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Juliet Bernard’s career in knitting, editing, textiles, fashion, public relations, and modeling has given her a fascinating mix of perspectives. It is pure delight to welcome her to MDK. —Kay and Ann

Recently I was on a photo shoot for one of my clients. I met a woman called Kate Goode who is an art director, stylist and all-round amazing person. She is a similar age to me and, as often happens when women in their fifties get together, we chatted about the problem of being who we are at a “certain age.”

To give you a bit of background, Kate and I must have bumped into each other in the heady days of London in the ’80s. Post punk and just about post New Romantic, it was an incredibly creative time in the fashion industry. Within three weeks of starting my job at Courtelle, a large global textile company, I had met Paul Smith—yes, the Paul Smith. What a lovely man—I still have a huge crush on him. Lynne Franks (Edina from the cult comedy Absolutely Fabulous is rumored to be based on her) was our PR person, and the über cool agency Lamb and Shirley designed our graphics. The following year I worked with Jean Paul Gaultier and John Galliano. The parties we went to were ridiculous, and I loved every second of it.

Anything Goes

I didn’t earn much, so I mainly shopped from the High Street. Whatever I bought was chopped and changed to make it individual and trendy. You could wear anything, and it was accepted as you being you. Fetish gear was mixed with twinsets, goth was glamorous, and tailoring could be punked up with acres of safety pins or spikes.

The Victoria and Albert Museum held a fantastic exhibition in 2014 called “Club to Catwalk” which captured the energy and vibrance of this time. In short, anything was possible, and London was the fashion capital of the world.

Right up until I turned 30, I was still brave with my look. I am around six feet tall, so I stand out. When you realize you are the tallest of all your friends you face a decision: do I try to merge in the background or do I just go for it? I always went for it.

Making the Transition

Since I became a mother, I have struggled with my look. I’m not the Yummy Mummy type, either physically or mentally, nor have I wanted to be. But when you are someone’s mum, people’s attitude to you changes. Having been a Sassoon house model in the ’80s, I have always focused my look on my hair as a starting point. I am lucky to have gone a very nice and even shade of gray which spurs me on to take risks with my coiffure—do you remember my mohawk from a few years ago?

Next on my checklist have always been my shoes, and now, as my sight has deteriorated with age, my glasses. But clothes have become harder and harder to wear. For a start I am a bit heavier, and my bust has got significantly bigger since becoming a mum. If I wear a ribbed pullover, the vertical lines distort like an op art image! My legs are still good, but I think my days of wearing short skirts are long gone. Tight and revealing is not in my vocabulary, but I don’t knock women of any age for dressing like this if they are happy and it makes them feel confident. It’s just not me.

Looking Good? Or Good Enough?

Now that I could technically be a grandmother, I feel very much as if I have become invisible to society. I think it’s similar to the way an actress must feel about the lack of roles for older women. The way I feel about myself has also been brought in to sharp focus because my youngest son has signed to a London modeling agency.

Seeing him go to shoots and some of the supercool outfits he gets to wear reminds me of how much of a fashion victim I used to be. I would get comments or looks when I walked in to a room, but this just doesn’t happen now. It’s amazing how much this has dented my confidence. I’m not vain, but I simply didn’t realize how much of my self confidence was wrapped up in how others react to me.

I remember a friend telling me that before she turned 40, she worried about “looking good” when she stepped out of her front door. After 40, she settled for “looking good enough” because she didn’t feel she mattered in other people’s eyes. These days I would rather don a pair of jeans, a T-shirt, and cocoon myself in a voluminous cardigan so I can merge into the background.


I have a fantastic pair of mock leather culottes I bought from Zara in my wardrobe. I would love to team them up with ankle socks, killer wedge suede boots and a man’s shirt, but I just can’t get past the fear that I would look ridiculous. I have avoided bright lipstick in case I come across as trying too hard. I never used to worry about this, so what has happened to me? Don’t get me wrong—I don’t want to be, or look younger. I am happy with my age, I just want to be a bit more me.

This is what Kate and I talked about, the dilemmas of the aging woman. I don’t really have any answers, because it is a very personal thing. But seeing how great Kate looked, and following our chat, I am determined to take a few more “risks.”

Kate has coined a hashtag just for us gals of a certain age: #WeAreNotInvisible.

