Aging, Identity, And Style - une femme d'un certain âge

Aging, Identity, And Style

Does the image you see in the mirror align with your identity? Read more at une femme d'un certain age.

Mirror, Mirror…

A few weeks ago, I was chatting with a male friend about another mutual friend’s recommendation for certain cosmetic procedures. This led to a more general discussion about aging, and to what degree we are willing to embrace an aging appearance or fight it. That feeling of looking into a mirror one day and suddenly not recognizing oneself? It turns out he’d experienced that too.

It happened to me for the first time right around when I turned 50. I don’t think I’d “let myself go,” but having been so busy with work and raising a special needs child, I hadn’t really been that focused on skincare beyond SPF or the physical changes that started with menopause. One day the face I saw in the mirror didn’t feel like my own. Duchesse at Passage des Perles recently linked to an interview with Jane Birkin, where she says “it’s gone…my beauty.” And then goes on…

It’s like you wake up one day and suddenly the outside doesn’t correspond to the inside anymore. I’ve adjusted my thinking a bit since then. The essential thing, I now think, is a good sense of humor.

My own shock of non-recognition wasn’t as much about “losing my beauty.” I’ve never been conventionally pretty (body too stout, hair too thin, features too plain etc.) so “beauty” hasn’t been a currency I’ve been able to trade on for much of my life. But yes, that outside-doesn’t-correspond-to-the-inside feeling…that I could relate to! (As well as the value of a sense of humor, something I’ve tried to cultivate and maintain throughout my adult life.)

Yes, we live in a culture where ageism is still rampant. It’s not surprising that we resist recognizing ourselves as older. It occurs to me that the motivation behind the various steps that many women (and increasingly, men) take to maintain a “youthful” appearance isn’t just about vanity, but about trying to align their physical selves and their identity. Our identities don’t necessarily keep up with our chronological age. It takes work to “adjust our thinking.”

Style And Identity

Style is one way to express ourselves regardless of age. Exploring style is one of the ways I’ve been trying to understand my (hopefully) evolving identity. Thinking about what I want to convey with style has helped me to understand how I see myself and what I value now, at a few weeks shy of 61. If I were to make a list, it might look something like this:

  • Currency. Openness to new ideas, and staying engaged with the world and what’s going on. I want to look current without being a slave to trends.
  • Curiosity. A willingness to try something new.
  • A sense of humor. Wit, not clownishness. A quirky piece or two to spice up an outfit (under-represented in my wardrobe now).
  • Valuing my own judgement. Trusting what feels right and what doesn’t. Not feeling that I have to live up to anyone else’s expectations.
  • Being able to let go of what no longer serves or supports. Letting go of rigid style rules or formulas, or beliefs about what we “should” wear. (I’ve been doing a lot of processing on this lately…will be working on a follow-up post.)
  • Confidence. Follows from all of the above.

That’s not a complete picture of my sense of self or values by any means, but those are what I believe I can express through my style. And in ten years, that list may look different.

One doesn’t need to have an unlined face to have great style. In fact, I think the combination of visible age and a well-honed personal style can have a powerful impact.

What aspects of your identity do you try to reflect in your style?

Stay in touch.

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  1. karen h
    February 8, 2018 / 3:16 am

    i couldn’t have said it better…thank you….i will be revisiting this post over and over again!

    Re: What aspects of your identity do you try to reflect in your style; —that i’m older but still connected what is current and happening now

  2. February 8, 2018 / 3:19 am

    Oh, Susan … what a timely post! Early this morning I looked in the mirror and, once again decided, as I decide nearly daily, “Nope, still not going to have any ‘work’ done.”

    The work I do consider having done is some imaginary magic that would make my jawline sharper, my neck firmer, and my marionette lines disappear. But I fear, with considerable evidence that my fears are justified, that my smile would become altered (I love my smile!), that my face would look less flexible and more frozen, and that I simply would not look like ME.

    For now, at age 72, I’m sticking with good skin care products used twice a day and practicing smiling. Because let’s face it, as our faces slide south, a good smile can raise more than our spirits.

    • Kathleen Ludgate
      February 8, 2018 / 7:38 am

      None of my friends and acquaintances, all in early 70s, have had. work done.. They look fabulous and look better than many in their 50-60s. Their secret…active in body in mind and the community..They are fun to be around and are supportive of one another. They had interesting careers, are avid readers and impossible to ignore.

