Friday, August 14, 2009

When I Grow Old I Shall Wear Red

What does it mean to age gracefully? You’ve seen some of those older ladies who do not age gracefully, haven’t you? You know, the ones I mean. The one’s with gobs of makeup stuck in the crevices of their life-worn faces, too much bright read lipstick, jet black hair (real or synthetic), huge, expensive rings on their gnarled fingers. Those ladies.

Well, I’ve seen them too and I promised myself that I would not become them. I promised myself that I would grow old gracefully, wear age appropriate make up, clothes and hair. I want to be one of those ladies that are thought of as “handsome”. You know the type. The ladies that wear beautifully tailored clothing, quiet make up and jewelry. The ladies who get a second look because of their regal carriage and quality clothing. That’s what I want to be when I grow up.

I have always leaned more towards the classic style of clothing. I like to wear things that don’t go out of style because I don’t like to throw my money away by having to repurchase items every year on the whim of the designers. I had my colors done back in the 1980’s and though I don’t have the palette anymore, I still remember some of the colors. I almost always get compliments when I wear those colors, so I keep wearing them.

Black and white are my fashion staples and I punch those colors up with brights: Red (my favorite), orange, salmon, periwinkle. If I remember to stay in that palette, things work really well for me. I like flowing clothes like those you find at Chico’s or Eileen Fisher. They look elegant and make me feel good. No need to change that as I grow older.

I wear foundation in a becoming shade and have softened my lipstick from bright red to cranberry or plum. No more stilettos for me. I love shoes but wear either flats or wedge-heels. My favorite shoes in my closet are a pair of fire engine red peep-toe Stuart Weitzman's with a finish that looks like the paint job of a luxury car. Wow!!

My grey hair is finally starting to come in. I’ve been waiting patiently for it. I love grey hair and have always thought that it looks sophisticated. I remember that my mother always felt the same way. She always said “I’ve earned every one of these grey hairs”. I feel the same way. I wear my hair naturally, in sisterlocks either up in a bun or tied back in a pony tail.

What a testament to the resilience of the human spirit to live long enough to “age gracefully”. You really don’t get to that place without having shed some tears and felt some pain and joy. And the tears, pain and joy of a life well lived will show on your face and in your carriage.

I don’t mind wearing age on my face, I just want to wear it gracefully. I’m adjusting.


  1. Y'all ended up in NC...of course you did, doesn't most everybody?


  2. I love your blog.
    I too will continue to wear age appropriate make-up because I love how wearing make-up makes me feel. I just bought new glasses and I tried them on with an eye to (get it, "eye to") how they look with my eye make-up. I won't wear expensive jewelry because, well you know, I don't have any.

  3. Good to hear from you, Vonnie. This is definitely a journey and I'm loving every minute of it, as I know you are also. No rocking chairs for us, huh?

  4. Blase: Hopefully this will not become like Atlanta. I like it a lot more. Less traffic and more friendly people. See you here?

  5. Deanie, reading this immediately took me back to the first chapter in Russell Baker's book "Growing up." Baker the long-time columnist for The New York Times used the first chapter in his book to describe his 80 year old mother who "traveling among the dead decades with a speed and ease behond the gift of phyical science." Baker is a gifted writer and an important American satirist whose retirement from the "Times" i'll never recovery from. writes in that first chapter that his mother once phone him and asked if he was coming to her funeral which was to take place that day. "I'll phone you back," he said and hung up. When he did call back she had no memory of her call.

    Reading your post made me go back to read that chapter of Baker's book and I found that your description is all as lucid as his.



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