Non-conformist 70s fashion:
The boho-chic, hippie look in the 1970s was non-conformist anti-fashion: free flowing, romantic, artsy and unique, and often involved sewing, especially patches and embroidery. Anything handmade or “natural” was coveted. I did a lot of my shopping at Joe’s Army Navy Store and the Salvation Army. I wore wire-rimmed eyeglasses with pink-tinted lenses (they were actual prescription lenses, too). I loved fashioning my own clothes and sewing artistic touches to everything I wore. It was a fabulous time for fun fashion. I don’t think the heady exuberance of those times can ever be replicated today.
My patchwork skirt
One of my favorite sewing projects was a patchwork skirt I constructed in 1975 from a pair of corduroy pants, blue jeans, my brother’s army shirt, a daisy print dress, and other scraps. I embellished the patches with hand-embroidered illustrations. I still love this maxi skirt, obviously, or I wouldn’t have saved it for thirty-plus years, but I seldom wear it now. I mean, it’s such a wild look.
Can I still wear it?
Then, I realized, with a few modifications, this skirt still fits me. Why shouldn’t I wear it? Hell, I’m over 50, and when I look back at some of the crazy-ass things I did in my youth, I’m proud to still be here. I think I’ve earned it the right to wear it.
“One of the best things about getting older is realizing that we don’t have to spend our energy worrying what other people think and we get to be comfortable in our own skin with our own freak flags,” writes Michelle Combs in Better After 50. It’s a time in our lives we should be free to embrace who we are. We’re too vibrant to dress tastefully in black and stand along the sidelines. In fact, gray or silver hair is stylish, so if you’ve been coloring your hair so as not to look “old,” you can ditch that bottle. If I want to let my freak flag fly, there’s no better time.
I checked the AARP Fashion No-No’s for the 50+ crowd, Things We Should Never Wear Again, which is actually a decent list written by none other than my fave author Jacqueline Mitchard, and guess what? Patchwork maxi skirts aren’t on the list.
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