Monday, February 25, 2013

The Arms Are The Last To Go

I am not overly neurotic about my looks.  I own being 63. I'm fit enough, though not a fitness fanatic. I eat and drink what I like, but I do moderate myself when needed. I weigh 10 more pounds than I did twenty years ago. To keep it real, I weigh 130.  I have not had any cosmetic procedures. I'm healthy.

Jane Fonda is a role model - She is 5'8" tall and almost anorexic thin (she has talked about her eating disorder when she was a young starlet) - The wrap style dress would be flattering on many of us - It's Versace

Still I am 63, and there are certain things that I could wear, but I don't wear. Certain things age on everybody no matter what. You can get a face lift, a body job, Botox, fillers, etc. You can diet and do yoga or go to the gym. You can get sleep. You can be a happy person. But your age is your age no matter what.

Illusion sleeves have to fit perfectly

Sequins can add bulk unless you and they are super fine

I tried this Jessica Simpson dress but sadly it made me look bulky and the lining was not sewn in properly

I love this black and white dress

You can get a knock off from Teri Jon

I find one thing is very hard to alter - well actually two things: Arms. They can be toned with exercise, but something happens to the quality of the skin, and arms get old looking, no mater if they are fat or thin. Some women don't care, and go sleeveless. I prefer to cover up. No more strapless gowns for me, or halter tops, or tank tops, or even short sleeve tops. The 3/4 sleeve is now my shortest sleeve.

Helen Mirren is my size, 5'4" - She added pink hair to her red carpet arsenal

Satins and taffeta can be tricky

A black knit elevates the color

There has to be just the right amount of fabric in a full skirt

Your skin on the decolletage cannot be wrinkly

Attitude is the best accessory

Recently I had to buy a red carpet style evening gown. Finding one with sleeves that did not look maw-maw, or mother-of-the-bride in the worst possible way, was no easy shopping chore.

Every generation has their role models, and for me I look to the celebrities who are near my age to see what they wear. They have all the money in the world, they have designers offering custom made dresses to them, and they have the benefit of all kinds of stylists. My line-up consists of Jane Fonda (75), Helen Mirren (67), Susan Sarandon (66), Sally Fields (66), Glenn Close (65), and Meryl Streep (63).

Susan Sarandon has started to cover up her arms

Knits are young

Glenn Close wrapped her arms in tulle

Glenn Close working tricky taffeta and a tux jacket

Meryl Streep tried a bustier and a bolero

Jane pulled off tricky cut outs - Make sure they are lined if you do this

Meryl in Lanvin sequins - I think it looks bulky

Sally Fields 2013 Oscars - She is 5'3" - I think the dress could have been fitted better

Meryl in metallic

Angelina often wears long sleeves -  Knock offs at Celebrity Dresses 100

I haven't bought a new evening dress in a few years. And on a recent shopping trip, I learned a few things. Sequins can add bulk. Taffeta is death. Satin is death. Chiffon can add bulk if there is too much of it, and it goes maw- maw fast. Illusion sleeves are good, but have to fit perfectly, not too tight, or worse not too loose. Lace can be great if it's over a modern silhouette. Surprisingly, jersey type fabrics are the most flattering (just think of a Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress). Boleros are tricky. Cleavage is okay if the skin on your decolletage is not wrinkly. Spanx is tricky, and can cause more visual harm than good. Black is great, but can be sad. Colors are tricky - you have know which flatter you, and more important which do not. Nudes and whites are extra tricky. Metallic can be great.

I like this lace dress from Teri Jon

I ended up with a so-so dress.  A knit dress in purple, with jeweled straps, and a soft drape of fabric to one side at the waist. Five years ago I would have worn it without the matching bolero jacket. I plan to have it remodeled a bit, and take the 3/4 sleeves from the jacket and add them to the dress. The jacket paired with the dress "ages" it.

Celebrity 100 Lady Gaga dress

If I had all the money in the world I would wear Versace. But I don't. I found a very interesting site that replicates celebrity dresses. They have a ton of Helen Mirrens. No Jane Fondas. One Glenn Close. One Sally Fields. I saw many hot long sleeve dresses there that Angelina Jolie wears. It's interesting how this young woman favors sleeves.

Ha ha - My "Red Carpet" look at  masquerade party - I did lavender hair instead of pink

Any thoughts or insights you would like to share?

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  1. I think it's discouraging that so many evening wear dresses are sleeveless. Most are sleeveless. Dresses with sleeves can be very beautiful. When I was young and had great arms....I wore sleeves all the time...dresses had sleeves. Now when I'd rather cover my arms...dresses don't have sleeves! I love all the examples you shared. I hated Meryl's dresses last made her look huge. I love her....but that dress was just terrible. I think Angelina wears sleeves to cover up how skinny her arms are. She needs to gain 20 pounds. I think Helen Mirren always looks fantastic. Jane Fonda does a great job....I liked her dress last night but didn't care for the color....too bright. I loved what you wore to the masquerade!

