a pink polo shirt

a pink polo shirt: 
quoting
alternative palette

More northern skies.

polos and khakis

The TV commercial, either for medication or insurance, opens on an older couple strolling, hand in hand, on the beach. Perhaps there’s a big dog running ahead, perhaps not. The couple is dressed nearly identically, she in a pink polo shirt, he in a light blue one; he in “khakis,” she in “capris,” most likely white.

They are, for all intents and purposes, dressed like toddlers, no, babies.

My eyes immediately begin to roll, and my hand inevitably reaches for the remote and mute button. What is going on here? Why are these olders dressed like this, and what does it mean?

It’s a truism that the “elderly” often come to resemble babies in meaningful ways.

But while some aspects of the aging process may be inevitable for some of us, e.g. diapers for incontinence, no one need ever put on a pink polo! And older couples need not dress alike, like twins in a double stroller.

Although they may feel like twins, people who live together for a long time do really come to resemble each other, this “twinning” baffles me, especially when it’s done intentionally. It seems like some kind of “blending” that some people are comfortable in, but I want to ask why.

Are people infantalizing each other and themselves, in essence telling the world “we’re done,” or “we’ve reverted to a former state?”

Are they saying they no longer want to own their age and experience? 

Or are they, as I believe, most often adhering to the expectations of a society that values individuals less and less as they age? Marginalized into invisibility. 

And when “casual” dress becomes every day dress, as it has, the continuum of aging  from child to adult to elder can all be “covered” by the simple, the big, and stretchy, asexual, “athletic” style. And from brunch to dinner you’re ok in your capris and khakis. Another option:

“There is, for example, a style that can be termed “sweet old lady” dress. A distinctive style characterized by floral patterns, soft fabrics, frills, high necks and long sleeves, it represents an enduring mode and not just clothing that is out of date (though such is the nature of fashion that it is periodically in vogue, usually identified by terms such as granny style.)”

—Julia Twigg

I like this man’s style.

alternative palette

Grind and Glaze

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that my fall palette, what I like, is generally darker than this and it contains more “red” and “blue” tones. But this is a nice alternative. It really reminds me of the colors of the leaves one sees in Central Park in the fall. It’s lighter and less mood than what I tend to be drawn to.

This “colorstory” is from Grind and Glaze, a small batch, sustainable, and low waste brand by Tessa Clark, a designer and a design contestant on Season 17 of Bravo’s Project Runway Reality TV show. How many fashion designers do you know from Cincinnati? Well, now you know one.

When you go to look at Tessa’s site or Instagram,

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moulding the female body

quoting:
moulding the female body
fall palette


moulding

“This moulding the female body into acceptable social forms is also found in relation to age. Beauty practices, especially anti-ageing ones, are part of the process of producing an acceptable form of woman in later years—still feminine, still displaying engagement with the disciplinary practices of femininity, yet in a toned-down way that accepts the lesser claims to attention and regard. In relation to clothing this means still wearing feminine or fashionable dress, showing that the individual is still involved, still trying to present a good appearance, and not falling into the dangers of neglect, and potential dereliction. It can involve showing a continuing commitment to fashion in the form of the trends of the high street, but without straying into overly youthful dress.”

—Julia Twigg

I’m reading, Fashion and Age: Dress, the Body and Later Life, by Julia Twigg, the book I mentioned here. It’s an academic book but approachable and full of all kinds of wonderful ideas and insight. Twigg, who is British, can use terms like “old slag” and “mutton dressed as lamb,” and it’s on point when she uses these insults to illustrate deeper, hidden meanings.

The terms used for older women, and how they are often tied to how women dress, is one of the things sucking me into Twigg’s book. “Mutton dressed as lamb,” after all, refers to an older woman trying to dress up as if she were young.

Because sexuality and the erotic are so closely tied to clothing and, hence, “fashion,” it’s almost like the older woman who dresses up to look younger, is trying to fool someone.  

And how dare she? She needs to stay in her lane, the social order says.

Tone down, cover up, and fade away.

And while the young can get away with “sweet disorder of the dress,” a wonderful line by the poet Robert Herrick, the older woman cannot. Sexy, mussed up hair, a blouse, casually slipping down one shoulder, sleepy, smudged eyes are no longer seen as erotic when “worn” by an older woman. Because really, who wants to see…

Clothes are a very thin layer between a woman and the world, but the meanings they carry are much more complex than one might at first think. While clothes tell us a lot about a person, I’m finding that we are often reluctant to decode, out loud at least, what exactly they’re saying.

I’m not talking about whether she shops at Macy’s or Nordstrom, I’m talking about what those clothes actually say about the state of her being a woman in the world.

What’s the meaning behind that thin layer and how it changes over time and into old age? 

