Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Fiercely Feminine: Mature Women in Pink ... and Peach!

It's spring! I know the rest of the continent is digging itself out from mountains of snow, just to be dumped with more snow all over again. But here, it is spring. So I wore a spring outfit and found myself asking if I was too old to dress this way anymore. (I'll give you my answer later.)

It is unequivocally, joyfully spring.

We've even had a lot of sunny spring days, which is not always a given here.

Plus, I just got these shoes! Like my skirt, sometimes they look pink and sometimes they look peach, but, either way, they match the season.

A day like this was a perfect day to build an outfit from my fabulous peach feet up.

With such sensible but sassy shoes, and such good weather, I was inspired to practise my walking, stopping along the way to enjoy the flowers.

It really hurts to walk so I do need inspiration to endure the experience. Beautiful gardens are certainly inspiration. I've actually stopped and thanked gardeners for their hard work, telling them that it helps me with my hard work: walking and staying as strong as I can. This particular block is an old favourite, with its lovely houses and lovely gardens. It's also on a hill, so the practice is even better for me than if it were level.

Shoes: Ecco; Shirt: Reitman's; Skirt, sweater, sunglasses, tights, and earrings: vintage
While I walk, Beau rides my scooter next to me. He looks hilarious, all scrunched up and too tall and, let's be honest, rather inept. I think the giggle he gives me is an inspiration too. If I walk, I get to laugh at him a wee bit too.

Nice outfits are another inspiration for me to get up and get out. Just for spring, I busted out my spring cane, with its pretty pink flowers.

I was raised to believe that pink was bad, because it was part of the patriarchal hegemony: put girls in pink and boys in blue; teach girls that their role in life is to be pretty and decorative, as soft and useless as a flower. Pink connoted femininity which connoted weakness. I get it.  I hate the "pinkification" of little girls in the last several years. But I cannot accept that femininity and weakness are the same thing. I'm not a little girl anymore and I get to wear whatever I want to wear, and sometimes I want to wear pink. This does not make me weak. It makes me a woman with choices and free will.

I enjoy the beauty of pink.

So I went all out. I wore my iridescent pink, lavender, and green sunglasses.

And I wore matching earrings.

I made two concessions to the time of year. One was my fuzzy pink sweater.

Geraldine McEwan
It makes me feel like Agatha Christie's Miss Marple and I think that's always a good thing.

Joan Hickson as Miss Marple
Christie often describes Miss Marple as fluffy and pink, alluding both to her outfits and to her love of knitting. I'll have more to say about older women in pink later. 

I was not too cold in just my fluffy sweater, even as the sun began to set.

The lighting at this time of day is quite magical, don't you think?

My other concession to the time of year was my purple tights. They added a bit of darkness to my outfit which, I felt, was appropriate for March. It seems almost obscene to be able to wear such a light and spring-like outfit when the rest of the continent is still in the thick of winter, so I added just a touch of wintery darkness.

I feel a kind sly delight in our early springs, like I'm playing a trick on nature or on the Canadian climate.

But am I also playing a trick on my age? When I dress like this, I do wonder, am I too old for this? Are these colours for other women, younger women, women not doubled up on a cane, women whose skin is still tight and whose bodies are still firm? Am I being too girly?

Maybe not.

I saw this photo on Pinterst and started to question my feeling that my most feminine outfits are no longer appropriate. I think she looks fabulous and she's probably twice my age. She's decidedly feminine, but she's not "girly" or inappropriate. I'd wear this outfit in a heartbeat, especially with all that vintage bling. I might wear less face powder, but to each her own. 

Who says you have to be young or able bodied to enjoy spring colours and diaphanous skirts?

Helen Mirren
There's not a hint of the little girl about Helen Mirren here in her amazing dress and pink hair. She loves wonderful feminine frocks, and they never seem inappropriate.

This woman's grand-daughter had cancer so she dyed her hair pink in solidarity with her. She looks like Betty White! Read about it here.
Besides, white hair suits pink, whether the hair itself is dyed ...

Queen Elizabeth
... or the lady in question decides instead to wear a pink hat. 