Brilliant! This is now my mantra, and I hope you can make it yours. Watch out, world—I am already planning a few bolder outfits!

About The Author

Juliet Bernard’s love of making led her to study textiles, after which she joined a large, global textile company. Her early career saw her working with the likes of Paul Smith, Jean Paul Gaultier and John Galliano.

Following a five-year stint handling public relations for Rowan, she was approached by a UK publisher to help launch The Knitter, a monthly magazine she edited until its fiftieth issue.

Currently Juliet spends her time promoting and building knitting brands, writing her blog, designing and teaching (mainly Fair Isle), all of which involve knitting which makes her very happy. “Just imagine, I can go home in the afternoon, watch soaps, knit and call it work!”

She lives in Hertfordshire, just north of London, with her husband, two very tall sons, two dogs and a cat.

Latest design: Rococo hat.


  • Thank you Julie for saying so artfully what many of us feel, that we don’t figure in the zeitgeist. I’m still covering my grey and dream of the right time to transition out of the blonde.

    • Thank you. It is quite liberating being great, but there’s no rush, just do it when you want to

      • That should have been gray tee-hee!

  • This is a topic close to my heart, as I am well into the invisible age range. I work for a federal government agency and am surrounded by Gen X-ers and Millennials. Many of the Millennials ignore me as much as possible (they can’t completely due to my integral role in my agency): I am old and therefore invisible. But there is also a decent number of them of them who believe I might actually have some useful role and might actually have a clue about Things and acknowledge my presence. And there is one delightful young lady who I mentor who paid me the highest compliment, saying “Please give me as much advance notice when you plan to retire because I don’t want to be here if you are not.”

    • You are clearly a very wise person x

  • Thank you for bringing the subject up so candidly. Deciding to “go grey” a couple of years ago felt thrilling, and overall I feel in harmony with my looks. But it has definitely precipitated me into the ranks of invisible women of a certain age and the reaction, or rather the indifference, of others can be a challenge. I am still figuring it all out, as you are.

    • I think it’s going to take time, but it gives me heart to see such great comments

  • This is an important issue–ageism. Being grey and 65, I have to say, “It gets better.” It isn’t that you suddenly become visible again, it is that you don’t care as much if someone chooses to “see” you or not. I act up more. I say what I think more. It still smarts from time-to-time, but I have grown more accustomed to being invisible physically, but I refuse to be invisible mentally, and I will not go quietly into this good night.

    • Ooh acting up sounds fun!

  • Thank you! I struggle with this! recently cut all my hair off as a protest. love my new shorn look.

  • Anoushka Rees wrote a great blog post, ‘Why I don’t believe in dressing for my body type’ ( and I think you can apply lots of what she says to age too. “…it’s not your job to wear something that makes you look as close as possible to whatever’s currently considered ideal,” she says, “Wear whatever you like.” What’s the effect really, if somebody thinks your leather culottes are ridiculous?

    • Thanks for sharing. I will go look at her piece.

  • Recently, I was having a discussion at the job with a 30 year old about current events. It was the end of the day and we were oreparing to go home. I like to look at a situation from as many angles as possible. When it appeared to her that I was not agreeing with her views (she did not bother to ask) she cut me off by telling me that I was old enough already/lived ky life, did not have children ( a really, really sad point for me) so I did not care about the future. She went on to say that she planned to have children some day and so really cared about future events. The kicker is that, by her subsequent interactions with me, it has been obvious that she has no idea of how wrong her estimation of me was, or how she hurt my feelings to the core. At 62, I am invisible , so any wisdom through experience that I have gained by living has no bearing.

    It makes me feel better to think that maybe she was projecting her relationship with her parents (mom?) onto me; but, the not having kids part of it still hurts.

    • I’m an older person who works with Millennials too, so I’ve experienced this kind of thing. It takes a lot of extra work to maintain in my head that these are my colleagues and peers, keeping an eye on the org-chart rather than our life chronology. I am constantly measuring my words and tone or even biting my tongue, to keep from falling into any dynamics trap or talk of our ages, which can do permanent damage to one’s work relationship. I know there are ways I have been “triggering” to my co-workers, just as they have been for me.

