Fashion Is For Every Age

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A couple of weeks ago, fashion icon, Iris Apfel turned 95. This incredibly colorful woman is well-known in fashion circles for her personal sense of style, and she is the first to tell you that you must wear whatever makes you happy and confident. I have followed her for many years, and although my own style is much different than hers, it made me think about how far we have come from our grandmothers.

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Does anyone, besides me, remember their grandmothers wearing those floral, cotton house dresses? You remember, I know you do. My grandmother had a closet full of these shapeless garments with buttons down the front and large patch pockets full of kleenex.

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And the icing on the cake was the stockings rolled down to the knees and held up with elastic garters which I am certain cut off the blood flow and led to varicose veins, poor circulation, and who knows what else. It has been many years since I have seen anyone wearing these frocks, but I checked, and you can still purchase them.

You would not catch any of my friends wearing these garments. We all love to shop for clothes, enjoy a good sale, and are interested in fashion. And just to be clear, fashion does not have to be expensive. As Iris put it,

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Fashion, after all, is just another way of expressing ourselves and has no age parameters. Well, there may be some limitations!

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When I was younger, I often heard older ladies whispering among themselves about someone who they referred to as “dressing like a teenager”. They made it sound shameful. I remember wondering when I would have to start “dressing my age”. I looked to my own mom as a role-model. She loved to look “put- together”. I can’t ever remember her saying something was too young for her. She simply modified how she wore it. And for me, that is the key to fashion. Simply put yourself together in an interesting way that reflects your personality and makes you feel comfortable and confident. “Miss Fishnet”, up there, is just doing her own thing. It is not for anyone else to judge.

There are a few fashion blogs that I look at from time to time, and it is interesting to me that almost every one of them describes what our basic wardrobe should look like. No one should be telling us what we need because they do not know our lifestyle. Lifestyle dictates our requirements. Some of us like a few dresses in our closet, but others may prefer pants for all occasions. Cagney and Lacey are perfect examples of this. Both are dressed entirely appropriately for an evening out, and yet, their choices are very different.

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Style is entirely personal and is a visual portrayal of our personality. As much as I love to see Iris in her colorful outfits, I am a classic, neutral girl who loves to add bold jewellery and scarves to punch things up. Here are some looks I love for daytime errands, shopping, dinner with the girls, or Saturday pub night…..

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My lifestyle today is definitely more casual. My closet does have several “little black dresses” because I still love to get dressed up when there is an occasion.

The wonderful thing about fashion is that it continually evolves. There was a time when I loved the color and glitter of sequins on my outfit and who knows that may happen again. My point is wear what makes you feel happy, unless it is those damn pajama pants. I draw the line at pajama pants in public.

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Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

To Dye or Not to Dye

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I know it is getting close to Easter, but I am talking about hair not eggs. Coloring my hair has become an increasingly difficult choice for me. I began finding random gray hairs in my mid twenties. I ignored that old wives tale about pulling them out and growing two in their place, and by the time I reached my mid thirties, I had a rather substantial silver streak across the front of my head. People asked me if I had it dyed that way, and I proudly told them it was natural.

Well, when the silver started to take over my head, I just felt old when I looked in the mirror, so I took the plunge and bought some hair color. I erased those natural highlights and went back to my chestnut brown locks.

Fast forward about 30 years and here I am contemplating letting my hair go natural. It has become a tedious, messy ordeal to keep coloring, and I think I may be ready to give it up. I am not even sure what my natural color might be at this point. I look at pictures of my mom and try to imagine myself with her hair.

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My beautiful mom

Well, to be honest, I probably would not actually go natural, but at least closer than it is presently. My hair is currently a light brown with blonde highlights and annoying silver roots which appear about every two weeks. I am tired of trying to keep up with the growth.

I used to think that gray hair just made us look old, but more recently I have had a change of heart. It is not the color that makes us look old, but rather our style and attitude. It seems everywhere I look there are women with beautifully coiffed silver gray tresses. Apparently GRAY is the new black! Older models with gray hair are gracing fashion magazines and advertisements everywhere. They look stunning!

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So why am I so apprehensive????

I was discussing my thoughts on going gray with the girls over dinner on pub night. Everyone had their own opinion and ideas of course. Then someone sporting spiky, platinum hair with black and pink highlights said, “We should get to decide on YOUR hair because we have to look at you the most.” The table broke into gales of laughter. Oi vey!!!

Maybe I should ease into this gray transition thing by doing something totally fun,

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Or perhaps not.

Another friend reminded me that if I color my hair, I must also consider my brows. She warned that it can be a dangerous situation. A technician was dyeing her brows and forgot her in the room. By the time the technician returned, she looked like Groucho Marx. The visual of that made me burst into laughter. It took several days of scrubbing to tone things down.

I have an appointment with my stylist in a few weeks, and I’ll discuss it with her. Until then, I guess I’ll just keep dyeing.

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

P.S. If you have any thoughts or your own experience on this, let me know.

 

Wrinkles and Other Stuff

Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought or even said out loud, “Whoa! How did that happen?”. I know I have. Aging just seems to sneak up on us. Now we all know that individual who never seems to change or look older, but they see the changes too. Perhaps, they are just better at hiding those telltale  signs from the rest of us.

I think the scariest piece of beauty equipment that I own is this little device below.

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That’s right! It’s the dreaded magnifying mirror. When I have to use it, I try never to look at my whole face at once. It’s  terrifying!!! I just kind of sneak up on the area I need to work on, like chin hairs for example.

Don’t you just love the hunt for chin hairs? I swear they spring up overnight. Sometimes they are dark and easier to find, but now as I get older, they are white. I run my finger over my skin to feel for them. It’s like Braille. Then I have to be a contortionist with my face to expose them for plucking using another tool of torture…. tweezers. Ugh!

Once we have our face cleared of unwanted chin hair, there is the mustache. Please do not shave! There are any number of do-it- yourself products on the market such as depilatories and sugars or  waxes. Of course, you can always have it removed at a salon. I tend to like to remove it myself. For some reason, I like to feel I am in control of my own pain. Pick your own method, but don’t neglect this area.

 

Once our facial skin is smooth, we are ready to tackle those wrinkles and age spots. It always reminds me of spackling a crack in a plaster wall. No matter what your age, there is no denying the importance of a good face cream and there is no shortage of products at all price points. Those products promise us the fountain of youth in a jar, but we know their limitations. After all, we weren’t born yesterday. A product that I have found that helps is……

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I use it after I have moisturized. The creases around my eyes seem considerably less visible, and the skin feels like satin making foundation glide on easily.

We all have our own individual make-up routines for eyes. They are my favourite part, and I don’t feel complete without doing them, but many people prefer a natural look which is great too. Do your own thing ladies!

Lips make me crazy. Where do they go when we age? Mine seem to shrink with each passing year. I am not into Botox or fillers, so I have taken to over-drawing them. Before you get some scary picture in your mind, I keep it very minimal. Experiment with your own, if this is a problem you have as well.

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Well, I have shared my own issues about my aging face, but we all know the problems don’t stop there. As one of my girls put it, “I use to look at my naked body in the mirror and see Perky, Pointy, and the Black Cat. Now, I see Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail.” Add to that the moles and skin-tags that grow in profusion like barnacles on a boat, and you get the picture. We don’t have to like it, but we might as well accept it. Smile, those wrinkles are coming anyway.

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo