40 is the New 40 Guest Blogger: Lisa from Privilege

Today it is my distinct pleasure to have the author of one of my favourite blogs as my guest blogger. As I'm sure you are already aware, Lisa is the author of Privilege, a blog that strikes a perfect balance of great writing, insightful social commentary, and a nod to all things gracious and beautiful.  I'd like to publicly thank her for her bloggy peer support over the past few years, and give a nod to how very generous she has been in giving her time to contribute to my ongoing 40 is the New 40 series; here she gives us her take on style at 40 and beyond.
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Hello everyone! And yes, since you ask, that is a pink lawn flamingo above. I'm here to talk about Style After 40, by the request of our Goddess of the Highlands. The flamingos are here to help.

Highland Fashionista Asks, "Must Your Style Change When You Reach 40?"


As you might expect of a Highland Fashionista fan, I say no. Of course not! What you wear at 40 can be exactly what you would have worn at 20, had you more of everything back then.  More defined taste, more financial resources, more confidence. More flamingos, in other words.


When I turned 40, almost 18 years ago, I threw myself a birthday party in our back yard. My family organized a caterer and bartender, 70 people showed up. We listened to Frank Sinatra, drank cocktails, and ate canapés. I planted plastic flamingos on the lawn (the photo at top), and scattered them across invitations. It was wonderful; a Mad Men party long before Don Draper was even a twinkle in Matthew Weiner's eye.


And I wore a little black dress I might have worn at 20, had I the resources. By Blumarine. Short black bouclé wool, with a little fancy B embellishment under the neckline, in back, made of glued on half pearls.



What Does Jennifer Montana, Wife To An American Football Star, And A Pretty Sharp Cookie, Say?

The birthday dress was all Jennifer Montana's doing - I wouldn't have had enough confidence on my own. You see, I shopped at a local boutique in the very fancy Stanford Shopping Center. The store was small, and set up so that 4 very small dressing rooms at the back of the store opened into a fairly small central area with a raised, um, we shall call it "dais," and a mirror. Imagine, the shoppers would bring choices into the dressing rooms, change, emerge, and check their possible purchases all together. A kind of communal, "How do I look?" I picked out a few dresses to try on, and decided that the Blumarine was worth promenading. As I looked in the mirror, I wondered if it was too short, given the 40th birthday context. I wondered this out loud. A tall, blonde, striking woman behind me said, "Your 40th birthday? Oh, then SHORTER!" I looked around, and recognized Mrs. Montana. Standing further back, her husband Joe. Our 1990's equivalent of Posh and Becks, one might say. When America's quarterback, or at least San Francisco's, smiles at your proposed costume, you may take that as a sign.


I did.

Looking back now from 57, I'd tell my 40-year old self that I had a good 10 years ahead of me to wear that dress. Maybe even 15. I'd tell myself that, yes, there would come a day when I would want a leeeeeetle more sleeve, a leeeeetle more skirt, a day when being a woman played a less starring role in my identity - but it wasn't that day, not then.

I suspect you all know this already. I was naive.


Flamingos. Impractical as foodstuffs, workers, or pets. Quite invaluable for flashes of improbable leg.



Comments

  1. Love the sentiment. Fun to see you over here, Lisa!

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  2. What a lovely post Lisa.
    I do have a weak spot for flamingos, even plastic ones.

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  3. Love this post, Lisa. You look so happy and flamingos and that great dress sound like the perfect way to celebrate.

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  4. I can tell it was 18 years ago because you've got stockings on with the dress.

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  5. So cute! Love the dress, absolutely classic. You look so happy, Lisa.

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  6. Loved this. Very well written story with a brilliant message.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  7. Love it that you listened to Frank Sinatra, drank cocktails and ate canapes. Does that define an era. You betcha.

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  8. I can't believe how young Lisa looks for 40! Then again, as I creep up on 40, my peers don't look as much like 'grown ups' as people around 40 did when I was younger... I'm beginning to believe that 40 can been cool!

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  9. I love this.

    When I turned 40, I finally, finally, FINALLY figured out what looked good on me and ditched all the stuff that didn't fit the bill.

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  10. Great post. Looking back there are several outfits I had worn for a few more years. Sometimes I think I am in a bit of a rush to grow older.

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  11. I love this post! This was so me when I turned 40...dressing much older than I do now at 56, for sure! I have to giggle, though..."flash of leg" ? Ummm.....I think very slim women who wear tight short dresses need to know that even with the knees demurely touching, you can still see.....London and France?

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    1. Can you!? I'm not seeing it...must be my new prescription. There is the "suggestion" of London and France to be sure....but I'm just getting the Great Black Beyond....

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    2. Ha! Well, if so nobody told me on the day, so all to the good:). Kristin, thanks for having me here as a guest!

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  12. A great post by a beauty at 40 and startling beauty at 50+!!!

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    1. That is a very kind thing to say, and I thank you!

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