      I have generally found my younger team-mates to be very responsive to a frank side-conversation to resolve an issue or miscommunication or “ouch” – after all, they’ve grown up with Oprah and psychotherapy as a given! As long as I come at it with humility and ask if there’s something I did or said to make it happen, and what I can change about what I do to keep it from happening again.

      I’ve made huge missteps (nobody cries faster, easier, or more frequently than a 20-something – I remember!), and I’ve watched my peers in age make them too. And it’s super-easy for younger folks to hurt our feelings and make assumptions about us “olds” based on our appearance. But it’s really important to me to honor the unique gifts that younger people bring to our work that older folks tend to lose along the way: passion, certainty, bravery, and creative problem-solving. When I find ways to share my experience without condescension or ownership of the result, in ways that build their trust in me, that’s when we all get the best of each other.

    • I am 55 and did not have children. Remarks like this always annoy me, as they make it sound like we ourselves have no future and are going to die tomorrow. The average American woman lives into her late seventies and in other countries. life expectancy is even higher. Twenty plus years is a future, and so in your case is more than fifteen. We may well live quite a bit longer, 78 or so is the average.

      She’ll be sorry she felt that way if she makes it as long as we have. I have met thirty year olds who regard themselves as washed up.

    • Yeesh! I am so sorry. We were infertile for years and the comments hurt so much! Assuming we hated children, were too selfish to give up our lifestyle, on and on. And now that we have a child, the question is when is the next one coming?

      Could we agree to receive children with as much joy and delight as ever, but deliberately open our minds to the possibility that childlessness may or may not be by choice AND it’s not our place to judge, regardless of cause?


  • Guess it was turning 60 last year that made me finally wonder if my attire is too “young”? I wear converse shoes, boots, leggings and truthfully they fit better than “slacks”. Nothing too short-never have. No one looks at me odd or says a thing but I wonder why it took age 60 to doubt myself?

  • At 70, I have long since stopped dressing for anyone but myself. I sometimes suspect that my style gets weirder and weirder, and I am cognizant of the fact that there is a fine line between eccentric and original vs, looking a bit demented, but I am happy where I am, and definitely not invisible.

    I let my hair go gray as it happened and I have never regretted the gary, but I am taking your picture to the hairdresser next time: I covet the jagged bangs!

    • Not quite 70, but otherwise your comment should be mine (even the name!). I not only let my hair go grey, I also let it grow and have been wearing it braided (or bunned) for the last couple years, after a life of “sensible” hair. Regarding my clothes and appearance, my motto is “I’m still trying,” but there is more freedom and joy now that I’ve come to terms with my imperfect self.

    • Thank you

  • I remember my mother saying, “you just become invisible.” And, indeed, it happened. Despite leading many initiatives for new technology at work, a millennial said, “it’s great you still are interested in learning at your age.” Our webmaster asked if I wanted my picture photoshopped so I wouldn’t look so old. I’ve never colored my grey and, until recently, it actually got compliments. One women at work said she decided to grow her out because of mine. Lately, I notice even more how much younger those who color look. And then I have to ask, why does that matter? No one gets out alive and life would be much easier for all of us if we were just ourselves. So every time any of us can walk out the door, being ourselves despite the whispers of “what will they think,” we have helped ourselves and a whole chorus of others.

    • Amen to that!

  • What an excellent article and the comments below really speak to me. I’m 57 years old and I came up in an era of radical ideas and kick ass women who weren’t afraid to take risks. Gravity may have taken its toll, but I don’t feel any different on the inside than I did in my 20s.

    • Maybe I should channel my inner 20 year old!

      • I’m 51 and in my head I still feel 19; but my knees disagree!

  • I too, love this. I recently went on a medical weight loss plan, (you know you are in trouble when you can not tie your shoe laces) and lost 70 lbs, went short with my hair, got rid of my “work clothes” (suits) I dress so that I am warm, comfortable and so I can do a multitude of things. I don’t go to parties, after work drinks, or social meeting, why have dresses for things I don’t do? I haven’t shave my legs since summer! I wear pants all the time in the fall/winter. No more nylons!!!!!I have had success in Graphic Design, writing, digital asset management, and staying afloat.

    I am sadly invisible to my family in certain respects. It has been this way most of my life so this invisibleness is nothing new to me and I dare say to many of the readers out there. Now people don’t pay attention to me because of age, size, weight or what I look or don’t look like. It one way it doesn’t bother me because I never got caught up in a lot of the BS that is out there.

