Questions About Aging We All Ponder
Recently, I heard from one of the readers, Linda, who is about to turn 70 and struggling with issues about aging we all face. Linda gave me permission to share portions of her email…….
I’m not sure I can be articulate about this, but I would like to ask you to consider this topic in a new way.
I started reading blogs of women my generation 7 years ago. I seem to be a bit older than most of you. I will be 70 next month.
In the beginning there was enthusiasm about breaking the fashion and aging rules of the previous generation. It appeared we were different. No more Alfred Dunner and Karen Scott like our mothers.
And then it started, though seemingly different from our mothers. Perhaps we did not listen to them carefully enough. The feet, the knees, the hair, the skin, the digestion, the olfactory, the hearing, vision etc. We’re not so different after all.
And now I’ve seen some and heard discussions from the younger generation. There are brands they deem to be their mothers’…(she listed some of our favorite brands here)
I have come to the realization that I am going to choose clothes that make me happy and stop all kinds of comparisons no matter what others may think or what I imagine others are thinking. Still, I feel a need to know how other women of my generation are experiencing and dealing with the ongoing changes
I know exactly how Linda feels. I think we all have our days when we know aging is happening at a rapid pace, we can’t stop it, and we realize we are going through exactly what we watched our mothers go through. I made a decision a few years ago with each challenge, I would turn them into positives. I have been through this list before, but here goes again
- I have a ripped earlobe….so I cover it with my hair and wear fun necklaces and bracelets. YES, I miss earrings, but life is too short to focus on the CAN’Ts.
- I have multiple feet issues…so I wear cute flats…and there are so many cute ones
- I have eyesight issues….again, cute frames!
- I have a pleasing plumb figure….I have learned to dress to look slimmer as often as possible
- I do have some wrinkles, but I practice good skincare so my skin looks healthy and bright.
It’s all about choices and the perseverance to enjoy life and keep having fun. I enjoy clothing and I plan to keep that enjoyment as I go forward (no matter what life throws at me) but I am not sure if in my 70s and 80s, I will be a creative bright Iris Apfel, or a chic classic Carolina Herrera. Time will tell.
My mother always wanted to look nice. She did her hair, put on her makeup, and dressed every day. Now, her favorite clothing was a mail-order brand called BLAIR…it was matchy, matchy polyester. Not, anywhere near my style. But, at least she liked to look her best.
Linda, I also choose clothes that make me happy! You go girl! Today, I am wearing a fun cape from a brand called COAST. You can find the CAPE HERE. I have another friend who has a beautiful jacket from Coast she loves because of the high quality and the fit. The leggings are JJill and I will put them in the slide show below.
My key to aging has been positivity…a choice to live life one day at a time with a smile. A choice to leave a legacy of style and grace with my grandchildren. There are tough days…when I fell recently and hurt my shoulder it was hard. Not being able to lift weights has been hard. But, I am still smiling and won’t let it get to me. I hope to keep bringing that type of attitude to you on this blog.
Now, ladies how would you answer Linda’s request? How would you answer her and/or what would you like to see discussed here? I still don’t believe we are our moms…I still believe Baby Boomers have strength and resilience not seen in other generations and that we are going to smile and have fun as long as possible. Please leave your thoughts……then…
Disclaimer: I was provided the cape from Coast.
