I really can’t believe its that time of year again! Can you? I wanted to wish all of you who celebrate a very Happy Thanksgiving. I’ve got a lot going on this week, so I’ll be back next week with the following in tow:

  • a very interesting interview with a new patternmaker on the block; I think you’ll really love what she’s got to say.
  • the date has finally been set for the Trouser Sew-A-Long. I’ll clue you in next week. It’s going to be a whole lot of fun too.
  • the velvet boyfriend’s jacket is finally finished! It’s a real beauty too.

And just in case you weren’t here last year when I posted this recipe, definitely have a crack at it this year while you’re trimming that tree. Believe me, there is nothing like Hot Buttered Rum. Nothing.

Hot Buttered Rum Recipe

All my best!

The Boyfriend’s Jacket is coming along. Slowly but surely. This past weekend I did a bunch of work to it and surprisingly really really really enjoyed each process. I mean, I love sewing but you know, sometimes…But this was different. It’s a very long and tedious process with ample amounts of hand sewing but I really enjoyed it. It’s very magical how the whole thing comes about. Simply magical. And I thought it would be fun to show you shots of my progress as the thing comes together. Disclaimer ~ this is not finished (obviously) and yes, there are white fuzzies everywhere and the side seams have not yet been stitched together. Just have a look past these things, if you would.

I wanted to show you some of the details that I decided to use as I will probably forget when I show you the final creation. There are several. First off, I’m following along in my Tailoring Book for the machine method. For those of you who have this book, you know what I’m talking about. I decided on this method because of the velveteen. It’s a beast to work with and I felt that the less I actually had to work with it the better it would be. In this method the lapels are not shaped with padstitching and the hair canvas is applied a little bit differently. This method also does not steam the lapel with a towel either which was my biggest concern since you are supposed to leave it overnight. This would have crushed the silly nap of the fabric and then I would have had to steam it out again which probably would have steamed out the lapel fold. Silly. So, yeah I went with the machine method. A good fit for a pile fabric I think.

Next, after looking through some of my old JCrew inspirations I found that some of the jackets had silk twill in the under collar. I’m using a silk twill for the lining and thought this would be a fun detail even though you’ll probably never see it. Suprisingly it’s worked out even better than planned as having the undercollar in velvet would have produced serious bulk.

Those blasted bound buttonholes. Those were a trip. In velveteen these things are a billion times harder. And I corded the buggars. This is a very cool trick which makes the buttonhole feel so much more stable. Just threaded a piece of yarn in there and Voila! bound buttonholes built to last!

The pockets. I drafted these from my mother’s boyfriend jacket. Then I handstitched them to the jacket. Handstitched. These babies took nearly three hours from cut to finishing on the jacket. But I do love the way they look, and if you don’t notice that there are no stitching lines attaching the pocket to the jacket, I will cry.

So far this jacket is very….heavy. It’s definitely a Fall/Winter item. It’s a very interesting comparison when you pick up a RTW jacket and this hand-tailored jacket and this thing isn’t even finished. It reminds of when you pick up a piece of good jewelry and a cheap piece and how the weight is different. The good piece is typically much heavier. So it goes with this.

Hmmmm….what do you think? Do you have the urge to sorta wanna pet it? I do. It’s soft, if I do say so myself. I think I’m going to be one very happy girl when this thing is finished. In fact, I think I’ll be as happy as a…..PRINCESS.

  • Peter - Really coming along nicely. I love the rich look of the velvet!

  • TanitIsis - Ooo, I spent the weekend working on a coat, too… for my daughter, though. I must confess, I’ve done a ridiculous amount of hand-stitching on it, especially for a kid’s coat. It is relaxing!

  • patty - This is simply lovely. The pockets are to die for and I’m surprised they ONLY took 3 hours!! How did you fasten them on to sew and keep everything straight? It seems like they’d get wonky with just pins.
    I am a huge fan of funky details that won’te be seen. pocket lining, undercollars, faced hems, zipper underlaps. This is what our scraps are MEANT for!!

  • Isabel - Amazing! I aspire to your skills. Love the under collar.

  • Liz - This jacket looks so lush. Can’t wait to see the finished product! And yes, it looks extremley pet-able. :)

  • K-Line - This is truly amazing. The pockets are a work of art.

  • Ana - Wow, that’s not sewing, that’s construction! Looks fantastic though – you must have the patience of a saint for all that hand sewing, it would drive me nuts.

  • Angela - It’s beautiful!! I’ve beeen following Gertie’s Lady Grey sewalong and the hand sewing is intensive, but you definitely have the right word… it’s magical! I’ve loved and loving every minute of it… it’s just that sometimes I need a little break. :)

  • Gail - Its coming along nicely.

  • roarah - That velvet is so luscious! I can’t wait to see the finished product.

  • Tasia - Oh wow. You are putting some serious love into this jacket! The fabric looks both incredibly luxurious and soft.. and the devil to sew!! Love the undercollar, that’s the kind of fun detail that will make you smile when you see it! It’s looking really great so far, beautifully constructed. Can’t wait to see it all done!