    As I get older I see traps of thinking. You are pretty so you don’t have to think, you are smart but not that great looking, you have money so you don’t have to worry, you have a husband so you will be okay, you don’t have kids so you aren’t a woman. (the last one was actually said to me) Sometimes you really wonder when people say these things to you. It is not a reflection of you but of them.

    It takes a while to grow up, it takes a lot of experiences to find out about yourself, and establish your personal standards of acceptable behavior. You learn all this if you are lucky enough to get through your teens, 20s and yes 30s.

    • AMEN! My mother has always told me that “the world’s best-kept secret is that women’s lives don’t get great till they’re fifty!” Every age has its trade-offs and benefits – I’m super-happy with mine.

    • You seem to have learned an awful lot in your lifetime. I wish we could go to lunch and talk.

      • Any time you are in the UK!

    • Thank you

  • Not quite in the invisible cohort but I am close. It was a revelation recently to go to the thrift store to buy some of my clothes, as I used to do this when I was a teen. Every style, size, pattern, color on the racks and no salespeople to deal with. My daughter and I go together and have a great time.

    • Sounds like fun

  • Clothing is about being comfortable; it can also be about giving you confidence, at any age. Like you, I don’t want to dress as I did in my 20s, but I do wish there were garments designed for us “women of a certain age” which evoked style, sleeves (!) I(yes, Eileen Fisher, sleeves) and a hemline that is not, as my mother would say, “up to my pupick.” (I think you can figure that one out). I’ve been sewing things with a vintage feel, as they feel more “feminine” to me; I’ve also stopped wearing and buying black clothes, as I have had enough of basic black, even in NYC. I want color.

    That being said, we are not women of a century ago, expected to continue wearing the styles of our 30s/adulthood, however, the industry hasn’t realized it. Most clothing is manufactured for the young, if it fits an “older” body it is often full and boring.

    We are indivisible in so many ways, to movies, television shows, the workforce, a young generation who needs explaining as to what feminism is. There is a line in a song called “LIfe Stories” by Maltby/Shire, in which the single, working mother goes for a job interview, and is interviewed by a “30-something making 60 thous…” … in which she is asked “what has she (the working mother) done?” to which she replies “owes her job to women like me … and they should all stay home and have babies.” Implying that they have no idea of the struggle of the earlier generation.

  • I just retired, am 64 and feeling in an awkward middle age:not young but not old. Finally feel free to express myself in more aspects of life. Changing up my outer style as my inner feels more confident and going back to the bohemian influence of my youth. I’m greatly inspired by the blog Advanced Style, it’s fantastic to see women and men in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s with terrific personal style. As others’ opinions matter less, we can feel freer to look and be any way that pleases us; I find it so liberating to play and experiment!

  • Excellent article Juliet. As you know, I’m a fifty something too and have just decided to let my hair grey… no more wasting time and money in a hairdressers chair having chemicals applied to my hair. Its very easy to get sucked into doing what ‘society expects’ but, in reality, its not society its the big business who want to profit by reminding us of the natural insecurities that come with getting older. My experience is a bit different as I was always very happy to be invisible, at least physically. I relished working for myself from home as a writer but I’ve recently relaunched in a different direction and am engaging more with groups and on social media.

    I’m loving it and in a lot of ways I’m gaining confidence in myself rather than in my abilities, but its still very hard to take comments that are negative and in some cases just rude and cruel. Its sad that the growing trend in people getting bolder about their comments on social media and online is now spilling over to face-to-face interactions. Some of the things that other commenters on this post have had said to them just beggars belief.

    One final thing, when I next see you I absolutely expect you to be wearing those cullottes and lipstick so bright I will have to don my sunglasses! xx Kathryn

    • I’m planning the outfit now!

  • Yes yes yes thank you! Love the hashtag. My friends and I talk about this more and more now we’re in our 50s. Sometimes the invisibility is a relief and sometimes it hurts. In my mind I’m still a gorgeous 30 yr old and I feel good about where I am now physically and mentally. It’s so weird then when someone looks right through you. I’m going to put it right out there a bit more now.

    • And I bet you’re still gorgeous!