First of all – that cape!!! You look great in that and it is so amazing. I went to the website and it looks to be sold out at the moment. I can see why!! It’s just amazing! As to the “like our moms,” I know I’m not like my mom, but to her credit she still likes to dress nice at almost 94, even though she has ditched the makeup. She does wear those brands mentioned. I think it’s troublesome to try to put us in boxes at different stages of life, imposing different rules. What works for me, and I can only speak for myself, is to stay current with fashion trends and dabble in them in small ways when I like one, and mainly stick with classics that will never age me or go out of style. When you study what is in catalogs, in stores, online (regarding fashion), I think you begin to develop a sense of what is appropriate personally. There are things that I would not wear that are trendy because they are geared toward teenagers. I don’t miss those things. When you choose good basics and classically styled pieces, you will look elegant even when you are dressed casually. Look at you in these pictures Pam! I have come to the place where when I try something on, I know pretty much right away if it is appropriate for ME. Not for my age necessarily, but for who I am right now. I don’t need or desire a huge wardrobe to look nice. Some brands do very well with women our age in mind. Talbots and J Jill come to mind immediately, and there are others. That said, I will still happily take any opportunity to walk into Anthropologie and pick up new tops for casual wear. You have to really know yourself, what makes you feel confident and comfortable, study yourself in the mirror and be honest with yourself. We can still be in our 60’s and beyond and have fun with fashion. Linda has the right idea about not worrying about what she thinks others are thinking. It’s not easy to come to that point, but once you know you are putting your best self out there and feel confident, it will show. I’m going to have to get hearing aids sooner than later, but thankfully even those are almost invisible now and I have longer hair, but even if they weren’t so small, I’d wear them because it’s important. I honestly am not concerned with what others are thinking any longer, I mean it. I’m concerned with how I feel. Your blog helps me to navigate these waters and continue to evolve with my style. Our moms didn’t have blogs like yours, and I think that has something to do with it too.
Well said, Karen! I also like to go into Anthropologie and get out what they have! I want to leave the house each day with a smile on my face and not be afraid to tackle the day. Thanks for starting this conversation off today.
Persevere with attitude! Pam – you are inspiring every day. Someone once told me, I may not be able to make it perfect, but it’s my JOB to make it the best I can. This advice has served me well and you are doing it everyday. Foot issues – wear cute flats, etc. We simply have to acknowledge any issues, deal with them, and move on to living our best life!
Thanks, Stormy! I understand what Linda was feeling…there are days the issues seem to come faster and harder. But I am doing my best to tackle each one with joy…and adjustments!
With several health issues I have learned to adapt. That is the single most important thing I have done since turning 72. It has helped me through a lot. I still look stylish and try my best to do so because it makes me feel better!!
Like Barbara here, I Am a few weeks away from 72. Yes, health and aging issues have crept up, but I am NOTgoing to 1. Stop living every day to its fullest( or until I need a nap). 2 not going to stop using a bit of make up to enhance what I’ve got left..3. not to look younger.
I have a foot issue going on, failing eyesight and hearing, but so do most of my real friends. I love yoga to keep me flexible, tai chi for peace and harmony and good bones and balance. I walk when the weather is harmonious. I love life at this age or any age!
Yes, it does Barbara…you are right! It keeps us positive and in the game!
Pam,this blog has helped me immensely. I like to read what others write in addition to you. I definitely do not dress like my mother. Clothes, jewelry, makeup and hairstyles are all in our favor. There is no reason to look frumpy or aged beyond what we feel inside. I stick with classics which works for me. I’ve grown to think scarves are the best accessory and they always make me feel put together–the finishing touch whether business or casual. I look at other people to get ideas of what to wear and even what not to wear. If I see a well dressed woman with a scarf I can’t figure out how she tied, I will go up to her, a perfect stranger, and ask. Women seem to beam with pride when you ask them because they know it’s a compliment. I have a friend who is 75 and she is always put together with lovely styles including shoes and accessories. Although she is petite and I am not, her style would work well on anyone and everyone compliments her. This blog has nudged me to try some things out of my comfort zone and I have not been disappointed. If I have a fail, I donate it because I know it will look great on someone else.
I love to talk to strangers like this Nina…it opens so many doors when you compliment someone. I always talk to women in line when shopping and it usually begins with a compliment.
I am with Linda. I want to wear clothes that make me happy. For me that is brighter colors and patterns. According to the rules I should not because I am petite and curvy i.e. plump.
Don’t worry about those pesky old rules, Donna. I agree with both of you …wear what makes you smile!
What a great post today! I agree with Karen (above) regarding having blogs to help us navigate through aging. I think for today’s woman, aging is something to be embraced and not hid or feared as was so often the case with my mom’s generation. It’s not easy to accept the body and health changes that come with age, but I’m learning to look ahead and not back. I won’t be what I was at 40, nor will I be at 80 what I am today. I’m so appreciative of this blog, Pam, and for the helpful comments of those who post here, too.
