I was at the mall the other day, rushing into Boscov’s to buy some lipstick, when I caught the reflection of an older woman wearing the same leopard print coat that I was wearing.
Hmm . . . that’s funny. I’d purchased my threads at the Coach Outlet store thirty-five miles away. It was the last one, marked at a deep discount. I was sure I owned the only such, slightly trendy, maybe a little wacky cloak in my small town.
Then I stopped and looked closer into the department store mirror.
Thank God I didn’t pass out in the middle of the cosmetic aisle.
911? We have another one. Come quickly.
It was me. I was the old woman in the mirror.
Well, how did this happen?
I was supposed to look young—cool—in my designer duds. Not like some elderly matron want-to-be hipster.
Do you know that anyone under the age of thirty is cuffing their pants? My also-not-young buddy and I were in NYC with our daughters on our annual day trip and we stumbled into Brandy Melville flash sale in a Soho warehouse. Our old tired legs wouldn’t carry us any farther, so we found a flat upon which to rest our elderly bodies while our girls tore through the showroom. Basically, we were sitting on the floor.
And from this perspective, you notice fashion below the knee.
Seventy-five percent of New Yorkers roll their pant legs . . . with sneakers (specifically Adidas kicks), boots, ballet flats, etc—this trend reaches across gender and race.
How had this escaped me?
That’s it! I decided to bring that look back to Berks County—the rolled cuff for the over forty crowd.
It couldn’t be that hard.
Well, I’ve struggled.
Can you roll boot cut jeans? What about socks? My ankles get cool with out them. Should leggings be cuffed?
Google isn’t much help—yes, I Googled, How To Cuff Your Pants. I almost posted a photo survey on Twitter to see if my new look worked.
Nevertheless, I was brave enough to go to the Giant with my hot-off-the-streets-of-New York get-up and I worked the fruit section like nobody’s business.
Still my husband is not crazy about my new combat boots.
And oh, my poor daughter! The fashion humiliation she’s vicariously suffered at my attempts to be stylish.
No, Mom! No. No. No. You can’t do gray on gray. That lipstick is too red—you look Goth. Are you wearing black on black on black again? Why don’t you try preppy?
Just shoot me if I ever see me in Vineyard Vines.
And though I long to stay current, I will absolutely draw the line at the trendy high-waisted pant, aka THE MOM JEAN, that is back in style. It might have been cool in the eighties. Maybe a six-foot super model can pull off the look. But at 5’3″ my butt is big enough without the help of all that extra fabric, thank you very much.
Yet as I age I’m allowing my wardrobe to evolve, to be an extension of my personality. I’ve always wanted to be a little more daring, a bit less in control. Plus I have an excellent role model. My mother, at seventy-three, takes her clothing very seriously, loving nothing more than a great shopping trip that produces an unusual or a beautiful garment. So don’t be surprised if you catch me with a red hat or a purple dress once in a while.
At mid-life, I’m over the halfway hump of my fashion life and I want to go out with a bang.
I’m off to find some zebra print!
Warning: When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple
By Jenny Joseph (written 1961)
When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple
with a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
and satin candles, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired
and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
and run my stick along the public railings
and make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
and pick the flowers in other people’s gardens
and learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
and eat three pounds of sausages at a go
or only bread and pickles for a week
and hoard pens and pencils and beer nuts and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
and pay our rent and not swear in the street
and set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.
Life is too short to wear boring clothing.
Cushnie et Ochs
I’d be thrilled if you read my novel WHAT THE VALLEY KNOWS! You can find the book on Amazon and at Black Rose Writing. Read the first three chapters for free HERE before taking the book-buying plunge!
“With strong prose and pacing, the pages turn quickly and easily . . . A taut, compelling family tale.” -Kirkus Reviews