered with compliments! Text me and tell me I’m right!
Complaint: I have all this stuff already that I’m not using.
Women who are 60 have stuff. Lots of stuff. Stuff they loved but neglected. They have stuff they bought but never got around to using. A client this week who has been complaining that she needs new shoes discovered three pairs in her closet that are totally perfect for the outfits I’m building for her. Sometimes I’m working in a client’s closet and I’ll say something like, “I’d love to have a blouse with some lace trim to go with this leopard print skirt.” And she’ll say, “Wait! I think I have one!” And out of the closet she comes with the perfect item that she bought ten years ago and never wore.
Eighty percent of what I do with clients is shop in their closets. I’m not making that number up. My bookkeeper keeps track of these things. Most of my time is spent in closets repurposing, recyling, and rediscovering treasures they already own.
The two brooches up there on the right, top and bottom, were from a client’s stash and are ages old. Now they are front and center in outfits she’s going to wear this summer. The pictures on the left top and bottom are treasures from my own stash that are delighting me after a decade or more of not pulling them out.
Could it be that you have everything you need right now to be fabulously dressed? I’m thinking you might! Bring out the good stuff; bring out the fun costume jewelry; revisit those novelty coats hanging in another closet. Let your light shine. If not now, when? Pull your stuff out, look at it with your loving eyes, and use it!
Complaint: I don’t have anyone to talk to about this getting older thing.
On Monday I met four wonderful women for the first time and already I’m feeling like they’re my new best friends. I was invited to lunch by Sandra Sallin, an artist who lives in Hollywood and writes beautifully about her life in her blog, Apart from My Art: Obsessions of an Artist Obsessed. We met online through Instagram. She invited me to join her and three other bloggers for lunch in the Rotunda in Neiman Marcus.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote on my “What I Want” list to meet other bloggers. My dream came true! Let me tell you who they are so they can become your friends, too.
Elizabeth Kirkpatrick on the left, the tallest of us all, turns 57 next month. Her blog is The Vintage Contessa and her Instagram feed is @antiquegoddess. Next to her is Cindy Hattersly, a designer. Her blog is Rough Luxe Lifestyle and her Instagram handle is @cindyhattersley. She’s 62. Next comes me and you know all about me. Then there’s Sandra. Her Instagram handle is @sandrasallin. She says, “I’m 76 but I think I’m a kid. That’s why I jump, leap, fall, run and break bones.” And then we have Mary Ann Pickett, another designer, who is 60. (I refuse to believe her.) She told me her maturity level is around 40 but her confidence level is at 70. Her blog is Classic Casual Home and her Instagram handle is @classiccasualhome.
I can’t wait to spend the weekend catching up on their blogs and Instagram feeds and learning more about these people I already love.
Let me tell you something you may already know: Women our age are SO COOL! We are vibrant, excited, excitable, bouncy, witty, wise, and we have each other’s back. Relationships with women over 60 is all about sharing and supporting.
Last month I organized A Conversation on Aging with a client of mine. We brought 22 people together and many of us were complete strangers. That was my plan. I wanted to hear what women were thinking about aging. We spent about three hours together and no one wanted to go home! You can read about that conversation here.
We ended up talking to each other about things like aging, self-care, and sharing our favorite resources. It’s an intimate conversation, this conversation on aging. We need to be having it. We need to be forging strong friendships and creating strong images about what we want to be doing and experiencing in this chapter.
Women are eager to be together. I encourage you to gather a few people you know or don’t know and plan an afternoon having a little chat. Add wine and cheese if you like (and something for the lactose intolerant folks or those who are gluten-free). Women want to support each other and know each other! Create the opportunity and they will come!
Complaint: I’m old and grumpy and not taken seriously!
The answers to life’s problems always show up on Instagram. My daughter Erin forwarded this post to me and if I could add another 225,777 likes to it, I would! This is a moment where I’d have the urge to emphasize the point with a few more sentences but really, this post says all that’s needed to be said: I’m so much nicer when I like my outfit.
I say put on an outfit you like and get out in the world and you’ll be taken seriously.
Let’s be sure we’re all heard and seen for who we are. Start with the loving act of wearing what pleases you.
My friends, I adore you! Let me hear your voices!