      • February 8, 2018 / 9:46 am

        Thanks for that encouragement, Kathleen. I am 72. And, speaking immodestly, I resemble your friends — active, fun, supportive, great career, avid reader and definitely impossible to ignore.

        All are good reasons not to mess with what’s already working here. Thank you again!

  3. February 8, 2018 / 4:16 am

    Such a good and right post. I am french, as old (young ?) as you are and could not add anything else ! Thk U Susan .

  4. February 8, 2018 / 4:23 am

    What a thoughtful post — and I agree with every word. I’m your age, and have struggled with the same issues since my mid-fifties. For several years, I wrote a newspaper column on aging topics, and the pieces that drew the biggest response from readers were the ones about this very topic. Women want to age well, but we’re struggling to pinpoint what that means. As you point out, our culture still values the beauty of youth over the experience of age. Looks matter.

    Creativity is important to me, and I’ve always tried to reflect that value in my wardrobe. Aiming for a “timeless” style is easier, to me, when you have signature pieces that reflect your individuality or creative spirit — rather than follow trends. I wear a lot of Eileen Fisher basics — which fall in the “timeless” category. I add my own accessories and unusual jackets or sweaters that I’ve collected in my travels or from small boutiques. This has worked for me, with some tweaking, for many years. At this stage, I’m trying to pare down (I have too many clothes!) and this has forced me to take a closer look at my own style, what I want to keep.

    I think the best thing we can do is take care of what we have. Watching how we eat, taking good care of our skin, and being engaged in life enhances how we look and feel. I think it’s also important to embrace each stage of life with gratitude and enthusiasm.

  5. February 8, 2018 / 4:35 am

    I am so glad that I found your blog! I love absolutely everything about you and your beautiful style. I love how you embrace and dress for your age. Not all of us want to be 60 and dressing like we’re 30. It’s very refreshing to open up my inbox and get your daily dose of Wonderful. Love love love you.❤

  6. Kathy
    February 8, 2018 / 4:35 am

    So true! Thanks for the guidance. I have never been a beauty either but was always cute. Trying to adjust but have not lost my sense of humor

  7. Jan
    February 8, 2018 / 4:51 am

    Thanks for this piece – I’m sure it speaks to so many of us! I found your blog just as I was struggling with my own ‘outside-matching-inside’ dilemma especially as I suffer from RBF 😉 and often look more serious (and older) on the outside then a I actually feel on the inside. I agree wholeheartedly with your style/identity list and really value that bit of ‘quirky’ in my wardrobe which tells the world that there is definitely more to me than meets the eye, while a solid set of ‘classics’ keeps me from the awful mutton-dressed-as-lamb scenario.

  8. Kathy
    February 8, 2018 / 5:13 am

    Very good post Susan. I want to return to this post and write down your comments about style and identity. I’m a retired art teacher who majored in clothing design and I have always loved fashion. I can see this post as a subject in my art journal . . .

  9. Mary Beth
    February 8, 2018 / 5:15 am

    Wonderful post! So encouraging and real. Keep ’em coming.

  10. MHTammi
    February 8, 2018 / 5:21 am

    I’ve gone through a transition since turning 58 and becoming an empty nester. I like to stay current, yet not follow trends slavishly. My sons (twenty and nineteen) give me immediate feedback if I wear something that’s “too granny.” At 58, I find that my style has become more pared down and minimal, but every so often I will look in the mirror and tell myself, “that’s just too young and doesn’t match the older face and body,” and I’ll change into something more conservative. Shopping is sometimes a challenge as I fnd that retailers seem to have forgotten about women in my age bracket who want to look current and stylish while still looking classy.

  11. Patti
    February 8, 2018 / 5:46 am

    I agree totally! You said it so well. By the way, you are a very classy lady, more lasting than beauty or youth.

  12. February 8, 2018 / 5:50 am

    I’ve noticed big changes with neck and jawline in the last few years. I’m 66 and my face is starting to look like my grandma’s.

  13. susan
    February 8, 2018 / 5:57 am

    i really enjoyed this post. i enjoy all of your posts but this one really resonated.

    here’s a related feeling that i wonder if you have had, as i have: i will be with one of lifelong friends and be suddenly struck by how old she is looking. this thought is usually followed by the realization that she is probably thinking the same when she looks at me. what a shock! (i’m 68, by the way.)

  14. Debbie
    February 8, 2018 / 6:10 am

    Such a great post. I turned 59 last year and also retired from a demanding corporate job after 30 years. Once I retired, I focused on me time and fitness. I have lost 15 pounds, grown out my hair, and focused on doing things that I love. Because I am happier, I no longer focus on the wrinkles, etc. I am so glad though that I have used sunscreen and moisturizer since my 20’s. I previously did Dysport for forehead wrinkles but have decided to take a break and see what happens. So now I am working on developing my style and you are my role model!

