I recently saw this photo of Queen Elizabeth at last spring's Royal Windsor Horse Show, and thought, "When I am her age, I want to dress like that." She looks smart, comfortable, relaxed. (You cannot quite see, but she is wearing pearls.)
Seems to me that women my age are obsessed about not looking old, but I am beginning to be obsessed with how I will look, old. But then, I've always thought ahead. In my tweens, I couldn't wait to grow up and wear a black lace cocktail dress. Now, I'm not so eager to race through my life, but I do think about what elder attire could be.
Not for me, the lamé leggings and "creative" jacket. I'm going "cas" like the Queen: matlassé jacket, cashmere cardi and tweed skirt, or possibly straight-legged trousers. I'm not alone; Agyness Deyn has said Queen Elizabeth is her fashion inspiration; shown, Deyn on the inaugural cover of Love magazine (2009).
The Queen is known for colour; she has long known that luminous
hues draw the eye in a crowd.
When it's time to replace the Eric Bompard cardis I habitually wear, I'll remember how colour revivifys and adds interest.
My long-loved black won't be so
appealing in the next decade, and I'm not referring to the traditional
connotation of mourning. Black doesn't ennoble the elder woman
as much as rich grey, plum, navy or camel.
Queen Elizabeth is known for Hermès carrés worn as headscarves, an effect I have not yet essayed. Certainly, I am keeping my stack. Though some fashionistas will not touch them, I am certain the glowing colours and prints will lift me, especially when worn with a smile as twinkly as Her Majesty's.
I'm developing interest in subtle, colour-flecked tweeds, such as a navy and copper tweed jacket from Brora.
I think too, of my godmother. When she was the Queen's age, she received me in an ecru shirt, fresia pink cashmere v-neck, Donegal tweed fine wool slacks and a strand of big Mikimoto pearls. I always adored her style, and she will be another of my beacons now.
So, I'm going for more colour (even if only navy instead of black), more quality (even if not bespoke, like Her Majesty's), and more longevity, via relatively classic styles, for example, my coat from Dalmad Marine.
In July I turn 67, rounding the corner
toward 70, which especially matters when I make a major purchase. A new
coat, for example, should last into that decade. Of waterproof wool (similar to loden cloth), durable yet supple, this fall topper is a maritime style that suits life in this northern island-city.
Strangely, the fear of being dowdy has receded. I'm reaching the age when I can, with quiet pleasure, wear the sort of clothes I always liked best.