33 In Women Now

My Conversation on Aging Meets Chico’s New PR Campaign

65 years bold on brendakinsel.com

Appreciating every year that’s gotten me to this one

 

I was very excited to present the workshop A Conversation on Aging at the recent MMB Retreat here in Sonoma. It’s been nearly a year since I opened up this discussion to women who are in this chapter of life. I’m forever fascinated by what women are thinking about aging. I love hearing their experiences and I especially love when they get loud about it. They’re pretty adamant about what they don’t like. For instance, no one enjoys feeling pushed aside or invisible. Women want the world to know that they’re determined, they believe in themselves, they’ve done great things in their lives and they’re showing up for all the world to see. Yes, yes, and yes!

Right around the time of our retreat, I was speaking with a lovely woman named Michelle at Chico’s in their New York offices. She’s the Director of Social Marketing and Brand Public Relations. She reached out to me to discuss women and how they see themselves and how they want to be seen. My style and wardrobe consulting business certainly puts me in earshot of women’s views and issues. I told her about A Conversation on Aging and how excited women were to speak with other women about this subject.

 

65 years bold and feeling free

Wearing what I want how I want at this age

 

I shared with Michelle that in women are experiencing much more of themselves as they age. They’re trying new things. They’re going back in time and remembering interests they had before but got buried under pressing responsibilities. Now those desires to paint, sculpt, learn Tai Chi or pick up a language are getting their focus. Those interests are like four-year-olds running wild at a birthday party. They won’t be contained or told to be quiet. They’re coming out for examination and exploration.

While Michelle used the word bold to describe women, in my head, I was using the word freedom. I think freedom abounds as we get older. Oh, I know there are also limitations for some people. But let’s look at our convictions.

We’re not afraid to say no. We’re choosing how to use our time. We’re getting more sleep, not less sleep because it feels good. We’re not racing everywhere. We’re taking our time and enjoying the view.

I’ve been in my sixties for a relatively short time and with each new year, my heart is saying yes to more joy.

 

Feeling free as I age on brendakinsel.com

Do you like the image of women our age in the media?

 

I shared what I’m observing about women and she shared with me the research that Chico’s has done about women and what they want and where they’re at. I could have chatted the day away with Michelle. I loved what I was hearing in terms of how they were using their brand to reach out, connect, and open the conversation about women and visibility and possibilities. She asked me if I’d like to participate in a small way in the launch of their message and I said yes.

A couple of weeks later a package came in the mail for me. Inside was my white t-shirt with black lettering that said I’m 65 years bold. I love this t-shirt; it has writing on it and letters and words are my thing. I’m happy to be photographed wearing this t-shirt and sharing it with you here. But what I’m most excited about sharing is the letter that came with the t-shirt. It’s from Diane Ellis, the President of Chico’s. I’ve excerpted it here.

 

These days, women can be almost anything. They can be curvy, curly, scientific, athletic, CEO’s, politicians, mothers, mechanics, and marines.

But there’s one thing women still can’t be:

49, or 52, or 65

WHY NOT?

Well- that’s what we wondered. After all, we are a company that celebrates women. Being bold is in our DNA. Our mission is to support women with fabulous style in all that they do. So why were we hesitate to say our age out loud?

It’s time for that to change.

It’s time to GROW BOLDER.

By wearing this t-shirt with pride and sharing it on social media using #HowBoldAreYou it will inspire women everywhere to embrace their own unique personal style no matter their age. Yeah, it’s great to be 20, but it’s also great to be 52 and 43 and 61.

Let’s decide together that we’re not growing older, we’re growing bolder. And let’s shout it from the rooftops.

 

 

Chico's in chapter three of life

Following life’s curves in the third chapter of life

 

My feeling about being 65

I’m all about embracing personal style for women of all ages. My career has spanned over thirty years and personal style has always been at the heart of all I do.

I’m proud to be 65. At 65 I’m not worrying as much about what other people think. Is that bold? Yup, probably!

I’m 65 and brave. I’ve had to be. I’ve had challenges that pushed me to the ground but I’m not staying there for long. I’ll get upright and look at my scuffed up knees with confidence that those hurts will heal and I’ll be here for tomorrow’s rich experiences.

My mother modeled that.

My 92-year-old father models it now.

 

Bolder at 65 on brendakinsel.com

Do you feel bold?

