Don’t Tell Me What to Wear


Ok, I’m admitting it in public. I am over 50, which isn’t much of a surprise since I do have two married daughters. I married at 19 and had my children in my 20’s, so I still have many years of wearing clothes ahead of me. For sure, I’m confident and more comfortable in my won crinkly skin than ever before.

don't tell me what to wearI devote my time to my writing, teaching and speaking and currently am updating Immersion Travel USA: The Best and Most Meaningful Volunteering, Living and Learning Excursions. It’s a fantastic compilation of exciting trips all over the USA to really sink your teeth into and get involved with where you visit.

All this said, I’m sure you’ll be able to understand my next point: I’m totally ticked off with all the sudden programming on AOL, talk shows and news feature spots about what the heck is appropriate to wear over fifty. I don’t need to waste my time hearing or seeing all that rubbish. I’m over 50 and I’m not stupid. In fact, I’m getting smarter all the time.

My mother at over 80 and 90 was the hippest of the hip dressers you’d ever hope to meet. When I was working as an oral interpreter outside Denali National Park, Alaska, Ruthie flew up to see me from Richmond, Virginia. She arrived wearing a fleece lined jeans jacket with dark blue slacks, layered t-shirts in two shades of lighter blues, blue pumps and her sparkling blue eyes. My momma never needed anybody telling her what to wear when, and neither do I.

What’s wrong with these people, and who appointed them the fashion police? I saw a fashion show on Oprah with groups of four and five models who came forward in waves. On the left there was a woman in her 20s, and left to right, each model matured by 10 years. I kept gawking at the 40, 50 and 60 year old models, scratching my head and checking the pages of Vogue because I didn’t see any big deal difference between the ensembles. It totally escaped me that the 40 year old’s belt was below the hip, the 50’ish model didn’t have a belt, which suited me fine, and the 60 year old’s belt was around her waist. Duh – I didn’t get it.

Supposedly rule number one is over 40, no more mini-skirts. Whoopie doo, I never wore them anyway. I think anyone intelligent, at any age, knows enough to wear what looks good. My thighs are not my strong point, unless playing Parcheesi on my cellulite, and that’s only by invitation.

If I’ve learned anything from watching these ridiculous programs and seeing the horrific “don’t wear this if you’re over 50” features on AOL, is that too many women won’t even try on a new or different look. Just because we’re older doesn’t mean we might not look even better in something than we did years ago. I have a pencil thin leather skirt that I couldn’t wear for years because I retained my prepubescent chubbiness for an extra few decades. Now it fits and I love it. Yes, my knees are covered.

Clothes are fun and should be hip and exciting. I dress to please myself, at every age, and weight. The moral of this story is, don’t watch the news, close your eyes when the Internet’s feature screens pop up, and if you don’t like the way something looks anymore, get rid of it and treat yourself to something new.