1. This is a tough question without a one-size-fits-all answer. We live in a time of high expectations and it’s every woman for herself to decide that “aging gracefully” will look like for her.

  2. You pose a tough question. How often do we see a woman wearing age inappropriate clothes but when we see a woman looking unnecessary frumpy do we make the same judgments?
    This is where a good girl friend comes in to tell you, ‘no longer or let’s update’!

  3. There is another teacher at my school who is the same age as me…I will be 60 this summer. She has not updated her wardrobe or hair. My students are always shocked to hear that we are the same age. For right now, it is important to me to look my best and update my style. I enjoy it…it is fun for me. She has said it is not important to her and she will just look as she looks. I am not into Botox and things like that, but I do want to give my appearance my best effort for now and follow an aging with joy plan! If anyone wants to avoid matronly, you might enjoy my blog!

  4. Okay. This one gets my panties in an uproar. I’m so glad you raised this issue.

    I can’t help but think that “matronly” is code in this country (not just Britain) for “fat.” And we all know that “fat” isn’t acceptable in the Good Old U S of A – if you’re a woman.

    Young and fat? Bad enough. Old and fat? Fuhgettabouttit!!!

    That said, old is used as a pejorative adjective. Fat is used as a pejorative adjective. If a woman manages to age and not be fat, and retain any element of her style or femininity, she is not in the least referred to by the M word, as matronly.

    I will give you an example – a woman I know well who is, in fact, quite a model for me in some regards. She is nearly 85 years old. She’s about 110 pounds and 5′ or 5’1″ tall. Her posture is remarkable (she walks about 5 miles a day), and she has long silky white hair.

    She can (and does) still wear a 3″ heel. Not every day mind you, but for special occasions and shes appears to have no problem doing so.

    (Pop over to my sight and read “Grey Heels” if you like. I think it’s still on the main page.)

    So, this woman is elegant, strong, and though she shows her age, her grace and femininity absolutely shine through. She laughs easily and a lot, she’s lived through a lot, and she’s physically strong though she suffers from Alzheimers.

    Every line on her face, every spot on her arms and hands, everything about her is her story. Her long hair, about shoulder length? Gorgeous. I’m a believer in older women with longer hair – if they can – because I think it does something to assist us in retaining our sense of the feminine and even our girlishness.

    I will also mention that she is French, and I cannot help but think that her French upbringing has something to do with the fact that even if she weighed 50 pounds more she would still not come across as the dreaded M word.

    We should take a lesson.

    We should rethink our childish and unhealthy obsession with body shape, weight and wrinkles.

    We should realize that growing older is a privilege, and if we say NO to the disrespect of inflicting all this crap on ourselves, maybe we’ll become models of something dignified and elegant and REAL as well. And part of that reality is retaining the ability to laugh, to sing, to stay open, to walk, to realize that more is behind rather than ahead, but to see this as the natural progression of things.

  5. I’ve always thought matronly was a state of mind, and the outwear is the result. I swear I knew “‘matronly” girls in third grade. I’ve also seen very fashionable women who still seem matronly. Maybe I associate it with energy and spark. Great blog.

  6. Jan

    Matronly? A title from the past that women have to get over so they can do what they need to do without judgement of other women…..If you are living life on your terms then you ARE maturing with grace.
    Lovely for the woman who is 80 and can still wear spiked heels and speak her native language. My mom (84) wears flats and runs after great grandchildren. It is not a competition…both women have aged with grace.

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