A reader brought up the subject of Cher, and while I’d rather ignore her, the issue of how to age gracefully is never far from my mind.
Regarding Cher and her reprise of the see-through bodysuit, it was horrible and inappropriate the first time around (in 1992?) and it still is today. Who gives a shit if she wears it at 40, 60, or 80 years old? The woman wants to look stupid and embarrassing; She’s Cher! It’s her shtick.
The problem is, we don’t want her influencing other older women who might see this as a green light to Dress As Young as They Feel. Let us not encourage the tragic notion that age doesn’t matter. When we see a woman who seems blind to her own folly, and I’m talking to you Madge, it’s just sad.
Vivienne Westwood has managed to carry her look into old age, in part because she’s simply a great-looking woman, and because she knows what suits her. Maybe having the hot younger husband helps as well.
But Betsey Johnson makes me feel depressed. She looks like she doesn’t get it. Is she being ironic by looking like she’s nuts, or is she sincere? Patricia Fields is scary looking, but I’m guessing she works hard at being that scary. Pam Hogg looks nuts too, and I’d still like to know how old she is. Her look seems to say, I’m a Rule Breaker, Go to Hell if You Can’t Dig Me.
Most of us, though, have to be willing to accommodate old age into our look. It’s not nice to look 18 from behind and and then give someone a heart attack when you turn around. Half the woman in L.A. are unaware of this simple rule of etiquette. I personally have asked several friends to let me know when I start committing this gaffe but I think they pity me too much to let me have it.
To tell you the truth, now that Patti Smith has dyed her graying hair, I am feeling a bit disoriented.
What is Patti’s message to me? If she’s just saying, Fuck it, Who Wants Gray Hair, then I’m on board. Women who let their hair go gray are so misguided. It’s just bad, and that’s that. They might as well go around screaming I NEED ESTROGEN! (Fine, I have screamed that at my family on a couple of occasions, but that’s because I could feel my estrogen plummeting. They didn’t even need me to tell them, apparently.)
Women whose style is always evolving will probably have the best chance of carrying off old age without evoking pity or shock. Me, I’m in for trouble. My style hasn’t changed, but old women in tight jeans tend to offend me. I’m thinking, oh god, Woodstock is over, lady.
And they’re probably thinking the same thing about me!