No more “little old lady.”
First of all, banish the word “lady” from your vocabulary. You call men, “men,” don’t you? Lady is a sexist term. You can use it in “Ladies and Gentlemen,” but other than that, we are women.
In the “old” days, when a woman became old, she was a little old lady. It used to mean no exercise, infirmity, sweater sets, heirloom jewelry. Once a woman became old, she stopped evolving. She apparently sat around and played cards or knitted or made pies. She was either harmless, or, unbearable. There, that was our role model.
Today, we have wonderful role models for aging. What’s evident now, is that there are different kinds of old women to be. The great thing about being a woman is that you can change yourself, your identity and choose a model for your own aging.
Women are thinking and talking about this. Says Miuccia Prada,
“It is much more of a drama for women, this business of aging. No one wants to age and I think we have to find a solution. Especially because we live so much longer. It used to be that a woman would have only one life, one husband, and if you were bored, that was that. Now you can have two or three lives.
“We live in the age of self invention. Reinvention. You can choose your life. You can change your mind and change your clothes. You can use clothes to reinvent yourself. It is one of the first levels of emancipation. Fashion is about the way we compose ourselves everyday.”
Hallelujah! You can change, and you can choose the kind of old woman you want to be. You don’t have to slip into your own old age. You can invent one for yourself.
Here are archetypes of aging women that I’ve created that I want to share with you. This is a work in progress and I’m sure there are more. So feel free to add to this collection. We’ve only just begun. You can be a combination too. Where do you gravitate to?
The Babe Sex and brains. First you notice her beauty, then you’re blown away by her brains. Diane von Furstenberg. Jane Fonda. Susan Sarandon.
The Broad Brains and sex. First you notice her brain, they you notice her powerful, unconventional beauty. These women are beautiful because they are strong and true. She’s the intellectual who’s gone super chic. Miuccia Prada, Tina Brown, Dame Judy Dench.
The Timeless Beauty Very few women in this category, sorry! Much luck of the birth draw and life finesse entailed here. Extremely beautiful, alluring and talented in their youth. Equally beautiful, alluring and talented in their old age. Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Katherine Hepburn, Greta Garbo.
The Jolie Laide Wise, dynamic women, unflinching in their talent and zest for life. Embrace their aging, unafraid. Very powerful and alluring. Wear dramatic clothes and chunky jewelry, or, no jewelry. Georgia O’Keefe, Lousie Nevelson, Maya Angelou.
The Society Gal Somewhat of a fashion victim, wearing boring, accepted “fashion” for its status effect. Wears dresses that are too short for her. Works out tirelessly at the gym. Keeps up appearances. God forbid you should learn that her hub sleeps in the guestroom. She is the one most devastated with aging. She dyes her pubic hair.
The Preppy She gardens. She has the same hair she’s always had. Has no money worries. Wears the same conservative clothes, only more expensive now, khakis and great activewear. Is a good old gal. Definitely wears her pearls. Admirable in every way.
The Intellectual Bohemian She has given up and doesn’t care. Wears sacky things or any old thing for comfort. Her toilette is not good. Feels she paid her dues in the woman department and now, the hell with it. She bakes, she drinks, she enjoys whatever life has to offer and the hell with it.
What kind of dame are you? And, do you have any other archetypes to add to my list? What do you agree or disagree with?