Kim Cattrall's vintage style.
A couple of weeks ago, I watched the "Jezebel Jessie" episode on TLC's famous show, What Not to Wear. You can watch the "before" and "after" in a quick three minute clip right here.
Jessie was like most of the women on What Not to Wear - she was an attractive woman in her mid 50's trapped in her own concept of "pretty." And, like most women, Jessie shaped her idea of "pretty" around a time in her life when she felt that way on the inside AND the outside. She felt good about the way she looked, the world of men seems to have agreed, and since that time, her hair, makeup, and clothing have remained exactly the same.
The problem was, of course, that she matured. The role she played at home, in business, and in her marriage changed. Her life asked for less of her big hair and cleavage but Jessie still depended on the reactions of men to decide how she felt about herself. Inside and out.
In the short video, TLC cut out the parts where Jessie got really, really upset. Hair stylist Nick Arrojo cut her big hair, and she didn't like it. She was so upset, in fact, that during her final reveal to friends and family, Jessie confessed to making phone calls asking men not to attend the party because she just didn’t think they would think she looked good with her short hair. At the end of the show, she returned home to Dallas, bleached her hair, and had her stylist put in hundreds of extensions.
Beauty is a tightrope. Your body is in balance for a precious few steps throughout your life. I've been there and I speak the truth. I've been both a skinny, buxom blonde that has morphed into a generously proportioned brunette. Life changes. When that happens, you might cling to the old idea of yourself or start shopping for outfits based on what is "good enough", not because of the price or because of the style but just because it covers your scars.
It hurt me to hear Nora Ephron describe Eileen Fisher clothing as "I Give Up" clothing. I have a closet full of Eileen Fisher that I wear for work. But Ephron was absolutely right - I have given up, in many ways. I can just throw anything Eileen Fisher in a suitcase and wind up looking reasonably put together at meetings half way across the country. So what if I look like a grandma? It fits and it doesn't wrinkle. That has more appeal than I ever realized.
Going dark was easier - after seeing a photo of my roots I had no trouble letting go of the notion that I was still blonde. (Perhaps a sign that I had waited too long?) $700 worth of Joe's Jeans and a whole lotta personal training later, I hope I'm looking longer and leaner in those pants. (At least I was until I got this boot cast on my leg, but that's another post.)
Sometimes I miss the old me, but not as often as you might think. It's kind of nice to have conversations that begin with a topic other than the size of my breasts. I don't miss people making assumptions about me based on my appearance. I remember a Professor at Georgetown (I'll name him if you ask me to) saying to me - in front of our entire class - "You are obviously a shallow person." I was so stunned, I couldn't say anything. Luckily, a classmate replied on my behalf that the statement was "inappropriate and out of line."
How is your body and life changing as you grow older? How are you dealing with it?