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Arlene Goldstein Headshot

A Woman of a Certain Age

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I rarely think about my age. In my eyes, it's just another number much like my street address or cell phone digits. Now the figures that reflect my weight or body mass index -- that's a story for another day.

That said, I was totally caught off guard a few months ago after a delightful interview with a local fashion writer. We chatted about the upcoming seasonal trends. I shared jewels of information about statement necklaces and the importance of leather, which is always a pleasure from my perspective. Right when I thought the conversation was about to come to a fashionable end, the writer said she had one more question. It was a stunner! She asked me what age woman could wear the trends I had just described. I answered "WHAT did you say?" thinking I had misunderstood her question. Well, I had not. She was actually asking ME to decide who could wear the trends and who could not.

I proceeded to tell the reporter that I could not answer her question. She was not happy. I felt cornered and for a split second, thought it nearly impossible to explain my position without sounding defensive, but I gave it a try. First, I described a recent shopping trip with one of my grown daughters. Without knowing it, Amanda and I ended up in the dressing room with the very same shift dress. Amanda loved that it was a little clingy and just short enough to be sexy. She was smitten. On the other hand, I slipped the dress on and decided immediately to size up a bit so that it was much less clingy and not quite so short on me. Eureka! Even with the considerable age difference, the item worked beautifully on mother and daughter -- same dress, same trend. The reporter was beginning to get my drift. Next, I explained that the manner in which one adopts a trend and certainly the degree to which the trend is accepted is generally determined by the proclivity of the individual. At this point, we were finally on the same page.

No doubt as we mature, most of us become more astute at deciding what to show and what to cover up, when to add a dash of daring and when to pull back. That makes perfect sense. So should we be giving heed to so called professionals that tell us when certain trends are off limits? Should we alter our appetite for newness because someone is setting fashion boundaries for us to follow when they deem the candles on our birthday cakes are getting way too crowded? Absolutely not. Do I skip sections in prestigious fashion magazines with headers like "Awesome at Any Age -- Here's What Looks Best on You at 40, 50 and 60?" Yes, I do!

So I say to women of any age, own your style, follow your instincts and wear what makes you feel good.