Oh, Youth...When everything we tried on fit perfectly and going shopping was easy and fun...When clothes were measured by how much of our lithe young bodies we can show off to the world, or at least to the ogling eyes of the male species: Strapless tops, shorts, mini skirts, plunging necklines, armless dresses, tight-fit skirts and jeans and of course, bikinis.The challenge THEN was how to show as much as one could, but with some measure of good taste and a shred of elegance...'Less is More' had a double meaning: at once slutty, and the total opposite: The foundation of elegance. I don't know what happened, but when the Beatles were suddenly in their 50s and 60s, I had no choice but to follow suit whether I was ready for it or not. Dressing up and looking good...which was once a piece of cake...was now turning out to be a difficult chore: Arms started to lose their muscle, sun-damaged cleavage showed itself on necklines...brown spots appeared on hands and exposed legs (in between veins that became more and more pronounced)... and worse -- the cute flesh that was once on our round derriere seemed to drift into our stomachs, subsequently leaving us with a double whammy of a flat ass and bulging stomach.
Take that challenge, Vogue. As a woman who considers herself stylish (don't we all?), I knew I had to reinvent myself, ultimately coming upon a style borne out of necessity and trial and tribulation -- a style I call: Camouflage. It's a style that is the direct opposite of the agenda of those youthful days. Instead of dressing to reveal -- this style's job is to hide and cover. First rule of camouflage: never unveil the body parts that don't 'work' anymore and do whatever is necessary to divert attention away to what still 'works': i.e. dresses with 3/4 sleeves, even in summer, can be stylish. Skinny jeans or dark leggings can do a great job covering the imperfect skin while showing the still slim figure, as long as it comes with a long and loose top that covers that pesky rear-end and stomach. Those ads for padded underwear that you thought were for other women? Listen up: those are now for you. A one-piece suit (bikinis were left behind at age 45) is now even more restricted: No colors -- only a black one-piece can somehow cover or lessen the appearance of a bulge. Since my hands showcase every ray of sunshine I ever exposed myself to (yes, I still do), the color of the manicure is boring clear but the pedicure on my still-nice toenails is colorful.
Grooming is a must -- hair colored, cut and blown dry...professionally and often...can take away from a face that is increasingly not responding to any creams, regardless of how much you pay for them. A checkered Panama hat -- made out of paper and purchased for $10 on the street -- got me so many compliments -- that I expanded its use from style and sun cover to camouflaging bad hair days and thinning hair (only in one tiny, little spot...) Interesting jewelry is another trick that helps to divert the attention away from monochrome clothing. (Should Black and Beige be even allowed at our age? My French girlfriend says NO... Color is the foundation of youth...Beige is not.). Anything with sparkle used to send me vomiting. It reeked of Miami and women who didn't understand fashion and architectural tailoring. Now, I don't see how one can even look semi festive without them. I'm also thinking that perhaps it's even time to expose my young, virgin earlobes to piercing and introduce some light reflecting earrings to the game. The constant challenge NOW is how to translate all that adult good taste and chastity clothing and still appear youngish and 'with it'. It takes discipline and vision and a lot of rummaging. So when people hear my age and say: "No way! You don't look your age at all...what is your secret?" I smile with a sense of accomplishment and say: "Camouflage." Why not spread the news?