Friday, 5 July 2013

Grey Vixen writes: Careful, it jiggles! The Sins of Summer by Sabine Reichel

Introducing 'Grey Vixen writes':

I realise that many of Grey Fox's readers are women. They are either looking for ideas for dressing their partners with style, or maybe (vain hope?) they just like well-dressed older men. Whatever, I felt it was time to offer you, dear female readers, an occasional Grey Vixen column to give you relief from endless cuff links and boxer shorts - and highlight some fashionable female topics and views.

And, dear male reader, don't go away! Stick around for beautiful and stylish women; read about their jiggly bits (not my words, see below) and maybe get some ideas for nagging the woman in your life in retaliation for throwing out your favourite t-shirts.

Grey Vixen Writes - Sabine Reichel
Sabine Reichel

This first column is written by Sabine Reichel, former model, New York designer and long-time reporter and writer (in English and German) whose works include books (What Did you do in The War, Daddy? and Grey is Great) and columns in Huffington Post50.

I was delighted when she agreed to write a guest post for Grey Fox. Sabine has much to say about life and style as an older woman which resonates with what Grey Fox is all about. I'm hoping to post fairly regular contributions from her. Please let me have your comments and questions as usual!

Careful, it jiggles! The Sins of Summer
by Sabine Reichel

Let’s pretend it’s summer and it is really hot. You wear those little sleeveless cotton stretch-tops or even a dress with spaghetti straps the way you always did, all your life - without a bra, because you are of the sixties generation. Except you are 50 plus now, in terrific shape – for your age, as impolite people like to add - and it doesn't do any harm.

And then a girlfriend, a really good one (otherwise she wouldn't dare) says to you, 'Your upper arms jiggle!'. Which is just another way of saying, 'If I were you, I’d stop wearing sleeveless tops and not show the world my naked arms – at your age! And while you’re at it, wear a bra!'

Trim, athletic upper arms are a dream for many

That hurts - but let's investigate this summery topic to see how fashion-trouble can be avoided.

Trim, athletic upper arms are a dream for many (including myself - but excluding Madonna). Past fifty untamed flesh appears in all kinds of places. In younger years it’s luscious, firm and silky, the breasts sit proud and high – but then, all of a sudden it seems, the flesh is jiggly and moves about like jelly. But it is the truth – and it seems sometimes unfair – women have more loose flesh on their bodies than men. It's really nice as long as it wraps itself in perfect proportion around a trim body. (And I don’t mean like Lady Gaga’s real beefsteak-dress of last year!)


Nora Ephron, the late, very funny American writer and author of the bestseller I Feel Bad about my Neck, knew a thing or two about the older body that seems to betray you whenever you look away as everything goes south when you hit fifty. She opted for turtle-neck sweaters and long sleeves and it's safe to say that she was never spotted bra-less at her fabulous New York lunches.

In my informal fashion-quiz which I do often for fun with girlfriends, I asked them 'How long can you go sleeveless and bra-less in public?' At the very most until your le fifties was the answer. Because no matter how fit you are, there are not only jiggling parts on your upper arms but strange and scary wobbly hills and fatty deposits right under your arm that don’t need to be exposed freely to strangers anywhere. And certainly not without a bra.

You should have a relaxed and loving relationship with your body

We all know the now older lady-hippies, don’t we? Once adorable super-skinny flower children and budding feminists who banned not only the bomb, but bras as well, they still have flowing grey hair, comfy shapeless dresses over natural bosoms, Birkenstocks and recycled shopping bags. I love hippies, I was one myself, and the idea of liberation on all fronts is always appealing. But while your mind and animals should run wild and free, bosoms of a certain age should not.

Who decides what is beautiful and fits the bill of propriety? Naturally, it is very important that only you yourself decides what is permissible at what age – it is an individual question of comfort and aesthetics. Of course, you should have a relaxed and loving relationship with your body and allow it some freedom, no need to wrap it in Spanx like a wounded knee.

Being in control when it comes to exposure

But there’s nothing wrong with being a little critical and in control when it comes to exposure. What are the real turn-offs when looking at other people’s bodies in public? Sadly, more older women than is good for them have an uninhibited streak when it comes to nakedness. I don’t like to stare at ageing armpits – it’s creepy. Sorry. 

So, I wear sleeveless stuff without a bra only at home or with close friends. But fashionable life goes on in the outside world. So, here’s the plan for a cool and pretty summer without exposing flabby flesh. 

Wrap a scarf or sole around the shoulders

First, get hold of a comfortable bra and consider these tips.

1. If you must wear a sleeveless dress – and it better be gorgeous – wrap a beautiful, feather light silk scarf or stole around the shoulders.

2. Layers are life-savers! Wear a slightly transparent long-sleeved stretchy shirt under the dress. Alternative: a flimsy long-sleeved chiffon blouse.

3. Get a short little silk or cotton cardigan (waist length), that you also can just hang casually over your shoulders if it gets too warm.

Now you’re all set!


Monique Low said...

Dear Grey Vixen,
I very much enjoyed your guest post and although, only a mere whippersnapper at 41, the main point still resonated strongly with me. A distinct lack of interest in the gym has meant that I have managed to achieve being both skinny and wibbly at the same time, a point which my elder son seems to have made his mission in life, to point out at all available occasions. It seems terribly unfair that anyone, wibbly or not, should have to cover up up in the unforgiving heat of summer, but perhaps it is time to rethink certain wardrobe choices. I look forward to reading your next piece. X

Freyalyn Close-Hainsworth said...

Fascinating post. I'm in the shape of my life at 46, but it doesn't matter how good the muscles are, there's still slightly more skin over the surface than there was twenty years ago. Useful tips...

Anonymous said...

A white, man-tailored shirt is cool, comfortable, and covers all jiggles.

Anonymous said...

Oh gosh, here comes the dilution. Time to move on? Is it too much to ask to have a mens' forum that doesn't go co-ed and then is taken over my women's style?

Grey Fox said...

Oh don't be so melodramatic. Enjoy the pics of the ladies and come back tomorrow. ;)

dawn said...

sigh....everybody gets old. The body withers, true enough. Give me a break from your silly, vapid "rules"--women have enough hangups about appearance as it is. Staring at another person's physical flaws is rude. If you don't like it, avert your eyes. Focus on your heart, and what's inside, and get your priorities straight.

Grey Fox said...

Thanks Dawn - see the reply to this post by another Grey Vixen a few days later who makes the same point.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...