What to wear when you “dress up” in your sixties and after comes with caveats for most of us. I do not go to the gym nearly enough to have great arms. Or legs. Or dammit, even a midrif! Sag and flab abounds, even though I am a former jogger who once had a 24-inch waist and slid into size fours. Now they are a distant memory even though I swear I am going to lose five/ten pounds and if I do, I know I will be happy for the rest of my life. Anyway, not for anyone am I exposing arms or midrif in public, and no matter how some women feel about exposing boob tops, after a certain age, letting them see the light of day, in public, is too obvious for my taste. It’s trying too hard. Besides, we are talking winter here.
But in the meantime, what to wear to cocktails, six to eight, in the Hamptons. It’s not all glam as any readers of People magazine might assume–if you do not hang with the crowd the paparazzi is after, it’s way more laid back. Cocktail parties among my friends–writers, editors, literary agents, photographers and artists–are quite often casual. Like the other night.
But we’re not talking sweats and Lulu Lemon here; it was still rather dress up, which does mean different things to different people and in different places. Despite not needing a totally all-out glam outfit, I still had one heck of a time getting ready. My constant companion has learned to be patient. He’s only one sweater change–or add a blazer–away from “Ready!” Which of course is so irritating. And this night, problems abounded. One top was too revealing, with another the broad neckline revealed the Kimora top I had put on to hold the line on flab, which would never do. (I must not have needed the Kimora* last time I wore it.) Another outfit felt too fussy, another felt too dowdy, and another–egads, did those last five pounds make that much difference? Oui. It was sad.
The clock was ticking. Constant companion is a patient man, but then, he is a man who is always ready ahead of time. He once confessed he went to a dinner party (before me, naturallement!) ten minutes before the appointed hour and the hostess answered the door in her bathrobe, forever curing him from arriving early anywhere other than the airport. (That is another story.) This night, six o’clock came and went and I was still trying on and rejecting…until I popped on a very dark hunter green–the same tonal quality as “midnight blue”–mock turtle top in stretchy velvet that covered my butt. I pulled on some black velvet pants–also stretchy, thank god. This outfit did require the use of a Kimora top–to smooth out my midrif. But itself, the outfit of dark green and black was too severe, too Robin Hood, even in velvet.
It measures 54 inches on a side. Formidable. In truth, I have never been able to figure out how to use it because of its size, but when I saw it at a yard sale for ten bucks, who could resist? Not I.