I like to think I’m “modern” in my thinking and approach to life in today’s society. As far as “fashion” or clothing is concerned, I convince myself that I have a fully rounded and balanced viewpoint. Personally I enjoy being and dressing casually as the mood takes me; there are times though when I like to dress a little “smarter” than casual. Even if my clothes are not expensive or seen to fall inside the perception of being 21st century, I do still “feel” good when I dress up. To keep within my strict budget also gives me a challenge which I enjoy meeting time after time.
With a major move from a large home to much smaller accommodation, my circumstances have changed over the past week or so. Being a woman growing older (and I suppose a man faces similar options) this means learning to adapt and to put into place new ways of handling those changes. The important part of dealing with changes of any kind that face us, is in maintaining and retaining dignity and control (as much as possible) within constraints both self-imposed and imposed by others.
Walking down the street or through some of the major shopping malls, it is quite obvious to an observer than there are now two categories of women’s code of dress. Three if you count the window displays of our clothing stores - yet no matter how hard I look I never see anyone dressed in those clothes from the store windows. Do women buy them and then hide them in their wardrobes, only to be bought out to be admired by themselves and friends, or do they actually wear them? When and where do they wear them?
So to get back to the two codes of dress, as far as I see them today. First there is the casual casual, which unfortunately could be described as frumpy and so uninteresting as to make the person almost seem invisible. Then there’s the person who seems to have a wardrobe of jeans and tee shirts and she never veers away from that code. I wonder how women in this category deal with the thought of being invited to a mayoral ball or a Melbourne Cup Lunch! They probably panic.
And women of substance, or women of a certain age, what do they do? Let me say here that I can’t understand those descriptions, although I admit I use them. The English language had an incredible resource of descriptive power, but when it comes to women of size and growing older, for some reason it’s much easier for society to say “obese or fat” or “she’s old so why does she bother?” Why have we taken on these definitions? Because we’ve been forced to in many instances. But times they are a’changing, girls.
We “bother” because there’s an inbuilt pride in our nature and we don’t want to be categorised as being the same as everybody else. We’re women, we’re feminine and we care - we honestly care - about how we dress, how we look and how we feel about ourselves. We’ve gone through all the stages of being unsure of ourselves, feeling guilty about our size; frustrated at having to explain to all and sundry that we’re just different to the size 6 girl on the catwalk (besides, we’ve got a lot more knowledge and experience to back up our feelings of confidence). and we want to be allowed to be ourselves and to express ourselves the way we know best.
We do know best, you know. That comes of always learning, always searching for ways of building upon our self esteem, through education and personal knowledge. Most women “of a certain age” can’t be persuaded that they’ve got to change; that they’ve got to get “with it”, that they have to admit to being old-fashioned in their ideas. Younger women have every right to express their views on how they dress and how they live their lives, yet the older woman has to justify her opinions about self and life-style. Why?
My question in the title of this post is “Has “casual” taken over our lives?‘ And I’m beginning to think that it’s about time that the growing older woman in today’s society should stand up and be counted. She has every right to be recognised and accepted and in fact applauded when she steps outside of the jeans and tee shirts syndrome and embraces her own femininity the way she wants. Yet if that includes wearing jeans and tee shirts, then so be it. But, and this is a big but, if she wishes to dress livelier, bolder, sassier and jazzier than jeans and tee shirts, let her. Compliment her, see her for being proud of who and what she is. Younger women will see that growing older holds exciting challenges in store for them, in that they will (hopefully) be more fair minded and open to the fact that women are able to enjoy their lives by making conscious decisions based on their own personal preferences through all stages of their maturity. We don’t have to follow trends that we are told we should follow at EVERY stage of our adult lives; we know best.
As I have quoted so often over the years,
“you are your own best asset - promote yourself,
and NEVER, EVER compare yourself to someone else.
You are unique.”