  • Abby - I was just looking at the Talbots pictures with Mckinley and she wants to know what the girl at the bottoms name is. She got a bit annoyed when I said I didn’t know and she said “it’s Kira.” So, I don’t know if you even knew that but now you do. Haha! I love how the jacket is looking.

I used to work at Harold’s when I was in college (it’s since gone out of business, I think). Just a little part-time gig to make a few extra bucks during school. Oh yes, and purchase some quality clothing too. Talbot’s was next door to us and I would wander in there from time to time just to see what they had and purchase a few things here and there. We were considered the more mature focused clothing stores. I don’t know that that really means anything except to say that these stores had more classic looks and shapes which I always loved and bought several pieces of in my early 20s. I haven’t been into a Talbot’s or bought from them since I quit my job at Harold’s. Then, my coworker brought me a Talbot’s mag for this year and said that she thought I might like to have it.

Drop. Dead. Gorgeous. The sleek sophisticated looks that Talbot’s has come out with this Fall is just….breathtaking. I love the red lipstick too. And the long hair. So, if you haven’t yet, make sure you head on over to the Talbot’s website to catch a glimpse and be inspired by their Fall line-up. And yes, it’s time to give them a bookmark too. And sign up for their monthly catalog.

Sigh…..Drool….Want….Need….Have to have….

Wishing you many inspiring thoughts about your Fall wardrobe this year.

  • lap - Must have that mock turtleneck kimono elbow sleeve-length top..must have now..oh yes..

  • Angela - Those are beautiful! Hehe.. I’ve been putting together a fall swap… these are definitely inspirational!

  • Corinne - Been a Talbot girl for much longer than I should admit. My first purchase was a wrap skirt in the 60’s. Classic styles, stunning seasonal colors, variety from casual/sleepwear to party dress. No affiliation just a satisfied customer!

  • Liz - Talbots hasn’t even been on my radar in years. But I was shipped a catalogue for some reason, and I couldn’t get over how many great items they now have. It’s full of wonderful pieces and inspiration.

  • Elle - I really LOVE the direction that Talbot’s has taken! It inspires my sewing, but also makes me want to head right to the store! We have a Talbot’s clearance center here in the Atlanta area, and believe me, when the sales start, I’ll be there!
    BTW, Harold’s has sadly gone out of business. I still have many items in my closet in rotation from both Harold’s and Talbot’s. In fact, I’m wearing some great Harold’s jeans today.

  • lizajane - Yes, very inspiring indeed. I’ve always liked more classic looks as well. Thanks for the nice comment on my shirtdress (on Burda)! I’m a fan of your blog.

I suppose this is more of a reflection on yesterday’s post, but I was overwhelmed by the response to what you had to say about aging. You had much more to say than I had even anticipated and it made me think long and hard about aging again. That lunch happened a few weeks ago and the subject has been racing through my mind ever since.

I do work with a lot of older women. In fact, I think there is only one girl, in an entire office building, that could be considered in my age bracket and she’s just a few years younger than me. They are all lovely and each have their own uniqueness and beauty. SueMarie hinted that I could have been more tactful in my response to what my friend’s son said about her getting older and needing a makeover. I do agree and after that conversation at lunch I went and talked to the woman in question about it and let her know that if indeed she wanted to go on a shopping date I would be glad to go with her (though I did emphasize that she did not need it, because she’s beautiful already). She’s still deciding where.

Image courtesy Ageless Body/Timeless Mom

Last night I came home to Mr. S. He had read my blog yesterday and had a host of things to say. A host. One of the things that really stuck with me though is that he talked about how cruel our culture is towards the older generation these days. He’s read a few books by Joseph Campbell who talked about how in the eastern cultures the elders are revered and admired. The younger generation does not so easily forget what the older generation has given them and so the elderly are treated with respect and dignity. Many of you talked about this in your comments and it really struck a chord. There really is a lot out there that is geared so much to being youthful and how to retain that. Botox injections, breast implants, plastic surgery, face lifts, miracle creams, you name it, when perhaps what we really need are some lessons on how to embrace wrinkles, sags and the way our bodies will be as we age. And knowing that there is nothing wrong with that, because there isn’t.

The very first comment from Karen really did help me understand more about this dilemma of aging. I had not thought about menopause, job change when perhaps its just a little too late, being/not being a mother and men who look right through you – although I do know what that one feels like. I also found the comments about feeling younger though stuck in an older woman’s body interesting. And that profound feeling of loneliness made my heart sink a little. There is one woman at work with whom I’m a little more intimate than others. She lost her husband last year and has told me that that is the hardest part. The loneliness. This also made me think back to the conversation with my husband and how the elderly have no where to go once they reach a certain age. He said that Joseph Campbell also talks about this saying that he finds it interesting that our culture glorifies your youth for the first 40 years. They teach you how to live for the first 40 years and then, even though you’ll probably live to see your 60’s even your 80’s or 90’s, after 40 is when they teach you how to die. It’s like our culture doesn’t know what to do with us after we reach a certain point.