I am also appreciative of this wonderful group of ladies, Beth. And your encouragement means the world. Thanks so much!
What a great topic to include in your postings! We don’t always like to talk about it publicly, but we all face physical changes while still wanting to look our best. I think another aspect is that looking your best really keeps your confidence and mental well being high. Facing some of the physical limitations you begin to have as well as well as that life is changing for you brings up all those fears about aging and what will happen to us. Thanks for embracing this time of life with a positive outlook!
Thank you Linda! Life is short…let’s enjoy each moment.
Oh, such a good topic. So much to say.
My mom lives in a care home. We try to keep her wardrobe refreshed and looking nice, in the styles and bright colors she would choose. Okay, she does look good in ankle pants that she never would have chosen for herself! The little things do matter to how she feels. We raid her closet on birthdays, Mother’s Day and Christmas to replace any worn-out items, and repair hems on pants, etc. It’s also important to be aware of size changes. My father wouldn’t do this, so it’s up to us daughters. Clothes wear out quickly in the high heat of industrial laundries. It’s sad to see how many people are walking around in faded, stretched-out clothes in there. One woman looks like she took great care in her appearance, but her lovely clothes from a few years ago are dingy and droopy now.
Mom always looks nice, and her care workers put together her outfits to coordinate. They also compliment her and make her feel good. Bless them.
Clothes are sometimes the armor we wear to give us strength in a challenging world.
Love that last sentence so much!! Clothes are sometimes the armor we wear to give us strength in a challenging world. Wow…that is good and what else is good is what you are doing for your mother! Bless you! How great to have such a loving family…may it all come back to you later in life.
First, I love that cape on you, Pam! I know all those “rules” and choose to ignore the ones that don’t serve me. I dress to please myself because life’s too short to worry what other’s think.
Yes it is, Jennifer…and you always look amazing!
Creativity is the trait I see often in real women. They wear clothes that break the “rules” we once knew. There are too many factors to consider, such as personality and demeanor, etc. A magazine or catalog doesn’t capture the big picture. Guidelines are helpful. However, I smile when I see what others create, especially when it goes against the grain and works. What an inspiration!
That is why I say I could see me going the Iris route. Really because I think it would be so much fun…it would take a while to muster the courage. But it is for sure an option for me.
My birthday is tomorrow, and I’m inching ever closer to that age 70. I have had two heart surgeries and a list of other physical problems, some for my entire life, and I’m happy to wake each day still alive. I don’t follow the fashion trends, but I don’t dress head to toe in Alfred Dunner as my mother did, either. I dress to please myself, but do get compliments on my “style” and I don’t find people snickering as I go by, so I guess I’m okay. I did go through a phase in my early 50s where I lamented the fading of my “beauty,” but then I became a grandmother and decided that was God’s compensation for getting old. I like being me.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KAY!! and I love it that you said I LIKE BEING ME! I hope all of us are at that point where we love ourselves and think about leaving our families with joy and smiles.
We are different from our moms because it’s okay to be our age. I’m 61, which cracks me up, like is this 61??? I remember a phrase from my Girl Scout leader decades ago, “The closer I get to an age, the younger is seems!” I had a point where I was dissatisfied shopping because it was my younger body (slim and straight) in my head. I had to get comfortable with me in the mirror and try cuts and styles I hadn’t worn before. My daughter was great in helping me develop that new perspective. I, too, Pam, have foot issues, and wear stylish, comfortable shoes, flats to 1-1/2″ heels. At 5’9″, it’s okay not to have the high heels. And like you, I fell and broke my left shoulder, losing some range of motion, and now wear front-hook bras exclusively. As we age, we adapt. I’m still working, can retire 12/01/2023, but I’m not sure I will, so I’ll wait to see what I’ll do. I like to walk a lot (so does the dog!), and currently want to begin Pilates so I’m exploring studios for hours and costs. I’m interested in TaiChi, which is great for balance, so that’s in the future. To sum it up for me, life is good when we are good to ourselves. I feel privileged to grow older, so many people don’t get this opportunity. My own mother died at 55. I get up every day, put my best face and outfit forward, and smile!