  • Thank you for writing about this topic.
    I wish women would fully embrace the lovely word “woman” and “women” to describe ourselves.
    Gals, girls, and ladies are lesser terms that men like to call us. In my decades-long unscientific survey, men seem to be afraid of the words woman and women. But why are we?
    Let’s stand up for ourselves and for our equality and be women together.
    Women of the world unite.
    Thx for listening.

  • I did go through the “am I invisible now” stage right after I went through menopause. Then I popped out the other side and thought: hmm, maybe now that I am “invisible” I can get away with doing what I want from now on. I’m on the verge of 64, happily childless by choice, happily unmarried by choice, so I am “invisible,” AND “worthless” AND “unwanted” by many of society’s definitions. Phooey to all that! If we let others define who we are — by what we do or not do, what we wear or do not wear, how we look — we are playing the game by others’ rules. Again, phooey to all that! Make up your own game and set your own rules. Look at Iris Apfel, the woman is in her 90s and going strong, she’s got her own fashion line now for heaven’s sake.
    I completely understand what Juliet and others are saying and I do NOT intend to minimize anyone’s experiences or feelings about marriage or motherhood or anything else.
    I just want to say: stand up, speak out, be yourself and enjoy the feeling of empowerment that comes from it. I know that when I’m in meetings at work I now have the freedom to say out loud what many others are thinking but are afraid to say — things like “why not try it?” and “you said you’d finish it, why didn’t you?” Women are the MOST powerful creatures on earth, the fiercest, the calmest, the kindest, the most able, the multi-taskers, the problem solvers, we give birth, we take care, we do it all and we can even manage to get along with each other when we vehemently disagree with each other’s viewpoints. Let us all stand proudly in our own richness and complexity and beauty. Make your own rules!

    • Elizabeth is MY hero!

    • Standing on my chair, pumping my fist, saying “yeah!”

    • Iris is my hero.

    • I want to be Iris

  • This all resonates with me, 40-something and childless. If you don’t fit into the boxes, it seems they would prefer not to see you.

    I am trying to bring some of the quirkiness of how I dressed when I was younger back into my life, and have been wondering if it is possible to cover the grey hair with pink.

    • Don’t you know it’s the new thing? 20-somethings are dyeing their hair gray and the gray-haired are dyeing theirs pink! 😉

  • Hi Juliet,

    Tall girl here, with super tall son as well. Also similar background in the modeling and fashion biz, a few years ahead of you, though. (Met my husband at Studio 54….ahem, so that oughta give you an idea. ;-))

    Anyway, I love your writing and your attitude. I am silver, with recently shorn hair. It is liberating to wash, tousle and go out the door. I just took a screenshot of your haircut….I love it and think it might inspire me to go even shorter.

    Loved this and hope to hear more from you. XOC

    • Wow, I would have killed to go to Studio 54

  • I never really fit in in any era. I tried hard in my teenage years (my youth was horrible) and my twenties. However at some point in my mid-thirties I realized it just wasn’t going to happen. I didnt have “it”. That coupled with some physical injuries really changed what styles I could and could not wear. Plus I having a job where I worked with all men, and most of them not nice men, really changed home feminine I wanted to appear. I guess the take away from this is after many years of trying to be invisible (job related) at 53, I have more confidence in myself than I ever have. There are always things that it would be nice to be able to change. And my heart goes out to so many of the women here that have had such terrible things said to them. I well know the pain of people’s thoughtlessness. I’m not a beauty queen, I’ve never been a fashion icon, I really haven’t even had much self-confidence. But I’m happy now, I’m comfortable, I’m content and I’m grateful. And I appreciate all of you lovely ladies and probably some of the gentlemen that are here. Hugs to all of you.

    • Thank you for sharing – you are an inspiration x

  • I graduated from a women’s college in 1965, so you do the math. At our 45th reunion, I remember thinking “Why do so many of us look so young?” (compared to me with my gray hair). After all, we’re all the same age — no hiding that. Then I realized that many of us colored our hair (not me, ever). At our 50th, just five years later, a LOT more of us had gone naturally gray, and I sensed a certain relief and relaxation about how we looked and moved in the world. We are still a powerful group of women, now age 73, and I join with those who say “thank goodness I can just say what I want and do what I want.” I think I look better (though way heavier) than I ever have in my life. Being comfortable has its advantages.

