The Greatest Generation really knew how to age. Of course, without sunscreen they didn't have much choice.
My grandmother was blessed with good genes. When she passed away at 74, she didn't have that many wrinkles. Moisturizer is helpful, but genetics are gold. I've got quite the arsenal on my side keeping me looking young.
Plus, I'm no stranger to hair dye. (You didn't think that aggressively red hair was natural, did you?) I didn't turn to dye to hide grays - I wanted to improve on the light brown/dark blond. Grandma? Went gray in her 30s and never dyed her hair, not even in the 70s when all the old ladies tinted their hair blue.
But Grandma passed a few other things down to me as well. Most notably, my flappy upper arms. Bat wings, arm wattles, you know what I mean. No amount of diet or exercise could firm up that arm flap.
You know what? I've been rocking Grandma's flappy arms since...always? My 20s, maybe? I like to think that not keeping track of stuff like that helps keep me young. Knowing exactly when the first gray hair appeared has got to cause frown lines.
So I'm used to my wings. Sometimes I keep them covered and other times I just don't care. I remember Grandma in sleeveless house dresses thinking of anything but how she looked. Whether she was relaxing under the grape arbor or using cookie cutters to make us toast shaped like horses, she simply had better things to focus on.
My grandmother was no fashion icon. (Exhibit 1: house dresses) But I never looked at her and thought she should get a better haircut or dress more stylishly. Not even in my looks-obsessed teens. She was a paragon of confidence.
She simply didn't seem to care that she no longer looked like her twenty-year-old self in her wedding picture. Because on the inside, she still was that young woman. She often said that when she thought of her late husband, it was the young guy in that black and white photo she pictured, not the man in his 60s in the color photo hanging in the living room. And I think she thought of herself the same way.
And feeling that way meant that she didn't have to look that way. Not if it meant sacrificing comfort or carbohydrates.
It can be hard to adopt that attitude. Not in a world with photoshop and celebrities who look 15-20 years younger than their real age. Or even the age they claim to be.
So how do we get there? For me, it's by dressing like I'm already there. That doesn't mean housedresses or sweatpants. Grandma would never leave the house in those. She was insouciant, not slovenly. She had standards. Dressing that way means comfortable clothes that look good. It means going sleeveless when it's hot out. It means looking put together while also looking like it took no effort at all. And yes, I'm talking about pretty much everything on our site. Gram would've been a dedicated Vikki Vi gal if it had been available while she was still working.
I see Grandma's flappy arms in the mirror every day. And I remember her and how much she didn't care about aging. I notice that gravity isn't doing me any favors. But I don't mind it.