To the Rennie in All Of Us

medieval_castle_decorationI don’t know if it’s a girl thing or a Sagittarian thing, but I really enjoy reinventing myself. Oh, I am the same ‘ol person inside, but the outside influences change every so often.

For years and years I used to be a Rennie Girl. Anything Renaissance would tickle my fancy to the moon and back. Every year I went to the local Renaissance Faire, bought lamps and cups and jewelry with dragons and unicorns and faeries on them. I adored the music, had fun playing the (conservative) wench, and even decorated my B&B with medieval flair.

After that wore off, I was off to being an (conservative) Irish Wench. I became a Gaelic Storm groupie; I went to Irish Fest every year, bought jewelry with my Irish family crest, wore green and drank beer and cried at the sad Irish songs, missing my red-haired Irish mother even more than I normally do.

I still keep the Rennie and the Irish Wench in my heart, and they are a part of me that will never leave. But I am a Sagittarius, and that means I’m always looking for my next adventure, my next reincarnation.

I really want to be BoHoChic. (say…bo-ho-chick really fast).

Now, I know I’ve talked about this fancy before. In the last six months I’ve really cleaned out my closet, getting rid of clothes that don’t fit or have never looked right or blah blah.  I’ve also pulled out the more “conservative” pieces and donated them to other conservative people. What’s left are skirts and sun dresses and a couple of wild, flowy tops.

I need more flow.

My conservative psyche evil step sisters keep whispering discouraging things in my ear: You’re too fat. You’re too ugly. You’ll embarass yourself. I’ve had these sisters since grade school, and while I’ve tuned them out most times, they do slip in now and then like a needle into silk. Why I listen to them at this age and point in my life I do-not-know.  But I DO know that BoHoChic is a whole life experience. And I want to wander off that way.

There are connections between being a Rennie and being an Irish Wench and a BoHo. It’s that feeling of freedom I’ve always denied myself. I’ve always thought more of what other people thought of my looks and outlook than I did of my own. Bad habits are hard to break. But I’m making the big push to throw those step sisters out the tower window.

And it’s working.

Everyone does their own thing. Some women enjoy the way they are all their life. Some like to kick it up now and then. Some want to kick but lack the boot skills. I think it’s the newfound freedom I’ve found with writing and art that makes me want to freebird like the texts and canvases I’m finding. I’ve always enjoyed reading and watching things that are a little off-center; why can’t my wardrobe — and attitude — be the same?

I am offcenter anyway. It might be a prelude to dementia, but if it’s coming it’s coming. Why not go into the last 30 years of my life flowing and mismatching and blinging? In 30 years no one will care. Least of all me.

So take your whims and dress the part. Be a futuristic clip or a black-and-white Chanel or a designer chick. You don’t have to break your budget: Good Will and local second hand stores always have your designs flowing through. Let your outside match your inner calling.

And don’t be afraid. I’ve wasted 50 years of my life doing that.

And after all, there’s always something else waiting in the shadows. Maybe one day BoHoChic will turn into FuturisticBoHoBling!

 

Seven Fashion NoNos for Goddesses of All Ages

pantsDuring these doldrums of Winter, I’ve been planning my new fashion statement. Or rather looking for one. I’m up for the Boho Chic style (Old Lady BoHo http://wp.me/p1pIBL-uu). But I can’t really BoHo now, because there’s something about wind chills of ten below and snow two feet deep in every direction that discourages peasant dresses and shawls and beaded whatevers. I figure between now and Spring I’ll gather up some fun things and have fun being a fun kinda woman.

But lately I’ve been seeing a few “Middle Age Magic” women following their own fashion muse, and, well, the sight is not a pretty one. I am all for comfort, fashion, and practicality. My BoHo is not your BoHo and all that. But good taste should always be good taste. I am all for the “this is who I am” state of being, too, but there are some things Middle Age (and older) women should really think twice about.  Here are a few of my humble fashion suggestions:

1.   Leggings and long sweaters and boots can look good on some women. Velvety purple leggings can not. Ever.

2.   Pigtails should only be worn by women under 10 or those who want to play the baby doll thing with their loved one. In private.

3.   Makeup is not a necessity. A fresh face is. Cleopatra’s eyes looked good only on Cleopatra. On older women it just looks scary.