  2. You are absolutely correct on all the points of what an older woman should wear....I know because I am in age the category. I wish every woman of a certain age could see your post. You are absolutely right about the older arm, no one needs to see one. I think you look fabulous - much better than the pulled and taunt celebrities. Way to go! Jodi

  3. Great post.. I loved looking at all the pictures. Elegance never goes out of style. Love your dress!

  4. i can't wear sleeveless anymore my elbows, my arms, ugh. never again. i won't even wear a shortsleeves shirt. 60 is not pretty.

    1. If we'd apply the same vanity criteria to wine, a lot of great vintage juice would go down the drain.
      The secret my ladies, is to gravitate to those who appreciate the nose, the bouquet and the arms, and would love to get a sip of your time tested inebriating beauty...

  5. It's the great cover up. Can't show leg, arms, wrinkly d├ęcolletage, or toes! Somedays I think I need a burka! he best look for me is Carolina Herrera and her white shirt.

  6. I'm in my mid 50s and have started taking advantage of a lot of these tips already. Another favorite tip, though not necessarily for an evening gown, is to have my belt match my top. Helps mitigate the shortened space from the now droopy boobs to the waist (ah, for the old -- or should I say young, perky days)

  7. You are so right! Sadly, many don't get this memo! My mother and aunt taught me that at around 45 arms should not be shared with the general public! Your red carpet photo is to die for!!!!

  8. I am 77 years old, in good shape, 5' 7" weigh 123 lbs. years ago I knew I was not going to win the pretty face contest, a woman's passport in the first trimester of her life. The second trimester was more successful, I we to grad school and got a doctorate which means I used my brains. The last trimester of my life has been a coast on the money I made between my excellent job and my investments. And luckily I have the companionship of a much younger man who shares my values.

    Because I could not compete in the style completion I went where substance counted. Acceptance of who I am was essential to letting go of what I wasn't.

    Thanks for reminding me of what is worth having.

  9. In my opinion, what ages a woman are the boobs. The bigger they are the dumper you look.

  10. Speaking of hitting the nail where it hurts - Valorie you are so right about the arms. The biggest shopping nightmare I have experienced was shopping for the appropriate dress for my daughter's wedding. The experience almost put me in bed. I ended up wearing a three piece cocktail suit. By the end of the night, it was so hot that I had to take the jacket off. Needless to say, I did not appreciate the fact that while the photographer was fabulous, he failed to enhance my bare arms. - UGH!!!

  11. Via FB

    Love the way young people think it can't happen. Bless their hearts.


  12. Via FB

    I think one of the best things (for me) about getting older is learning to get over myself. No I'm not "the fairest of them all " anymore. And really I never was.

    We are so bombarded with messages that it is somehow a crime to look old. There is something deeply wrong with that message. As I told my daughter "there is a name for those people with no wrinkles- they are called children."


  13. Via FB

    Aside from Jane Fonda and perhaps Helen Miren, the others don't appear to have gone under the knife. I like to see 'real' women that age gracefully. I am 56 and a good example of what it looks like, proud to have the grace (hopefully) and the wisdom that comes with aging.


  14. I am 62, and I agree with you completely. I weigh the same that I did in high school, but still am aware of my arms. I agree that those jackets are aging. Finding a mother-of-the-bride dress when my daughter/blog partner married three years ago was a tough challenge. Now I am about to be the mother-of-the-groom. I don't look forward to that shopping experience since the dresses seem to be made for someone who weighs thirty plus pounds more than I do. I also am shocked when women my age wear little spaghetti straps in the summer. What are they thinking?????????

  15. via FB

    does that mean we all will be wearing long sleeves when we get older???? please God no.........................


  16. via FB

    LOVE this post, Valorie! I am so tired of the sleeveless thing! I love all the examples you showed and yes, your age is your age. By the way, Love your look at the ball. Fabulous!


  17. via FB

    I agree!


  18. via FB

    amazing. they all look gorgeous.


  19. via FB

    I am 61 and I stopped showing my upper arms a while ago. I do remember when my arms were so pretty. But that is OK.


  20. Valorie - are you kidding me, your outfit is fantastic! The way you described your it sounded frumpy. Also, I think you're aware that you don't look your age.

    Joan Fonda has had so much plastic surgery on her face I can't believe it, it's so obvious but although I don't like the shade of acid yellow she is wearing, she always fully covers up in her clothing and that makes her look younger. Even if she is wearing trousers which she seems to do on the talk show circuit, she wears a polo neck or whatever to cover up the top half. All of the other ladies you feature here look great for their age and they all cover up. It is the celebrities (Goldie Hawn that means you) who continue to show too much skin which age them badly. There is nothing like crepey, crumpled skin to give the game away.

    My theory on Angelina Jolie is that she wears the long sleeves when her arms are at that painfully skinny state that she gets into. As for myself, I'm in my forties but I cover up because I hate my freckles to show.