Have you ever seen those Do and Don’t articles in Glamour magazine? I remember in college and beyond, all my friends lived by them. Lots of women do. I’m 48 years old now, and I’m bombarded with images of how to dress for my age. For example, I regularly receive Sahalie, Coldwater Creek, and Northstyle catalogs. And don’t get me wrong – I love Sahalie. But I will tell you what bothers me: Why do I need to dress a certain way just because an “expert” tells me so?
I love colors, as you know. I want them in my life –
all the time. Colors make me smile…I feel alive,
and I just feel good!
I remember sometimes, walking down the street, and seeing an older woman dressed more “eccentrically,” and it would cause people to stare, laugh, judge, or just admire. A couple of years I was selling at a craft show and met a woman who was wearing a pair of cheetah-print bell-bottom leggings…I loved that! She looked awesome! She was a sweet and lively woman, with a great sense of humor and a friendly face. She looked great actually, and she was in her 60s. More power to her!
I don’t remember exactly who I had this conversation with, but I remember it well…I was told that I should cut my long hair because I’m getting too old for it. (As if long hair on a woman my age is no longer appropriate, or dignified). An old hairdresser of mine told me I should dye my hair because my white hair looked like shit.
Another time, last year, I was selling my ice dyed home decor at a holiday craft show. A woman came by, and you could tell she really loved the colors and styles and designs of my coasters and napkins. She asked me how I made them, and I explained the process to her. Then she said, “Well…it’s beautiful. Would’ve been perfect if I was in my twenties, but now…” and she walked away.
What did she mean by that? Did she mean that when she was younger, she liked those kinds of things, but her tastes have changed over time? Or did she mean that although she still loves these things, they represent a time long gone, and now she’s too old to have these types of things?
How very sad that someone should deny herself something that she loves because she thinks that she’s too old for it.
I hope that’s not how she felt.
I’m not talking about refusing to wear glasses if you can’t see, or eating a high-sugar diet when you have diabetes. I’m simply talking about freedom; freedom to be us–everywhere; and the freedom to create the environment in which we want to live.
My freedom comes out in colors…bright, vibrant colors in an active, dynamic designs. Why on earth would this be reserved only for the young? And who made up this rule anyway?!
Think about it. What do you do? Do you take care of your family? Do you feed your pets? Do you make sure your elderly parents are happy and safe? Do you go to your day job and get the work done? Do you pay your bills? Do you volunteer? Do you see to your responsibilities? Do you do what needs to be done so everyone around you is taken care of and then some? Do you maintain your relationships with your friends and family? Do you keep your commitments? Do you pay attention to what’s going on around you?
If you said yes to any of these things, you are worthy of honor and respect. You should be proud. So why would anyone let someone else decide how they should look, or what their home environment should look like?
If “experts” say that maturity means fine china, sterling silverware, minimalist home decor, expensive leather couches and white carpeting….or wearing only black or gray clothing and sedate, understated jewelry (don’t be flashy), well….that’s bullshit, okay? And by the way, I really like my brown-turning-white hair.
(Please note: if you’re totally into minimalist interior design and black/gray clothing – that’s wonderful! My point is, everyone has their own style.)
Dignity and maturity are a part of what’s inside us. It has nothing to do with our environment. Our maturity is shown in our behavior, how we act. It has nothing to do with how we dress. Or how we decorate our homes. How we dress and how we decorate our homes can tell someone what a little bit about us. It can give people a glimpse into our inner mysterious selves, and some of our characteristics. If you like bright colors in your home, well go ahead and use them!
Why? Because your opinions are valid. You know what you like, and you know what’s good for you.
You’re doing all that you can, the best way you know how, and you’ve earned the right to make your own choices, and they are beautiful – because they represent you!