A letter from an old folk’s home
The blog is about living life after 70 with joy, resilience, and purpose. A Letter from the old folks’ home: NOT in the slow lane, YET is a source of positive, helpful advice encouraging people to set and achieve goals and find joy in life. The blog will cover firsthand experiences and thoughts and concerns. Topics of blogs will be health, retirement, fashion, travel, and living in continuing care retirement communities. The blogs will be short and appear at least once a month on my website www.nadineblock.com or by email if you choose.
Do seniors need to look old and frumpy? Can they be stylish?
Think about the poem, “Warning,” by Jenny Joseph.
“When I am an old woman I shall wear purple, With a red hat which does not go, and doesn’t suit me. And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves, And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.”
You might think that look would be frumpy. I propose that Jenny Joseph is talking about an old woman with style. If she knows color, she will choose a complimentary red/purple. She is a woman who knows who she is and develops a memorable look, a style. It leads others to follow.
Fashion in clothing regards clothing of the moment, current fads. At my age, being fashionable seems hopeless. Imagine an 85-year-old in a sleeveless mini-dress with tractor-trek sole boots. Throw in a crocheted swimsuit. Scary, hysterical. I look at the latest fashions and do not despair. Sometimes I find something that works for me. This year, it is the hoodie under a blazer. I can wear a lightweight hoodie under a blazer and look fashionable.
Style has a timeless, memorable look. Elderly women and men can be stylish. I can still wear dresses. Straight cut, midi- dresses in muted colors with long or three-quarter length sleeves are perfect for me. For casual wear, long straight leg pants and a nice black blazer and crisp white shirt or a nice white tee work for me. Men’s wear favors classic styles, double-breasted fitted sport coats and double-breasted overcoats. Part of my style involves my hair. I let it grow out white. It is heavy and attractive, but boring. I decided to get feather extensions, about three different sets of red-brown and teal blue rooster feathers. I bought all the equipment needed for about $25 and feather extensions online (Amazon and Etsy). I found a hairdresser who knows how to insert them. She puts new ones in my hair with bead holders about every three to four weeks.
I asked my niece, Linzey, a fashion executive, what style advice she has for seniors. Linzey says, “I think one huge advantage that those over seventy have is that they have lived through all the trends and brands that continue to circle back around. You can experiment with bringing them all back around in a refined and unique way.”
Tips from Linzey:
“- Embrace nostalgia, wear meaningful items from various times in your life that tell a story or feel like home to you.
– Play with color, whether it is choosing complimentary colors or creating a monochromatic look with different shades of just one color.
– Conversely, play with neutrals. Layer neutrals. Try an all-white look. Do not be afraid of black and brown together, a huge upcoming trend.
– Fabric matters. Natural and more sustainable fabrics like cotton, linen and silk are not only usually more comfortable but elevate a look.
– Natural hair is on trend, younger women going grey are letting it be and embracing it.”
I have four siblings all over seventy who Zoom weekly. I asked them what they think style is at their age.
“For a guy, a smart sport coat with relaxed straight jeans, maybe with a little stretch in them and a nice tee shirt.”
“For a guy, a great pair of sunglasses. I found a pair of the Alpina M6’s at an estate sale. They are one of the most wanted vintage glasses, all handmade between l987 and 1991.”
“For a woman, an attractive hat that suits the occasion. I collect them. People give me hats.”
“For a woman, colorful scarves to hide neck wrinkles and throw on over jackets and dresses.”
“For a man, a great pair of socks.”
“For a woman, high-waisted relaxed jeans with a cropped jacket.”
“For a woman, relaxed jeans, a black blazer and a crisp white shirt.”
“For a woman, a haircut ending just below the chin line, to cover a sagging chin.”
“For a woman, a little black dress midi length with long sleeves and pearls or colorful accessories.”
We do not need to look old and frumpy; With good choices, we can be fashionable. We can always be stylish.