  15. Linda Boardman Kerr
    February 8, 2018 / 6:10 am

    I am looking at 65 in April, so your topic is perfect for me. The thing I dislike the most about my face is that my face is starting to droop below my cheeks, and totally change my jawline. The marionette lines, etc. I can live with (smiling a lot helps–it really does wonders!). I have recently shelled out a goodly sum for braces for my lower teeth, as it’s the lower teeth that are most visible now, and mine had gotten crooked over the years.

    I notice your make-up mirror, and may I say THAT is a very important tool! Many of us women of a certain age put on too much make-up, which ends up ageing us, rather than helping. Other than good skin care, being careful to prime, moisturize, use the right make-up and BLEND, BLEND, BLEND is important. Look at yourself in the magnifying mirror!

    Dressing with imagination and finding your style is important. I also believe in a pop of color. See my facebook page for proof….

    Thanks for the interesting and timely post.

  16. gale welden
    February 8, 2018 / 6:28 am

    This post is especially meaningful to me. You have done some deep thinking about the issue. I look forward to hearing more. Aging well is one of my most important considerations now.

  17. Patti Snodgrass
    February 8, 2018 / 6:31 am

    Well said, Sue! Your post helps me to realize I am not alone in my thinking about how it feels to age. I do what I can to slow things down — a good skin care regimen, keeping my weight in check, adopting a good attitude even though sometimes it’s not easy and putting in that extra effort to dress young enough but not too young!

    However, I disagree with one comment — “I’ve never been conventionally pretty”. You are very pretty! I’ve seen that first hand.

  18. Denise
    February 8, 2018 / 6:34 am

    Thank you for sharing your insights, Susan. Since reaching 60 it seems that every birthday tells my age in some new way. I am a believer in moisturizers and sun screen for face and body, a light touch when applying make-up, no make-up look, and dressing to always look presentable. I like to smile so I took advantage of work dental plan for Invisalign and use a teeth whitener. Retin-A products help keep face fresh. Finally, having a positive outlook on life and sunset of curiosity makes the day exciting.

  19. Nancy
    February 8, 2018 / 6:38 am

    Great post Susan. And something I have been thinking about for a while. I found a Ted Talk by Ashton Applewhite on Ageism that gives much to think about. I’m recently retired…as in a week ago….so all of this has been on my mind for a while. Staying relevant seems to be a priority for me currently. I’m not interested in looking like a 30 year old…but I would like to carry on meaningfull conversations with people of all ages and I want to stay current.

  20. Janice
    February 8, 2018 / 6:51 am

    Great post ! I am less then a month away from 71 and I and my friends discuss this all the time. We just do the best we can. Looking forward to more on this subject!

  21. Patricia A. Morgan
    February 8, 2018 / 7:01 am

    Try being 72 ladies! Reached this milestone in November 2017.– never thought I would be mature, but here I am!
    My therory is to surround myself with friends who are physically active and participate in life with gusto and to constantly try things that are “out of my comfort zone”. Striving to look “my best”every day is on my daily agenda. Reading style blogs certainly helps with this effort. Personally, I find participating in various active sports brings me great joy and brings me into contact with other folks who value high energy activities.

  22. Estelle
    February 8, 2018 / 7:11 am

    The kind of posts which feature your thought processes on a certain topic are always favourites.
    You have the knack of getting to the nub of an issue and expressing your ideas so clearly which of course then resonate with so many of us over-50s.
    Your writing is excellent and it is a real pleasure to have the benefit of it through this relatively new world of the blog!

    I particularly loved the way you put over your lack of ‘beauty’. Most of us understand this – very few of us are stand-out – but I think you are a very attractive older woman. Very few French women are gorgeous either (I live in France) but there’s something about many of them. They seem to be able to make the most of what they have! I have followed your evolving style choices on hair, glasses, make-up and simple classics with good accessories over the years and I think you have hit your true style. Yes – you are looking for those quirky, witty pieces but they’re harder to pull off when you’re naturally drawn to a quieter style. Your red bag and your love of leopard are those fun elements for me!

