Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The whys of writing Passage des perles

materfamilias has written a self-searching and straight-shooting post about her interest in clothes and style, and (as she often does) she has led me to think- this time, about why I write this blog, and what I intend. I created Passage des perles for two reasons.

First, I was annoyed at the lack of celebration of women fifty and over. I found us largely absent in the fashion press, given short shrift in retail (especially if over size 12), rarely addressed by journalists, or if so, given a has-kept-herself-up kind of backhanded compliment. The only people w
ho seemed to care were plastic surgeons.

I wanted to know how to age gracefully, realistically and vitally, and to choose clothes that reinforced that wish.

Second, I was frustrated by the cost of fashion, especially from the name designers. Even if I could afford a $6,000 coat (and I can't), it's not congruent with my values. But I had found some exceptional products and because these local, independent or small vendors don't buy advertising space, the world does not meet them.


I decided if I couldn't find what interested me, I would write it myself. If I could do anything I'd attempt Sartorialist-style posts: photos of women past fifty who look wonderful, and by that I don't mean just dressed expensively or in the latest look.


Along with that comes a certain amount of opinion. If I think Crocs make a woman look like a platypus, I'm writing it. That doesn't mean she's not a fine human being, it means she looks like a freakin' duck.


Style is not about
seeking another person's approval, so if you want to wear a green garbage bag when you're caught in a shower,or Crocs to the theatre (which I have seen here) you have that right.

What you wear communicates who you think you are.


I'm not going ponder whether this small dot in the blogosphere is superficial or not. "Superficial", like "appropriate" is one of those sneaky code words for I Get to Play God(dess). The question behind the question is, How do you want to spend the limited hours of your life?

I've long observed when women gather, given enough free time and perhaps a glass of wine, they will ask one another, "What should I do with my hair?" "Do the shoes go with this skirt?" Ornamentation is a human preoccupation, and women seem more interested than men.

And through this low-key blog, I've made friends, been incited to consider contrary ideas, and received occasional appreciation, all of which have meaning to me.

7 comments:

cybill said...

Duchesse, I for one, thank the blogging gods every time you post. I don't qualify for your over 50s, just yet, but you make me happy and excited to know that I will do so one day and hope that my wisdom develops like yours. I don't care if anyone thinks this is all superficial, because it means something to me.

materfamilias said...

Duchesse: this is a great post as was your comment over my way which helped me galvanize my thinking so that I've written another post and, mostly, understood and reconciled with the discomfort I was feeling. I do think we're doing important work letting the world know that there are many fashionable, stylish lives on our side of 50 and I'm so glad you stepped up to the keyboard -- you're one of my favourite daily reads.

Linn from IA said...

I so enjoy your blog -- thank you for starting it! Coming up on the 50 marker, and I find here confirmation that I can still care about my appearance, still care about looking good -- basically, that I'm worth the time and attention. It doesn't feel superficial to me!

Toby Wollin said...

Duchesse - how we manage our appearances through dress, hairstyles, etc. sends a message. It might be pretty straight forward: "I'm 21 and I'm sexy and available and I'm letting you know that because I'm wearing...a low cut top or a red dress or something tight in the hips", or it might be pretty nuanced, "I'm 52, but I'm still energetic and creative and clever and interesting and you might know that because I'm wearing interesting clever jewelry and a dress that is showing off my waistline that I exercise a whole lot to keep hold of." The message is a bit more challenging not only to put together but also to demonstrate for viewers(we are not so good at interpreting clothing messages - it was easier for people when older ladies just wore black dresses and wore their hair in buns and never went out). But it's definitely very worthwhile being invested in the discussion and participating. Yes, we have to work harder to find what we want, but that does not make it any less worthwhile doing. In a way, because I'm short and sort of stumpy anyway, it would be difficult for me in any case(which is why I'm heavily invested in sewing and using vintage patterns to make clothing that emphasize certain parts of my appearance that I think send an appropriate message)but I'd never give up on the opportunity to be involved in the chase.

La Belette Rouge said...

Like Cybill, I do not yet qualify for over 50. But, as a gal in my early 40's I don't find many places in the world or in the blogosphere that offer hope of being stylish and fabulous as we age without adhering to ridiculous standards of beauty.

You, Materfamilias and Deja all are doing important and non-superficial work in the blogosphere. Even More magazine's focus is getting younger and younger.

Thank you, Duchesse!! Please keep doing what you are doing.

Duchesse said...

Thanks to all for the encouragement and ideas. I wish we were all around a table!

Toby: I'd so enjoy seeing what you make; it's a splendid talent to be able to envision and create things that suit you. You and materfamilias can both do this- chapeau!

Anjela said...

I look forward to seeing your blog as a part of my day now. I think it is essential and worthwhile as it is so difficult to find any 'real' information on fashion or feelings in our age range. This one place I come to to feel renewed, to feel excited by Life. Thank you!
And Toby, I too would love to know about your designs. Hint, hint Tracey Reese skirt.