A Challenge Piece Inspired by responses to my blogs from women over 65.
In an age obsessed with youth and beauty, women approaching “Le Quatrieme Age”, the Stunning Sixties, Sensational Seventies, Elegant Eighties, and the No-Nonsense Nineties, have been pitifully forgotten. “Sounding so much better than over the hill or senior citizens”, says Mary Louise Cox, many women approaching these undeniable decades are looking and feeling great taking better care of themselves and in more cases than you can imagine, looking better than their younger sisters. These women are the last generations of real classy ladies who were inspired by the glamorous movie stars of the television screen in the yester years.
Mature women want to be as fashionable as the younger women, however, they are faced with the challenge of finding appropriate clothing and general guide lines to enhancing their looks. In doing research for this piece, even I had a difficult time finding supporting articles for these age groups. Fashion magazines obviously ignore women over sixty.
Neglecting these age groups by designers, appropriate trendy yet classy styles are impossible to find in stores today other than Chicos, where everyone looks alike and Talbots, a bit too New Englandish and basic, in my opinion. The clothing designers have unfortunately ignored the fact there are so many women in these marketable age groups that are desperately seeking the latest and the greatest in wearable fashion. Although designers claim their styles to be ageless, that’s no consolation when you have to feather through endless racks of mini skirts and low-rise jeans. The challenge is finding wearable updated clothing to fit your life style, budget, and figure.
Sadly, these women are being portrayed in the media as being helpless, frail, unkempt, denture and diaper wearing individuals, who don’t care about how they look, simply for the sake of selling their products. This is so untrue. Today many look, feel, and act ten and twenty years younger than their chronological age, presenting themselves better than younger women. With confidence, poise, wisdom, life experience and more importantly, a great sense and acceptance of who they are, they deserve more uplifting and positive attention than they are getting.
I have met so many women over 65 who are so inspiring and truly a delight to be with. With their positive attitudes, their gratitude and zest for life as well as their wise words of wisdom, one can only aspire to achieve such a great sense of fulfillment and satisfaction in their life time let alone their elegant flair.
Today there are very active women’s organizations called the “Red Hatters” who are women over fifty who dress in purple and wear red hats. While recently at the Sunrise Theater in Ft. Pierce Florida, I was introduced to yet another new organization called the “Black Hatters”, which originated in West Virginia in October 2009. Filling two center row orchestra seats, they all wore black, like they are going to a gala or a wedding, wearing showy black hats. They dressed to the nines with lots of glitz and lots of rhinestones, big diamond brooches, lace and boas. They were simply stunning, laughing, smiling, and just enjoying life. This group from South Florida was called the “Black Bangees”. How coincidental to have met them in conjunction to writing this article.
Thankfully people like Miley Cyrus, a 16 year old actress and fashion designer has recognized the need for styles that suit “Le Quatrieme Age”. Cyrus says, “I wanted to finally make something that was for girls my age. Something me and my friends would wear. But I’d say anyone from age 8-80 can enjoy this line.”
And hats off to Britain’s 80 year old Daphne Selfe, oldest catwalk model currently gracing the runways for Dolce & Gabbana, Tata-Naka and Michiko Koshino and who appears in Nivea and Oil of Olay campaign ads. She says, “My comeback was extraordinary and quite ironic. I got big when I embraced my age and went gray”.
My friend Anna Mione, author of six books and a screen play, began her writing career at age 70 and yearns for new fashions that suit her while continuously evolving to enhance her beauty. She says, “It’s a myth that old people are stupid or ignorant to fashion and wanting to look good. Those are just the younger people who were never very bright or fashion conscious to begin with, who simply got older”.
So congratulations to our glamorous grandmothers and fabulous older women who are vivacious and “stunning”, as Ellen Chase says, and who have spoken out as advocates to help represent women of any age. Thanks to their graceful posture, high cheek bones, bright eyes, beautiful skin and lustrous unashamedly gray hair and their amazing attitudes towards aging. The women of this caliber represent genuine natural beauty. Genuine beauty is not threatened by other women, or perhaps maybe only women of the same age, after all, women will always be women. Rather than be threatened by each other, we should help each other to look and feel our best. Eventually, we will discover that we are really all the same. And if we are fortunate, we too will reach “Le Quatrieme Age” looking and feeling fabulous.
The most important lesson we can learn from older women is to embrace and accept who we are and as I always say simply, “be the best, at being the best you can be”. The greatest feeling is being comfortable in their own skin. Accepting your true self displays confidence and boosts your sense of well being. It allows you the ability and the freedom to contribute all of your great assets.
My admiration and gratitude to all of “Le Quatrieme Age” women I have been fortunate to meet. They have taught me these great life lessons by exemplifying and sharing their thoughts and feelings. Thank you for inspiring me to write this piece.