I certainly don’t have the answer to many of these problems except that I find it more important than ever the past few days not to keep compliments of others to myself. My partner (an older woman) wears the cutest shoes and yesterday I made it a point to let her know that not only does she wear cute shoes but that she looks cute in them. Another lady I work with has the most gorgeous head of silver hair. You know those women who have that unbelievable natural silver hair? Yeah, totally jealous. It’s gorgeous and she always has it done so chicly. So I told her.

And I can’t say that it’s all about the compliments because its not. It’s about being more aware of the women I work with and respecting them. Making them feel good, injecting a little more confidence and helping them help themselves if only just a little bit. And that I couldn’t have realized without you. I’m hoping as I get older a few of the younger girls do it for me here and there.

You do realize that I was supposed to have a few posts about my jacket this week. Somehow, this seems a little more important. Ladies, thank you for your patience on both fronts…..

  • Evie - I read your post yesterday and while I agree with you on many counts, I think today’s post is very insightful and we could all take a lesson or two from it. This is something we all need to think about, and an issue I think many (if not all) of us need to be more aware of (especially while we’re still young). Thanks!

  • Mary - Dear Sunni,
    I read your post yesterday and had been musing about a response since. I even brought it up in our office for discussion as we all are ahem, “women of a certain age”. It is hard to understand until you get there. I certainly didn’t understand it in my 20’s, or 30’s or even quite in my 40’s. I got it when I turned 50 and turning 50 was not a bad thing. It was probably one of my best birthdays ever! We went to the beach for the weekend and dug razor clams and then turned around on Monday and went to our mountain property to work on the land for the week. It’s about the changes that insidiously sneak up on you while you’re out there living your life…passing the mirror and noticing something that wasn’t there a week ago, or the loss of hair in one area to discover hair in another area you don’t want! It’s swollen painful knuckles on hands that used to be so delicate or the silver hairs that start weaving through your tresses (natural highlights, eh?) There are good things too. Along with the losses, you do find serenity and acceptance (at least I have) and learn to decorate the body I currently have. I still am interested in looking good, but looking good had to be redefined. Thank you for bringing up an intriguing topic that has alot of us thinking.

  • karen - Thanks for the mention! You did a good job of raising a juicy topic, very thought-provoking. I’ve found it really interesting and helpful to see everyone’s replies. Blogging at its best.

  • Cyd - I loved your thoughts and comments about ageing. I found this blog by chance the other day http://advancedstyle.blogspot.com/ and was inspired by all of these beautiful elegant ladies over 50. If only we could all look so stylish.

  • beth - Anyone can make a mistake, but only a rare few can so readily learn such a profound lesson from one. Good for you on examining your own perceptions and raising such an interesting topic. And I am still coveting the plaid circle skirt! :)

  • Zoe - I thought of you today as I sat in the waiting room with my two girls at the ENT doctor’s surgery (ear, nose and throat doctor). One of the doctors that works with the doctor we were waiting to see does cosmetic surgery including face lifts and botox. Consequently on the walls of the waiting room are posters advertising his services. Daughter no 1 (aged 6) – “what is a face lift?” So I explained that some women (do men have them too? – probably!) as they get older don’t like the fact that their face shows that they are getting older and like to have their skin lifted so the lines/wrinkles don’t show. Daughter no 2 (aged 5) – “what so they get cut just to have no lines – yuck?” Me – “yes.”. Daughter no1 – “well, that is silly. Why wouldn’t they want their lines. It is their face. What is wrong with getting older?”. Daughter no2 agreed with her and they went back to looking at the magazines full of adverts for anti-wrinkle cream.
    The girls are, of course, at the age where getting older, getting bigger is full of mystery and excitement and something you want to do but I do think that a lot of people’s fear in getting older (and, in particular, women’s fear in looking older – I am in no way immune to this) is due to the pressure in the society that we currently live in to look eternally youthful.

  • Tamsin - I have very much enjoyed reading these two posts and and all the comments. Very thought provoking indeed. I’m not sure that I have anything new to add really. I turned 40 early this year, and experienced a bit of a ‘wobble’, but as my husband and many of my friends are older than me, I didn’t get much sympathy! I feel that I like the way I look now, more than when I was in my early 20’s. That said I do sometimes wonder where the younger me has gone, as I still feel ‘young’ inside.

  • Robin - Another lovely, warm, insightful and sensitive post.
    One thing I have learned is this- the wrinkle that bothers you today might not bother you next year.
    So relax! There will be a wobble now and then, but it doesn’t have to be miserable all the time.
    You know, sewing for myself has been a huge confidence builder. I never have to leave a department store upset because nothing fit me or flattered me. I do want to look my best and sewing allows me to do that. It’s like I have it in my power to present myself to the world exactly according to my own taste. That means a lot.

