|It's worth the time. Trust on this.|
I couldn’t see her face at first, but I saw her hands and they were slightly spotted by age. Her fingers were long and elegant, she wore one gold chain bracelet on the left wrist, and her manicure was impeccable.
In fact, everything about her was impeccable. As she turned I noted that she was likely in her 60s. There was a single string of pearls at her neck against an inky blue-black blouse over trousers of the same color.
Naturally, I glanced at the shoes. (Now, now. You know I can’t resist checking out shoes.) I don’t know the precise style, but I saw a daintily tapered toe and what appeared to be about a two inch heel – dark blue or black.
As the woman pushed her cart out through the automatic exit doors, I hurried to pay for my light bulbs, my trash bags, and dishwasher detergent – yes, one of those annoying last minute runs to the store at the worst possible time, when you're out of necessities.
I wanted to catch up with her, and impulsively I dashed after her into the parking lot, and called out "Excuse me."
I was somewhat embarrassed that I was in jean shorts and a black t-shirt (with sneakers!), though everything fit me well and I did have on a bit of makeup. Thank goodness I wasn’t a complete disaster.
While I find the word is overused – fabulous – she embodied it. She wasn’t flashy, she wasn’t trendy, she wasn’t young. She exuded femininity and confidence, and was completely at ease (or so it seemed to me). She would have seemed as put together if she were 20-something or 30-something as she was at 60-something.
She turned and gazed at me inquisitively. She was a "normal" looking woman if you know what I mean by that - average features, a full face, and her shortish silver hair blowing a little in the breeze. Her eyes were blue and her makeup was subtle - a hint of liner and a light pink lipstick. You could see the woman as well as the years, and the effect was, somehow, captivating.
Let me mention that I live in a city where women of every age often overdo the makeup. And I find the effect dreadful. You can't see the woman through the products on her face!
“I just wanted to tell you I think you look impeccable," I said. "I love what you’re wearing. You’re the best dressed woman I’ve seen in… I don’t know how long.”
She smiled, broadly.
“What a kind thing to say, and it’s been such a bad day.”
“Well it’s true,” I said. “I don't generally stop strangers to make comments, but I had to say something. Head to toe, you look fantastic.”
|Never underestimate the beauty of a perfect black t-shirt (even if many of us tend to reach for it to often. . .)|
She smiled again and thanked me, and I walked back to my car and drove home. I was thinking about the gorgeous color she was wearing – how delicious. I have a closet full of tops that are brilliant shades of red, purple, and blue. Why don't I opt for color more often? Why do I always grab my stand-by “black on black” every day? It’s such an easy habit to fall into, isn’t it?
I plead guilty, guilty, guilty on that charge – clinging to its “slimming” properties not to mention its convenience.
But I also recognize a certain laziness, at least for me. When I take up my basic black, I do so thoughtlessly and mechanically. How much effort could it be to change things up a little now and then?
I considered the pearls she was wearing – how classic this simple accessory is with anything, and how my mother’s pearls – once lost to me – are now sitting on a dresser nearby. They go with the most tailored outfits, and likewise, with a pair of jeans. Why don’t I put them on more often?
I can. I should. I will.
I always feel better about myself, about life, about everything - when I know I look better. It's about recognizing my own needs, a small amount of "self care," the process of those few minutes that too often I disregard.
This is a lesson that many women must remind themselves on a regular basis: It's okay to put our needs first at least some of the time. For me, that may be as simple as a 20-minute walk, or the 10 extra minutes to pay attention to what I'm wearing.
Later today when I run a few errands, I will remember the impeccably attired woman at the grocery store, who took the time to put herself together. And I’ll grab those pearls and slip them over my neck, and even if I’m in my black jeans, I’m going for a fitted top in a vibrant color.