    I wish more people would compliment one another in this image conscious world.
    This is important throughout life and certainly as our younger self disappears and we face the reality of being ‘d’un certain âge’!.A positive comment about a hairstyle or colour or outfit can perhaps make a person’s day and help them decide what fits in the fight against fading into older age! (Partners and family members are probably the best ones to let us know about our ‘faux pas’!!)
    Finding what suits is not always easy but style can be found and honed. Thanks for so much Susan!

  23. February 8, 2018 / 7:45 am

    I have recently stumbled across your blog looking for thoughtful and relevant fashion guidance for the more mature crowd. My wardrobe is in transition from more formal professional dress (heels, skirts, dresses, etc.) to much more daily casual. Keep writing and inspiring.

  24. February 8, 2018 / 7:51 am

    All the women I know who were great beauties in their youth are taking age hard, psychologically (they still look great, but what they want is to turn heads). Yet the answer isn’t to resort to surgery to preserve conventional beauty; instead what counts is sprezzatura. Having confidence and presence. That doesn’t come easily to a natural introvert.
    My mother (who died at age 90) spoke about how hard it was to accept being old and that the outside didn’t match the inside–what was in her mind or her heart. Women over “a certain age” become invisible in society. We have to fight it, by demanding to be noticed (shy me is cringing, but we must!) and by staying engaged.

    • February 8, 2018 / 8:40 am

      I had forgotten and love that word “ sprezzatura”. I resonate with all of your comment!

  25. Wendy
    February 8, 2018 / 8:01 am

    A wonderful post, and I appreciate your commenters as well—so many good positive thoughts. One more notion came from my late stepmother who had been a great beauty and paid more attention than our ordinary pretty family. She adhered to minimal makeup as you age but suggested going to a good makeup pro periodically to update. “ When you look in the mirror as you age you tend to see the losses-my jawline is gone, my eyelids droop (she got those fixed but still) my lips are thinning… A good makeup artist will see you as you are now and highlight your current best features-things you may not see. And it will help keep you from hanging on to dated makeup up that ages too.” Now nearly 67, I’ve found this helpful over past ten years.

    • February 9, 2018 / 8:30 am

      I totally agree, Wendy. I was amazed what a skilled makeup person achieved for me just with a good concealer, eye highlighter and, most importantly, blending with a good makeup sponge. (She used the Beautyblender one.)

  26. amidprivilege
    February 8, 2018 / 8:07 am

    I love it when you talk ideas.

    I’ve said this on my blog before, and at great risk of sounding like an utter jerk, I’ll say it again here. I was pretty as a young woman. No great beauty, but pretty – also blonde in the era of Cheryl Tiegs and Farrah Fawcett, also an abrupt intense person with an addiction to language and questioning assumptions. At 61 I finally feel as though I DO look like myself. I figure my long gray braid tells most of the story, jeans and a tee most of the rest, polished accessories (bag, jewelry) as the surprise twist to the end of the story;).

    I wish my jowls weren’t jowling, and my thighs not dimpling, it’s hard to keep seeing the changes of aging in my mirror and readjusting to who I am each new day. However, that’s as much or more because I love to be alive and hope to stay that way longer than is reasonable, than because I don’t catch mens’ eyes as I used to. The eye-catching, for someone like me, because let’s add anxious and unsure to the mix, was mostly more trouble than it was worth.

    Finally, some good lipstick with killer shoes, maybe a good haircut/style, and we’re all visible once again.

    • amidprivilege
      February 8, 2018 / 12:53 pm

      Boy this is poorly written with bad punctuation! Ha! Guess I got too excited about your post:).

  27. Nancy
    February 8, 2018 / 8:19 am

    Thank you for these musings. For me, my face was never my fortune but I did and still do have a good figure and had pretty hands and feet. The changes in my face were not disconcerting but mild osteoarthritis in my hands and feet made looking younger impossible, had I tried. Up to my early 70s, however, I was often taken for many years younger. The crucial moment for me was when I was offered a seat on public transportation.

    Many years ago I saw an old woman, white hair in a chignon, dressed in black, with impeccable posture, in a restaurant in Paris. In Journey by Robert and Suzanne Massie there is a similar description of a Russian princess. These are my style icons, although I am usually in jeans and a sweater.

    Susan, I often envy the shoes you wear and your cute red toes!

  28. February 8, 2018 / 8:33 am

    I have a young friend, 30’s and she is constantly having work done on her body and face. You know what she looks terrible. There are no lines. No distinctions. It’s hard for me to not say something. But I won’t it’s non of my business. I’ve seen you sans makeup. “One doesn’t need to have an unlined face to have great style. In fact, I think the combination of visible age and a well-honed personal style can have a powerful impact.” There are so many challenges to aging. But that’s part of growing up. We are privileged to age. Trust me I know that. Plus you just don’t look that same.