  • Thank you for your thoughtful observations. I’m at the opposite end of the height spectrum from you! I’m 5 foot and 1/2 inch. I’ve been told my personality is much bigger than my physical size, so maybe I’ve always made sure I’m not invisible. Now that I’m in my 50’s I haven’t really felt that I’m becoming invisible, but I do find that younger people can be condescending, especially about technology. Ok, I may not be up on all the latest apps, but they have no idea that I’ve set up several accounting systems for big enterprises and am quite capable of finding my way around a computer!

    I haven’t let go of coloring my hair – I started going gray in my 20’s and don’t think I’ve had a natural brown hair on my head in at least 10 years. Just not ready to go gray, but I love seeing how great it looks on you! You look fabulous! Maybe when I turn 60….

  • The fact that this resonates with so many is an encouragement to me. I also deal with invisibility and have teenagers at home to amplify the message. I have let myself go gray naturally and am happy with it but do see that I am not having the fun dressing that I did in my 20s & 30s. It’s time to reclsim that and also perhaps a short cut like Juliet’s to jumpstart the fun again.

    Thanks for writing. MDK needs a mug with the hashtag. Excellent conversation starter in the office

    • I’d buy that mug in dozens

  • I have a weakness for bright lipsticks. In fact, I think neutral lipstick shades are a waste of time. I never thought anything of the bright lipsticks until I recently watched the Netflix series Paranoid. There’s a somewhat emotionally unstable character of a certain age, and other characters refer to her BRIGHT LIPSTICK as if it is proof of her instability and wackiness! What! So ever since then I have wondered if I look crazy with my lipstick, but, well, I don’t care. Anyway, lovely post!!

    • Thank you. I’m headed over to Netflix

  • This is WONDERFUL and I eagerly await more. Thank you!

  • Have been gay since I was 16 years old. Never colored my hair. When going to new hairstylist, if the first thing out of their ( usually a man) mouth was”why don’t we dye your hair?”I would get up and walk out.
    Yes, it was more fun in my thirties and forties ( I’m 72), but people still comment on my hair. It is quite short.
    And yes, my three adult sons are all grey .
    I’m still having fun with my clothes. I dress for me. I dress for comfort. I love bright colors, or black.
    I have never wanted to be invisible , but at this point I really don’t care. It is not about me, but those of you who are looking at me.
    As long as I’m still laughing……

  • That was supposed to be GREY since I was 16

  • I love coloring my hair. I’ve done it on and off since my 20’s. I feel a little out of step. It’s great that so many women are happily going or have gone gray (and your picture is terrific), but it’s the choice that you get to make that’s the fun of style. If I’m lucky enough to reach Iris Apfels age, I can see myself saying, red! or gold or blue. I want more color, and much less black clothing in my life.

    • Yay for colour. Do what makes you happy

  • Love your article, Juliet. I understand the invisible and being in my early 60’s.

  • I like being invisible. I always felt vaguely threatened when I was noticed as a young woman. Now in my late forties, I feel well respected for who and what I am. I enjoy that feeling, but more importantly, I respect and like myself. Being comfortable with me is better than any external validation from others.

  • I have had some quirkiness about appearance all my life. I am 66 now. 10 years ago I was at home after a hip replacement and watching daytime tv. Everyone was young and rich and romping on the beach. Well guess what? I realized I had a choice of measuring cup for my worth. I went back to work and saw others with their struggles and felt more connected. So in the interest of looking vibrant and engaged as I pass 5 ft on the way down and can’ t hide my slow motion I have chosen to be a feisty redhead at least for now. I tend to bright warm colors and comfortable textures. My work is in healthcare so I do get compliments sometimes on my color choices and my hair. Comfortable shoes always. I have never been in a high pressure fashionista environment and have a heart for those who are. However I am getting more comfortable in my skin and have a lot to say and don’t intend to be invisible. I may be to some but not my problem.

  • Thank you so much for this! I turned 60 last summer, and waffle between wearing whatever I want and worrying that I dress too young. A few years ago, tired of my ankles and knees hurting all the time and interfering with my life, I (over a span of 2 years) lost 100 pounds. For the first time since 1990, I’m a size 8, and I have to say, I enjoy shopping a lot more now! But, as I said – the worry that I dress too young comes and goes. Although, I think turning 60 was actually liberating – I now think that I’m “old” and can dress however I like! However, I’m not ready to go grey, although I keep trying to convince myself I should….

