I read an article a long time ago about a woman taking her elderly mom shopping for a new pair of shoes. When they got to the shoe store, the daughter headed down to the shelves of orthopedic shoes. She looked for her mother’s size, picked out a few pairs and turned to find that her mother wasn’t with her.
She walked up to the front of the store, where to her surprise, her mother was trying on a pair of turquoise platform shoes with sparkles on the toes. A young salesman was helping her put them on.
The daughter exclaimed, “Mother! What in the world will you wear those with?”
The mother looked up at her, smiled and said, “Defiance!”
I love that story. Why should we give up on sparkly shoes or a wild pair of glasses or wine before noon? Who makes these rules up, anyway?
I remember when “work clothes” for women used to be suits, panty hose, heels (no stilettos), plain blouses and minimal jewelry. In other words, business-like or “safe” outfits. But wearing them, I always felt frumpy; I longed for costumery and wild colors.
I decided that I would not give up being a little silly, no matter how old I got to be. Until her last illness, my mother was a gorgeous walking and talking fashion statement. She wore beautiful clothes and knew how to put different items together to make a unique statement. Whenever she stepped out, she looked like a million dollars. Her example inspired me to break out of “safe” outfits and wear what I loved.
So, here I am at 65, still wearing lots of jewelry, a wardrobe of mainly black, bright red, purple, turquoise, lime and cobalt, and often (and proudly) sporting a bright yellow “Piss Off!” pin on my lapel. Why not? In fact, when I turn 70 I might decide to wear nothing but saris and salwars and carry a bright pink parasol. Let people stare—so what?
My current favorite fashion maven is the magnificent *Iris Apfel. At 94 she refuses to slow down, or give up her fabulous iconic look. Who can blame her? I love her quote:
“Getting older ain’t for sissies, I’ll tell you. It’s very funny. I have a dear friend whose mother’s gone, but she was very funny. When I’d say ‘Yuda, how do you feel?’ she’d say, ‘Oh—when I get up in the morning, everything I have two of, one hurts’. You have to push yourself when you’re older, because it’s very easy to fall into the trap. You start to fall apart—you just have to do your best to paste yourself together. I think doing things and being active is very important. When your mind is busy, you don’t hurt so much.”
Take a good long look at this incredibly woman. If she isn’t a reason to be bold, wild and wear all the bright colors and jewelry you want, I don’t know who is.
LOVE her quote at the bottom of this post, too!