  • angelique - sunni – ive read with great interest your blogs on aging. im 32-and-a-half, married, happy & so content with what aging has offered me so far. i have friends both younger, same age & much older than me & ive learnt a thing or 3 from them all. im happy to be at the stage of generativity & look forward to the final stage of integrity which brings with it both wisdom & pride….wrinkles & all. thanks for opening up this topic..lets do more of them!!

  • ~Heather - What a gorgeous, thought-provoking couple of posts (and corresponding comments) on aging.
    I’ve always been self conscious of my looks, but that’s just shifted to different parts of myself as I’ve gotten older, which I feel, nullifies the things that used to bug me about myself! Not sure why I am this way… Sure the media doesn’t portray older women very well (or very much) especially the lifestyle (have you noticed the Age Issue of Vogue now has 70+ as a category, they didn’t used to), but younger women are also boxed into categories that fit very few in the population and making them feel objectified and less than ‘perfect’ as well.
    With the hectic pace of life in America, it can be very difficult to make time to reflect on what’s important about ourselves; if and why we care what others think about us; and why we feel certain ways about ourselves – no matter our age.
    For me, my biggest concerns as I get older are likely the death of my spouse before me and my children going off to their own lives. I think the arrival of the grey hairs and that slightest bit of waddle are reminders of that time to come. It’s easy to say ‘You should live in the day and be happy with what is right in front of you’, and while I strive for that, it’s not always the easiest thing to accomplish.

It all started at work. Many exasperating topics start there for me. I work mostly with women which can also be exasperating. What? It can, believe me I know because I am one of the exasperating women. It was over lunch. One of the older women at the table said, “You know what my son told me the other night? That I look old. Sunni, I need you to take me shopping. I need a makeover.” Now before I tell you what I said, I want it to be said that this woman looks great and she’s beautiful and sweet. But I said the (apparently) big no no. “Well, but you are getting older. So it falls to reason that you would look older and that does not mean that you need a makeover.” It’s a true statement. It is. What do you want from me?

One woman at the table gave me the hairy eyeball, like I had said something that should never be said. Like I had no manners. Like I was a martian. So, naturally it got me to thinking and made me a little mad. Look, I’m 28, I know I’m young. But to me aging is not a bad thing, which is the very next thing that I said. One of the women piped in with, “But it makes us feel bad when you say things like that.” Inevitably, my next question was, “Why?” “Well you’ll know when you’re older. You’ll feel the same way,” was all she could come back at me with. Will I?

Please don’t feed me these lines ladies, was what I left lunch thinking. I’m an adult and though I may not be able to understand all things, I can understand many things. When was it ever said that getting older was a bad thing? When? Who said it? Why do people, mostly women mind you, feel this way? Is it because we equate getting older with horrifying images like these? Do older women imagine themselves to look, act and behave like Baby Jane Hudson here? Perhaps.

What I know of aging has never been bad. I lived a very full childhood with both sets of my grandparents still alive. And they are still alive today. In fact, two of my great grandmothers died only a few years ago. When I think of aging I think of these beautiful people that I still love and treasure. My grandmother, the quilter, in particular. She’s a beautiful creature with more pep and life than I see in some people younger than me. She’s truly a most remarkable woman and not because she was remarkable when she was young, because I didn’t know her when she was young. I’ve only known her when she was old. She never had to keep reminding us that she was old either. She reminded me with her exuberance and giggles that she was and is still quite in the prime of her life. She always has been because she lives each day to its fullest never allowing a dull moment to escape those calloused stitching fingers. This is what aging means to me. To become even more beautiful, self assured and brilliant with age.

My Grandparents

I realize that aging is not the most glamourous thing. It’s hard when disease or even natural hearing and eyesight begin to waver. Still, aging is not the horrible monster our culture seems to have turned it into. At least I don’t think so. What do you think? Afraid to age? Why?

I’m not afraid to age. Aging can be a beautiful opportunity. What could possibly be more magical than a grandma who teaches you to sew? Huh? Or a grandpa that teaches you a few things about your truck? Some of my most cherished memories involve my grandparents and their teaching me something or talking to me about something or giving me something I’ll never forget. And for all that, it felt as if they could have only done that at their age. Now how crazy is that?

Image courtesy Advanced Style

If you haven’t, check out this blog. Sort of the hel looks of the older generation. And aren’t they just chic and sophisticated with as much verve as you could possibly have? I think so. Yes. I do. I’m totally going to be this cool when I’m old.

  • karen - I was horrified when I had a wobble prior to turning 40 earlier this year. I’d always assumed that women’s resistance to ageing was about vanity, but I’ve learned that it’s about much more than that. It’s about bidding goodbye to your fertility (hugely informing a woman’s psyche, whether you want to have children or not), knowing that the career options are reducing (I possibly only have two or three more opportunities to switch job in my career now, whereas as a young twenty something I could take more risks). And, yes, realising that one day men will walk past you in the street and look straight through you. Oh, of course, and then there are bones that begin to ache! But there are many, many positives about getting older too, as you highlight. Knowing your own mind, being much more comfortable in your body, caring less about the opinions of others and reaching a stage in your career where you know with no arrogance that you are very good at what you do. Oh, and I envy my parents their retirement!

