Sunday, 10 June 2018

Summer Dresses and Feeling My Age

I've been feeling my age lately. Maybe I should say, noticing my age. And not in a bad way. Not in a "woe is me, I'm getting old" way. Rather, in an objective observer, almost out-of-body-experience way. A kind of... huh... I'm sixty-two... waddya know... way. If that makes any sense. 

woman in denim jacket and black dress
Noticing my age: the lines on my neck, around my eyes, and on my upper lip. 
And instead of being bothered, I'm kind of happy. Happy to be joining a fraternity of women I admire, and revere. All those older women I know, and some I have never met, who embrace getting older. So to celebrate my new found equanimity, I went out and bought a new dress. Actually I bought the dress the day before my birthday, at a small store called Escape on Bank Street here in Ottawa. I went there in my quest for a flowy, cream-coloured cami to wear under my crocheted sweater, and I came home with a dress. 

woman in black dress and sandals holding a denim jacket
I loved this dress the minute I pulled it on. 
You see, Leslie, co-owner of Escape, and I were chatting while she pulled tank after tank, and what seemed like a million camis and underpinnings, all of which I tried on with my sweater, to no avail. And then she pointed to a rack of linen dresses from a brand called "Click by Colour Me Cotton" made in California. And I tried on this one and loved it.  

woman in black dress and sandals holding a denim jacket
My new dress has a full skirt but it's not girly.
The dress has a full skirt, but it's not a girly full skirt. The way the fabric is pieced together, and the myriad pin-tucks all over the skirt, and along the hem, make it fall in soft folds, slightly longer at the sides than in the middle. And it's a perfect length for me. A longer midi skirt, that hits me at mid-calf, would make my legs look like sticks. That's the same reason wide-leg cropped pants are not flattering on me. Well, one of the reasons. Ha.  

woman in black dress, black sandals, and denim jacket
The perfect length dress with flats and a jean jacket.
The dress is light and airy. I love it with my old Michael Kors sandals and my Paige jean jacket. I think it needs something at the neck, so I wore my Anne-Marie Chagnon necklace, and for a bit more colour, I added the red leather cuff by Caroline Faiers that I bought in Covent Garden last fall. I felt pulled together, exceedingly comfortable, and pretty darned fabulous in this outfit.  A kind of "this is me at sixty-two" outfit. I'm a little bit older, a little bit more wrinkly, a little bit heavier... but what the hell... who cares, eh? 

woman in black dress, black sandals, and denim jacket
My "this is me at 62" outfit.
And since I had had such a great experience at Escape, when my sister Carolyn and I had a day out shopping together recently, that's where we headed first. Carolyn was looking for a few business casual pieces, jeans, and some tops to wear under her lab coat at work. I was just looking. We laughed when we came out of the dressing room wearing the same shirt. Ha. It was ever thus. What one has the other wants. That's sisters for you. Now we each have a pink striped summer shirt. 

two smiling women in pink striped shirts
Carolyn and me on our sisters' shopping day in our matching shirts
I have a long, long history of shopping with my big sister. See this old faded photo below? It was taken in downtown Fredericton. In 1966, I think. That's me, age ten, in the plaid jacket. I remember I was wearing my Maple Leaf tartan windbreaker, shorts, sneakers and a white blouse that day. You can see Carolyn on my left if you look carefully. She has her long hair pulled up into a bun on top of her head, an orange tee shirt, and white slacks on. I'm turning around to look at the soldier in uniform who's getting his picture taken with one of those new-fangled, self-developing Polaroid cameras. When they pulled the picture out of the camera and noticed that we were in it, the soldier and his buddy chased us down the street to give us the photograph. It was pretty nice of them to do that, even though I think that they were more interested in the chance to talk to Carolyn than anything else. 

faded shot of soldier with young girl and older teenager passing
Carolyn and me... and some random soldier. Circa 1966. I think. 
So on our most recent shopping trip we made our purchases and then decamped to a nearby restaurant for lunch. Over our salads, we talked about clothes, and family, and travel, and our respective plans for the next few months. What a great day we had. 

When I started writing this post, I thought about how many of these shopping days we've had over our lives. From when I was a kid, proud to be tagging along with my beautiful big sister, to now-a-days when we laugh that I am her number one shopping consultant. And so I spent some time this afternoon, digging out that old photo, which I can see in my mind a lot more clearly than in reality, now that it's so faded. 

And I thought how funny it is that this week, I'm feeling pretty chill about being sixty-two, when a couple of weeks ago, a chance encounter with an unflattering reflection had me plunging into the depths of despair, at least for a couple of days. But this week, I'm good. Quite content to be sixty-two, a bit more wrinkly, and a bit heavier than ten years ago. Feeling my age, but not in the pejorative sense. Not giving up and giving in, just acknowledging. 

