Thursday, July 16, 2015

Aging disgracefully

People, I am frankly tired of the crap old ladies get. Particularly on the internet.

I'm not talking about how women over the age of 45 become magically invisible. I'm not talking about how some elderly women become "style icons" because they've managed not to devolve into crones. This is particularly noxious, because it looks like praise. Except it's not; it's condescension. You see it in sites like Advanced Style. "Wow, she's eighty and she still cares about clothes!" Really? Why shouldn't she care about clothes? Do you expect her to go out naked?

So yes, I could be complaining about the zeitgeist in general, or sites that make my neck itch, but I'm talking specifically about the comments people post on Makeup Alley, Guru Gossiper, and YouTube, and for all I know Tumblr, Instagram, and Snapchat. Comments to the effect that people like me are too old to be posting there.

First of all, these commenters act like they own the internet, which hello, they're only using because of geezers like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Richard Stallman--baby boomers all.

The other thing that bugs me is the use of "old lady" as a pejorative term.

Mind you, these commenters didn't invent the concept. Charla Krupp has published two or three books, and the first, How Not to Look Old used "OL" as the ne plus ultra of how not to look. Red lipstick? OL. Pantyhose? OL. Matching your jacket to your skirt? OL. And it went on and on.

Frankly, everything I once aspired to when I was a child: sophistication, elegance, well-thought-out outfits that were perfectly coordinated, cruelly expensive French perfumes--has been tarred with the epithet "Old Lady."

When I was a child, I wanted to dress like Barbie. But not this Barbie:

this Barbie:

Which was probably inspired by this real-life outfit:

And now, just when I'm old enough and wealthy enough to buy expensive suits, matching shoes and pocketbooks, and add a few drops of Joy to my outfit, all the things I craved when I was young--Countess Isserlyn makeup, "the costliest perfume in the world," my grandmother's Schiaparelli stockings, my mother's tweed suits and "good" jewelry--have all been declared fusty and old-fashioned.

I expected the passing years to rob me of my youth--that's as it should be. But it seems that they have also robbed me of my aspirations, and that's just mean.


  1. I am so glad you are back!!!

  2. Great post--hilarious and provocative all at once. I particularly love that you take Advanced Style to task, that site has certainly become very precious, hasn't it. I am with you on many of these sentiments! I never understood why people wanted to have wrecked hair and holes in the jeans, as if it was the height of fashion (ick!), I always loved those beautiful put-together babes from every era. It is still what I aspire to. Can't wait to be an old lady in my kick-ass Chanel jacket with matching Chanel bag, black patent Ferragamo flats, pearl necklace and red lipstick. Glad you are back. I swear, we need you down here in the trenches! Everybody is over at Instagram now which I find #boring #boring #boring. xx

  3. Love this! It isn't fair, is it? And, much as it feels great not to have nylon and spandex on my legs, I wish "no pantyhose" had been the fashion back when I was young and had great (meaning zero veins, zero cellulite) legs. Now those hose would be really useful...

  4. You've articulated my thoughts on Advanced Style perfectly and I thank you.

  5. Glad to see you back and enjoyed this blunt view of how OLs get perceived. But I still say "screw that." Who wants to look like Trollop Barbie TM? NOT ME.

  6. Hooray for your return and I hate old lady being used as a put down too.

    Agree with all these sentiments x

  7. Yes! I remember getting Charla Krupp's "How Not to Look Old" and thinking that the matched suit looked perfectly nice and not old at all. Of course I grew up in the preppy era of the late 70s and early 80s when tweens wore the same clothes as their grandmas...I'm afraid that "lady" has come to mean "old lady" among a certain mindset. But I refuse to pay attention to them.

    So glad you are back and doing well!

  8. No person or group can stop you from being your elegant self - we don't have that long, so make the most of it!!!!


Gentle Readers:

For the time being, I've turned off comment moderation. Please don't spam; it's not nice.

xxx, Poppy.