Let us all pause for a moment to admire her brooch, which you just know is real, not costume. 


Angela Lansbury
As I was saying, I think pink or peach can be really very flattering on older women. It shows up often in Murder She Wrote, both in Lansbury's outfits and in the walls around her -- because it suits her. She was in her late 50s when the show first aired.

Meryl Streep
Young or old, a pale-skinned woman can find pink and peach quite complimentary.

And my skin is nothing if not pale. Here it's so pale it's actually taking on the yellow of the sun.

Of course, I'm not white haired yet, and doubt I will be for some time, so I can't play up the white hair with pink thing. 

Susan Sarandon
But check this out. Tell me our dark haired Susan Sarandon is not utterly beautiful in this dress. Tell me she's not having fun in her wonderfully feminine dress. Tell me that wearing pink makes her weak. Tell me she's told for this dress.

Yeah, right.

Femininity should not be the territory of the very young, not exclusively anyway. I suppose there are some very feminine things that I would have worn when I was young, but wouldn't wear now. A poufy wedding dress comes to mind. I won't wear one. But just wait till you see the dress I am wearing to our wedding! Wow!

Pam Grier
But I digress. Pinks and peaches are also not the territory of the very thin. Check out the original foxy lady, Pam Grier, in this lightly ruffled, pink blouse. She's always been a stunning beauty.

Michelle Obama
And OMG, look at this dress on America's first lady!

She wears pink a lot and nobody can accuse her of being merely decorative.

She's strong. Check out her pipes!

My arms are pretty strong and muscular too, actually. It comes of having to use them so much for things most people do with their backs and legs. My outfit does not alter my strength -- physical, intellectual, or emotional -- in any way. Anyone who thinks it does is someone who believes the lie that femininity and mature strength are at odds with one another. I've even heard women say such things, but it's time to lay that myth to rest!

Meryl Streep
I think we have a verdict, don't you?

Strong, mature women can wear whatever colour they damn well please.

They can do it proudly, defiantly, prettily ...

... or playfully.

Or they can wear it just because it's spring.

(I'm sharing this for Women's Day over at Spy Girl and on Visible Mondays at Not Dead Yet.)


  1. Your skirt looks like pretty spring rose petals. I hope it feels as soft! I love the blue laces with the pink shoes.
    I think pink soft or peachy is such a flattering colour, but like you find the pinkificarion of girlhood sad. Often it's the girls themselves who require it, which seems strange. And I'm also sad when I see my boys avoiding it because of teasing, even though they like it. Happy early Spring! :-D xo Jazzy Jack

    1. I'm currently in a pastel passion so wait for more of these colours in upcoming posts. I assume little girls are demanding pink these days because it's being pushed on them from so many cultural forces. Hegemony at work, God damn it! Parents can't fight that much culture all by themselves. My step-sons used to avoid pink but, now that I'm around, they like things like pink hammers and pink computer game... things, whatever they're called. : )

  2. What a beautiful skirt! I love to wear pinks and peaches, so I enjoyed all the different examples you chose. Too old for pink? Nevah! (I am 57 and my mom is 85, and pink is one of our best colours.)

    Looking forward to seeing your wedding dress!

    1. Light pink seems to go particularly well with white hair so it's actually a great colour for older women. But it took writing this post for me to realize that.

      And my wedding dress is AMAZING! You won't believe your eyes.

  3. You look beautiful in this outfit!! Blooming so wonderfully! It's strange that I also sometimes ask myself questions "am I too old for this" (not often anymore), but whenever I hear others ask themselves such questions, my gut reaction is always NO!!! NEVER "TOO OLD"! You demonstrated it beautifully here, Charlotte. I really love the way you combined the colors, and all those flowers and magical light - such a beautiful, inspiring and truly empowering post! xxx

    1. It's true that we are our own worst critics. Things I think are not appropriate for me seem totally appropriate for others. I think having compassion for others like ourselves really helps us learn to have compassion for ourselves. I certainly find this around child abuse issues. I get much more upset when I hear of what others went through than I do when thinking of my own life, but that helps me look at my own past more clearly.