Acknowledging my age, and my history, and happy to be just where I am right now. For now, anyway. 







How about you folks? Are you feeling your age?

Linking up this week with: Visible MondayFake It Till You Make It#IwillwearwhatIlikeTurning Heads Link-up, Style Me WednesdayThursday Favourite ThingsFabulous Friday, Fancy FridaySaturday Share Link-Up.  

43 comments:

  1. Ah, I love this post and your affirmation of yourself. I'm going through a metamorphosis, coming out of the fog of widowhood. Somewhere during the 5 year period I turned 60+, I am acknowledging my beauty and brains again. Thanks for sharing, Happy Birthday!

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    1. Oh dear...I imagine the past few years have been very difficult. Welcome back.

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  2. I’m not a dress person , especially anything girly , but I love that one & it will be fun seeing the different ways you style it . I find some dark necklines hard & unflattering now so , like you , I like necklaces to soften . There are some very talented independent jewelers working with beautiful semi precious stones in a quirky way these days - not at all ‘ old ladyish ‘ . My favourites are in Scotland . I often shop with my two sisters but we really don’t have the same taste , sparks can fly sometimes :)
    Regarding women coping with aging , I would really recommend a BBC documentary called ‘ Nothing Like A Dame ‘ . It is a get together of Judi Dench , Eileen Atkins , Joan Plowright & Maggie Smith at Joan Plowright’s country home . They meet regularly & are old friends . Whilst they are showing some vulnerabilities now , in their eighties , they are are all bright , clever & witty . I laughed so much when I watched it last night . A great example to us all . I hope you are able to catch it in Canada .
    Wendy in York

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    1. I don't like fussy jewellry either. Just the quirky, chunky, or odd stuff. Especially in necklaces. My sister and I have exactly the same taste, that's why I can pre-shop for her so easily, or stand outside the dressing room giving the nod (or not) to whatever the salesperson brings. Such power!
      I just looked at the trailer for that documentary. Hope we get to see it here. I love all those ladies.

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  3. That's The Dress for you, it's got your style and personality all over it.

    I agree with your observation with being all over the place with how you feel about your age. I'm like that too. I blame it on my hormones. I have observed of late that I have times of despair, sadness, negativity. Rather like your funk! I've been lucky enough to spot the trend, these bouts come around the same time of the month. Not every month, but when they do then that's where they land. I suffered from pre menstrual depression, not always, just some months.
    So my view is that at my age I still have some degree of hormonal swing, so now I just live with it, recognising it for what it is. And I feel better for knowing what it is and that it will pass. Understanding is key. So I mostly feel OK about being 68, but sometimes I don't!
    That's my experience anyway, we're all different.
    Hugs, x.

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    1. Thanks, Mary. I must track my "funky" days and see if they follow a pattern. But yes...those down days, tearful, tired, cranky days sure seem to feel like PMS.
      P.S. You definitely don't look 68 my friend!

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  4. You are in good company I think with the way you feel about your age changing week to week. I am struck by the dress and thinking I have one that is very similar, a navy linen longer dress from Eileen Fisher from a few years ago. I wear it with a lightweight crochet type matching short sleeve cardigan and some type of major silver or blue necklace to give it a pop, I am about to stop working and had assumed I would consign this dress, but you have me rethinking that. It will actually make a nice hot ad humid weather dress. It looks great on you, and very classic with the denim jacket. I also think you could dress it down with your red loafers or even add a scarf in cooler weather. I really enjoy your posts, thank you for putting your thoughts out for us to ponder!

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    1. I don't think that I would have gone looking specifically for a dress this style. It's not cutting edge fashion by any means. But it's so comfortable, and I think that changing up footwear, and jackets/sweaters can make it current. I've thought of wearing it with my Stan Smith sneakers or my red loafers... we'll see.
      So glad you enjoy my meanderings, Deanne.:)

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  5. (Previous comment deleted because of so many pre-coffee typos!)
    Love your new dress and relate so much to this post! It's wonderful to find a dress that fits and makes you feel great. I have decided that when the temps hit 28C here in Montréal I'm wearing sleeveless no matter that I don't have Michelle Obama arms. I turn 70 next month and try to look current, but can't get on board with some youthful trends, such as cold shoulder tops or the use of "me" in the nominative case, as in "Me and Susan went shopping".

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    1. I know exactly how you feel. I've been wearing more long tanks on the really hot days these past few years... but with jeans which are not cool on a humid day. A dress will be much more comfortable.
      I'm with you on the cold shoulder everything. Uggg.

