Fierce after 50

Like most mature women I know, I have an uneasy relationship with mirrors in department store fitting rooms. While trying on clothes, I scrutinize my body like a roadmap, noting the topography of my lifelong journey. I can still spot traces of post-delivery stretch marks and joint replacement scars, not to mention those newly acquired age spots that can’t quite pass as freckles. But that’s OK.

Last week, I heard Cat Stevens’ “Miles from Nowhere” on my car radio. The tune was a favorite of mine in high school, but its lyrics resonate even more now:

     Lord my body, it’s been a good friend / But I won’t need it when I reach the end.

unnamed-1Throughout six decades, my body has been a very good friend indeed. It has endured years of dancing classes, playground accidents, and skinned knees. It was hit by a car; it gave birth to one spectacular son. It has survived blood transfusions, several bouts of skin cancer, and two hip replacements. 

I was in much better shape in my twenties, yet I constantly compared myself to other women. In those days — and even on good days — I believed I fell short of our culture’s impossibly high standards of fitness and beauty. Thankfully, maturity broadens and reshapes our view of physical perfection (and not just our backsides). 

On the road to aging well, it also helps to have a few inspiring role models to light the way. While researching pro-aging topics for my monthly columns in Michigan Prime, I’ve happily discovered a whole new world of female fashion bloggers who are rocking their late forties, fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties, and beyond. I’ve only scratched the surface, but here is a short list of my favorites:

Advanced Style

Brenda Kinsel

Fabulous after 40 

FASHION SHOULD BE FUN

The Middle Page

More than turquoise by Jamie Lewinger

Style at a certain age

Stylish Paradox

Susan after 60

Tamara Beardsley

THAT’S NOT MY AGE

Une femme d’un certain age

DSCN0029No matter how old we are, those of us who love fashion want to see ourselves mirrored in magazine spreads, ad campaigns, and fashion catalogs. We want to see clothing modeled on women close to our own age — in all shapes and sizes. Despite the fact that our demographic wields considerable spending power, we’re consistently overlooked by most fashion editors and advertisers. 

That’s why I’m grateful for mature fashion bloggers. Flaunting beauty, courage, and confidence, they remind all of us that we, too, can be women of style as well as substance.

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Top photo: That’s me with my husband, Doug, both in our sixties. We’re posing for HAP’s Balanced Living magazine — our first cover shot.