I was listening to the radio the other day and a commercial came on with a special discounts for SENIORS, which they defined as 65+. It was the first time I realized that to the world I am a senior. WOW…I do not feel like one at all. But, if they want to give me discounts, I will not turn that down. I can’t believe how I feel at 65 and I am grateful for it each and every day. Thanks Christine! I feel for you with the shoulder injury…this has been so painful.
I know that your blog and others has me stretching my own personal taste to try new clothing, websites and stores I wouldn’t have found on my own. I’m also finding uses for pieces I already own. This information has become a real time saver. I now make more effort to analyze what I buy and am making more strategic, useful and stylish choices. I’m more comfortable when I can still feel chic over 60 and I appreciate the heads up on what colors and styles are trending. I listen to the “rules” but don’t follow them if I’m loving what I’m wearing. I still laugh at the nut who advised don’t wear jeans after 45!
Who made those “rules” in the first place? There is too much life to live to spend it worrying about what someone else thinks. The one rule of thumb that I have is: If my teenage granddaughters are wearing I probably shouldn’t. I have been retired for eight years. I have spoken with some of my retired friends, & we seem to have a problem spending large amounts of money on clothing. When we were working, we thought nothing of buying that $100 pair of pants or the $150 jacket. Now we are reluctant do so because we worry about needing that money for other things later. That is why we gravitate to those brands like Blair & Karen Scott.
I feel a little differently about aging vs my sisters here. I’m on the younger end of the range … nearly 62, and still working full time as a teacher. I’m really fortunate to be healthy and to eat well and do vigorous exercise (I swim laps for a mile). So that factors into being so comfy with aging. I do understand the struggle, but I gave up worrying about it decades ago, because, as a plus sized woman, I -had- to let those opinions go. It was so liberating, so game changing. I do caution those of us trying to stay current to watch dressing up too much. The younger teachers I work with dress much more casually than I do. I’m fine with that, as I love the classics. But if I were trying to be more modern, I would forgo the scarves and jewelry (love them, so not gonna happen) and add sneakers to my dresses and pants outfits.
I have to admit these questions were on my mind last weekend after having lunch with my brother and sister and their spouses. I am the baby of the family. They are 12 and 15 years older than me. I am watching them age and found myself thinking about my own age issues. I left that lunch with resolve to take risks and live life. I decided that I am not going to take a passive view with my appearance and clothing. I am going to dress in ways that make me feel good and I am not going to fear trends. Being the youngest, I have often have had more in common with nieces and nephews. I tend to think and act younger. I’m going to continue to do that. Saturday, as I was looking the “Would you wear it” blogs, I found myself looking at them differently from other times. There is going to be less “can’t” in my vocabulary and more “can”.
Wow! What amazing responses from amazing women! I very much agree with Karen’s comments and themes that resonate from others are positivity and adaptability. What I hear is strength and a profound belief that life it worth living and living well. I remind myself, like another commenter, that my mother died at 55 too and didn’t get the chance for these years. I’ll take it all and appreciate and honour it as long as I can. Part of that is wearing what makes us happy. Pam, I love your cape. It looks fabulous on you! I can only wonder what it would look like in a dark purple! ?
Now I want a purple cape! Purple on…. Thanks Janet!
What a great discussion! My mother & I shopped together & more often than not bought the same clothes in the same size! She never went a day without makeup, exercised daily, and watched what she ate. She lived to be 98. I strive to be like her everyday and am told often how much I look and act like her. I don’t use the same skin care routine that she did, but follow one religiously and try to be very observant about what looks fashionable, comfortable, appropriate. In other words, I want to age as slowly as possible and look current. I too have foot issues and am in constant pursuit of comfortable, cute shoes, tops that fit my petite shoulders, & jeans that don’t stretch out during the day.
Every day is a gift. Many are not lucky enough to live to be middle aged yet alone old. Those of us who have lived long enough to see our children grow up and have children of their own are richly blessed.
Yes we age, Jill…thank you!
I skoot right past the Alfred Dunner section at Macy’s!
I prefer to think of my favorite brands as designing for my body type state -middle-aged, thick through the waist- and not my age.
But the Alfred Dunner matching pants and tops are definitely old, at least to me!