  29. Wendy
    February 8, 2018 / 8:37 am

    Love your thought pieces. Your observations are always clear, thoughtful and empathetic – a great combo.

  30. February 8, 2018 / 8:47 am

    Yes, this is a great post and discussion to follow. I was a conventional beauty when young but it always made me uncomfortable, as I wanted to shout “ but I am smart, I am funny, see the real me!” I really don’t like the sagging bits but I feel I match my true self now cloaked with a bit of invisibility. My favorite comment of recent years came from a young woman who said to me “you have such kind eyes”. That said, I still love fashion and I love your posts. Thank you.

    • amidprivilege
      February 8, 2018 / 12:51 pm

      I have said above what you say here. Although being told you have kind eyes, that is just lovely. Not a compliment I’ve ever received but I’d love to try and deserve it.

      • padgal
        April 2, 2018 / 6:35 pm

        I read both your comments, Amid Privilege, and signed up for your blog. Love your style posts, and I would say you, too, have kind eyes. 🙂

  31. Tia
    February 8, 2018 / 9:26 am

    This was a particularly interesting post – thank you for sharing it!

  32. Jane
    February 8, 2018 / 9:40 am

    Thanks for a great post.

  33. February 8, 2018 / 10:19 am

    Nodding as I read this piece, relating to most of what you wrote. I think I was slightly younger when I had that old version of me looking back in the mirror. I’ve always been mistaken for being much younger. It was actually an issue at times especially in my twenties when trying to forge a career. Clients thought I was junior so I was constantly proving my worth.
    However later in my 30s I dined off it big time! Now I just feel like a regular 50 year old which is OK but weird. I know in my heart there will come a time, in the not too distant future, that I’ll struggle with aging. Sagging, wrinkles, dull skin, droopy eyes. I don’t want any of it. If there was a pill to stop it, I’d take that now. I’m not pc about it at all. I love a lot of the aging process but you can keep the physical stuff. All of it.
    I’ve told my close friends to tell me if I attempt to go too far with cosmetic injectables. If it was only about confidence I’d be quids in…

  34. Ainsivalavie
    February 8, 2018 / 11:31 am

    When I first opened this post I thought oh no Susan has gone all SoCal on us and is contemplating…the knife! Glad to see that was the furthest thing on your mind. At 63 I’ve moved past all that aging, woe is me crap, no time for it. I am grateful for a full life, loving relationships, friends and great kids. Fairy tale? Forgettaboutit!! My oldest was plagued with mental issues, our marriage has not always been easy, and I have dealt with health issues. Never let it get me down, kept moving forward, kept smiling and don’t people still wonder if I’m telling the truth about my age( a nurse told me last week she had to double check my chart!) It’s about attitude, I wear leather pants but no stilettos anymore. I buy funky clothes/shoes but only if it’s love, I still keep a dark head of shoulder length hair albeit now with caramel highlights. In short, life on my terms but accept there will be warts if not wrinkles!! My late dear friend who was born and raised in Paris and adored women of all ages (because French men do!) once commented that “American women obsess too much about getting older. You can have all the cosmetic work done it won’t fix what’s wrinkled inside the heart.” He would point out women and say “Her, she needs sex!” I would enquire how he knew this(!) “Chérie,it shows in her face.” Who knew??!!
    I like your style Susan and get tons of adopt but adapt ideas from your blog no matter the topic. This post reinforces my thoughts. Brava!!

  35. Angela
    February 8, 2018 / 12:00 pm

    Since I live in a temperate climate here in northern New Zealand, I have had to come to terms with more than how my face is aging. At 66, thanks to genetics and good skin care, I have clear, fine skin (British born) and few wrinkles. BUT, it’s not so much the gentle sag on my face that concerns me, but the skin on the rest of my body, there now appears to be far too much of it! And with hot summers there’s absolutely no way I can cope with covered arms and legs. As a region, we Antipodeans perhaps have a more laid back approach to aging than our US or European counterparts, though I suspect the current 30/40 somethings will inevitably feel the need to retain their youthful appearance with more vigour in the future. Thankfully I truly believe confidence in oneself is the key to successful aging. No hiding behind greige in this house! Bon chance.

