with a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
and satin candles, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired
and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bellsand run my stick along the public railings

and make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
and pick the flowers in other people’s gardens
and learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
and eat three pounds of sausages at a go
or only bread and pickles for a week
and hoard pens and pencils and beer nuts and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
and pay our rent and not swear in the street
and set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.


..But when will I be “old”.
When I was a child 30 seemed old and grandma seemed ancient. When I was in my thirty, fifties seemed old. and at fifty, sixty seemed old.
When will, to my relief, looks not matter to me? as in the spirit of the poem

People tell me I look good for my age.   I do think I am blessed with a relatively unlined skin, which is more down to genes and finding sunbathing boring,  than good skin care. I do try to watch my weight, eat a good diet and cycling everywhere helps keep me in trim. Recently I have shed over 20 pounds and look and  feel much better for it. I think.  Do I need to loose more weight? or do older women need a bit extra subcutaneous fat to fill out the wrinkles?

 However, I have to face the truth of my “maturity” and try to dress appropriately.  But what IS appropriate for a lady of a certain age. People say age is just a number and your style is more important .  I dread looking like “mutton dressed as lamb” but on the other hand I don’t want to look too frumpy.  What IS my style.  Fashions that I followed when I was younger just look silly now. God forbid than I would wear mini skirts or hipster jeans, very short shorts or ……a bikini!

Then of course there is the body shape change, just to confuse things. Older women put on weight around the middle and seem to loose their bottoms, so what looked good on you when you were young just serves to highlight  the problem areas. You really loose the sense of what you look like.
There are certain bits I would rather keep covered up, crepy décolletage and bingo wing arms, to name but a couple and I hate, hate my saggy chin, which only surgery would cure and the grey in the roots of my hair  are becoming more and more difficult to cover up.
Speaking of  my hair.  I deliberately grew my hair long in my late 50’s, because I felt  by the time I was over 60, I would be too old for long hair. Then I found how practical it is and I am loathe to give it up.  My former hairdresser husband would love to cut it short, but I am hanging on as long as I can.  We compromise at shoulder length but I know he would love to go at it with the scissors. The texture and condition of my hair has changed from straight, fine and thick to some course wavy bits ( that are the grey!0
Plus the make up….less is more I have been told .  How much less?  I notice that older women often have clumpy mascara and bright red cheeks….is this me?  is this because they just don’t see clearly in the mirror.  Is this natures way of being kind, failing eyesight so you look like you are airbrushed!

 I go shopping for help in Marks and Spencer and realise that the “Age Restructure” range is actually meant for me and I don’t really feel I am ready for the “classic” range yet!

So I google for tips and find a weath of information about famous beauties over 60’s and how they keep looking good.. Lulu, Susan Sarandon, Twiggy, Helen Mirren. Felicity Kendal.   But after a while I start to feel sorry for these women, because looking young seems such hard work and sooner or later they WILL age, and probably sooner as they are all heading fast for 70! how awful, if you have always been valued for your beauty, to find it slipping away.

And then, in an epiphany moment I realise that beauty IS superficial!

 When I meet a person I may be impressed by her looks for a few minutes or so, but very quickly I see the person underneath and forget how she looks.

  The most attractive person I know is probably the most disliked of my acquaintanceship and the person who I admire most, who is good and kind and loved by all who know her, is overweight and frumpy.

Still, just so not to waste the research here are the “secrets” of those top women over 60
Susan Saranden who says her secret is, stopping smoking and sourrounding herself with people who make her smile.(saw her in George V last year, she DOES look amazing)
Helen Mirren (althought she did admit to surgery in her late 50’s) holds her stomach in and walks her dog.
Twiggy. says you CAN have long hair after a certain age.
 .and Lulu, once said on an interview, “looking like this is very hard work!”

here is the list….

..and I like the last tip in this list.

 And if all else fails…

If none of our tips floats your boat, then it’s time to get the ultimate accessory to make you look years younger than you are – an older man!”
Hmm…I feel the inspiration for another blog post!
Love Denise

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12 thoughts on “WHEN I AM OLD I SHALL WEAR PURPLE…………

  1. One of my favourite poems! And I've been practicing with a purple fleecy top! It strikes me that what all those women in your list have in common is a lot of money! Dolly Parton famously said "it takes a lot of money to look this cheap", and I'm sure it takes a lot of money to look as good as Helen Mirren!You're right that as we get older the fat goes from our bottoms to our middles, well mine has anyway! Don't lose too much weight Denise, you look great as you are.


