Tuesday, 11 September 2012

What shall I wear?

As a woman who has reached her late 50s I have lived through - and worn - miniscule mini skirts, crushed velvet hotpants [purple if you must know!], hippie peasant skirts and hair, loons [remember slitting open the bottom foot of a pair of trousers and inserting flowered fabric?], the 80's big shoulders and big hair [I had an afro perm along with everyone else], the 90's gauchos,  leggings, dungarees and all in one pant suits...well you name it we have tried it.
1970s fashion
The topic of how women present themselves to the world has always interested me and it is clearly a pre occupation of Vanessa Feltz. She has written an article called "Over fifty and not in the shade" today in a national newspaper. She coins the phrase "swoftie" for woman over 50 [the s was for single but she extends this to all women with "a twinkle in her eye and scarlet toenails peaking out of vertiginous stilettoes". 

She describes the concept of "mutton dressed as lamb" as a stultifying notion. She says "Lambs are frisky and furry and up to gambolling mischief. Of course we want to dress like them. Who doesn’t when you can enjoy fashion, flaunt your wiggly bits, experiment with new necklines, new career challenges and new adventures?"

The problem for me is  I no longer feel an irrepressible urge to climb a tree or skip down the road like I did when I was five. Yes to new adventures but not to wearing the fashions of a young girl. I have embraced my grey hair. I have resisted the bare mid riff look so popular even in winter not long ago . I have turned down the idea of wearing a tiny ra ra skirt. I feel uncomfortable wearing clothes that make me feel like a little girl. I think even as a young girl I felt uncomfortable in them. I want to match - I don't want to be viewed from the back as a 15 year old and turn round to reveal someone 40 years older. Is that empowering? Why can't each period in our lives be lived assertively and with dignity?

Note to fashion designers. There is a gap in the market all the same. How often do I meet women unable to find clothes they can feel comfortable and confident in that don't make them feel like a little girl or their mother?

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

The power of a baby

I really hope that an approach that was taken last month on the first anniversary of some heart breaking, gut wrenching street riots in the UK works. In London an area particularly affected by the riots and now full of dull shuttered shops has tried something new. Apart from creating a focal point with giant outdoor TV screens the innovative idea involves babies.

The idea is that the faces of babies might stop hooligans from acts of aggression. Professional artists were brought in to paint massive baby faces - inspired by photos of the real faces of local babies.

anti vandal baby images
So far so good...be good to see if it works.

It is always interesting to see how environmental tinkering can affect behaviour. I like the idea of prison cells painted a calming, warm pink, or classical music to work on mood.

Surely better than that red rag that is a sign. How many of these have you seen?