I had an epiphany the other day. Well, kind of an epiphany. Let me explain. I was at a local hospital for a CT scan of my sinuses. And I was lying on the sliding-bed-thingie, and the technician was moving it back and forth, as they do. Then she disappeared into the back room, and when she reappeared, she said…”My little machine,” I assume she meant her computer. “tells me that you are fifty-nine. Boy, you don’t look anywhere near fifty-nine!”
Smiling, I calmly swung my feet over the edge of the bed, and said, “Well, thanks very much.” But… inside my head, I was shrieking…”I’m fifty-freakin’-nine! When the heck did that happen??!!” I mean, I know literally when it happened; I had a birthday when we were staying in a lovely B&B in Chambon-sur-Cisse, in the Loire Valley last month. But somehow it didn’t sink in, that I went to France in my fifties, and returned home almost sixty. Sixty! Six zero.
And it started me thinking about those stages in life when you just know that a certain item you’ve been wearing is no longer appropriate. I mean, you still fit into it (whatever it is) so you can wear it. But should you wear it? I remember clearly, years ago, hauling out my lovely, royal blue, corduroy Laura Ashley dress. And putting it on. And then looking in the mirror and just knowing that the time for that dress had passed. It still fit; it was still in style; I still loved it, but it just did not go with my face anymore. Something about the shape of the dress screamed young. Girly. I could pull it off in my twenties… but those days were gone. Ah well. So be it. I gave that dress away.
And so I’ve been wondering this week about pink. Pink is such a girly colour. And it’s everywhere this spring and summer. Beautiful blush pink dresses, and skirts. Hot pink tops and pants. I love them all. And so I ask myself… is pink too girly for me now that I’m creeping up on sixty?
I don’t own a lot of pink clothing. A couple of tee shirts, a sweater or two. And a pair of coral pink jeans from Elie Tahari that I bought three years ago. I love those pink pants. They are slim but not skinny, high-waisted, and cropped just above the ankle. I’ve worn them so much that they are a bit faded from the wash now. But are they past it? Or more to the point…. am I past it when it comes to wearing pink pants?
So I tried on my pink pants with the Rag and Bone layered silk tank that I bought to take to Paris… and which I never wore because the weather was too cool. I love this top. It’s age appropriate (whatever that means) and, more importantly, shape appropriate for me: long, with a narrow cut that falls away from the body. I love the high crew neck and the cut-away shoulders. I’d definitely wear this outfit on a summer evening, maybe strolling in the Byward Market, stopping for a glass of wine and dinner at one of the outdoor patios.
I think the simplicity of the tank calls for big earrings. These are my cheapie Pier One earrings, brass-coloured with red beads. I like the little bit of bling that they add to an outfit. I’m all for bling…. in small measures.
And if it’s cooler, I’d wear my Helmut Lang jacket. This is almost the same outfit that I took to Paris. But I think the pink pants and flat sandals are more casual than the white pants and black patent loafers. And you know, there’s nothing wrong with this look for a newly turned fifty-nine… creeping up on sixty… year old. My Helmut Lang jacket is a miracle worker; it packs some serious chic power. I’m so glad I bought it.
And so while I was thinking about Paris outfits, I tried my pink pants with my A.L.C. black and white striped tee which I wore all over France, not just in Paris. I rolled my pants and slipped on my red-trimmed Stan Smith Adidas sneakers. I like this. The pink pants are a nice change from my blue or white jeans.
But as Stacey and Clinton from What Not To Wear would say, I needed a “completer piece.” (Don’t you miss What Not To Wear?) So, the Helmut Lang Jacket it is. I love black, white, and a colour, in this case, pink. If the pants were pastel pink, this outfit wouldn’t work, but the coral is a strong enough shade to offset the black jacket, I think. So, in my pink pants, I was off to run errands downtown, and maybe check out the sale at Nordstrom. My friend Liz had e-mailed me that they had a great sale on all week.
And so, to answer my own question, at fifty-nine…creeping up on sixty… I don’t think I’m past wearing pink pants. But, of course, that depends on the pants doesn’t it? Pants that fit properly, and are cut to flatter my shape, are age appropriate no matter what colour they are. Okay… I don’t think I could stretch to soft pastel pink, but you get my point.
I don’t believe that our age means that we arbitrarily shouldn’t wear certain things. But I do believe that every so often we need to reassess our fashion choices. And see if what we’re wearing reflects who we are now. That’s what my epiphany was about, really, as much as the gasping realization that I was one year from sixty. I realized it was time for some reassessment. Time to look at whether some things in my wardrobe (like my pink pants) which still fit, are still in style, and which I can still wear, are what I want to be wearing. Whether my clothes reflect me, and who I am inside… now. That’s the important bit. Because, after all…fifty-nine is just a number. And pink is… just a colour.
This is the view from my car window as I sat in traffic on my way to Nordstrom last week. It’s Ottawa…and summer…and of course there’s construction everywhere. Still, there are worse views to look at as one sits and contemplates youth vs age… and rethinks pink.
What do you think about pink, dear readers? Do you have any wardrobe no-go areas now that you’re the age you are…whatever age that is?