The season is turning, and you’re shopping the boutiques to update your look. Shopping isn’t as fun as it used to be. You hate your arms, you’ve got a basketball where your abs used to be, and your ass is sagging. But before you reach for that loose-fitting number, remember: Nothing says middle aged like The Beard.
In Hollywood’s heyday, before an actor could be “out” without risking his (or sometimes, her) career, movie studios made sure gay male actors were publicly romantically linked with young starlets — what urban slang refers to as a “beard.”
The public no longer cares if an actor is gay, so let’s co-opt the term for another crisis of confidence: dressing your middle aged body. You know The Beard. You find yourself drawn to its forgiving nature. It’s that inverted tulip silhouette you see on women of a certain age. It hugs the bust, which might be trussed up in a sturdy bra underneath but still looks pert on the outside. Beneath your boobs it cuts outward, draping loosely around your torso to hide the sins of the flesh. A skirt draws the eye back in again for a slimming effect before it skims outward and over your hips, leaving much – too much — to the imagination.
I mistakenly thought the middle aged ladies of the ‘80s just couldn’t part with their 1960s peasant skirts and macramé vests. They seemed so uncool. Now I can totally relate to how confusing it is to feel young but dress a body that you no longer recognize.
My closet is no stranger to The Beard, but I’m trying to get more creative. Whether it be a tailored vest and palazzo pants, a shift dress, or skinny jeans and a boyfriend shirt, there are more fashionable ways to deceive.
Don’t hide behind The Beard. Work on looks that flatter your body in an age appropriate way, but that signal to the world and to yourself that you’re confident and still feeling good about the way you look. Try Forever45.com for ideas, or be inspired by the still-fashionable octogenarians of AdvancedStyle.blogspot.com.