Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Growing old gracefully


H.I.'s latest booties - Silver Linen, bought online the other day. A beguiling mixture between glitzy and sensible, don't you think?

Our contents insurance is coming up for renewal, and every year the premium nudges up very slightly. Everything nudges up these days, but not so steeply as the maximum speeding fine that is just about to be imposed on motorists by magistrates - soon, you could be liable for a fine of £10,000 for going over 70 MPH on a British motorway.

If - Chris forbid - we did have a catastrophic fire in our compact but adorable city apartment, I am not sure the maximum payout would cover H.I.'s wardrobe on a new-for-old basis. That's the trouble with fashion - you have to wait so long for styles to come around again so you can take all those Armani shoulder-pads out of the cupboard and put them on in public - or so I am told. It hardly seems any time at all since J.R. got shot in Dallas, and my Armani suit from that period is still acceptable - or so I think.

There is a 70 year-old woman here in Bath who is getting a lot of attention at the moment, because she dresses like a 1960s art student, with a fierce hair-style to match. You will catch a glimpse of her if you visit the forthcoming BP Portrait exhibition in London, and if you also watch a film about 'older women' shortly to be shown somewhere.

Everyone says how marvellous she looks, but this is only because she cuts a strikingly jarring figure on the pavement - it is all a bit too obvious for me. She is the embodiment of the 'older model', but it is catwalk stuff, and really should have not much to do with ordinary fashion - the sort which is slightly frightening to the beige-wearing retired folk who are still alive.

I have never been a slave to fashion, but I have always known the importance of understanding what your clothes say about you to others. For instance, it is fine to have a pair of trousers which finish above the ankle - like the above - if you are a woman, but it is absolutely forbidden for men to wear them in my rule-book. I put this attitude down to being forced to wear my brother's cast-offs when at school.

I am still looking for that hat, and have been since I reached the age where I thought - rightly or wrongly - I could get away with it. I thought I could get away with wearing a deer-stalker (real name: fore-and-aft) aged 14 at school too, but I soon learnt that you cannot get away with that at any age these days.

Thinking you can 'get away' with something is - in reality - just reaching the age when your skin has become so thickened that you don't care what anyone thinks any longer, and that is a very sad state of affairs.

I live in dread of losing the last vestiges of my remaining inhibitions. If you see me wearing shorts in town, I will probably be handcuffed to a policeman.


21 comments:

  1. Er, um, yes, I am sure you are right about what you can get away with clothes wise when an oldie but I suspect my pink hat decorated with blue pipecleaners would be adjudged wrong for my age but it goes with all the rubbish in my head rather well. But I take your point. Today I am wearing my blue hat without adornment.

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  2. A very young actor I worked with in the late 1980's who hailed from NW London described that particular length of trouser as 'spenging'; a verb I have used ever since. I've just tried Googling it and absolutely nothing comes up. Perhaps mentioning it here might spread the word.

    Love HI's shoes. Please pass on my compliments. Looking at a photo of me kayaking (from behind obviously) on my latest post has made me wonder if sleevelessness (red wavy line) is a wise move at my age.....

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  3. My 'ratting' wardrobe is as fashionable today as it was yesterday afternoon!

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  4. I think style hasn't much to do with age. Some things look ravishingly on a very young or a very old person - it must be "truely" fitting to the person and the way she lives and thinks. Some things don't work - even if one has very good legs, wearing a mini-dress makes the proportions look silly or forced after a special age. Or showing midriff, even if it is slim and sheer. What is easily forgiven in a young girl, - when she is not perfect - in an older woman will be judged. That does not mean that one must please the masses - the only Must is to please oneself. Seems to contradict what I said above, but it isn't. Nobody has to wear beige, or has to stay on the safe side, and at every age one can be darn sexy. Again: it is not a question of age, but a question of style and attitude.
    The silver shoes look good and match H.I.'s beautiful hair!
    Trousers above the ankle work for petites, most tall women will feel outgrown (thank God Armani produces slim&long ones for slim&tall women!)

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  5. We call those "floods" here.

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    Replies
    1. We have the same expression in Germany, Susie: "Hochwasser-Hosen".

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    2. We call it "trousers at half mast" over here B and S. R

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    3. Rachel - the expression "Hose auf Halbmast" exists here in Germany too, but describes when the crotch of the trousers hangs between the knees, as the hiphop kids prefer them

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  6. I completely agree with Brigitta, and that is why I limit my wardrobe to jeans, shirts and jackets. If I don't like you I surely will wear an old pair of jeans, but if I want to impress you or those around I will wear very new, very pressed and very dark jeans with my shirt and jacket. Now, about the shoes.....

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  7. I love H.I.'s new booties.
    I'm always pushing my style boundaries and I fear there's little I wouldn't try. If I know I'll be going into the banking district I'll often wear my tutu ballerina dress and sequins as defense, and to piss people off, I admit. Most of the time I put something on just for the joy of it. I lost my painting studio where I specialized in big chaos, so a lot of that energy is now channeled into my choice of clothing as well.
    I enjoyed reading your views on style, and I would LOOVE to see you in a fore and aft (I had to look it up).

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  8. Sorry all, but I am going to reply to you tomorrow - hectic schedule and early night for me - honest!

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  9. Nice shoes! I do not like wearing trousers that are "highwaters" as we called them, although when i went for training for my new job, i noticed with some dismay that the pair of trousers i wore were a little higher than i like.

    My chief wardrobe sounds like Joanne's, although i do have some outfits for when i need to take it up a notch.

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  10. I am 68 and refuse to be beige! I like the sound of your 70 year old lady in Bath, and the shoes look great. There is a poem about growing old disgracefully…something about wearing a purple hat I think, but can't recall any more of it..I am sure you, or some of your readers will know it?

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    Replies
    1. Warning by Jenny Joseph.

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    2. The thing is: so many people like that poem - but I think: one shouldn't wait till one is old to do what one wants - be daring before!

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  11. ps..dont like the short trousers .

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  12. I love those shoes...and the pants! Comfy and classy.

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  13. Sorry again, but I have a limited amount of time - I starred in a film tonight, my darlings.

    I will reply to you all soon, honest!

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    Replies
    1. I trust your Equity card is up to date darling.

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