  • Loved this piece. I feel my mid-50’s have given me the wisdom to dress in what makes me feel great. Still like to color my hair, but that is for me, not anyone else. I have teenagers who keep me young and am very fortunate that they like to spend some of their time just hanging out with me. At this “certain age” , we have much to offer, and to those who would dismiss us, well, they are not worth the time. Rock on!

    • Wisdom is something we earn through the years, right?

    • Rock on, indeed

  • So well written Juliet! I have age and grey hair in common with you and that was enough for me to completely relate. As I write this I realise I have something else – an absolutely gorgeous child, isn’t it amazing what we bring into the world (with some help).

  • How about using #mdkwearenotinvisible or #mdknotinvisible or even #mdkvisible?
    Please revise the # because it’s a slogan that already applies and is used for the LGBTQ community.

    • Good point, Egrace. Perhaps something not necessarily related to MDK so it could be used more widely? #NotInvisible or #RefusingtobeInvisible?

  • I work for a liberal arts college in the Midwest. When I am in the student center, I am either completely invisible to students or completely obvious because I stand out looking like I am lost or someone’s mom around for a visit. It is a new thing for me.

    • Pretty soon those students will find out your role at the school and realize it’s to their benefit to pay attention to you.

  • Thank you so much for so eloquently saying what I have been struggling with lately. Going gray was the easy part, I feel more attractive now than when I was covering it up. Dressing? That’s a little trickier. I’ve been reading a lot lately about ethical, sustainable wardrobes made up of only pieces that you wear and love (and make if you can). Your article seems to be the universe telling me it’s time. #Iwon’tbeinvisible

    • Go for it!

  • Thank you. I am pushing 60 and refuse to be invisible. I knit colorful sweaters and short skirts and wear them with colored tights. On most days I forget my age…

  • Invisible is exactly how I feel so much of the time. I recently changed jobs for the first time in many years, and after 5 months there are still people who give me puzzled looks as if they cannot quite remember where they met me. i don’t think I have trouble expressing my personal style (as evidenced by the man who, I hope in jest, suggested that my turquoise Converse were perhaps not appropriate for a mature woman!), but I do have trouble finding it in stores. I think this is one of the reasons I knit: it may take me the rest of my life, but I am determined to end up with a wardrobe in the styles, silhouettes, and colours that express my personality. Especially colours – I still really love to wear turquoise, including those Converse!

    • Hope you stick to the turquoise

  • On the plus side, as my friend Trish says, we could rob a bank and we’d get away with it. They’d ask the 20 somethings what we looked like and they’d say, Uh, I dunno, I guess they looked like my mom’s friends??? Can’t arrest you if they can’t find you! ;-D

  • I too am on the wrong side of mid 50’s but don’t really feel more invisible than when I was younger. Maybe I’m just not looking to see who is looking? I have always had very short hair (punk legacy) and I used to dye it as dark as possible but stopped in the last couple of years as it doesn’t suit the skin tone! I have silver side-burns but the rest is surprisingly brown (celtic genes!) I still wear the clothes of my youth (the actual clothes – punk austerity habits die hard)! and I don’t bother with make up – I can’t see without glasses now plus I think it makes me look older as everything seems to gather in the wrinkles, accentuating them. I think you can get away with wearing anything if it makes you feel good – then you can relax! Like she said in one of my favourite films – fried green tomatoes at the whistle stop cafe – I may be old but I have more insurance!

    • Great saying, gonna check my insurance

  • You know the poem “When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple”? I figure, why wait?

    • A red hat is now on my wish list

  • This is so great, and I want to read through ALL the comments, but need to say my thing before I lose my train of thought 😉
    My most recent funny anecdote is this: I was going to a gathering of handspinners, women, which meets at an old folks’ home. It often takes me ages to figure out what to wear, because while it’s easy enough to do jeans and any old top, I get bored with that. Something in me resists giving in to mainstream camouflage wear. So I spent about 20 minutes figuring out my clothes for the spinning gathering (floral leggings, a black knee-length skirt, a long sleeved Indian top and a handwoven Indian vest – shoes are not my forte, so I probably had on trainers.)
    People of all ages were there, and after a while, when we got to know each other a bit, one woman close to my age said, “I wish I could dress like you!”
    The funny part is, people used to say that all the time, when I was 20something and worked in an import store, donning batik turbans and layers of exotic garb. But then they said, “You can pull it off because you’re young.” So I was extra chuffed to hear that I can still pull it off. I’m only 48, but mostly grey, so I can relate to this discussion.

