“You can’t go out looking like that,” I still hear my mother saying when I was living at home abiding by her “rules.” Fifty years ago, teens wearing purple satin hot pants was a big deal. At 70 something, when I hear, “Only you can wear that,” I take it as a compliment. Freed by age, some friends “couldn’t care less.” Others like me stalk unique clothes and accessories like a panther on the prowl for a meal. Where are my role models?
No senior mannequins. None in dress catalogues or fashion news. Finding unconventional models in streets and media is hilarious and inspiring. Women have more opinions on looks, than experts rating face creams. Boobs freed from bras, hang free or spill out of low V necks. Buoyed by trends, seniors flaunt purple, red and blue hair. I ravage magazines and books spotlighting women rocking dramatic styles and flaunting individuality.
“There’s a feelgood factor associated with personal style that keeps women young at heart,”says writer photographer, Ari Cohen, in his 2014 documentary “Advanced Style,”This “must see” movie introduces seven outlandish senior New Yorkers strutting flamboyant fashion and exotic head gear on city streets like actors on the red carpet. Defying “senior Invisibility,” one model shows off a patchwork coat of brilliant colors, another a magenta turban. Everything is overimagined, oversized and over the top. I think of my revered costume box. Flared bell bottoms, shoulder pads high as a popover and red boots. Do I dare? What do I want to project?
In Dr. Madison Moore’s book “Fabulousness: The Rise and Fall of the Beautiful Eccentric,” he says: “You don’t need a camera to notice you. You can be your own flash!” I swoon over tie dye. “If you wore it once, you can’t wear it again,” my Niece admonishes me. “Watch me,” I say, going out in my favorite psychedelic shirt.
Babs, a 70year old belly dancer and cancer survivor, shakes her curves adorned with mirrored beads and gold bells. “I love it,” she grins, entertaining young crowds in Florida’s drum circles. Deandra, a St. Petersburg FL designer and fashionista, creates and wears innovative hats featuring butterfly veils, mini shoes (a la Schiaparelli), and a sculptural lily. Each one complements a museum exhibit opening.
Refreshing, redefining and finding our “fashion flash” can fit any budget. Thrifting, flea markets, art shows and digging deep inside our closets, we find treasures. A hand painted top, beaded bracelet from an island trip, Grandmother’s pin.
“Wow,” said a friend admiring my acrylic necklace with dangling shapes. “What designer?” I laugh. “I haven’t worn it since 1980’s, Costume store.” Vintage is in! And so are we.
Flower power to Senior power. Flying out the door in five minutes or fifty minutes, it’s our choice…being who we are…… our“boldelicious” selves!
Cheers! Virginia (Hope I can squeeze into these leopard pants!)