What not to wear, septuagenarian edition
March 31, 2012 8:00 AM Subscribe
Should I tell my 71-year-old mother that some of her clothing is ridiculous?
posted by semacd to clothing, beauty, & fashion (73 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
My beloved mother is in her early seventies but occasionally dresses like a 20 year old girl. Should I say anything? If so, how do I do this without hurting her feelings?
My mother is full of life. She generally wears pretty classy, age appropriate, stylish clothing (a lot of J. Jill, Lululemon, Anthropologie, and Gap, great accessories).
However, she has a few items that look ridiculous. My husband and sister completely agree. I haven't asked anyone else. We think people laugh at her when she wears these items. They certainly are not attractive. The two main offenders are her favorite shoes (she cannot be separated from these shoes and wears them almost every day): they look a lot like these black strappy high heel sandals (http://www.zappos.com/donald-j-pliner-cirila-black-crepe-elastic). She jokingly calls them her dominatrix shoes. She has had both hips replaced and is not necessarily even supposed to be wearing heels at all! The other main problem is that she wears bikinis at the beach. She's probably 30 pounds overweight or so, and she's 70+, so this just does not look "age appropriate" or at all attractive. She spends a lot of time at the beach. She also wears jeggings these days, and other tight jeans. There are probably a few other offending items as well.
She LOVES her bikinis and dominatrix shoes and her jeggings. But I don't think she realizes that they do not look attractive, they are certainly not producing the desired effect, and they look outright ridiculous.
I can speak frankly with my mother, and frequently tell her that I disagree with something she's doing (i.e. taking a bunch of different vitamins, pills, etc. at the same time without consulting her doctor). When she asks me if I like something (she didn't ask about these items), I can say that I don't like them for me, but they might be nice for her. But I think it is really hard to tell her that her favorite clothing items are working against her. I'm afraid I'd really, really hurt her feelings. And this has been going on for months (shoes)/years (bikinis) so my family's silence all this time just compounds the problem.
I'm 35 years old. My mother has embarrassed me plenty in my life, one way or the other. I am FINE with this. I'm only a smidgeon embarrassed to be seen with her when she wears these items and that's fine. I'm asking the hivemind for advice because I think she's embarrassing herself and that she would be appalled if she only realized that these looks are not working for her.
Should I bother to say anything? (I have said that I think those shoes are terrible for her health given the hip replacements.)
If so, how the heck do I have this conversation?