Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Speaking the Truth (about Age Spots) in Love
When my oldest daughter, Sarah, came home to visit a few years ago, I told her I had a "fun project" for her. She's very handy, resourceful, has a good eye for things. When she was very pregnant with Grayson, I talked her into painting gold stripes on my bedroom wall. She's obviously a glutton for punishment. When I suggested this "fun project" she gave me that look. The one that says, "I'm pretty sure I won't want to do this, but you're my mom, so what is it?" I told her, "please go through my entire wardrobe and throw away anything ugly."

Her eyes lit up. I could see the wheels turning, as she was wondering how on earth I'd handle being naked in public after she'd thrown out every single thing I owned.

When she was finished, the spare bedroom bed was piled high. Really high. We only 'discussed' a few items I'd just recently purchased at Christopher and Banks, (which one of my girlfriends calls 'Garanimals for Adults'). The leggings, the tube tops, the blazers with huge lapels, white belts, tacky jewelry, ugly shoes. I cringed to see some of my favorite things get tossed on the pile. Then I remembered that Ann Ortlund, my hero, encourages us to "pass it on - bless someone who has less." I piled it all into boxes and bags. Part of it went to the church office, where we had women trying to dress for success on limited budgets; the other items were taken to Goodwill. My closet was trimmed down, the choices less tacky/offensive.

Sarah gave me a lesson on future purchases and overall dressing. She told me - do NOT tuck anything in, ever. Never wear leggings again, even if they come back in style. Or tube tops (both have recently), especially while you are mowing the grass on the front lawn, for God and the whole world to see. She probably gave me a lot of other rules, but these I remember. These I've stuck to.

So when an article came out in our paper last week, I took notice. It was titled, 'Age Spots'. Written to those of us 50+, it was a primer in what not to wear. The writer suggested wearing a tight wool skirt four inches above the knee, or carrying a bulky short-handled designer handbag (think Queen Elizabeth, and who on God's earth wants to look like her?), long 'crusty-costume-y' necklaces, hair dyed jet black, anything sleeveless, white hosiery, or any hosiery with mules - these were all the kiss of death. A high-contrast belt worn tightly at the waist, or a turtleneck when you're short necked or double chinned should be avoided. Apparently it makes us look dowdy, no matter our figure. Or worse, "vintage". As in O.L.D. The worst offender? Dark, red lipstick. To be avoided at all costs.

I swear I haven't worn anything tucked in since Sarah eliminated half of my closet. Not even pajamas. Now, I find myself eyeing my girlfriends (who are all in their 50's+). Yesterday a dear friend had on this funky necklace, to match her earrings. I sat and gazed at it, wondering if it was cool or tacky? A woman passed me in church this past week, looking to be a professional. But the white hose glared at me.

Maybe we're all just cold up here in the northeast. Women here LIKE to tuck in their tops. I wonder if they are all thinking, 'that Bev, she sure looks sloppy. Good grief, why doesn't she tuck in her top?' They like to wear their turtleneck sweaters just below their multiple chins. Somehow they seem to miss that most of them look like they have a little "something in the oven" just a few inches south of their high-contrast belts, and, honest-to-pete, most of them have on dark red lipstick.

Dark red lipstick in the exact shade I was looking for at the Clinique counter a week before I read this article. I'm wondering if this means Sarah needs to make a return visit to sort and toss. I suspect I'd have a new pile to donate to Goodwill. I appreciate that my daugher lived out, Ephesians 4:15 - "instead, speaking the truth in love....". Man, did that lipstick call to me. I didn't buy it. But I came close. I obviously need close monitoring. But - anything that might be mistaken for "something in the oven" is hidden under my untucked turtleneck sweater (and my neck is more like that of a giraffe), thank you very much.


  posted at 9:02 AM

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    Girl Raised in the South

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