Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Ewe! Who wants to be a lamb anyway?!

No time to write a decent post this morning, but here's a promise that I will soon commit myself to articulating my thoughts about why "mutton dressed as lamb" may be my least favourite expression of any! Recently, Une Femme used the term, acknowledging its offensiveness, in a post about age-appropriate dressing, and this morning Linda Grant, The Thoughtful Dresser, responded to a recent article which argued that black leather biker jackets for over-40s would never escape the "mutton monitor's" detection. Well, I don't have a biker jacket, but especially given that such a garment is really a classic piece, there's no doubt in my mind that a woman-with-presence (it's a strong look!) of any age would look both fabulous and unassailable wearing one with jeans and great boots -- perhaps with a simple white tee, maybe even with a pink cashmere v-neck and pearls for whimsy!
I'm not trying to argue for my right to wear biker jackets and I absolutely think there is a problem with women trying to resist aging through cosmetic procedures and, yes, occasionally, through inappropriate dress. But having finally got to an age where I am feeling more and more comfortable about my own style (see my recent post on this), I refuse to conform to someone else's expectations of what 50+ should look like. My personal style embraces a good deal of what is classic, chic, all those age-appropriate adjectives, but it also makes much room for whimsy, quirky, and funky -- harder to find in Ann Taylor or Banana Republic! And my lifestyle suits jeans and leather jackets and leggings and tunics much more than it does well-cut jackets and tailored pants, wonderful though these may be. Generally, I'm looking for clothes with a bit of attitude, even though the advice might be to neutral down and let my own attitude shine through (very wise advice, I think, but I'm seldom disciplined enough to follow it).
I'm not done with this topic, and I'd love to hear what you think. The conversation will continue . . .


  1. Quite an interesting series of posts on this topic these last few days! Thanks for the link, again!

    To me it semms that older women used to have the upper hand when it came to looking elegant. Younger women got to look young/sexy/fresh/trendy, but older women could claim elegance territory. Now it's all a mishmash because it's presumed everyone wants to look "young". Personal style aside, I think in general there are things we older women can wear better: bolder, more geometric jewelry, clothing that has an architectural feel, and yes, quirky and whimsical elements. Maybe because we get to a point where we don't have so much riding on looking sexual, we can take some chances with style. Just some random thoughts.

  2. I think you're right, Déja -- I think the three elements you cite are ones that really depend on a strong sense of self and that's more likely to arrive with a bit of life. At any rate, it's a fascinating discussion, and I'm so glad I was encouraged by you several months ago to think publicly about my personal style. I'm sure the conversation is just beginning.

  3. I remember seeing somewhere a striking photo of a white-haired Twyla Tharp in a black biker jacket and white T-shirt - plus a neck-load of amber and silver beads. I thought it an unusual amount of accessorizing for her, but definitely not something she couldn't carry off. Would she ever have been classed a lamb? Really, it's hard for Twyla to look anything but self-possessed no matter what she wears.

    I rarely notice in photos of Millicent Rogers if her hair is blonde or white, and not because they're in black and white. She had a style that suited her looks and her personality and maintained it through the years.

    Though the 'Happy Birthday' and the subway grate dresses would be impracitcal if she'd lived to 70, even aspects of Marylin Monroe's style could have aged with her. Her Misfits jeans and white shirt, a fitted sweetheart-neckline suit, or a tight, gliitery wrapped and draped cocktail dress (maybe with a bit more bodice as one ages) are still classy classics. She had the personality to fill them.

    As YSL said, Fashion fades, Style's eternal.

    Style requires personality and must suit that personality. Fashion has it's own personality.

  4. Absolutely, KarenJo (and I see we're practically neighbours, or at least share the same tolerance for rain!)
    These are all stellar examples of personal style that transcend the dictates of age-appropriate dressing.


I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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