Sunday, December 6, 2009

I'm with the Band

The days when my children needed me for everything are long gone. In fact, these days, I rarely see my boys except at holidays or when my husband and I meet them in the city for dinner. I don’t take it personally; I figure it’s healthy. It’s time for them to leave the nest—take care of themselves. After all, they’re both over 18. Recently, the indie rock band my eldest son belongs to was the opening act at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City. My son asked my husband and I to come and to invite our friends. The Ballroom is a great venue and I couldn’t wait. But as the concert approached, I was faced with the inevitable dilemma: “What does a 50+ woman wear to a rock concert?”

The day before the big night, I phoned a friend. She and her husband were going to drive into the city with my husband and me. After we’d arranged our departure time, my girlfriend asked, “What should I wear?”

“Wear whatever makes you feel comfortable,” I suggested.

“Do you think a nice blouse and jeans will do?”

“Absolutely,” I said. “Really, I wouldn’t worry about it.” I understood my friend’s concern. She figured she was going to stick out at the concert simply because she was over 50 and didn’t want to make matters worse by wearing something inappropriate. I, too, worry about appropriate attire from time to time. But after giving the concert some thought, I’d decided there was no need to worry because:
1) The lights would be shining on the band on stage, leaving everyone in the audience in the dark
2) The majority of the females in the audience would be under 30 and probably dressed atrociously
3) As an over 50 woman, I’m invisible to the masses

On the night of the concert, we met a bunch of friends in the East Village for dinner and then walked to the Bowery Ballroom. We followed three young women into the club. These women were big, tall (about 5’7’’) and pear-shaped. They wore skin-tight jeans, spiked heels (two with shoes, one with long boots over her jeans) and nylon tops. Their makeup was thick, Broadway-ready, and their hairdos were big and poofy—suburban styles. (Some cliché never die.) Their heels and hair gave them an extra 2”. Unfortunately, their big bellies hung over their jeans and protruded through their clingy blouses. So far, my predictions for the night were accurate.

My girlfriend—the one who had conferred with me the day before—wore a pretty floral, v-neck, ruffle top and jeans. She’s been trying to lose a few post-menopause pounds. The v-neck with ruffles is feminine and distracts others from noticing a woman’s little imperfections. My friend looked great.

Two other girlfriends, both of whom have nice legs, wore short, straight skirts. One of these women is my fashion heroine. I’ve known her for 30 years and she’s always amazed me with her fashion attitude. In a nutshell, she wears what she likes—regardless of her age or fashion trends. If she likes something in vogue, she’ll buy it and then pair it with clothing she’s had for years or something she’s found at a little eclectic boutique—items that seem to transcend this or any other year’s fashion trends.

At the concert, she was wearing a gold swing A-line coat. It was made of lightweight, buttery wool, so it wasn’t bulky. It looked great (even though she’s only 5’3’’) with her nice legs below in gray stockings and dark gray booties with a short spiked heel. I imagine this coat would be great for hiding one’s little lumps and bumps. (Be careful, though: I fear this coat will look like a tent, if you need a rather large size.) This particular friend, however, hasn’t gained an ounce since her wedding. (I love her despite this fact.) Underneath the coat, she was wearing a pretty green chiffon top with a dark gray knit skirt.

My own concert attire was a bit subdued. It consisted of black slacks, a black camisole under a navy, shear Calvin Klein blouse, and black booties with a 1 ½” heel.

Currently, black and blue is a favorite color combination. At a recent work event, I noticed a very stylish 50+ woman wearing a black blazer over a navy sheath. She looked smashing. I like the color combination because: 1) it’s a new combination for me and 2) I like to keep my top and pants or skirt in the same color range—light, medium or dark. I’m not very tall and if I pair a light top with a dark skirt, it cuts me in half, making me look even shorter. Black and navy, obviously, are both dark colors.

As for my three predictions about the evening…Before entering the ballroom, we had to pass through a well-lit lounge. I couldn’t help but notice a few young hipsters staring at our elderly entourage as we filed by. I’m sure they were wondering: Is it ‘Seniors Discount Night’ at the Bowery Ballroom? Once we got into the ballroom, however, only the stage was lit. And as for the 20-something girls in the audience…Okay, I admit it: Many of them looked gorgeous and were nicely put together. This made me happy. Personally, I want to cry whenever I see young women dressed in unflattering garb; such a crime.

And what about the over 50 rock concert goer--how should she dress? Well, we know what won’t do—the grunge look (an old T-shirt and jeans), the vamp look (super tight jeans and a cleavage-bearing top), or the hottie look (tight top and mini skirt). Those days are over. Instead, I think we should shoot for the classy mamma look—a well-made, pretty blouse or sweater with a pair of jeans, slacks or skirt cut for our shape. These days, the department stores have oodles of feminine tops—v-necks, soft cowl necks, jeweled necks and more. Macy’s is advertising lots of them on sale for under $40 right now. Add a pretty necklace and a pair of leather boots (with as much heel as your feet will allow) and you’re ready to rock.