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Opinion August 2014

The Old Gal

What I Can’t/Shouldn’t Wear!

By Anne Ashley

I gave up logo’d t-shirts and skin- tight jeans ages ago, on my own accord. I stopped wearing bows in my hair at the first sign of gray. I have no desire to hang on to a youth by continuing to wear what wasn’t flattering the first time around!

I have been advised by a young fashion consultant that there are rules about what a woman of my age should wear – more importantly, what I should not wear. “It’s not against any law or anything … it’s just … you know, advised” – says the mere child with a pierced lip, eyebrow, nose rings and enough exposed tattoos to convince me that there is just as much artwork hidden beneath her clothing as above it!

Just a quick detour here: I question anyone willing to cover themselves in random symbols, cartoon characters, images of loved ones and special dates. Aside from the pain (I needed a week just to recover from having my ears pierced), what purpose does a tattoo across your back serve if the possessor can’t see it but everyone else can? How is that inspirational or motivational? Similarly, why commemorate a date or an event on your skin? Surely, that’s what photo albums and trophies are for.

Oh, and you don’t even want to get me started on this crazy obsession with arbitrarily piercing body parts! Nothing is uglier (or more distracting) than a bauble dangling from someone’s brow while you attempt to carry on an intelligent conversation. I’m not saying these pierce-happy folk are dim, I’m just saying its’ difficult to take them seriously when they volunteer to run a steel rod through their tongues!

I warned my children as they grew into young adults, capable of making their own decisions (and paying for it) that I may not be able to forbid them self-expression, but I sure as heck would happily create the next hole in their body or permanent reminder of my disapproval if they came home with a prohibited perforation or tattoo! It seemed to work too. I was spared ever having to explain bizarre face jewelry when relatives visited or trying to remember the meaning of some hieroglyphic symbol tattooed on my offspring’s forehead when sending family photos to distant kin.

Anyway, it isn’t so much that I disagreed with the teenage fashion guru and her counsel for old gals. Quite the contrary, I approve of every item on her list. I gave up logo’d t-shirts and skin- tight jeans ages ago, on my own accord. I stopped wearing bows in my hair at the first sign of gray. I have no desire to hang on to a youth by continuing to wear what wasn’t flattering the first time around!

No, my objection stems from the irony of someone whose entire body will one day be a taboo, giving me good taste advice! At least I was able to relegate my leggings, sleeveless tops, stiletto heels, low cut jeans, miniskirts, or plunging necklines (to name just a few) to the youth bin
once they became too inappropriate for my aging figure.

But how does a 60-something woman hide a sleeve of artwork that now resembles melted candle wax all down her arm when, in her youth, it was a tribute to a beautiful butterfly sanctuary? How does a 50-year-old woman cover up a tattoo on her neck that reads LOVE and matching knuckle art with integrity?

My fellow old gals and I might have a tendency to hang on to our fishnets and miniskirts for a little longer than is dignified, granted. However, that is nothing compared to the awkwardness this next generation of timeworn women faces when they reach the age of cover-up. There will be no mere transition into a more graceful age of dress.

Well, not without first investing in skin fillers, laser treatments and expensive plastic surgery, there won’t be!

 

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