Saturday, March 19, 2016

Free to Be....You and Me


There was some buzz that went around my blogging community recently about an online chat that took place between three 50+ women bloggers around the topic of how to go from "Frumpy to Fabulous".  At the end of the discussion, the topic of what messages do we send with our clothing. Specifically referencing women who appear on Advanced Style, the suggestion was made was that women who dressed "loudly" did so because they were "hurting inside" and that they were desperately trying to combat the "invisibility" that can come with ageing by being the "loudest presence in the room".

A couple of my friends, Suzanne and Melanie, addressed this in posts on their blogs, and while I didn't want to duplicate what had already been written, it did inspire me to take a look at some of my recent outfits and wonder, "does this woman look desperate/insecure/in emotional pain?

I felt very chipper in this outfit.  Orange and grey is one of my favourite colour combinations (it avoids the Halloween associations of black and orange).  I think that aside from the colour, this is a pretty tame outfit.  The Biba jacket and Danier skirt were both thrifted.

For the sake of making a less boring photo, I did this.  I would agree that in this photo, I do look like I could be having an emotional breakdown, but I also could have just found out that I won $60 million dollars, and I think this would have been the perfect response had that been the case.

This was what I wore today.  It was cold, so I thought I'd get in one wearing of this wool patchwork skirt I purchased a couple of months ago at a neighbourhood vintage store.  Unfortunately, the owner of the store is not very careful about the quality of the stock she's selling, and most of the clothing, including this skirt, has multiple moth holes (I had it dry cleaned and it's kept in a plastic bag to prevent any infestations).   The hat was a gift from a friend of the Style Crone, the moto-style jacket from Le Chateau and my trusty 1990's raver Swear boots, which still make an appearance now and then.  I got a few side-eyes, but I also got a lot of smiles, which made an already bright day even brighter.  I don't know what the people who smiled thought of me, most likely they just appreciated the whimsy of my hat and its faux dreadlocks.  Or maybe they thought I was desperate for attention.  Who knows,  and more importantly, who cares?

I will agree, I look silly here, but it was because my boxy, cotton 80's sweater and my giant jeans were making me feel that way, and even though it was not one of my most flattering outfits, I felt comfortably visible.   I am even flashing my 54 year old midriff (which was just for the photo -when my arms are lowered, the sweater covers my mid-section). OMG, a woman in her mid-50's is showing her bare stomach on the internet.  Cover your children's eyes, everyone!

 All decorum is restored, except for the fact that the sweater is made of knit strips of different colours, woven together which means there are little squares through which my actual skin can be seen, if you look hard enough.  Who knows what the people in my office thought about me the day I wore this.

My point is, does it really matter what others think your choice of clothing says about you?  In certain situations like a job interview, an audition, or a meeting with the Pope, the answer would be yes.  But on a regular day, most people are too wrapped up in their own life to give much thought to what some over-50 dame is wearing, and if they do, and the thought is along the line of "what crazy shit is that woman wearing?", is that going to make me question my style choices?  No.  I know I'm an intelligent, creative, and interesting person who encourages and supports creativity and self-expression in others.   What is crazy (and sad) is when women publicly question the mental stability emotional well-being of other women because of their non-conformist style choices. 

Late addition - Kathryn, who is the line of communication to and from my lovely St. Louis fan club (whose members are dwindling as the ancients depart this world) sent me the Weird Mantra today:
Blessed are the WEIRD people.....
The poets and the misfits,
The artists, the writers, the musicmakers,
The dreamers and the outsiders.....
for they force us to see the world differently
and that is how we become real.

25 comments:

  1. Well, I 1)love these looks; and 2)bought a spider man tee shirt at the thrift today. I don't have enough years left on the planet to give too many fecks about looking "eccentric" or whatever. You're a star. xox

    -Patti
    http://notdeadyetstyle.com

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    1. I want to see a photo of you wearing the Spider Man t-shirt!

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  2. The message is we are celebrating fashion, both retail and thrifted, mixtures and matching. We are celebrating the fact that we are alive!

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  3. Wear what you love in happiness and just ignore any nasty comments. Those who snark are just envious of those with a much more glorious sense of style than they have!

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  4. I have never understood why someone would put down someone else for being different. I believe in our culture today we have been pitted against each other for top dog and for no reason. Witness the who wore it better in magazines. Who cares who wore it better. And who says one is better than the other. If something makes you feel good just ignore those who think their opinions are valid but are just naysayers.

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  5. I also wrote about this issue as it really rubbed me the wrong way. There were 3 different bloggers recently (all well known) that spoke about this together online. To assume someone is unhappy and lost because of the way they dress is just wrong. That burned me more than anything else. It is clear that in fact the opposite is true. They aren't being restricted by anything and are choosing how to dress themselves for themselves. That is unbridled joy, which you have shown so very well here.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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    1. thanks for reminding me about your post - I updated mine to include the link to yours. I wonder if the bloggers that started all this have read any of our posts about it?