  • CGCouture - I tend to agree that age is what you make of it, I recently lost my grandpa, but only 5 years ago he was the guy who was so spry he thought nothing of jumping off of something 4 ft. high and landing on his feet. Not even I can do that, and I’m only 26!
    Just because someone isn’t 25 anymore doesn’t mean that they can’t still enjoy life, be beautiful, or do crazy things. Growing old is mandatory, growing up is not. 😉

  • Hearthrose - I think it’s the process of change rather than anything else. You keep improving on the outside until a certain point, and after that, you *change* – just as radically as you did when you changed from a child to an adult, you change from the time of your fertility to the time of your agedness. Once the change is complete, you can get comfy in it, but the time of change is upsetting to most people. You have to rethink your whole self, and that’s a pretty big deal.

  • karen - Great point, Hearthrose! Yes, your body starts doing weird things and hormones come into play again. It’s all very odd! Not helped, I feel, by the fact that the menopause still seems to be one of those subjects slightly hidden from view.

  • Laura - All I know is that 42 doesn’t feel old to me at all. I’m still excited and confident that the best part of my life is forthcoming..it does bother me that I have friends turning 40 who are very focused on how “old” they now are, but it’s only because they’re wrong(LOL). But the truth is you have to embrace your looks as they are now, you can’t be distressed over how or who you once were. I mean, you CAN be distressed, but it’s awfully futile. It would be a completely exasperating situation because although you are young and stylish- part of that style is knowing yourself so well, not that you could remake someone else to look more essentially like themselves, which would make them look more vital- if not younger. People resist change in general, but no change more than aging.

  • Wanett - I think a persons view of aging is completely informed by the way the people around them while growing up dealt with it. While no one in my family lamented aging specifically, they did not always make being older look like something to look forward. I think the happier and healthier the older people and your life appear, the more you look at aging as a privilege that you cannot wait to earn.

  • Ashley - I just turned 32 a few months ago and I can honestly say that my life has gotten better and better since I’ve gotten older. I can see Karen’s point about lack of career opportunities bothering me down the road, but as far a looks go, it’s always bothered me how our society lumps beauty and youth into one category. There are plenty of beautiful older women out there and it’s getting more and more common to see them in prominent entertainment roles (Blythe Danner, Sophia Loren, and Iman are all over 50 years old), so it wouldn’t surprise me if America’s idea of beauty changed over the coming years.
    And I’m not sure if it’s due to the gain in confidence that comes with age or what, but I actually have friends that look better as they gotten older! Age is certainly what you make of it; you can’t do anything about getting older, but I don’t think you ever officially have to be “old”.

  • Jennifer - Sorry, Cupcake, but I can see how having a twentysomething point out to a fortysomething colleague that she is “is getting older,” could be taken as insensitive and/or rude. Just because something is “true” does not mean that we need to blurt it out, particularly in the social context you described.
    While I am sure you meant no offense at all, the fact remains that you are not speaking from personal experience, as you have not yet reached this point in life. There were a lot of things you could have said to make this woman feel good and still be truthful.
    Your love and admiration for various elders is kind of missing the point. As we age, women are beset by pervasive messages that we are no longer good enough–that we have to look young in order to matter. I am sure you can understand this intellectually, but you cannot understand how it feels personally because you have not yet reached that stage in life. I was not fearful of aging in my 20s, either, and I do what I can not to fear it now that I’ve reached my mid 40s, but sometimes one’s strength falters in the face of our youth-obsessed culture.
    Next time you are in such a situation, where a woman far older than yourself is expressing a momentary dip in self esteem due to aging, a simple, heartfelt comment like, “I think you are beautiful,” will suffice.

  • Karen - I think that age is just a number but it is amazing how people will try to define you by your age.
    Why are women concerned about aging? Look at the newsstand. See the ages of women represented in magazines geared toward fashion or men’s magazines (not just porn but even GQ or Men’s Health.)
    Or better yet, head over to Match.com. Look at the desired age ranges for partners listed on men’s profiles. Most are specifying women who are ten to 20 years younger than they are.

  • Ana - I’m pretty much with you on this one, Sunni. I remember friends at school saying over dramatic things like “oh, I’ll be dead by the time I’m thirty”. In my twenties, I looked forward to opening a restaurant in my forties. My fortieth birthday was a while ago now and it didn’t bother me one bit. In fact, I keep forgetting how old I am (is that a sign of old age?).
    Ageing does have a lot to do with what is going on in your head, and the examples that people around you set. I agree with Jennifer that the media does not support ‘older’ (ie. over 30) women, and in fact I believe it actively discriminates against them (for example by implying that they NEED wrinkle cream because they ARE wrinkled, or they NEED hair dye because they ARE going grey), but it’s how you deal with this that is the important bit. If someone is foolish enough to believe what the adverts say, well, perhaps they need to inform themselves about how manipulative the media is and think a bit more about life in general.

