In the brilliant Postcards from the Edge, written by the talented Carrie Fisher, there is a scene where Shirley McLaine claims to be middle aged. “Oh yeah”, scoffs Meryl Streep who is playing her daughter. “How many 120 year old women do you know?” This scene has been playing in my head a lot lately as I have to admit that at age 44, I have reached middle age. Big sigh. I’ve never really had a problem with getting older. I feel that with each year that I’m still here, that’s a bonus. But I find negotiating the peaks and crevices (and I’m not just talking about my face – boom-tish!) of getting older to be somewhat precarious. Especially when it comes to dressing.
I have a tween and a teen and I don’t want to be like be like Demi Moore, spotted out and about with her teenaged daughter wearing exactly the same outfit. Fitted pencil dress, impossibly high platform stillettos and straighty straight straight hair. Shudder. Although obviously I would like to be as thin and rich as Ms Moore, just without all the issues which go with. Basically I just want to look as I still feel. Vibrant, outgoing, life loving and ready for at least another lifetime if not more.
But sometimes I get tired. And there’s a mortgage to pay and apparently, the bank doesn’t look too kindly on skipping payments in order to fund an ongoing botox regime. Also, a lot of the time I can’t be bothered going for a run and during these long winter months, carbs seem to be more friendly than any other food option. So you can imagine, what I see in the mirror doesn’t quite reflect what I see in my minds eye. So I’ve started to wear the same sort of thing to work each day. A lot of this is black, I cannot tell a lie. And I feel like I jazz it up (my mother’s phrase) with a well placed scarf. I have rather a few, really gorgeous scarves of varying shades and patterns so I just throw them about my neck, whack on a pair of fabulous earrings then away I go.
But the other day I noticed something. I am not the only 40 something who does this.
Recently, when in a meeting and consumed with boredom, I took the chance to indulge myself in a bit of people watching amongst the others in the room. It’s harder to do this in a meeting space because often, other equally bored people are doing the same and you can get caught. But it’s a small price to pay.
I took stock of the fact that everyone in the room was a woman and the majority were women of about 40 and above, myself included. And EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM HAD A SCARF ON! Varying colours, embellishments, lengths etc but it was clear to me that each and every one of them had put their outfits on that morning (all beige or all black) and then finished it with a scarf.
IS THIS THE WARDROBE OF EVERY MIDDLE AGED WOMAN?? Sorry. I realize I am shouting but here I was thinking I was being a bit creative, but apparently, this is just a part of being middle aged.
What am I going to do? Do I stop wearing scarves? Do I take out a loan and completely re-stock my wardrobe? Do I dye my hair platinum blonde in an effort to stand out amongst the sea of varying shades of “home colour kit” brunettes* to “can’t be arsed to dye it” greys? Or do I snap the hell out of it and remind myself that I am a role model to my two young daughters and there are more important things to be focusing on than the fact that I look (and dress) my age?
*I fall into this category.. partial to “Iced Chocolate”..