4.   I know it’s sometimes necessary to run to the store in jogging pants. It’s just the nature of the beast. But jogging pants and chuggie boots and parkas are not a fashion statement now or ever. Remember — you are a woman first. Don’t ever be mistaken for the football player down the street.

5.  The office is as good a place as any to try out a new look. Just don’t be the one to test the dress code every time you do. You do nothing but create army punishment for the rest of us, making us unhappy co-workers and fashion enemies.

6.  Did I mention the thing about leggings and sweaters and boots? The older you get, the more you should think twice about it.

7.   Know you don’t have to spend a lot of money to try new looks. Just use your head. Don’t wear shoes that pinch, pants that bulge in the butt, tops that show too much of your endowments, shoes your father would wear, tops that make you look like a sausage, colors that make you look like a clown, or earrings bigger than your head.

There is fashion, and then there is fashion. And then there is no fashion. And then there is deliberate no fashion. Don’t let your steadfastness close your mind to the colors and sensations of the world. But in the same vein, don’t let your need to make a statement as you get older make you say something you’ll regret later. If a look works, great. If not, make sure you have a great look to go back to. Be proud of who you are and how you got there. Don’t let others dictate the colors of your feathers. But don’t forget you’ve GOT feathers.

And they never look good in velvety purple leggings.

Old Lady BoHo

I have finally discovered my fashion calling.  It’s called BOHO CHIC.imagesCASW5EHX

Now, I’d never heard of this phrase before. Sitting having coffee with my oh-so-chic bestie, the word came up in conversation. So off to GoogleLand I went.

One site said Boho-Chic is “a style of female fashion drawing on various bohemian and hippie influences, which, at its height in 2004/5, was associated particularly with Sienna Miller and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. The twins went off with a ‘homeless look’ (or, as some call it, everything-but- the-kitchen-sink look).”   I must admit I’ve never put Sienna in the Peace/Love/Dove generation, and, seeing as I barely know who the twin kittens are, I didn’t count much on their ideas of fashion. But with all those negative, scrub-woman adjectives, the style seemed perfect for me.

Another site said the Boho style of dress has been described as the “retro-hippie-shabby-chic.” That seems like a lot of hyphens to describe something you wear. And since I’m a little closer to the senior world, retro is relative. A third described this style as “sweet and tough, grunge meets Chanel.” Since I own a bottle of Chanel (it’s 15 years old), I would have no problem spraying some on something grungy. (Although I must admit, “grunge” is not one of my favorite words.) I don’t mind the word “hippie,” since I always wanted to be one of those (I was much too dorky to be one).  Chic has never in my repertoire of words (or thoughts), and I still can identify with shabby.

I have always loved the Bohemian look, although I always thought it was more for young, willowy things.   But I love the idea of looking like I blew in on some oak leaf.  Boho-Chic is wild and flowy and free — something my size, wallet, and creativity can handle.

And  I mean — Fringes! Shawls! Beads!  What perfect timing! I really don’t like any of my clothes; too tight, too conservative. I’m tired of curling and fussing with my hair, and I’m too flighty to have to match shirts and pants all the time. My favorite place to shop is second hand stores. So why can’t I start adding shawls and beading and mish-mash accessories to my every day wardrobe? I love embroidery and vests and skirts, and have been known to sit and sew beadery around necks of tops and loungewear. I love sparkly jewelry, and now that I’m older I don’t have to worry if it goes with the outfit. I have been looking for the day where the blue in my shirt doesn’t have to match the blue in my pants, and the liberating thought of wearing two different patterns — oh my word! Dare I dream?

You have to understand that the first two-thirds of my life were pretty conservative. No…boring. Vanilla. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But I do so love jewelry and skirts and shawls and sparkles. I just haven’t felt secure about myself to wear those things until right now. I have always been afraid to experiment, to be myself. Now that I’m getting older I really don’t care if I fit in with everyone else. If I don’t slip out of the box now, when will I do it?

But the thing that sealed the deal on my current Boho-Chic thing was watching American Horror Story-Coven the other night. I saw the queen of the gypsies, the gravelly voiced Stevie Nicks sing and swirl around in her beautiful flowered shawl, and I decided — I want to be her. She is 65 and still going strong. Go Your Own Way, as the song goes. Maybe I’m a few pounds heavier, and don’t have the styled hair or the great voice, but I sure can twirl in a shawl.

Let’s get bohoing!