  36. Christine M Pisani
    February 8, 2018 / 1:01 pm

    Although I enjoy your commentary on clothes, accessories, etc., I think my favorite part of your blog is when you write about “life,” etc. Today’s blog is a great example. I don’t mind getting old, especially since I retired in May (loving it!) but what annoys me is how, so often, older women just become INVISIBLE!!! I can’t put my finger on it, exactly, but I bet anyone reading this blog knows what I mean. I want to always enjoy reading, music, walking, conversation, fashion, and being open to new things.

  37. Lisa P.
    February 8, 2018 / 1:25 pm

    Susan, you said this so beautifully! I couldn’t agree more. It is a strange place we find ourselves. Too bad ageing doesn’t come with a handbook or something.

  38. Allegra Bridges
    February 8, 2018 / 2:39 pm

    I’ve been thinking about this lately, but with a slightly different twist. My kids encourage me to be age-appropriately hip, I have zest for life, it’s all good at 64. But I want to embrace being a mature adult and feel that I still have lots to share. I’m getting a little “over” the idea of having to adopt youth culture when often youth don’t feel the need to explore our mature ideas and values. I’m told that keeping a clean house, being well groomed, being punctual, setting an elegantly simple table is passé and not hip or smart. We all need each other and benefit from seeing from others’ point of view. Guess i’m Trying to say I want to be fluid and flexible but never apologetic about my age-whatever it is.

  39. Shybiker
    February 8, 2018 / 2:45 pm

    I like your penultimate paragraph. I do nothing to combat physical signs of aging except stay fit and eat well. Style can be a nice enhancement of our personal appearance. Adding color, interesting designs and eccentric elements reflects engagement with life.

  40. Gillian
    February 8, 2018 / 3:23 pm

    Great article. I often have the feeling of my appearance not matching my inside, and ask myself, “am I really 71, how did I get here so quickly”.

  41. allwaysinfashion
    February 8, 2018 / 3:25 pm

    I haven’t read all the comments (maybe I should), but at this stage of life I am quite grateful I was never a “great beauty”. I have seen where women who had that luck suffer greatly when it goes. Sadly, much of their persona had been based on such a temporal gift. It’s been far easier to ease into ageing not having to face a loss of something that was never my raison d’etre. I’ve taking to observing older women as I go out and about— those whose resting faces are grim and those with a slight smile. It is amazing how sad are the former and how beautiful are the latter.

  42. Daniella Karo
    February 8, 2018 / 4:09 pm

    Being “soignée” at all ages is very important. Too many women as they age fall off the wagon, so to speak, at a time when carelessness is no longer suitable. Attention to your hair style and color, more subtle makeup, being slim and toned, wearing clothing that are fashionable, wearing a coquettish smile while walking, are a must. Also, loving yourself, will take care of your self confidence.

  43. Beverly
    February 8, 2018 / 4:31 pm

    This is truly a timely post on the process of aging. I decided about seven years ago that I was not going to have any work done to try to turn back the clock because it’s too obvious that “youthful beauty” is valued way beyond other attributes in women. As we all move forward in our years, may we embrace our personal style(s), and rebel against the perpetuation of staying young in appearance. May we learn to find confidence in the many other characteristics that make us who we are! Thank you for your candor and support of aging well!!

  44. February 8, 2018 / 4:56 pm

    Great post Sue. It didn’t really hit me until I turned 65 last year, I felt quite lost for a couple of months. I thought a lot about my mother, who had been very beautiful and her entire self esteem was based on her looks and the effect it had on men. She became very depressed when she no longer “turned heads” and could never actually accept it – although she never had any work done. I didn’t want to go down her path, so I’ve tried to embrace my age, with gratitude for being alive, and my concentration being on living a long, happy, and fulfilled life. I actually don’t mind my invisibility….I find it liberating.

  45. Melolexx
    February 8, 2018 / 5:08 pm

    Merci beaucoup for this post, it was refreshing and reassuring!

  46. Kris
    February 8, 2018 / 5:52 pm

    I am blessed to have a mother and an Aunt who are paragons of aging with grace. They exercise, garden, play bridge, travel every chance they get, and have a wide circle of friends. I love watching them enjoy their lives, dress with style and elegance, and make the most of every day. I could not ask for better role models. I am in my mid 50s and I plan to emulate their example. They don’t let a few wrinkles and some gray hairs tarnish their charm and neither do I.

  47. Mary Fisher
    February 8, 2018 / 6:11 pm

    I have loved reading everyone’s comments. What a lovely forum Susan has provided. Thank you all for so much good “food for thought” that will not go to our thighs. Mary F.