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  6. As I look back over 6 decades of living I remember feeling both positive and negative about body issues over the years...remember being a teenager and fretting over a pimple just before a big event? Now it has changed into noticing a new fine line has developed around the eyes and lips that didn't seem to be there yesterday. I wouldn't erase a single wrinkle despite the fact that it can make a person sad that youth slipped by long ago. I am very content with my body at 62 and am pleasantly surprised by how often compliments come from people I don't know when out and about...that is a lovely tonic to sooth the minor physical complaints that crop up. My major goal is to remain vibrant and 'nice to be around'. Love the trailer to 'Nothing Like A Dame' and hope to see the entire documentary soon. What inspirational role models these four women are...friends make such an important contribution to life as we age. I love shopping and particularly enjoy outings with my only sister...the sadness is that she lives 1500 miles away and we don't get the opportunity to do it as often as we'd like. It is so funny to see you and your sister in the same blouse...my sister and I have quite often bought the same clothing piece and laugh when we finally get together and see ourselves in our matching outfits. We even bought the same wool area rug for our family rooms not knowing until much, much later that this was the case...there must be something in sisters' DNA! Love the dress you selected (perfect length and flare) and since it makes you feel delightful wear it with pizzazz and confidence...it shows your personality and vibrancy beautifully! Cheers, Alayne

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    1. Wow... you and your sister must really be of like minds. Thanks for the kind words...as always, Alayne.

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  7. Love,love,love your dress! It is a kind of dress I wanted to buy last year,but than the life happened and I had to buy more formal black silk shirt dress. It is beautiful indeed,DvF,I've wear it a lot,but it is not my dream linen dress.
    You'll have a lot of fun wearing it. I don't mind wrinkles (this covers both of your questions :-),I guess). Is it navy or black?
    I wear always a scarf -or a necklace (especially during summer when it is hot)- with dark colours
    You really look great
    Lucky you,with your sister!
    Dottoressa

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    1. Thanks, Dottoressa. You are truly a dress person, aren't you? Maybe wearing linen more will make me less conscious of wrinkles in every sense. Ha.

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  8. Such a great look. Very chic with those flatties and the red nail polish. You inspire me with your words about being comfortable with your age. I was feeling my age yesterday at a wedding, surrounded by gorgeous young women. Just hope they appreciate what they have, because at that age I never did.

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    1. You know, I don't know many gorgeous young women, whose style I admire. A few teenagers, like my great-niece. I don't mean that I want to wear what my great-niece Carly wears, at 17 she can bare a mid-riff and still look smashing. She has a flare for choosing what looks good on her. But I often find that so many 30-something or forty-something women don't know how best to dress their bodies. I've often wondered why that seems to be the case.

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  9. I’m sure they don’t. That’s the second beauty of youth-the bliss of not being concerned with aging.

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    1. I imagine they are stressing about something... just like us. I know I was at their age.

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  10. Wonderful post, Susan. I'm ten years your junior, but think about my age from time to time. I think I am becoming more contented with who I am and care less and less about what others think of me. Your new dress looks great paired with the little denim jacket. There is something about an easy-to-wear summer dress. I'll bet you make good use of it! -Jenn

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    1. Thanks, Jenn. I think I will make good use of that dress:)

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  11. Aaaahhh ... learning how to adult. It is never, ever over. At least it's not yet over for me after 72 years of trying to figure it out.

    As an elder now, my grown-up goals keep changing. Likewise, my body, relationships, resources, and the culture(s) I live in are changing so rapidly. Of course, all that was changing before now, but then I was young and restless, and time moved much slower, allowing me more time to adjust.

    Now that I'm old -- it's OK to say that word, even if it's hard to believe it's true -- it's a bit like I'm a a teenager again -- confused, challenged, overwhelmed, and again wrestling with the same existential questions I was too busy these last 50 years to be bothered by.

    I think the good news is that it's probably going to be OK. We'll figure it out. We always have. If we're fortunate enough to be blessed with optimism -- like you are, Sue -- we'll keep enjoying life. If we're pessimists or super-skeptics (and some of us may enjoy those bents), life probably won't be any different than it's always been -- just as disappointing as we expected it would be, which may offer some measure of self-satisfaction, too. ;)

    I'm one of the silly optimists. I now understand that I'm terminal. We all are. Certainly, my jaw line is terminal, but if it bothers me much more I'm going to do something about that! But until then, I agree that we should wear more linen.

    Speaking of which, a navy linen sleeveless "gunny sack" is exactly what I plan to wear as armor to this coming week's "big women's event," accessorized with some of my husband's best gifts of jewelry and an Hermes shawl he shocked me with one Christmas. For a guy who lived in double denim, he always knew how to pick out the good stuff.

    And really -- I do think it's all going to be OK.

