Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Some Woman

I pulled a dress out of the back of a closet recently, a dress which I had purchased and worn - a lot! - 26 years ago. I know the age of the dress because it coincides with the birth of my son, and I've never been able to part with it, even though its oversize shape and very long length became dated, (think Diane Keaton in "Baby Boom") thus relegating the dress to the back of the closet. And now, due to the changing winds of fashion and time, the dress seemed possible again and I welcomed it back to the fold.

Since the designer of this dress, Joan Vass, had been so influential to my thinking about how designers should approach dressing busy working women, I decided to Google her, only to learn that Ms. Vass had died earlier this year at the age of 85. From the Times' obituary comes a statement of her fresh approach to design, one which would become commonplace a few decades later, but was so radical in the 70's. " When everyone was wearing Pucci’s psychedelic prints, she wore black. In her collections, she favored classic shapes, and repeated them frequently. “If you like them, why shouldn’t you be able to go back to a store to replace them, so we make everything forever,” she said in 1979 in The Washington Post."

From what I read, I think I would have like her, though her tongue sounds wicked. From what I am wearing today, I know I certainly like her aesthetic and approach. To be committed to a unique vision outside the norm of fashion is a hard road for a designer, and yet so many women have no interest in trend, just in looking and feeling fabulous. Thanks, Joan Vass, for paving the way.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Skinny Jeans

Most women have them in our closets: our "fat" clothes and our "skinny" clothes. You know, clothes which have been purchased before and after a diet, before and after weight loss or gain. If you are like me, you have a fondness for the skinny clothes, and a reluctant acknowledgment of the others.

As a generally slender woman, it has been a while since I have had to reach to the back of the closet and pull out those looser clothes. Since becoming single, I have adopted a more rigorous exercise schedule, and often have been too stressed to eat, consequently staying on my thinner side. But this year the exercise program has gone to hell, and I am eating more. Consequently, whammo!, an extra 7 pounds is lying squarely, or rather roundly, around my midsection, making my skinny jeans uncomfortable and my body-image confidence a bit shaky.

This comes at a time when my business is growing its offering of clothing which I think of as fashion for women who may have lost their waistlines but not their sense of style. It comes at a time when I am in the final year of my 50's, and my metabolism continues to slow. And it comes at a time when I am more keenly aware than ever of how skewed the fashion world is to young women, vastly ignoring the needs of my contemporaries for whom skinny jeans and towering heels are not an option.

Last weekend I was part of a group of 7 women, all in our 50's, who carravaned to the outlet store of a brand catering to us. In a short period of time, thousands of dollars were spent because we found great-looking clothes which celebrated us, who we really are, lumps, bumps, height differences, weight differences, and accomplishments.

My skinny jeans are going to the back of the closet for now. Maybe they will have to stay there forever; that is to be seen. What is forever, though, is the consciousness that neither weight gain nor aging should have to mean the demise of style.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Are You Ready For A Thing Called Love?

Since I have sometimes mused within these posts about dating in my 50's, it is interesting ( at least to me and perhaps to you) to talk now about love. Why? Because as much as I hoped I might fall in love again someday, hoped I might meet someone who tickled my fancy, moved me to my bones, and with whom I wanted to share this time in my life, I thought that if it happened, it would be a long time from now. And it is not a long time from now. It is now. I have fallen in love.

I have dated a lot, learning a lot in the process while I have grown used to being single, considering meeting men a job I have needed to undertake in order to understand who and what I was looking for, understand how I am with men and what kind of men bring out the best in me, what kind of men I am attracted to and not. I have had wonderful times and wretched times, met men who sound like I have made them up (the sex-obsessed Zen priest? Really?) and men I wished liked me more.

And now I have met and fallen in love with a wonderful man, a man with whom I am at the beginning stages of knowing. Falling in love in my 50's is so different from falling in love in my 20's. We both know so much more, have histories which are longer and more complicated, know ourselves better than either of us could have all those years ago. One of the things I know, and which he and I have acknowledged, is that this wonderful experience is now, that it might last and it might not. That the potential for pain is not reason to avoid succumbing to the joy. That we have rich lives independent of one another and that building a relationship is complicated, scary, time-consuming, distracting, delicious, and oh so worth it.

I wasn't ready a year or two or ten ago. But I am ready for this thing called love now. Sing it, Bonnie.