  • Belly - I totally agree. I think, though, that the fear a lot of us feel of aging is a combination of fear of change (not recognizing yourself in the mirror, having fewer opportunities etc) and fear of becoming closer to death. Ans those are serious issues we all deal with.
    However, I hate it when people say “you’ll understand when you’re ___”. I got some of those in various stages in life (like before I became a mom) and you know what? I think people are clever enough to understand what they haven’t experienced yet if you just try and explain. It’s such an excuse for not giving a strong ground to your opinion. (so yeah, I’m with you.)

  • Meg - You certainly didn’t mean for your comment to be hurtful but I can see where it was. After all,the son’s comment was NOT meant to be a compliment. It would have been nice if you had told what you’ve said here — that she looked great and didn’t need a makeover.
    I don’t think anyone can know how they are going to feel about getting older until they get there. Look how many women are vibrant and happy into their 80’s and how some women get that awful plastic surgery in their 40’s.
    Probably in their mid to late 40’s women really start to face the issue of aging. (I have to laugh at the commercials with 37-year old women worrying about their wrinkles.) As was stated previously, you really do become invisible to men. After 50, if you get laid off, good luck getting a new job.

  • Zoe - I’m with Karen – I think a lot of has to do with the media forever focussing on how to look ‘young’ and nearly every advert you see these days for beauty products carries the message that if you use said product you will look young – and of course what goes unsaid is that if you look young everything else will be ok. I have no problem at all with people wanting to look the best they can – who doesn’t? but the force feeding by the media of youthful images undoubtedly makes people feel that ageing is bad and as for the magazine articles suggesting that looking good at 40 or 50 is possible only with extensive cosmetic surgery – don’t get me started. For me, as a mother to three young children, it is more about bringing them up to appreciate and respect people of whatever age and however they look rather than trying to look like their older sister…

  • Nikole - I went to a graduation ceremony over the weekend and while waiting with a friend for her mother someone inquired if I was her mother. I was quite shocked but when I looked back at the pictures I realised I did look that much older; I’m 25 and that friend is only a year or two younger than i am.
    Apart of me is secretly happy I look older because I have never looked my age based on what ppl tell me- it’s always younger. This particular one though was due to my recent change in hair colour. Was I scrambling to change my hair again? No. As far as I’m concerned I have an idea of what i will look like in my 30’s and it ain’t bad

  • mjb - I tend to complain about working with all men, but these posts remind me that working with all women is no picnic either! A good mix helps wherever you are.
    My husband’s grandmother hates being photographed because of how she looks now, but I hope I always remember what my mom told me when I was an awkward teenager – that it’s an honor that someone wants to remember you.

  • SueMarie - Mortality sucks and aging can be hard. I’m 48, but frequently forget my age and have to figure it out starting from my birth year. I can’t believe I’m almost 50 – I feel like I did in my twenties and back then 50-year-olds were, you know, old. Also, now 50 is considered to be younger than it used to be – for an example, watch Anne Bancroft in The Graduate and compare to a forty-something character in a movie today. I look young for my age and that makes me happy, but then that makes me feel like I shouldn’t care, but I do — it’s hard to say goodbye to your young self. There is an invisibility that happens as you age and that can be hard, too. Finally, I agree with Jennifer. You can be truthful (though you don’t always have to be) and tactful. Interesting topic.

  • Laurel - Age is relative. I went grey when I had the twins; I was only 23. Just turned 42, and I’m really not seeing much about me that’s different, as far as looks go. But I could be wrong about that.
    what is old now, anyway?

  • Uta - Well, I was never afraid of getting older, and I never found ageing unattractive, yet here I am having quite the mid-life crisis at 40. What I didn’t know then: That I wouldn’t feel different than in my 20s, that I’d feel like a 20-something suddenly thrown into someone’s 40 year old life (and body)! That I’d find myself at an “established” age while still feeling I might want to switch careers, move to Rio, and whatnotelse, only that the time to do things (and decide what to do!) has suddenly shrunk by half. I’m happy with my adult life so far, but I can’t believe it’s taken 20 years already, and in another 20 I’ll be 60! The looks part, well I’m not keen on that, but hey we can sew to make up for our ageing looks with beautiful clothes. I just don’t like that the mirror reminds me that yes, I’m really 40.
    I think you are absolutely right Sunni that the solution is to keep busy filling life with happy stuff (like children in my case, or hopefully grandkids later) and accept what’s inevitable.

  • Nicole - It seems like you haven’t given much thought to the fact that the transition to being old, with it’s weird second puberty action, might not be as stately and serene as just being 80 and having had 40 years to adjust to being old.
    Our culture right now is particularly brutal to women in their 40’s and 50’s, in a way that really wasn’t the case 50 years ago.