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    2. I'm REALLY curious -- who are these wenches? Will one of you email me the link to said discussion?

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  6. OMG...............your belly button is showing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Get thee to a nunnery.

    I really don't have time to tell other people what to wear, nor do I want to spend my blog posts judging and dissing other woman. Wear what you want and enjoy the fact that most of us Western woman have the freedom to do that.

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  7. You look fabulous in all the above outfits! Feck anybody else and what they think. I think it's they who have a problem and are trying to project it onto other people.

    When I see the creative, colourful and wonderful outfits some over 50s post and wear - it makes me smile and applaud them. What's not to like?

    Have a great week and flash your midriff at whom you like!

    Veronica
    vronni60s.blogspot.com

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  8. I don't know the bloggers who wrote the original posts which prompted yours, nor am I much interested in their cod psychology or assumptions. Clothing... Honestly, is it really that big a deal, that we would use it to criticise or condemn others without knowing them? Now THAT'S weird.
    Your outfits on display here are fabulous, Shelley. Bright and bold and dramatic and entirely you. I'm loving that patchwork maxi skirt, despite the moth holes, and the orange leather skirt is gorgeous!
    Keep rocking your own particularly wonderful style, how dull it would be if we all looked the same! Xxx

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  9. I feel honored to be a part of this amazing blogging community which supports and encourages individuality and self expression. Every photo above demonstrates why you and your blog are so important to me. And - so happy to see that you're enjoying your red hat! Can you believe that was three years ago?

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  10. First, you look fabulous in every outfit you're rocking, I'm enthusiastic about all of them!, orange & grey is a fav color combo, your patchwork skirt looks amazing paired with those rockin' shoes and fabulous hat!, and your cropped colorful top is funky and funny!
    And second, all that judgmental opinions about other people's motives to wear whatever they like, are a nonsense for me. How anybody could think that self-expression and creativity are just signs of emotionally damage or insecurity?!
    Anyway, your post is cheering up my day!, lovely lady!
    besos

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  11. Personally I find it more disturbing that grown women feel the need to follow fashion or dress down and fit in.
    I don't think I follow any of those bloggers and I'm pretty sure that they don't follow me.
    You look fantastic in each and every of your clothing choices and I know you've got heaps of friends, a cracking social life and a wonderful personality. xxxx

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  12. What a great Monday morning read! I think every photo should be a 'I just won the 649!' pic...they totally brighten my day.

    I have been bitten by a bit of a quilting bug, and I love seeing your patchwork quilted skirt...fabulous!!! And styled brilliantly too!

    And the woven top has also got my creative wheel turning.

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  13. I think Suzanne is right, that people who dress in an attention-getting way are more exuberant, not depressed. You prove it here with your jumping and stretching and smiling!

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  14. All the outfits are fabulous and I would steal that woven shirt and orange leather skirt right off your body - seriously, I would accost you in public and we would instantly become besties. Ha! Kidding (or am I?)!

    Why are people so very interested in judging us oldsters? For clothes, of all things? Are they afraid they will turn into us? They can only wish...

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  15. Peacocking should be enjoyed by all species, genders and ages. You look so great and I get so much pleasure out of looking at other people, especially those that stand out. Do you want to look at a Parrot or a pigeon. Both really, but my eye will go first to the parrot.

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    1. I'm not "unknown", I'm jujuvai.com, I don't know why blogger hates me.

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  16. Well, better craving attention than hiding un a hole, I'd say. We are consumers too, so we should be celebrated for our creative style rather than berated. I envy you your joyful, colourful take on fashion, it's really inspiring. Oh, and the woven/knitted sweater, mmmm.

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  17. I missed this but I assume these folks called themselves FASHION bloggers? lmao. I look forward to seeing what they wear when they hit fifty.

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  18. I totally agree with Kathryn and you. Please do make this world a bit more colourful and let's laugh.
    I adore that knit strips cotton sweater. SOOOO nice. Can I put a red dot on it? On the inside? Or don't you have red dots for paintings at an exhibitions? Meaning they are sold?
    Greetje

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  19. Fabulous outfits. . . Sign me up too as someone who loves to dress in quirky combinations.

    I adore that poem at the end. Perfectly expresses what my life has been about for 58+ years.

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  20. You look cracking good, Shelley. And so animated too, in clothes that suit you. 3 cheers to our team.

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  21. This post makes me so happy, just seeing your lotto dance and that scandalous flesh...shocking! I got a great shot of energy when I was up to my eyeballs in work. I love all of these outfits. I love that you bring your brand of style and sunshine to London. You are formidable. That smile pose is working for you!!
    Sorry to be so late commenting!!!

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