Monday, December 19, 2011

Black Turtlenecks and What's Really Important

I’ve been thinking a lot about clothes, which has made me think about age, which has made me think about writing.

I love clothes, even though I’ve mostly worn jeans and black turtlenecks and boots for years.  I love shopping and looking at street-style blogs and watching “Project Runway” and talking about clothes with my daughter, who has a wonderful sense of style.  I don’t purport to know anything about clothes, but I know what I like.

Recently, I’ve come to the realization that fifty-four is a rough age to be when you love clothes.  I wear the same size I’ve worn for almost twenty years, but things don’t look the same.  Or rather, they do, but I don’t feel the same way in them. 

I’ve had to modify the black-turtleneck thing, for one.  When I was thirty, black turtlenecks made me feel all writer-y.  Now they just look gloomy and unimaginative.  So I pair them with blouses and tunics and sweaters and jackets.   Sometimes I get it right and sometimes I don’t.  Sometimes I have the horrible feeling that I’m wearing clothes my daughter should be wearing.  But I’m not quite a Chico’s or Eileen Fisher kind of gal, either.

Ines de la Fressange is arguably the most beautiful fifty-four-year-old alive.  (Google her.  You’ll see.)  A French model turned fashion icon, she has written a lovely guide to style called PARISIAN CHIC.  In it, she gives much light-hearted, soothing advice to middle-aged women about how to dress their age fashionably.   

I devoured her book and then spent a few days thinking obsessively about how I could follow her dictates without actually moving to Paris.  I went through my closet and tagged some skirts for my daughter.  I surfed a few websites.   I bought a few things.

And then, two nights ago, as I lay awake at three in the morning thinking about whether I would put on blue or black jeans in the morning, it suddenly hit me that I had to stop thinking about clothes immediately, because 1) there is not enough haute couture on the planet to make me look like Ines de la Fressange, and 2) I am a fifty-four-year-old writer, and what I should be thinking about is what is really important to me, which is writing.

So that is what I did.

I was asleep in seven minutes.

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