  • Sue - Old is 20 plus your age unless your 16 or younger then everyone older than you is old. At 56 I still believe I have choices and I thing that is what makes people feel young.

  • Sam - I’m 35 and am having an extraordinarily difficult time coming to terms with my age.
    And this is entirely based on issues of fertility.
    There are some aspects to aging that are fraught with heartache.
    There’s so much to be had from grandparent-grandchild relationships but unfortunately that’s a relationship some people won’t get to experience.
    (I have my grandparents and I love them dearly so I’m thankful that I’ve had the joy of experiencing being a beloved granddaughter.)
    However, for me, aging doesn’t have the same romance to it that you describe. My aging process is going to be without children or grandchildren around me, and that’s a lonely thought.

  • Gail - I once had a job “creating positive images of older people”. I was just 30 at the time and really didn’t understand what I was doing. I’m now coming up to 52, fortunately still look quite young, exercise, have a decent sex life etc etc. Ageing is difficult for a woman, yet somehow you embrace your wrinkles and extra lumps and get on with life. For me ageing has moved on from a physical transition to a lifestyle transition as my daughters leave school, home.

  • www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawlCEKeyreXrGhckXfMKcKRNVwx3Dgtgazc - I never worried about aging but did notice that each person equated a different number to what “old” meant to them.
    “Old” never reached me until 60. It reached me through others eyes; I became invisible and less valued as a thinking, capable, interesting person by the general public. I would like to think that I never overlooked an older person as I have been. That would be a lie. But I also know that I am not unusual. It is done unconsciously. It’s just not something that I expected to happen to me.
    The biggest surprise for me is that I don’t feel or think “old” like I thought I would. Mostly I feel as though I am maybe 30 and live my life as though I am that age. Then I look in the mirror or run into an old friend that I haven’t seen for awhile. Holy cow!!
    I hate being told I look tired or mad. I hate making financial decisions based on when I plan on dieing! Just wasn’t expecting that!
    There are many things in life that you can surmise what it would feel/be like. But actually having the experience can be more profound/different than what you imagined. Saying that “you will know when you are older” just means that when young we felt exactly as you do at your age and ended up surprised. Just know that it is not a dismissal of you but more of not having the words to express completely.
    I am 62, retired, single mom of 3 (40 yr old son, 39 yr old daughter and 19 yr old son….oops!), grandmother of 8, and budding entrepreneur.
    I second Uta’s comment. She says it very well.

  • Robin - Very interesting post and many interesting comments. I felt myself nodding in agreement as I read each one. There is a big bag of mixed feelings to deal with as we age. I am glad I am getting the chance to do it. It soothes me to realize that I had a wonderful time in my teens, my twenties, my thirties and my forties. Each decade had its charm. Now in my 50’s, I am fortunate to have very good health, employment, loved ones and creative outlets. I steer clear of beauty & fashion magazines. Advertising does not have our best interests at heart! Advertisers want us to feel inferior so we will spend money on stuff. If I focus on all the good things, I really enjoy my time. I am glad it’s likely that I still have many years left. I am keenly aware that there is a finite end to this wonderful life.
    Oops, all I did was talk about me. As far as your co-worker? Her response makes it sound like she felt a little tender. I am sure you will think of the right thing to say to her when the time is right. It is lovely to have friends of all ages at work.

  • Tasia - I’m not sure what I would have said in that situation… Beauty has a lot to do with confidence, even though we see older women as beautiful, if she doesn’t it will show! And perhaps it’s not so much ‘make me look younger’ as it is ‘spend a little time and money to feel better about myself.’
    As for aging, I’m 28 and am starting to get grey hair (Ahh! secret’s out!) with mixed feelings about it. On one hand, I want to celebrate it as a sign of being older and smarter – and on the other, I want to hide it so it doesn’t look like I don’t care about my appearance. It’s hard to win, either way!
    That being said, I’m not afraid of getting older, in that some of my friends are like ‘oh no I’m almost thirty!’ I’m excited to be thirty (and forty and so on), I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

  • Laura - I’m currently torn about my gray too Tasia- I have had grays since my twenties and I’ve let it be and colored it, and the difference when it’s colored is marked. But I still sort of like it, and since I’ve had them prematurely the gray doesn’t signify age in my mind, but I have to admit it looks older in my eyes.

  • Cassandra - I am only 28 too but I have the very first signs of wrinkles appearing on my forehead and I think I understand both your point of view (one I used to/still share) and my mum’s point of view (I want to look younger, not my actual age!).
    Simply put, I want to look like what I did at 25, not 30 with a few wrinkles coming out. That’s because I don’t feel more knowledgeable than I did at 25 and I certainly don’t feel like I’m where I wanted to be approaching 30. Therefore my face doesn’t reflect how I feel inside.
    Now the women you work with probably don’t want to look 25, but I’ll be they’d be happy to look how they looked just 5 years ago – which is probably how they still think about themselves unless they’ve gone through some pretty major changes.
    I don’t think women worry about what they look like when they are achieving meaningful things with their lives (never spoken to a new mother or a new bride for example who worried about new wrinkles) but when we’re *not* doing anything major with our time it’s easy to feel that our bodies are showing the time when we have nothing of meaning to explain it.
    There is no good reply to that kind of situation. But I once read that you should give 3 compliments each day to make yourself and the people around you happier. And once you start doing it it’s not even a chore – you discover that you do think complimentary things about people all the time (“man, I wish I could pull off a tight red dress like that!”) but we tend to keep them to ourselves.

