Thursday, November 12, 2009

Old lady loves new frocks

What do old ladies want? New frocks!

Among the saddest words old ladies say are these: "It'll see me out."

As your world shrinks, no need to go boring! An 88-year-old may need to forgo those 4-inch scarlet heels, but she can still wear a stylish frock. It's a joy to see a really old lady looking great.

As an incipient old lady I was thrilled to buy these two dresses last week. I mean frocks: that's a much nicer word! It's even more exciting because from 15-35 I made my own frocks, and for many years I bought most of my clothes second-hand.

Like many women, I have a secret fabric fetish. We FF-Femmes have a stash of fabric in the wardrobe. See it, love it, buy it, pretend we're going to make it into a frock one day. Yeah, right. My stash includes two lengths from Samoa: a wild orange and yellow polished cotton and red cotton with giant white leaves; plus green silk with multi-coloured splashes.

So, three weddings coming up soon! I felt that justified something new and frivolous, so I went to town intending to buy a pattern. But I diverted to Alexandra Owen's shop, where I bought a super high fashion origami dress in stark French navy cotton. Divine: it revealed my (well) hidden shape. It's an heirloom piece and an incentive to stay alive and sociable: my daughters will have to wait a few decades.

From this splendid accident I learned nothing. I went to town two days later on the same mission: find a dress pattern. This time I dropped into Frutti in Cuba Street and succumbed to an irresistible piece of flowery silk froth, light as a butterfly and crazy with it. The designer, Maiangi Waiti, was inspired by the dresses that old ladies wear. Perfect.
Maiangi Waiti on Facebook

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