Perhaps no one said it better than Zero Mostel in the 1967 version of “The Producers”:
We agree with Zero: Flaunt what you got. When you’re older, what you have to flaunt might not be what you had when you were 20 – but, as elderblogger Ronni Bennett pointed last year on her blog Time Goes By, that doesn’t mean you should hide. In fact, quite the opposite – “Maybe if we had some fun flaunting being ‘old,’ the idea would lose its stigma,” Ronni wrote. We totally agree.
So, how can you flaunt being old? As Ronni demonstrated, one great way is by embellishing the things that we’ve been taught to be ashamed of, so they’re out there for everyone to see.
Hearing aids? Yes! A cane? Cool! Old lady shoes? Awesome.
Try it. You might get that freeing feeling.
Old Lady Shoes
When pain forced Ronni Bennett to give up her high-heeled shoes, she lamented the boring “old-lady” flats she was stuck with. Then she discovered the fun of embellishment. Using buttons, ribbons and a little glitter, she transformed her flats into works of art. Her neurologist is a fan, as are passersby who ask her for decorating advice. (Read more here.)
DIY Ronni’s suggestion for decorating basic flats is to find “cute little brogues and use ribbons for shoe strings. You can now buy ribbon laces online for any shoes that tie.”
Or you can make your own.
Why minimize the fact that you need reading glasses by opting for that pair of generic these-are-not-really-glasses-on-my-face peepers, when you could emulate Iris Apfel. With her enormous frames, Apfel has helped to make glasses a fashion statement for older women.
DIY We took a look at Etsy for inspiration and came up with these bling-embellished readers – crystals glued to a standard frame.
Or you could go all out with the glue gun and apply anything your heart desires (think small buttons, butterflies, feathers…). Check out one blogger’s great tips for making butterfly glasses.
Ready Made A few companies have launched online to offer funky frames and a rainbow of colors for the near-sighted. The best known is Eyebobs,whose founder wanted to make affordable reading glasses for people like her – the “irreverent and slightly jaded.” Last year, Apfel designed an Eyebobs line.
Eyebobs has men’s frames too – be brave!
Netagene Kirkpatrick of Birmingham, Alabama was sick of the stigma surrounding hearing aids – so she decided to dress hers up instead of hiding them. And she’s not the only one saying no to invisibility.
Ready Made Hard of hearing since birth, 15-year-old Hayleigh Rachel Scott decided to play her hearing aids to the max by making her own hearing aid charms. Now, through her Etsy store, Hayleigh says she wants hearing aid wearers of all ages to feel empowered. OK! Check out Hayleigh’s Cherished Charms.
There are many reasons not to dye your hair (see our list of five reasons to ditch the dye job). But if you don’t have enviable silver tresses, you might want to add a little color – without pretending your hair hasn’t aged along with the rest of you. Enter hair chalk, a chalk-in-wash-out way to celebrate the gray. Here’s a how-to video.
DIY People of all ages are jumping on the hair chalk trend, so it’s not hard to find products made specifically for the head. But if you want to experiment with lots of colors without spending a lot of money, you could try a solution suggested by the blog Improvised Life: chalk pastel (not oil pastel!) from the art supply store. You chalk dry or damp hair, but damp may work better; if you can run a flat or curling iron over it, you’ll help seal in the color.
Ready made You can find hair chalk from several companies on Amazon. Read the reviews to find out which is best for you.
Canes & Walkers
Have you heard of the Girl with the Purple Cane? A blogger, she has been campaigning to end the stigma attached to disability. She makes the point that strollers come in all kinds of fashionable styles and colors – so why should canes, wheelchairs and walkers be so boring? Let her be your inspiration. If using a mobility device feels like “giving in to old age,” try thinking of your cane or walker as a fashion item. By doing so, you can start to redefine “old age” for yourself and others.
DIY CitizenCanes‘s Etsy shop offers tons of ideas for decorating a plain cane and turn it into a work of art. Think beads that add bedazzle.
For more more a humorous take, check out Decorate Place’s ideas for holiday-specific cane decorations. We love the Halloween broomstick idea. Or you could just go crazy with the Washi tape! (This one was made by Quins Decorative Canes.)
One company, Shrinkins, sells DIY kits for decorating canes and walkers using non-adhesive sheets of patterned film, so you can change the look as often as you want.
Ready Made Two companies make ergonomic, contemporary canes with attitude for men and women: Top & Derby makes the Chatfield:
And Sabi makes the Classic, along with a sportier version. Stylish? You bet.
Ready to flaunt it? If you already are or know someone who is, post a picture on our Facebook page with the hashtag #FlauntingAge.