  2. I second Janet's comment that you look great as you are, Denise! And I absolutely LOVE the photo of you with the red beret and purple jacket. Please don't let your husband/hairdresser have his way with your hair. Leave it long if that's how you like it. I've never understood this compulsion that women have to chop their hair off after a certain age. Maybe that's because my mother had beautiful, long silver hair that she wore in a bun. Whenever I see an elderly (70+) woman with a similar hairstyle, I find myself smiling and feeling pleased that my mother didn't bow to convention.And you're so right that beauty is superficial – it's the spirt of a person that captures my attention!


  3. Thanks to both of you Janet and Mary Kay. "beauty is skin deep" like "life is too short" and "you can't take it with you" is one of those eternal truths that we all know in our heads but don't really internalise until we are old.This post was meant to be about beauty secrets, but as I did research I came to internalise that beauty really IS skin deep and doesn't matter and I felt my whole attitude shift.Janet and I went shopping the other day, with a voucher for £25 and I found I just wasn't, interested, couldn't be bothered! So maybe I have reached that age!!! If I turn up in a purple dress with red hat you will know!!! See you soon Mary Kay.LOve Denise


  4. Love this post! I agree with you that as I get older, I'm not AS concerned about my looks – let's face it, those little (and big) lines are going to be there no matter what so might as well get used to it and realize that the important thing is to be a nice person and be kind and respectful to others – don't get me wrong, those lines, big and small do bother me but I don't want to go under the knife so guess they will stay – "what you see is what you get" is my new motto!!! However, I'm not quite ready to wear red & purple yet!! LOL!!


  5. The sentence, "This post was meant to be about beauty secrets" made me smile because I often start a post with the intent to write about one thing and end up writing about something else. The discoveries that I make by allowing my brain to roam wild are one of the reasons why I like blogging. It helps me know what's going on in my head! ;)As an example of how one idea feeds another, Joseph has just posted On the Fine Art of the Toilet Paper Roll.


  6. PS. I'm so looking forward to seeing you next week – whether you're in purple, red or some crazy combination of colors! After all, beauty is superficial. It's YOU I'll be happy to see!


  7. Love the photo and the poem! Looking good!I've got a pair of jeans in purple (and pink, and yellow…) that I'm quite fond of. So if I continue to be colorful in my old age, my husband can't say he didn't know what he was getting into. 🙂


  8. Loved your discussion and isn't this one we all ponder …once a certain age! I hate, hate,hate my chin also..but if it makes you feel better..I never noticed yours as anything as just fine and dandy..but I know..chins are horrible (mine is …)! I did not see that coming! (and like you wrote..nothing you can do short of surgery! Who has the money for that especially when saving up for travel and to spend so much money on that..but then..I hate my chin!!) I read someone's writing on this matter of aging and obsessing over one's looks…she wrote, " It is difficult, but essential, for all of us (women and girls), to eventually transition from focus on how we appear to excitement about what we see around us." I thought that very good. Anyway…I happen to think you look darling in your purple coat and red hat..might start a big fad for all ages wanting to capture your look! Oh, another thing you mention…re dressing your age..I find that a trick also…as I dress how I want..but then I read these tsk, tsk articles about , say Kate Middleton's mom dressing incorrectly (i.e. not age appropriate)..and Madonna..and the like and I go..oh, I must be careful..but I want to like what I wear and have fun and not just be a frump…well, so I totally get your article and enjoyed it immensely! (but sometimes don't you feel like we "olders" are discriminated against at times but on the other hand….we do want to have some dignity..that I do get! A difficult balance indeed)


  9. Oh, man. Meant to talk about long hair too. Okay..so my second post. Sorry . Anyway..NO! Don't cut your hair! I love it how it is! I will keep mine longer too…..if need be..put it in a bun..but I like long hair! My mother wore long hair all her life and at times she pondered cutting it (to be like all the other ladies her age) and we , her children, would all cry out ..no! It was beautiful on her and part of who she was…don't change due to some external odd notion/pressure! I started to wear my hair shorter for while but I now regret that as I do love it longer….so anyway…had to add that! 8^)


  10. Sorry took so long to reply, Sandy, NYCgirl and Cybee all of you ate perfect examples of how the beauty shines out of you because you are all such kind people.DeniseLove from Paris


    • Hi Florence….just scroll down the right hand side of the page and it says ” cli8ck to follow this blog and receive notifications by email” 7 followere and than a box with ” follow” click on” follow.”.

      Love Denise


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