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Saturday, December 12, 2015

Senior Stylemaker


I like to read one of the women’s columns, “Stylemaker” in the Courier Journal, our local paper. This feature article consists of a series of pretty standard questions, and answers from a local person the paper has dubbed a “Stylemaker”. Fun, entertaining, and--sometimes scary.

The first question usually asks the “Stylemaker” who her “Style Icon” or inspiration is. Though there are a number of ages, different ethnic and racial backgrounds and different images of the chosen style makers represented, I use “her” to refer to Stylemaker because, while there may have been a male Stylemaker, I can’t recall one.

Frequent answers to the “Style Icon” question include Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelly. Then, if the Stylemaker is young she mentions some icons I’ve never heard. Often she ends with a nice reference to her stylish mother, grandmother or favorite aunt.

I don’t expect to ever look or dress like Hepburn or Kelly, but there was a time I channeled Dana Scully of the X-Files. She wore dark pantsuits and high-necked blouses. The “don’t-mess-me-with-me” working-woman wardrobe. That look also sounds a lot like Hillary Clinton’s current wardrobe so maybe we both followed FBI agent Scully as a style icon.

Lately, however, I’m more in tune with my mother’s style. Particularly her white tennis shoes worn for virtually all occasions. I now can identify with how she felt. My feet too have a lot of mileage on them and need all the comfort they can get. The only problem with this style choice is my husband refuses to take me to dinner at a nice restaurant unless I change from the white sneakers. I know, small price to pay for a perfectly broiled salmon and a chocolate dessert, which I did not have to make.

So, on to another question.  “What are the building blocks of your style?” Often, the responses are: classics, slim leggings, and certain color schemes. About as close as I come to “building blocks of my style” are sweat pants and sweaters for winter; loose capris or cut-offs and t-shirts for summer. No style icons needed.

I’ve already written about how all of my acquaintances wondered what big event I was attending when one recent day I wore dark jeans and a button-down shirt. So I guess that’s my answer to: “My go-to dress-up outfit”.

Another question often asked is: “Time it takes you to get dressed?” You’d think a “Stylemaker” who writes from home and wears an easy wardrobe would answer: a very short time. But I can’t say that’s true. It’s not even easy to answer that question. Do I count the time to have my coffee first? I certainly can’t get dressed before I drink coffee. Then, do I count taking a shower? What about the exercises I do in the morning before I get fully dressed for the day? And do I subtract the time I spend sorting and starting the laundry while getting dressed? There are just too many issues with answering this question. In truth, it takes about five minutes to get dressed once I decide I have to be somewhere.

I will end with my favorite question: “Every woman should wear a (fill-in-the-blank) at least once in her life.” Most Stylemakers are predictable in answering this question, saying something like: a perfect little black dress, pencil skirt, sweater set, or a perfectly-fitted pair of jeans. Of course, we all should wear something that is “perfect” at least once. But the most recent Stylemaker was original. Her answer: “An adhesive bra and low back dress.”

Keep in mind she wasn’t answering what her favorite dress-up outfit is, but what EVERY WOMAN should wear at least once. After I picked myself off the floor from laughing I tried to erase the visual her answer provoked.

While her response may be ok for the 2% of the female population, that is, those women under 30 years of age and 120 pounds and smaller than a B cup. But has she looked around at the other 98% of the female population in this country? Does anyone really want all the rest of us wearing a backless dress with an adhesive bra? I think not.   


I’m not a Stylemaker so I have never tried this “once in a life” clothing suggestion. There might have been a time, age 11 or 12, I could have pulled it off. But my mother would not have allowed it. And I don’t think I ever would have wanted to. It’s largely the “pulling it off” part that sounds so unpleasant. But maybe that’s just one non-Stylemaker's opinion.

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