 

I can hear my ancestors saying…

Go for it, Brenda!

You can do it!

Don’t back down now!

 

Another Conversation on Aging

 

A Conversation on Aging on brendakinsel.com

A Conversation on Aging at the MMB Retreat

 

 

In A Conversation on Aging in February I had women in the Monthly Marketing Bundle retreat think about where their life was emotionally, physically, and spiritually a decade or two back and then compare that to where it is right now.

I asked them to fill in the blanks in this sentence: I used to ________ but now I _________.

Here are some of the answers.

I used to be upset if people didn’t like me but now I think it’s their loss.

I used to feel like I was on the outside looking in but now I feel part of the whole.

I used to really care about what people thought about me but now I don’t.

I used to feel I needed a man to be happy but now I know I don’t.

I used to be cool but now I’m hot.

I used to be a drama queen but now I’m calmer.

I used to do things I didn’t want to do because I thought I should but now I do what makes me happy.

I used to feel I had to explain why I can’t do something but now I just say, “It won’t work into my schedule.”

I used to think if I’m not making money or working sixteen hours a day I’m not doing the right thing or I’m lazy but now I do what I can and test my motives to make certain I’m in my “joy” place.

I used to try to please other people but now I try to please myself first.

I used to keep some passions on the back burner putting work first but now I’m exploring my creative passions like art and painting.

 

Expressing style at every age

Free to express style at any age

 

Can you relate? Do you see yourself in their responses? Is it a stretch to say you’re feeling bold? Is there another word that fits better? Do you have a completely different point of view? Let’s open up the discussion, okay? We’d all love to hear your thoughts.

XO

P.S. I sure am glad you’re in my life! It makes experiencing it so much better.

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33 Comments

  • Reply
    Diane
    March 5, 2018 at 11:06 pm

    Bravo Brenda!
    So proud of the work you are doing on behalf of us later life ladies. I was just talking on the weekend with a couple friends, and told them I am more feisty now, and if someone is not pleased with the way I look or dress or act, that is not my problem. There are too many things to get caught up in, and others opinions of me are not nearly as bothersome as they used to be. I was trying to tell one of those friends that you are allowed to say NO to constant requests for your time and energy, but sadly she is not there yet. Cheers to your work with Chico’s. Glad they recognize a wonderful woman (wonder woman?) to help represent the brand and all of us out there who are still growing into themselves.

  • Reply
    Rebekah Jaunty
    March 6, 2018 at 12:39 am

    This is great! I’m 32 and am always on the lookout for older role models and inspiring women. Women who are fully themselves and refuse to disappear are not only taking good care of themselves, they’re showing younger women how it can be done.

  • Reply
    Kay Curl
    March 6, 2018 at 7:17 am

    As a 71-year-old, I have one comment about these discussions. When this topic comes up, I always hear about the value of saying “no,” and I agree that deciding for yourself how you want to spend your time becomes more and more important as we realize that our course here on earth is finite. However, if our default is “no,” then we’re likely missing out on possible new experiences and on the valuable contributions we can make. Many younger women simply don’t have the luxury of being able to volunteer and make their voices heard. We, however, can use what life has taught us to improve our society in whatever small way we can. I have a friend who has recently become a gun-control advocate and travels to state legislatures to sit in the gallery just to make her presence known to lawmakers. Another is a mental-health activist, having dealt with a mentally impaired child. Finding a good fit with your interests is key. With our time, our resources and our life experiences I think we can still contribute in many meaningful ways. And, if it doesn’t work out, we know how to say “no more!”

  • Reply
    Jane
    March 6, 2018 at 7:34 am

    Love your posts & fashion choices. I turned 70 in January & continue to celebrate who I am not how “old” I am. I still ski, cross country ski, hike & bike. We celebrated our 50th anniversary by cycling Provence for 8 days…..60 – 80 Kilometres per day!! I refuse to dress or act my age. I’ve had 2 concussions in the past 6 years & it’s been a long journey to where I am today. Balance, memory, spelling & emotional issues had to be dealt with. These are things I work on daily. I was fortunate to find a great neurologist which was a game changer. This year we are off to cycle in Denmark & Holland!!