  48. Linda
    February 8, 2018 / 11:53 pm

    Thanks for another wonderful post, Susan, and also to all those commenting. I guess we are all fragile in different ways (if we’re not fortunate enough to possess the beauty of a few stunningly bone-structured, silver-haired models who have lately become the new ideal for “mature” women). I don’t mind my old face too much–hooded eyes, droopy cheeks (RBF!), disappearing lips and all–but the extreme sagging of my neck makes me very sad. I thought I would be more secure about such things by the time I got to this age; turns out, no. I try not to catch myself in profile view, and I concentrate hard on all the good things in my life. It is a daily workout.

    • Linda
      February 8, 2018 / 11:56 pm

      Ugh, no edit-ability. I missed some dashes up there.

  49. February 9, 2018 / 12:35 am

    At the risk of repeating many others I love your explorative pieces! Now one thing we do need to bear in mind is that we are bombarded daily by a media that is both misogynistic and youth worshipping so it’s not surprising that as we become older women (celebrating 60 this year) we can feel a bit crap about how we look. As an actor I see endless interesting parts available for men of my age but it can seem as if women over forty have been banned from our screens!There are exceptions of course but that’s the general milieu in the media. I think it’s much worse in the US than it is here in England.
    Susan you and the other mature style bloggers are doing a great job helping so many women feel ok about themselves (and stopping hating their appearance) and that’s an important first step to feeling good about how you look!

  50. February 9, 2018 / 5:42 am

    Love these kinds of posts. Thought-provoking.

  51. Patrish
    February 9, 2018 / 7:29 am

    70 years of age. In the moment and authentic. I want to be the best I can be, not someone else’s version of me.
    Great post.

  52. February 9, 2018 / 7:49 am

    Great post. So true there are times I look in the mirror and see “an older vesion of my mother”. She was a good looking women but it still feels wierd. Ageing is definitely not for the faint hearted. I do think that we need to adapt our style in order to enhance our ever changing selves. I now wear brighter colours which cheer me up. I make sure I apply at least a little makep every day otherwise I look very washed out. It is the minor health issues, like stiffer joints that I find hard to accept and don’t get me started on the memory loosing the car keys thing!

  53. Elizabeth
    February 9, 2018 / 10:42 am

    Like Maureenc, I love your explorative posts. This post made me feel better because it reminded me that there are many others who are also fighting the “age” demons. Pesky little creatures! So, I try to keep them “little” because there are so many things to appreciate. I’ll be 61 next month, but every day I remind myself how lucky I am because of a supportive husband, good kids & grandkids and supportive parents! My folks are getting up there, but still active ( dad at 90 power walks! ). What a joy to hear my mom answer the phone with “hello sweetheart” and my dad finishing the phone call with “I love you”. Those terms of endearment from aging parents sure keep you young!

  54. Kay
    February 9, 2018 / 3:51 pm

    Good insights, Sue. I was considered conventionally pretty when I was young, and I have had to do some settling with myself to appreciate my aging face. I used “maybesomedaysurgery” as a salve to ease my discomfort as my eyelids drooped and my jaw sagged. I would say to myself, “well it’s not bad enough yet,” and keep on living my life. At nearly 70, I have come to terms, I think, with the idea that I’m no longer conventionally pretty. I am not tempted now to do anything surgical to my eyes. I have decided there are worse things in life than living with my “grandmother’s chin.” I’m still monitoring my “mother’s neck,” though, and that might be the think that pushes me to see the surgeon. Who knows.

  55. Jane
    February 9, 2018 / 5:14 pm

    Thank you for your blog, Susan. I enjoy how real you are, not only in your fashion sense, but also your genuinely nice personality. I am 65 and an ex-hippie and rock-n-rolla. The hardest realization was that no matter what I did, there was no hope I would ever be, or even look cool. The only thing that helped was never having been cool in the first place. I look to you for instruction in tasteful dressing at a certain age and am never disappointed.

  56. February 9, 2018 / 11:08 pm

    I just discovered your highly interesting blog – and I am with you: the points you mention are important. I found out that REAL interest in others makes it possible too to melt down age-barriers – I study at the university a new language&literature, and the students are way, way way younger than I – yet some connections grow out of it that are really enriching (both sides)

  57. Rita Blanks
    February 10, 2018 / 10:03 am

    I remember as a 40 year old woman hearing my mother at 72 say, ” I may look like an older woman on the outside, but inside I feel just like your age.” I loved that she felt young inside. She was one of my best friends. Now at the age of 79, I understand what she was saying to me, but I want my outside to more closely look like my insides. I treasure my younger girl friends who tell me they want to be just like me when they get older – and love that they enjoy being with me right now. I treasure how they help keep my spirit youthful – and how your column helps keep my fashion-look youthful, vibrant and matching my “inner me”.

