Healthy fashion shouldn’t be an oxymoron.
Looking healthy isn’t only what others say looks healthy, but it’s also how we see ourselves in the mirror. It’s also how we see ourselves reflected in the eyes and attitudes of those we care about. To me that’s a big part of healthy fashion.
(In the interest of length for this post, I’m going to put aside the ethical and ecological side of how and where clothing and shoes are produced.)
What brought this on? I love fashion. There I said it! I also love comfort. In fact, I love comfort more than I love fashion – if I had to choose. I don’t like having to choose. I love healthy fashion.
I also like what I wear to express who I am.
That means who I’m living as in my day-to-day life; as well as how I see myself in my adventurous, playful, confident, joyful, unique, eternal self. To me healthy fashion can express that.
That said, I love getting older. I’m in my 60th year, and it feels fine. I recognize my skin is never likely to be as smooth as it was in my 30s. Nor as firm. My hair never had body, and it still doesn’t. But I do have plenty of it. I like being tall and fit, yet my middle thickens. As has been true for decades, the only real reason I need a bra is because I am self-conscious about being eternally on high-beam, (a la Farrah Fawcet in that famous poster…remember?)
I have trouble finding healthy fashions that allow me to express my true self
And I empathize with women who are shorter, stouter, differently proportioned, differently complexioned, and who have a need to express themselves differently than I do.
First, shoes. In my book, New Joints and Other Mixed Blessings, I mention the importance of wearing shoes that keep us on our feet.
So I want shoes that look good with what I choose to wear, but that have a stable base, i.e. heels 1″ or under, and no slides. Since I have a narrow heel, that also means they need to fasten across my instep, one way or another.
I also mention in my book that clothes that are too tight or too loose and “flowy” can impede our movements and responses.
I’ve always had broad shoulders and strong arms. I still do. So I want tops that have armholes that allow me to hug my friends without being” arm-strangled.” BUT I also want those tops to skim my torso while neither hugging my “ribs” nor hanging like a bag. AND I want them to be long enough to allow me to reach high without exposing my waist band, and all that suggests. AND…AND I want tunics to actually serve as tunics and go to mid-thigh, at least!
I want colors to go with my multi-hued flesh
..and my multi-hued hair. I want stylish collars that frame my long neck, because scarves, though I like them, can be so fussy and hard to keep in place. In short, I want a colorful, comfy, streamlined look that’s easy to wear…AND I want to see it modeled on someone over 50 who is regularly a size 12 or over, especially at 5′ 8″ or taller.
For too long fashion has hobbled the bodies and the spirits of women, especially older women. And when I hear a woman wearing high heels say, “Oh, they are actually very comfortable…” I want to scream – long and loud.
Now I can talk about pants… and this can be funny. Wedgies, muffin-tops, waist strangulation, breath-holding…not so funny after all. Consistent sizing would be nice, even within a single brand. I would like to be as comfortable sitting down as I am standing in them. Length is usually a problem too, no matter your height. Consistent sizing in length would be nice too.
Oh yeah! And stretchy waistlines, without those bunchy elasticized waistbands that flatter no one. The crotch depth (for you former seamstresses), or waist height must be deep enough to go over the hip bones to somewhere near the waist, and also avoid the seated wedgie.
Skirts seem to be the least problematic for many of us. EXCEPT it’s so dang hard to find comfortable shoes that look good with them!
And there the circle begins again. Healthy fashion.
I live out here in the country where my go-to fashion is jeans and a comfy t-type shirt. With my broad shoulders and angular jaw, regular t-shirts make me feel like a linebacker – not one of my self-images of choice. I freely admit I love shopping Goodwill because I can try on 50 gazillion brands and sizes of jeans and tops and every few visits come away with something that fits a few of my criteria. When I go regular shopping I can spend lots more time looking and trying on, and find less satisfaction.
I long to find a favorite designer; one who gets me and my size, for more than half a season. Until then, I’ll continue the hopeful lottery of clicking on teasing website ads for just the chance…