  • ann - I agree with Jennifer’s comment as well. Always best to err on the side of sensitivity and if you don’t feel like mustering up a compliment, if it feels phony to you, you could stay quiet.
    Aging IS hard, and if you have a cheerful attitude the whole time for the next few decades, with no lapses, that would be rare.

  • SueMarie - I want to add one more comment. I think “oh you’ll understand once you get older/buy a house/have kids/whatever” are inappropriate and rather presumptuous and as a mother I consciously never say such things to my daughter. On the flip side, it’s just not very meaningful to say “oh I’ll never xxx when I get older/buy a house/have kids/etc” because again, you just don’t know. We can plan and anticipate, but we just don’t know.

  • Kristel - I like who I am at 40+. This is the best version of me ever. I think I was my most attractive at the ages of 33-40. I didn’t look like a baby, I looked like a woman. I have cheek bones now that the ‘baby’ fat is gone. I know what I like, I know what I want. I think I am successful, attractive, intelligent, and sexy. If someone would have told me I would have turned out this great at 20 I would not have believed them. You face death when you pass 40. When you’re younger its still a myth. It’s easy to believe when you are 20 something that being young and attractive is all it takes to find love and happiness. At 40 you know it’s a lie. If aging is bothering you at thirty, get cracking and work on your life from the inside out or 40 will be terrifying. I have something now that I never had at 20, I am comfortable in my own skin. There is one thing you can look forward to around 35 and forward…..the best sex ever.

  • Stfsrh - I stopped counting my age after I turned 29. I have to count back from birth to know how old I am at the present. I think aging is not something you think about or do about. It happens like gravity or sun rising/setting. But yeah, when changes take place, we have to, although reluctantly, cope with it.
    I strive to do as much as I can and to not waste time because it’s always feels good to look back and reflect on what I have done and than feel proud about having done them all. Really, the only way to experience more things is by getting older and live longer.

  • Ms M - I am in my mid-40s and transitioning to “mature”. I did not feel this way at 42 or even 44. I do feel that sense of surprise at the number of new wrinkles and gray hairs that are cropping up each day. I don’t find it charming or romantic at all, but I am slowly coming to terms with it.
    I have younger sisters and friends who are surprised (and often critical) at my reluctance to wear certain fashions, stay up late, and do other things that I might have done 5-10 years ago. They don’t get it, and I don’t expect them to, because I didn’t, at their age.
    Coming to terms with age doesn’t mean I’m not going to buy wrinkle creams. I’ve found that they DO make a difference, if you actually have wrinkles. And I’m not going to stop dyeing my hair, at least not until I feel that it is time. Why look older than I have to?
    But I’m also at the point where I can no longer pretend that I’m younger. Everyone, I think, gets to the point where they have to “cross over” into life as a “mature” person. And I’ve found that the transition is more complicated than it looked when I was still considered a “young person.”

  • Heds - I think as time goes by people generally think differently about what age is “old” and how you “should look” – well seriously who cares. I remember my nan when she was in her 60’s, she wore her hair in a tight perm like an old lady with one of those nylon dresses with the matching belt, yes the trend of the time but not an attractive look, it was just the style of the times and everyone looked the same. Now my mum is the same age and she looks completely different, she always looks amazing, well dressed and happy, the two looks are worlds apart, yet the age the same. My mother widowed at the age of 36, too young and near to my age now. She never let herself be dragged down to feeling past it and is enjoying her life 10 times more than she was in her 40’s. Happily re-married, retired and travelling the world in their own way.
    I think it’s more a matter of self confidence than ageing and how you approach life, if you think you are old generally then that’s the way life takes you. Relax, enjoy life and who cares how old you are, be confident in your clothes and your skin! If I look at a photo of myself 10 years ago I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference to one taken today, but in my head and heart I’m a completely different person and I wouldn’t go back to my early 20’s if you paid me. I’m looking forward to my life ahead, I’m not a hugely self-confident person and I know that this will be my downfall if I let it in the years to come. As for job’s, well my parter is 33 and has been unemployed for 4/5mths – is this because of his age? He’s been told amongst other things it’s lack of experience, hmm too young?
    I’m also not one for mincing my worlds and often say it how it is. But most of us women do need do need a confidence boost and really what better excuse for shopping!

  • carol - Live, Love, Laugh, and be Happy…..that’s all we ever have to know at any age………..