It appears that at some stage in our lives we become invisible to the outside world. We no longer receive a second glance from a stranger on the train, in a coffee bar or any other public place. We simply cease to exist. There is no specific day, month or year when this phenomenon occurs.
When we reach the age when we become invisible, we are at best ignored and at worst we are talked to as though we are once again children. It is also assumed that being a certain age automatically means that we have a hearing problem and should be communicated with in words consisting of as few syllables as possible. Our own attempt at normal conversation is simply ignored.
The media conspires with this and women of a certain age are rarely featured in magazines nor are our experiences and issues discussed intelligently or otherwise. Yet the world does not consist only of young, gorgeous, stick like models and as it happens, it is the older generation with the disposal income and therefore the ones to be courted rather than dismissed.
Being the eternal optimist I suppose invisibility has its advantages. It allows us to observe the world and others without any barriers or censorship. We see life and people in the raw.
However, if on the other hand, we want to remain visible how do we go about it? My mother instilled in me a love of fashion and she was fond of saying that it is the feathers that make the bird.
There are a myriad of reasons why we choose to wear what we do and it can range from pure practicalities of covering our bodies through to wearing clothes to epitomize our identity.
Clothes have the ability to communicate much loader than words ever can when it comes to reflecting who we are. We can be serious, successful, playful, naughty or anything else that takes our fancy AND do so in style. It’s not an either or, we can do both.
For inspiration, I highly recommend the book by Ari Seth Cohen, Advanced Style, which features how older women use clothes to communicate their own unique personalities and styles. There is no doubt that the women introduced in his book will not be invisible to those around them. In fact, I suggest the complete opposite.
It is important not to confuse style with fashion. We each create a personal style that communicates our own individual and unique personalities, rather than slavishly follow the latest fashion.
Before saying that it will be an expensive hobby, think again. If you followed the link I provided under the Top Tips by the Experts and the introduction to the programme, Fabulous Fashionistas, one of the women featured shares her knowledge of finding unusual clothes in unusual places at very affordable prices.
Our style tells the world who we are and what we are about. It is communicated in the way we wear a particularly piece of jewelry, a combination of accessories, the way we tie or drape a scarf or the colours we choose. In keeping with the philosophy of Hags with Attitude as Seth Cohen says, ‘it is above all about attitude’.
In my previous life as an academic, I was greatly influenced by the philosophy of constructionism. In essence it suggests that we collude with others and the world out there to create our experiences. As George Kelly, the father of Personal Construct Psychology said, we do not have to paint ourselves into a corner. There are always options.
Drawing inspiration from this philosophy, I know that we have the ability to create different experiences by actively and consciously making decisions and taking actions that will result in the outcomes we seek. Being invisible or not is, therefore, a choice we make and whichever one we choose, will become our reality.
I feel passionate about our role and responsibility not to collude with the media and perpetuate the stereotypes of older women. Age is not a crime. We do not have to apologize for being a certain age or somehow perceive it as a personal failing.
Nor is it a problem that needs to be solved with Botox, facelifts, creams and other expensive supernatural potions that will magically transport us back to a socially acceptable age.
Remember, the way we carry ourselves and wear what we wear, communicates our own unique brand to the world. So, be bold and choose the clothes to celebrate your own unique personality, whatever your age.
Go on be a beautiful hag with attitude!