  • Reply
    Kathy
    March 6, 2018 at 9:29 am

    I like be reading the post and all the responses! I have been through a lot of upheaval in my professional life and find myself in some uncharted waters at this juncture in my life. I’m calmer and not as obsessed about what I “do” this is a huge shift for me. I’m ok with who I am lately as well. I’m trying to be kinder to myself. I’m redefining success. I liked the idea of giving myself freedom to be bold or not…the idea of self permission is very appealing.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 15, 2018 at 8:14 pm

      I like that: “The idea of self permission is very appealing.” So true! It will be interesting to see where all this upheaval leads to. Wish we were all sitting around the living room hearing more about these change in life for each of us. Sharing is caring! Thanks for sharing, Kathy.

  • Reply
    Teresa
    March 6, 2018 at 9:39 am

    Wow Brenda you sure look good in that t-shirt I wish we could buy one here in the U.K. Like you I will be 65 in April and looking forward to spending the month of May in Arizona to celebrate. I try never to turn down any opportunity that life offers me as I do not want to miss out on living life to the full after working from the age of 16. Love your blog and have learnt so much from you. Thank you.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 15, 2018 at 8:12 pm

      Thanks so much, Teresa. How lovely to have a whole month in Arizona to celebrate. Wish I was closer and could join in the celebration. Cheers to you!

  • Reply
    Ruthanne
    March 6, 2018 at 9:46 am

    You are such a great, positive role model for me! I love how you share these thought provoking posts. As I get older I seek out everyday happiness and joy in my life. I try to be me, dress like me, feel like me and love myself as I am. In 3 days I’m going to a concert with some 50+ ladies, I am SO excited to go! Excited to share this experience with such lovely ladies and enjoy my favorite music! At 52, life is wonderful, joyful and sweet. I try not to look forward too much and enjoy the NOW!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 15, 2018 at 8:11 pm

      “I try not to look forward too much and enjoy the NOW!” Words to live by. Can we get that on a t-shirt and all wear it??? I learn so much from writing this blog and get to meet the greatest people! Thank you, Ruthanne!

  • Reply
    Sue
    March 6, 2018 at 11:02 am

    Love your tee that says it all, Brenda! I enjoy your posts as they always evoke confidence and great style…giving me ideas to try from my own wardrobe…from working to retirement. Looking forward to turning 65 next year!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 15, 2018 at 8:09 pm

      Wish we could all be there to help you celebrate! 65 will be a very great year. So glad you enjoy the posts. It’s a pleasure writing them for your eyes!

  • Reply
    Jill
    March 6, 2018 at 11:12 am

    Thank you for this, Brenda! I’m finding that one beautiful thing about being 64 (my age) is this: I feel that everything I’ve experienced in life (good, bad and ugly!) has prepared me for the work I’m doing now–the work I was created to do, in my opinion! After 30 years as a college English instructor, I felt like it was time to branch out into writing and speaking myself. Thirty years of speaking in front of people, teaching writing and living through “stuff” has supplied me with the skills and stories I need to love what I’m doing. And I finally screwed up the courage to start a blog about living a life of adventure–which has been an adventure in itself!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 15, 2018 at 8:08 pm

      This is so inspirational! I’m jumping up and down. Will visit you blog and about living life. I have the feeling you have a lot to offer. Gosh, I’m so impressed! Thank you for sharing about yourself. We need to hear each other’s stories!

  • Reply
    Gill Hall
    March 6, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    I’m nearly 61 and life has taught me I have to be bold. Scared sometimes but bold. For many many years I wasn’t and I missed so much. Then at about 52 the light bulb went off. I realised my time was not endless. So I started to live a little, I did new things. I started to travel alone and I loved it. I volunteered which gave me new perspective. I started a Facebook blog that has over 12,000 followers (I hoped to get a hundred or so and it’s called Style on a Shoestring by Gill if you care to look). I’ve made new friends and realised I have lots to give. It’s a wonderful journey!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 15, 2018 at 8:05 pm

      You are truly an inspiration, Gill!!! Thanks for sharing with all of us and giving us the courage to try new things too. Love it!

  • Reply
    TJ Southwell
    March 6, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    Love you Brenda! Xxxx

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 15, 2018 at 8:04 pm

      Love you back, TJ!!!

  • Reply
    Karen Thompson
    March 6, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    Love the T-shirt! Love the blog post! A friend and I immediately tried to find the T-shirt. We are both newly retired, and absolutely loving life! Is Chico’s planning to market this?? Could you urge them to??

