Monday, October 13, 2008

Midlifebloggers: Fashion for the Forty and Over Set.

What's your opinion on that? I've been reading More magazine and frankly, it's pissing me off. Last month Lesley Jane Seymour devoted her Editor's Column to dressing one's age. She described standing behind a woman at a hotel in Hollywood and trying to figure out how old she was by the visual cues: long blonde hair meant 40, mini skirt pushed it to 35, and bright colors signalled "under 30, for sure." Then the woman turned around and revealed
"(cue screech music from Psycho) a woman of a certain age who was trying desperately . . . to avoid looking a certain age. . . .Being of a Certain Age myself, I felt terrifically sad that this woman had gazed out over the fashion landscape and seen no appealing style stops between Thirty-Five and...Dead. . . .deliberately dressing 20 years younger than your birth date is setting yourself up to commit a kind of sartorial shock and awe."
It's taken me a month to stop sputtering at the slings and arrows that Seymour was flinging at me and every other woman who doesn't fit the New York fashion world's version of what she calls "Age Appropriate Style." What does that mean, anyway? Seymour asks us these questions: "If you have great legs, should you still show them off at 60? If your arms are trim and fit, can you go sleeveless at any age?" Hell, yes, I say. I certainly don't want to scare Seymour (or anyone else who is standing behind me in line), but my hair is long and my skirts are not because that's the way I want them. I have thought both issues through and I'm sure of my reasoning, and it has nothing to do with trying to look younger.

What bothers me so much about Seymour's edicts is that More is the only mainstream publication that focuses consistently on midlife women. They do a good job of offering articles that encourage us to take chances, break out of the box, go for as full a life as you can possibly imagine. But this encouragement clearly doesn't extend to our physical selves since the magazine offers a steady round of stick thin models wearing designer clothing. I don't know about you, but this midlife woman hasn't been stick thin since she was in her thirties, and she cannot afford, especially in this economy, $1500 dresses and $800 shoes.

So here's my challenge. How are you dressing these days? For comfort? For fashion? For yourself or your significant other? Think about it; maybe you have some photos to share. I'll publish all that I get on Let's turn that into the fashion magazine for midlifers, the one no one else is publishing.

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So--whaddaya think?