    All this to say, you should go for it, wear what makes you feel like you, and as someone has pointed out, it will inspire others!

  • I’m a feisty old crone, and neither invisible nor inaudible. Come, join us, don’t be afraid!

    • Yes! I feel more at ease now, in my mid-50s, than I ever have before! Some of it is due to diet and exercise changes that resulted in a substantial weight loss, but a lot of it is just rejoicing in my crone-hood! The goddess archetypes are maiden, mother, and crone. I never felt very maidenly, am not a mother, so this stage now feels “just right.” In fact, menopause was much less stressful than menarche. I relish both my power to both blend in when I choose (though I am 5’10”) and stand out with color and pattern and styles when I choose!

  • After a comment from my husband asking if I had new highlights, I vowed not to try to cover my gray. My hair has lovely silver highlights now, and I love them. I do color sometimes, but with blue and on my brown and silver hair it looks great. It’s flattering to my skin tone as well.

    My wardrobe is a bit of a challenge. Four years of living abroad in hot climates and living the life of an ex-pat have left me with a wardrobe that seems to not quite fit in the US. Maybe if we were in a large, costal city I would blend a bit, but in the Midwest not so much. But, I’m not replacing all that at one go so out of place it is. I am a world traveller and my wardrobe shows that!

  • Believe me, you are not invisible!

    Why? Experience! You have lived, contributed, and “been there, done that”. We can have conversations that aren’t about pop culture, clothes, TV, the latest bands, or dating. Life, politics, the environment, gender issues, reproductive rights… All of these are fair game when I have discussions with what you referred to as “gals of a certain age”. (And granted, that is painting with a broad brush – I have had conversations like this with younger women and men, but they are fewer, and farther between!)

    I don’t look for what someone is wearing, makeup, hairstyle, whether they are trendy or not – I look at eyes, clues on common ground, and overall demeanor of an individual. If you walk into a room carrying a book, anything fiber related, or an instrument, you’d best believe I am interested in you as a person and want to talk to you, regardless of whether you are “gals of a certain age” or not, and will do what I can to strike up a conversation. You are already interesting- now it is up to me to be interesting to you.

    I am older than many of the parents of those I work with – I retired once, 13 years ago, but it didn’t stick. So I work at a lower paying, but satisfying job, spin and weave, and play my ukuleles.When I started going grey a couple of years ago, I thought I would become invisible too, but I didn’t change my behavior one bit, and people still see me. Now, however, instead of being “The Old White Guy”, “I’m That Guy Who Talks To Me”.

  • Shout it from the rooftops! This is exactly how I feel. You put it in words perfectly. I’m almost 45 and struggle to still ‘be more me’. By the way, you look amazing!

  • I love we are not invisible as a former head turner and now an invisible woman of 64

  • Perfect response!

  • I’m guessing that this is no new thing, and that the people who are now 40+ and complaining about invisibility didn’t think about it until they were over 40 and probably felt the same way about 40+ women-past it, invisible. What goes around comes around.

  • This just popped up now. So for what it’s worth – more than a year later – here goes. I am in my early seventies, have recently lost weight, bought a new type of bra to help counteract my aging chest and am three years into a very mild once-a-week exercise program for “seniors.” Suddenly my clothes look better than they have since my twenties and sometimes it seems to me that I am getting interested looks which I don’t think I ever did when I was younger. Of course, as soon as those interested looks reach my face (even when I was dyeing my hair) the interest instantly disappears. I honestly don’t care. I’m in my seventies after all. I just found it interesting that taking care of yourself at any age does improve your appearance and attitude and as long as you are engaged in the world and reasonably healthy the world can still be your oyster. Just a somewhat different oyster. P.S. I would totally do short but not 60s-short skirts with black tights. With well-tended gray/grey hair I think it can be elegant. It just depends on the skirt.

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