  58. Lynne Savage
    February 11, 2018 / 11:42 am

    Nearly 70. Married 50 years to my best friend. Both kids and 3 grandkids all well. Whats not to love? And age brings the bonus of not caring about what people think of you anymore because you know that on the whole they aren’t. EXCEPT .. I wish my shape hadnt become quite so apple.

  59. February 11, 2018 / 11:52 am

    I, too, loved this post — led to lots of reflection. Since retiring from a full time career at 60 and moving to a part time position as transition, for the last couple years, I feel so much more balanced. I’ve made more time to keep moving, with getting and staying fit an important focus. I’ve lost 25 pounds (slowly) and kept it off a year so far, have (with my hair stylist’s help over the last several years) transitioned my hair from natural brunette through streaks, to blonde, and now to silver and grey. She gives me silvery blonde highlights every other appointment, and my hair is cut short in a snappy style that suits. I’ll be 63 in a couple of months and continue to feel like 48 inside. A book that inspired is Younger Next Year, which is about the importance of actively making choices to eat well, be engaged, keep moving, and essentially turn back the clock. It works! I doubt I’ll ever look “having work done”.

    Your blog has also been a major inspiration for stylish choices, for travel, for self care and for knowing there’s a whole community of like-minded fascinating accomplished women out there! Thank you so much!

  60. sophia
    February 12, 2018 / 12:52 pm

    Having had a neck lift and tummy tuck this year (just turned 61), it was the best return on a small investment. I just plain got sick of seeing my sagging neck and holding extra tummy skin with both hands. Now I feel refreshed
    with by no means a “wind tunnel” result. Want to go under the knife? Find a good referral for an appointment or two. No to a touch up? That is fine too. It’s a choice, after all.

    You article about style and identity is my next struggle and something to think about. But for sure, I need to invest in quality materials whether the piece is vintage, classic or craft fair. I need not look hip but pulled together and that yes, less is more.

    Divorcing Miss Clairol years ago, I get so many compliments on my silvery boy cut (local barber $15 plus tip) it was worth taking the plunge.
    A good hair gel (cheaper in the men’s department) and a killer red lipstick is in my arsenal.

    Looking forward to hearing from you and your readers for inspiration!!

  61. Michelle
    February 17, 2018 / 8:12 am

    Right on, Susan!

  62. February 19, 2018 / 7:39 am

    Out for a walk this morning, I was musing on this very thing – sort of. How western culture still focuses on youth. How women here have grown up with a culture of 36-24-36 which is practically impossible without a stroke of luck via nature or corsetry or, worst of all, starvation and corsetry. All over the world, women who grow old (the lucky ones) turn box-like around the middle, have chests that droop and bottoms that square out with age. That is the real pattern and it can be hard for women to accept that. Doesn’t mean you have to stay home and weep. We are the fortunate ones, the generation that can finally take age and stand it on its head. We’re not going anywhere. Except out.

  63. March 16, 2018 / 8:22 am

    Loved this post. I inherited good genes from my Italian mother, and I am very thankful for what I have… still trying to grow older with dignity like my mom.

  64. Anne MacKay
    March 22, 2018 / 8:33 pm

    Ah, c’est manifique. I’ve just spent a happy hour (or two) looking through your site and ending on this post. I so appreciate your style and perspective.
    It’s a challenge to stay confident when the world is not quite sure what to do with us. Your wonderful example of effortless is so welcome.
    Thank you for your wonderful sharing.
    Anne from Canada.

  65. Emily Bryson
    March 27, 2018 / 8:15 am

    I am in a panic….I did not receive your blog today! It usually comes in around 7:30 in North Carolina. Emily

  66. April 23, 2018 / 7:28 am

    I don’t know how I missed this blog a couple months ago, but reading it today. Susan, so well said! I don’t need to look the way I did at 40 (I’m 62), but I struggle with the outside not appearing as the inside feels. As you may remember, I write a weekly newsletter and would like to share what you wrote here, of course crediting you. I think it will speak to my readers too.

    • Susan B
      April 23, 2018 / 7:31 am

      Of course, Kelli, thank you!

  67. Marta S
    July 8, 2018 / 6:16 am

    Thanks Susan. You are the best.

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