Saturday, December 3, 2011

Carbon Dating Your Look

There are three sure-fire, tell-tale age give-aways that can so easily slip through the cracks of your personal style:
1) Old style (not vintage chic) eyeglasses
2) A worn-looking handbag
3) Out of fashion shoes

It's easy to not see your eyeglasses. They tend to become part of you— too costly to buy in multiples or something you grudgingly need and would rather not think about. There are so many styles of glasses, you say, how could any look out of date? True there are cat's eye frames, big round frames, little round frames, even frameless frames— all considered au courant.
Carbon-dated glasses from the 70s
Strangely fashionable today

Eyeglass frames tend to undergo a sea change every four years. Of course you get your eyes examined more often than that, right? The only way to avoid this reassessment of one of your most obvious accessories is if you had adopted a unique look early on. The world may have caught up to you, Iris Apfel, but you hold the bragging rights.
Iris says, "The better to see you with"

I recently had to stop wearing my contacts. Bad enough the only glasses I had lying about were half the size of my face, my husband started calling me Uncle Junior after the character on "The Sopranos". I opted for a pair of small round tortoise shell and one that I hope evokes "sexy secretary". How, you may ask, does one choose frames when one can't see without glasses? Simple— take a picture. It's a wonder oculists don't offer this service, but that's why we have camera phones. Warning— even the Sears $99 Special may end up costing you $350. It's not the frames; it's the lenses.

Did you suspect Columbo gave the excuse that his worn-out trench coat had character because he was too lazy to buy a new one? It might have worked for Columbo, but it will not work for your handbag. You may have a wardrobe of purses but chances are you have one that is your daily friend. You know all its nooks and crannies and can thereby locate your keys in 2 seconds flat. You clean it out occasionally, really you do. But do you actually see it? Is the hardware tarnished, the leather scuffed, the edges mangled, threads hanging? Buying a new handbag is #3 on the Shopping Stress Scale, after jeans and bathing suits. The best time to find one is when you don't need it. But there comes a time when need is now.
If handbags could talk...

Shoes are a slippery slope as feet get older. Nothing says old like "sensible shoes". There are some stylish ones out there, and I give props to those who make the effort while insuring their comfort as they usually don't come cheap. If your feet are not the problem, it's still easy to fall into the trap of wearing outdated shoes for the sole (pun intended) reason that they are not worn out. Dressy or dress-up shoes that languish in your closet could go on forever would that they didn't also go out of style. Shoe trends are just as fickle as trends in apparel. Last year's round toe becomes this year's winkle picker. It's not just heel heights, it's heel shapes— thick, thin, curved, angled, etc. And vamps! High, low and in-between. By the way, how interesting that "vamp" can mean both the upper part of a shoe that covers the instep and a woman who uses sexual attraction to exploit men. Toe cleavage, anyone? 

I wonder how much we will all laugh in years to come at some of the silly shoes we are seeing today. I haven't fallen for them because, of course, I will fall in them.

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