Near the end of last year, the New York Times ran a piece in its Style section titled "The Damsel is in Distress" by Ruth La Ferla. She quotes stylists, designers and fashionistas who have abandoned frou and flou for biker jackets, mannish blazers, studs and leather.
Oh, and "ripped hose, worn in an unstudied way by off-duty models and fashion insiders." In my world, ripped hose would be met by an offer of a spare pair from a friend.
Mannish hardly flatters me, though I get its appeal for the young and effortlessly sexy. I can do the all-black, the boots, the muffler– 85% of my street looks like this all winter.
But "tough and menacing" is not so appealing when you're asking for your senior's discount.
To all this, I say, taupe. Or grey, bitter chocolate and possibly plum, depending on what you like. If we temper all that black, in a trim but not skintight cut, we will triumph. These are the offbeat, interesting neutrals that offer those of us 50+ a seat at the style table without looking scary.
For example, this Aquascutum mini-houndstooth taupey-brown coat leavens the black beneath. Wear with the stole, or not, belted or not.
And (again from Aquascutum) look how this black coat is lit by the club check lining and the black and white print organza stole.
We don't need to toughen up to look current. How about tempering severity with shine, drape and texture, as in this fine, minimalist sapphire-and-grey combination from Calvin Klein?
Anyway, Style.com's Alison Baenen predicts that the tough-a-thon will be turfed faster than last New Years' Eve's playlist:
"The New York Times has wised up to the tough and sexy model-off-duty look everyone’s channeling these days and has summoned psychologists and trend forecasters to break it down. 'It’s not cool to be demure', one stylist polled reported. We’re guessing this means the trend’s life span is just about up. Bring on the chintz!"
Doesn't matter, I'm over running to keep up. At 61, I can't quite remember what's current, and there's always a leading-er edge.
And trend-chasing's an expense I won't endorse. Though not above being captivated by finery, there are more worthwhile places to spend my discretionary income. I'm grateful that many of us are helping Haitians through the latest disaster, contributing what we can through organizations we trust. Thank you.
"Tough" has another meaning; these people are living it.