We’ll quite happily question the Kardashians and their “look,” I know I do, but are we interested in what that look says? She has a big butt, that might or might not be fake, and it’s a shame that so many young girls are emulating her, and it’s all about sex…  But I want something meatier, and no pun intended.

Why did this “hypersexualized” look appear here and now? What does it have to do with social media? Is it indicative of anything? And what about Kardashian’s thin layer? What is this mould, that’s what I want to know. This, is what I’m doing this fall.

palette

What’s your fall palette, not just the colors you choose for your clothing, but the particular tone your life takes on in at this time of year?

I definitely make a quick change to a different palette in the fall. For me it goes from black and white to browns, and dark greens, and dark blues; I actually become more colorful in the fall!

I made this chocolate-brown, circle skirt in a class at Mood Fabrics. It is chocolate-brown, sorry for the poor quality of the picture. The fabric is 100%, light weight wool, with a bit of a sheen to it. 

The fabric is from Fab Scrap, an organization I have told you about before. Fab Scrap is trying to open a store in Los Angeles in the next year or so, and I’m sure they’ll be wildly successful there.

Given that the “rag trade” is big in Los Angeles, that is a very good thing indeed.  

My one little innovation was to keep part of the hem open and display the name of the company that manufactured the fabric. The white writing, at the selvage,

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if not now, when?

if not now, when…
musings
buzz cut
northern skies
different generations, no problem
quoting

if not now

Sitting with girlfriends, and the discussion turned to time and desires, and, if not now, when? Isn’t that something of what getting older means? With every year, that kind of grey, foggy sort of thought creeps in more and more often. Then a friend dies, and time accelerates. If not now, you think, when? And even though it’s not all doom and gloom, this feeling, it is melancholy. 

You might start chastising yourself: “Should have done it sooner.” “Why didn’t I do it sooner?” “It’s too late now.” 

Is it too late? For some things, for all of us, it is. I will not become a prima ballerina and dance with Baryshnikov. (Although, did you know he was born in Riga, Latvia?) You will not join the airforce and fly fighter jets. But realistically, is it those things we want now? Have we stayed stubbornly attached to dreams that no longer make sense, even if once we felt they defined us?

Perhaps my new goal should be to see Baryshnikov dance again? 

Aging is nothing if not an interesting process, a process, I think, that calls for a good dose of reality. Along with the reality though, it pays to sprinkle in some courage. Courage to change your hairstyle, courage to go back to school, to move to another country, or to bootstrap a business. If not now, when? 

buzz cut

I had always wanted to get my head shaved, if not completely, then that Sinéad O’Connor length. (Read this post, it’s still good.) It was very hot and sticky at the end of summer, and I finally did it.

It’s a testament to having a bit of courage.

I love my new “buzz cut.” It was an entirely attainable desire, that for some reason I had always put off. I think that we women tend to put aside even these small desires, the ones that might make us happy just for the sake of happy. I’m curious, what’s one thing that you absolutely could do, but don’t? Why don’t you?

I think we put these things off because, in the big scheme of things, they seem unimportant, frivolous even.

I read something lately where the woman was commenting on how many of us feel we have to clean the entire house before we get started doing what we want to.

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it’s the little things

it’s the little things
rings and fanny packs
earrings
mending
quoting: Julia Twigg

It’s the little things, that’s what people say. Well I never really believed those “people,” until this summer when I was “gifted” (horrible word), these little samples, after I had a rare, and kind of meh, facial

But never mind the facial, I truly love what was in these little tubes, I loved them to a flattened death. 

I wouldn’t have bothered to get my grandfather’s yardstick out to photograph them for you, if I didn’t. Each works well, feels good, and smells divine. And each, is from a reputable, well-known and well-respected brand. 

The Kiels is a kind of moisturizer/bronzer/smoother cream.

It’s hard to describe, and unlike anything I’ve ever used. Most bronzers have left me unimpressed and the same with any kind of product that promises to “smooth” the skin. This really does leave that “glow.” Try this, perhaps you can get a sample from Kiels.

The L’occitane, Créme Prècieux, smells divine, not powdery, not soapy. It feels just the way I like moisturizer to feel: like it’s working but not “laminating” my face with a layer of stuff that will immediately come off on my pillowcase. The L’occitane hand cream, like the standard and much-loved Shea Butter Hand Cream (also very good), is almond scented. And it works!

Probably some of you know Dermalogica? I had never tried it, but again, the scent isn’t overpowering and the cream is soft, not oily or sticky. Although my dermatologist says that anything beyond 30 SPF is “meaningless,” this is 50 SPF. And hey, the tagline is “Age Smart.” 

P.S. None of this is sponsored.

rings

These little, leather rings are from, RR Leather Accessories, a small but emerging company in Latvia. I had seen their bags, back packs, halters, and belts on Instagram, and I liked their look and overall aesthetic. When I kind of popped in on them, basically uninvited,

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