    Karen Thompson

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 15, 2018 at 8:04 pm

      I’ll find out. I think it’s a great idea!!

  • Reply
    Katherine Cramer
    March 6, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    I was involved in an on-going group and organization conversation about Aging for several years. After taking a side step for perspective, I notice the expanding threads of our connections. It’s not only for those who work in an Age-Centered environment. Much like women’s rising consciousness that is re-igniting conversation, Aging is being heard as an equal that will not be swept aside. My hope is that the sound of Us will be heard and embraced. Fashion is listening and has many opportunities to demonstrate integral thinking. Thank you Brenda for another beautiful insight love letter.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 15, 2018 at 8:03 pm

      Oh Katherine, I was soaking up every insightful word of yours. I so appreciate your wide view and your positive spirit. Yes, this is the sound of Us!! And you dear heart, to point out that this post is another “beautiful insight love letter” really makes me so very happy. I feel like these are love letters to women. It’s how I feel about Us: love, love, and more love. Thank you SO much!

  • Reply
    Laurice Gilbert
    March 6, 2018 at 8:56 pm

    You are the best advocate ever for older women. Since following your blog (after reading the books) I’ve stepped out of all sorts of comfort zones and learned to love how I look without being self-conscious, as I was when I was younger. I try nearly all your tips; some I love, some not so much, but you keep me on my toes. A couple of weeks ago I went to a meeting where I was greeted with, “You look amazing!” That was the week I boldly mixed patterns that had never met before, thanks to your photos from the MMB retreat. Brenda, I think you have gone a long way to completing me – your professional know-how complementing my well-established quirkiness: a match made in heaven.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 15, 2018 at 8:01 pm

      Laurice, I treasure, deeply treasure your comment. Wow! This makes me so very happy. You are amazing, you look amazing, that’s fabulous! Big hugs to you!!! Xx

  • Reply
    Tgchi13
    March 6, 2018 at 10:14 pm

    “very year that’s gotten me to this one” I love that thought.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 15, 2018 at 8:00 pm

      Thank you. You don’t realize how important each one is except through reflection. At least that’s how it is to me. How wonderful to be in this reflection years!

  • Reply
    Elaine @ Following Augustine
    March 7, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    I LOVE this post and I NEED that t-shirt! On my last birthday, I threw myself a “still alive at 65 party” because I’ve been living with a chronic cancer for the past four and a half years. I know that it could take my life at any time and that every day is a gift, but I’m determined to squeeze every bit of life out of the days, months, or years that I have left! Yes, I am BOLD!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 15, 2018 at 7:59 pm

      Elaine, guess what came in the mail today: a duplicate 65 t-shirt. Email me your address and I will send it to you. I relate quite personally to what you’ve shared. Gosh, you must have this t-shirt. I mean it, email me!

  • Reply
    Trinnie q
    March 8, 2018 at 6:16 pm

    What wonderful comments, and a fabulous article Brenda. At 54, and embracing some health issues, I find myself no longer able to do my nursing job in the way I used to. I have struggled over the last five years to accept this, but recently had the grace to stop! Actually, the release from the stress of trying to manage all of this, is immense! So I totally understand how hard fought acceptance can be! We aren’t defined by what we can ‘do’ or not do., how we look! Our age! Our status! Or anything! Such a hard lesson to learn, but one that is very worthwhile. Each day , I am grateful for peace, and life on life’s terms. This is the aim , anyway ! Sending much love from Oz x

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 15, 2018 at 7:55 pm

      You always inspire me and especially today. Boy oh boy, you said it perfectly. A life well lived day by day is one that has peace and acceptence for life as it is. Thanks for the wisdom and guidance. I really do appreciate the attachment we have to how we used to do things compared to now. I know now that I can’t pack every day with activities. I have to make my choices and live with them. There always seems to be something to learn along the way. Thanks Trinnie. Sending much love from Sonoma. Xo

  • Reply
    DWK
    April 15, 2018 at 3:59 am

    Chico’s and so many “professional style consultants” oftentimes want older women to look like carbon copied, conventional, boring suburbanites. Who needs it? I’m 58, have long gray hair and wear jeans and cowboy boots every day. Women need to stop worrying about their looks and aging, and just kick up their heels and have fun while they still can! Be a rebel! It’s much more interesting!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      April 17, 2018 at 10:21 am

      Love your attitude! I say yes to that!

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