    Ann in Missouri

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    1. He certainly knew how to pick the good stuff... he picked you, didn't he?:)

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    2. I love this exchange (made me a bit weepy, truth be told). Hugs to both of you -- Ann, that Hermes shawl must feel like a big embrace, I hope. . .

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    3. Thank you both, my internet friends. xoxoxo I want you both to know that, as they say, "I'm doing better." And I know you both know it's more complicated than that. But I am. Doing better. :)

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  12. Aging has become even sweeter since my husband is still healing from a very harsh season of illness. We are hoping to celebrate our 40th anniversary (July) in the Eastern Sierras, fishing our hearts out, if the doctors allow. :)
    In the meantime, I liked your dress and decided to google the California brand. Hope the website is current because it is nearby...perhaps, too nearby. :) I'll be off this week to investigate...
    Charlene H

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    1. I had a hard time finding current websites for the company that makes my dress, which is why I didn't include a link. Hope the visit to the bricks and mortar store works out better.
      Also hope the fishing trip comes off. I remember waiting for Hubby's all clear before we could head for France in 2015. Best of luck, CHarlene.

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  13. I really enjoyed this post. I'm 50 next year and have feelings much like you. Generally I'm in a kind a awe at how time surges on. I'm looking forward to being in my 50's, but at times feel so old and weary. I guess today I'm as young as I'm ever going to be so I might as well enjoy it xx

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    1. Thanks. You are as young as you'll ever be. I remember turning fifty. Felt like it must be someone else's birthday:)

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  14. Happiest of Birthdays, Susan. I'm 52 and right in the sandwich between my 89yo parents and my children, who range from 27 down to 9 yrs old. How blessed you are to have a close sister. I am committing to more linen these days because it's so genuine, and that's important to me. I am so done with icky polyester and artificial everything ( and people). I find myself spending too much time being negative and cynical...I don't want to be that person!! I thought my grown children would live nearby with their famililes but it's turning out that they are leaving for parts far away, so I must adjust to not being the center of everything. Husband and I making great efforts to cultivate our hobbies and to "let go." I love your blog and all the comments here. Will hunt down that BBC documentary. xo

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    1. Thanks, Polly Sue. I grew up down east where moving "out west" was a right of passage in the seventies. I wonder what my mum was thinking as all five of us headed across Canada one by one for employment opportunities. She never said, but it must have been hard.

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  15. I really like this look on you! Relaxed, fresh and breezy.

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    1. Thanks, Sue. Just when I thought I was done with black. Ha.

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  16. Another post I really relate to, Sue, and I love that dress on you -- and the pink shirts on both you and your sister. xo

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    1. Thanks, Frances. I'm channeling you with my linen dresses:)

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  17. I have no sisters but am fortunate to have a daughter who is a joy to shop with. In fact, spent some happy time browsing shops with her this weekend. Oddly I enjoy shopping for clothes much more as I get older because I know what I want and am prepared to look for it. And a denim jacket is on the list, as it happens. Having tried on my daughter's this morning, I am now on the trail. As regards the passing of time...I found my 50s difficult, tiring and confusing. My 60s I am so far enjoying much more, rather as I did my 40s after the perplexities of my 30s.

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    1. I read on your blog about your weekend in Belgium. And shopping with your daughter. Sounded lovely... a little time to explore on your own, some company for shopping and dining... and sipping wine, and a couple of excursions. A perfect weekend.

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  18. Hi Sue, Thinking about what you said to Polly Sue, my mum said, that she felt as though she had spent a large proportion of her life at train stations and airports, saying goodbyes ... I felt so sad for her! ... Its good to read here, that so many of us feel the same at various times about how we look or feel we look .., it somehow reinforces, that it’s ok, and quite normal, not to feel great all of the time ..,
    I think that dress is perfect for you :) and it can be styled in varying ways ... dare u say it’s versatile ha ha
    For the first time in quite a few years I’ve found some dresses in linen and cotton that are easy and comfortable to wear and aren’t sleeveless! :) Whilst they are working well here in the heat and humidity, I know I’ll wear them at home and in Europe as well. It feels great to have found ones that work as well irl as in my head! :)
    Another thought provoking post Sue ...
    Rosie

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    1. Ha. Yep...I think it's versatile. I imagine those light dresses are perfect for the American south. Hope you're having a great time:0

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  19. Oops ... dare I say not u

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  20. You look fantastic. I love your dress and denim jacket.

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  21. I've got a dress very similar to that. Ikind of feel youthful in a good way in it. I think because of the length. You've given me the idea to wear it with denim now. Thank you.

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    1. I like the full but not full skirt as well. And the shape is kind of fit and flare, without too much flare. If that makes any sense:)

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All comments, ideas, commiserations, questions, complaints... are most welcome.