I bumped into an online article suggesting that women are “unlikely style icons at 65.”
Together with fierce women over 50, I have been influencing fashion trends on Instagram for several years, and mainstream media is still doubting that we’re fashion-forward.
Does the word midlife smell musty?
Is it that magical number, 65, that says “senior?” Seniordom doesn’t usually describe fashionable power; it’s the period of retirement where we’re expected to be the kings and queens of our couches.
What do you see when you hear senior?
On my dog walk to pick up a curbside espresso, I dictated to Siri my frustration about the ageist assumption that my generation couldn’t be style icons. I was wearing a mini pencil-dress, over-the-knee vinyl boots, and a futuristic copper mask to Broome’s Deli, which had served as a stage for my outfit ideas before the pandemic. The dress was from the 90s; the handbag was thrifted; the boots are from Dolls Kill, and the mask spoke of the latest science.
I mix up my own (mostly) sustainable style, right in or up the front of el Zeitgeist. When my smile is needed as a rebellion in a society run by fear, I’m feminine and sweet. When ageists annoy me, I get slutty in short-shorts and fishnet stockings. I’m loud when I want to be because I have something to say and empowering outfits to speak loudly. I am pink and punk and provocative when I’m pissed off.
Mainstream’s outmoded judgments and constant awe of us “still doing” whatever we’re not supposed to do is demeaning. It annoys the heck out of many confident women. The compliment “you’re still hot” feels like a fist in our stomachs. No wrinkle should be able to diminish our power and relevance in society’s eyes. Our new mindset doesn’t envision the path that former generations took as reality—our sweet grandparents who believed in going down after 50 and that the hospice is a gate to the afterlife.
There’s a new generation out there, created by us, not by established society. We are rebels, and even when some fashionistas over 50 and 60 wouldn’t want to call themselves rebellious and don’t love Che Guevara, they are rebels just because they do not perform in expected ways.
Society’s “ooh, ahh” isn’t empowering; the astonished applause confirms that we are regarded as “on the way out.” We have created an unprecedented ageless generation, so write about our contributions, not how weird it is that we can still create magic.
I am a likely style icon because I rebelled for our right to wear what we want since I was a kid soiling my pretty dress—revenging the audacity that my mom threw away my tomboy overall. My fierce super girl actions over decades foreshadowed that I would be a lifestyle rebel in midlife.
My inner stylist dressed my power or suffocated me in the sad, beige drab of the lack thereof. More than that, my outfits guided me to unknown places, inside and out. I’m not still kicking. After a period of boring “grown up-ness,” I am finally kick-ass again in a tight, sexy, faux snake dress. The idea that women lose their value when they can’t produce babies anymore feels medieval yet is a thought that still permeates societies—to walk alone in our sensual power in midlife is a mindset revolution.
What’s unlikely is not that we are style icons. We are. My innovative, passionate, midlife fashion friends on Instagram wear their trendsetting souls on their sleeves. What’s unlikely is fashion’s inherent enlightenment level, which I discovered in my outfit explorations over two years. My multiple therapies, Jungian college, and trips into consciousness gave me new clarity, confidence, and manifesting mojo—magical like a shamanic journey.
I discovered the power of our physical expression based on my decades of experiences. They chiseled me out of the cement of beliefs that society had poured over me. Underneath it all, we are art; woke fashion is our polishing tool.
Crepey skin doesn’t mean creepy style or corroded neuropathways.
Yes, people whose “Brains don’t work so good,” exist, as said in Zoolander. They’re of all ages and often give their power away to leaders they feel they can trust with their lives. I don’t believe in rulers, especially not when they’re white, older men run by corporations like Manchurian Candidates. I want to build a new society within the rotten old. Maybe I’m a Utopian, naïve like a teenager, and innocent like a child. But I’m not what “old” describes.
I believe that stylish women wearing vinyl pants are part of a cultural revolution. Diversity needs to include us on magazine covers as much as government jobs. Imagine being a savvy, sassy senior and needing a job; just thinking of applying makes me cringe.
Failed experiments make progress; my generation has new risks to take and many mistakes to learn from. The amazing experiences we have to offer might be due to pandemic times, unavailable forever. We’re not into knowing better, but we know that we won’t get far without uniting all generations under a mindset and plan for change.
Ageism is separatist and weaves itself through even well-intended articles. The year 2020 forces us to open our eyes and inspect ourselves and our normal. We might want to blink twice before we find grandmas dancing with their walkers funny. It’s time to examine what we feel, think, and tend to see—find collaborators for positive change in formerly judged “unlikely” places.
What do I see when I hear the word senior? I also see my beautiful grandma, her white hair pinned up, her black ankle-length dress and Catholic cross pendant covered by an apron, her wrinkled hands showing that she had worked all her life, folded in her lap.
She accepted her hardships gracefully. She never saw the world, and I don’t know if she was ever happy. She made me feel loved, for which I am forever grateful. What I inherited from her is her childlike quality of living in the now. There are values in the “old,” we, the ageless generation, gladly take with us as fuel, but the past mindset doesn’t define us anymore.
I don’t want to be called a senior as it reminds me of the invitations to buy my urn and gravestone after I hit 55. I’m simply Angie; who are you?