fashion · fitness

Style secrets for women over 50? Catherine has thoughts

As if life weren’t already hard enough… Town and Country came out this month with “Style Secrets” for women over 50. Whenever I read “blah-blah for women over 50”, I feel like I have to either 1) step away from the breakables in my house; or 2) put on my mouth guard while reading to keep from grinding my teeth away.

And yet– I couldn’t resist sharing a few tips with you, dear readers. Worry not, though, as I have accompanied them with healthy (or at least, amusing) commentary. And pictures, too. So here we go…

Town and Country says to us: Opt for daintier jewelry.

Hell to the no. First of all, I can barely see the catches on itty-bitty necklaces to put them on. Secondly, I enjoy color, texture, dimension and materials. That translates for me to having fun with jewelry, which is sometimes large and in charge. I present to you exhibits 1a and 1b.

Next tip from Town and Country: Find the right jeans.

I hardly know how to respond to this. Every woman over 50 knows that the “right jeans” is one of the big lies of our time. They don’t exist. Or, maybe they did (I found the perfect pair of Marithe Francois Girbaud jeans in 1993), but then they stopped making them. We know this: we go out with the jeans we have, not the jeans we might want…

They go on, offering us more sage wisdom: Wearing a skirt? Mind your knees.

What is this? Random orthopedic advice? Nope. Some bozo named Paul Cavaco dropped the following quote:

“I think that after a certain age your skirt should really be at or below the knee, no matter how beautiful your legs are. It looks more appropriate and it doesn’t look like you’re trying to look young.”

That’s a load of crap. Take this, Paul:

Don’t we all look super cute? I thought so.

Their next tip sounds okay, but it’s actually bad: Chose where you want the most attention. The creepiness is in the details below, from creepy guy Andrew Gelwicks:

“A lot of the women I dress have a certain area of their body that they don’t feel as confident of. If you’re going to be more conservative with one part of your body then you need to compensate by highlighting another area. Have a leg moment if you don’t want to draw attention to your shoulders.”

No No No No No No No! I can choose to highlight NO areas of my body if I want. In fact, that is my preferred default state moving through the world. If I have to pick one part of my body to highlight, it guess it would be this one:

I'd like for my brain to be highlighted, but of course not literally, like in this picture.
I’d like for my brain to be highlighted, but of course not literally, like in this picture.

Town and Country clearly doesn’t like women over 50, as they then suggest the following: Shapewear is key.

In case you don’t know what that is, they’re talking about spanx and other sorts of tight elastic garments designed to constrain our bodies and render us less like people and more like sausages. Why? Because over-50 bodies and movements of those bodies are seen as less smooth or graceful or uniform by some in the fashion world and everyone on the Town and Country Editorial staff. All I have to say here is this:

It’s a trap!

It *is* a trap, in more ways than one. First, once you manage to get into these elastic torture garments, it’s not easy to get out of them again. Second, it traps us into thinking that our own unfettered bodies are not acceptable for public outings. A pox on all shapewear and the truck they rolled in on.

They go on to make lots of suggestions about high heels (always have a pair at the ready), as well as what color of high heels you should have (black is a requirement, but color is okay). I’ll stop here.

In summary: my style tips for women over 50?

  • Find your own style
  • Ignore the whole idea of style
  • Follow trends
  • Find your trends at your local thrift shop
  • Wear pajama bottoms all the time
  • Do whatever you want

That’s my plan. What are your style tips for women over 50? I stand before my closet, awaiting your advice…

3 thoughts on “Style secrets for women over 50? Catherine has thoughts

  1. I am a librarian. I wear sensible shoes. None with heels. I also wear short skirts if I feel like it.

  2. The most amazing 50+ woman I ever saw was literally dressed like Pippi Longstocking, pigtails and all, and she looked absolutely fabulous.

    Also note just how much of this advice is from men who work in an industry that thinks that if a grown woman weighs more than a toddler, they are somehow unattractive.

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