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What to wear? To redefining or to refine … that is the question.

Posted in Style & Travel

Dries van Noten
Dries van Noten

My pal Manu sent me a message on Facebook yesterday. It featured a picture of Caitlin Jenner wearing a miniskirt as she exited Patricia Field’s store in NYC. Fields was the stylist for Sex and the City – and has a pretty keen eye for style. Though it isn’t immediately obvious when you look at her. But Manu wasn’t interested in that: “Love how she looks (referring to the newly minted Caitlin Jenner) but those knees must be tucked away!” she said. And then: “What does sofa girl say?”

Fields out in Public. Girlfriend, really?
Fields out in Public. Girlfriend, really?

I am a conservative dresser. I always have been. I don’t like clothes that shout “look at me”. Well, I don’t like them on me. I have no problem with other people wearing whatever they want. Long as they understand that, as with any other freedom of expression, there is likely to be criticism. 

And here it is: “No miniskirts for the over 30. Ever.” Olympian legs or otherwise. Frankly, if you are south of sixty – you shouldn’t even wear mini-skirts when you are alone.

Sorry Caitlin, I know you are new to this. But we gals need to look out for you.

8962469888030I went to buy shoes today. Gone are the days where I would scoop up a pair of Miu-Miu, that ship has sailed for a couple of reasons. What I was looking for were a pair of Adidas Superstar, trainers that I used to wear twenty years ago. No, it’s not a midlife crisis, the Plantar Fasciitis has meant I can’t walk on to my left heel. Anything but a cushioned sole crucifies me. “Going to be that way for at least a year,” said the doc, “maybe longer if we can’t figure this out.”

And you know what, I am completely ok with it. I have figured out a slouchy style that I see as being my “third act” look. Wide legged trousers, long skirts, great quality V-necks. Long sleeved for winter, three-quarter for the summer. Low waisted jeans, high-waisted trousers, yoga and track-suit pants in dark colours.

body-gets-old2No more skinny jeans, nothing sleeveless. No hipster aberrations either. I just can’t wear them anymore. “The body changes. Elegance is refusal, elimination, and pitiless self-criticism. No matter how many times you salute the sun, the skin on those fine upper arms will drape toward the crook of the elbow in a gentle valance that would be a triumph executed in chiffon but is alarming in human skin.” (Joan Juliet Buck for Bazaar magazine.) 

Alarming is never a good word when it comes to style.

I hear some of my pals asking: “So what’s new? Sounds pretty much like what you’ve been wearing for years.” You are not wrong, I am going to take what has worked for ME and make it work harder. Cardigans, cashmere, silk, crepe, edgy jackets and coats. Blue, black, grey, white, cream and more grey. Good bags, good belts. Flat, comfortable shoes.

Less is going to be more, and, yes I know, less is also going to be more expensive. So, whatever I buy from now on is going to have to last, (universe willing) a long, long time. 

Manicures and pedicures will keep the extremities looking flawless. If all else fails, I’ll spend my cash on my head. AAs Joan Julie Buck observes “A truly great haircut makes up for the fact that you’re not in spike heels.”  Amen.

gallery-1430243321-hbz-joan-leadRead Joan Juliet Buck’s essay ‘Coming of Age’ here

Images of Celine and Dries van Noten Clothing in the public domain. Rat by Banksy.

Don Nelly Cartoon found on Facebook. Adidas by Adidas.

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10 Comments

  1. […] sofagirl pointed out a little while ago in a style related post, at our age, we don’t need more clothes: fewer, better quality ones will suit our needs much […]

    July 23, 2015
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  2. Hallelujah for flat shoes with great support! I find myself down to about 10 quality items that I truly love and they look good interchanged, so I’m good. Until one of them wears out, I suppose.

    July 10, 2015
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  3. I agree with you. At a certain point people (both male and female) need to realize not everything clothing wise is a good choice. We don’t always need to go out with an arrow bubble over our heads pointing at how dumb we look for attention-she’ll have her reality show for that. 😉

    July 5, 2015
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  4. Since 50 I’ve acquired this terrible phobia of falling and breaking my ankles when wearing heels. So they stay in my closet. But oh, I miss those beautiful shoes!

    July 3, 2015
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  5. I had to laugh at the mini skirt comment! I don’t believe in that for one minute, and although I don’t wear mini skirts, I do wear short shorts, and I’m 35. I also have tattoos and people never guess my age correctly, so maybe I have a sort of excuse?…

    July 3, 2015
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  6. Stephanie Dorgan
    Stephanie Dorgan

    Oh dear Sue! It is true that you’ve always dressed in the most elegant, low-key style. But I must say, my lovely daughters, who once bounced so happily on your knees (both knees, as you gave them those super fun pony rides) should dress as they desire, their whole lives. And it’s no different for you and me. The sum total of a woman’s worth should never have an even remote connection to what she looks like or wears. That’s how the powers that be distract us females from the most wonderfully productive things we might be doing. Miniskirts forever, for the gals who want to wear them! And thanks again to you and Camparigirl for you fabulous columns!

    July 3, 2015
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    • sofagirl
      sofagirl

      I hear you Ms Dorgan – I do. I would never weigh all of Caitlin’s worth up against her wearing of a mini-skirt. I would look at her kindness and bravery and sense of honour and humour and the work she puts into her world. The observation that mini-skirts are best left to the young – is just an opinion. Not a damnation. And I loved loved the pony rides and your sweet girls. Who, by the way, seem to be making their way fabulously through the world – mini-skirts or nay. xxx

      July 3, 2015
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  7. I agree with you about the mini-skirt, although I hope you won’t be deluged with comments accusing you of body-shaming, not celebrating all body types, etc. etc.

    July 3, 2015
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    • sofagirl
      sofagirl

      And that’s fine. Opinion is just that xxx

      July 3, 2015
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  8. camparigirl
    camparigirl

    I recently wore a navy and white t-shirt by l’Agence that, even on sale, was hellishly expensive but it’s made with the most beautiful cotton that hides and defines at the same time and has 3/4 length sleeves; a pair of white wide linen pants and wedges and I felt fabulous. I am afraid getting away with cheap and cheerful is no longer an option.

    July 3, 2015
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