Monday, July 15, 2013

Visible Monday: Pin-Up or Shut Up

This is an uncomfortable (to me) post. 

'Cuz it's ALL about the sexy. 

And at my age, that's a different ball of wax, then what it may have been in my twenties.  Now-a-days, it's all about putting it on simmer- I don't EVER flaunt my body, and I'll be honest, it may be because I'm not particularly PROUD of my body. This isn't helped by a boyfriend who is quick to point out my flaws and flaps, rather than praise any of the good stuffs. I'm currently suspecting that he doesn't see the good stuff. And maybe, neither do I.

After spending a few days with my bestie, visiting from sunny California, I got to thinking a bit. She's in her early 40s, very vibrant and physically fit, and what one would describe as sexy. VERY SEXY. We talked a bit about how our dressing has changed now that we're "of a certain age," and I offered up my unsolicited yaps about "preserving one's dignity and dressing more modestly" but she was having none of it. Instead she thoughtfully responded against said dignity with some solid (and body positive) reasoning.

She said: I work hard at my body, I feel good about this body, and I'm going to show it as long as I've got it. If my legs look this good in my 70s, I'd totally wear this in my 70s. "This" being, in this particular case,  a particularly snug pair of short jean shorts, worn under a slouchy over-sized ecru lace sweater. She went on to declare that it's no longer about dressing "your age" but "dressing your form". The BFF believes that if you're fit, at any age, you are set. 

And that got me thinking- how come I agree with her in theory, but feel such an inner resistance? I think about the women whose style I admire the most, and they, like my BFF, are fearless (and fit) women who disregard conventional opinions about dress. One of my faves is dear Desiree whose dress uniform seems to consist of leggings, a tutu and a swimsuit. And I think she is damn sexy! So what's going on here, what's the deal?

Pin-up or Shut up: Cynthia age 66 is proof that Mature is Sexy (photo credit: Erwin Olaf)
A quick internet search turned up an interesting post about a some photographs showcasing older women posing as pin-ups.  How do I feel about these "mature" pin-ups? Well, all sorts of conflicting feelings, to be honest. Intellectually I say- Yay! I love seeing women expressing a body positive attitude and  celebrating their bodies, but I also had a knee-jerk thought of: oh no, somebody's going to make fun of them. And that thought was bumper hit by this one: I COULD NEVER POSE LIKE THAT.  The photographer was quoted making a very salient point, stating that "we should celebrate our body and embrace our age rather than adhere to the society's narrow-minded formulas and expectations." 

And AMEN. 

"The series is a reminder that people can be sexy at any age. We should celebrate our body + embrace our age rather than adhere to the society’s narrow-minded formulas and expectations."       -Erwin Olaf, photographer

So I'm going to put my money where my mouth is- I claim to celebrate the individual self, and style as a means to express it, and yet I put dampers on my own expression of sexuality, based on my own prejudices regarding my body shape and age. 

Since pin-up images are idealized, I took the liberty to heavily tweak a photo of me prancing about in vintage bloomers and a striped T-shirt. I'm not yet ready for prime time in my full cauliflower thighs and cantaloupe belly glory. As it is, it's going to be very difficult to hit the publish button. But I'm going to, because it's time I "pin-up or shut up." 

I now throw down the gauntlet down to you, dear readers and friends, of all ages. Can you celebrate your body as is, weathered and wise, by playing pin-up? 

Let me know in the comments.

FLASH SALE: Use code HURRAH for 15% off any order of $25 or more. Offer ends Wednesday, July 17th.
Linking up to the very valuable Patti over at Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday. After all, you can't get more visible than a 48 year old ass in vintage underpants.


Unknown said...

ooo pin-up! I think i better as im darn crappy at shutting up!!! will get on it my rather gorgeous and uber sexy inspiration goddess xxxxx

Unknown said...

Oh, my dear lovely friend, how I needed to read this! Having recently turned 40 and one half, I too am wrestling with the idea of dressing appropriately for my age and changing body.

I always believed that if I could still pull it off, I would proudly do so. I'm tending to believe that the time has passed as I continue to need to up my pants size and cover unsightly bulges and dents. The thing is, my boyfriend, my friends and my coworkers tell me I look fantastic and should continue to dress in the same style I always have.

This has made me think long and hard about my own prejudices and the just how influenced I really am by our cultural ideas of beauty and perfection. I never realized just how much I am exactly that which I have perported to loathe. I am what is wrong with our culture. I need to retrain myself to love who I am and what I am.

I have always seen you as an example of utter beauty, style, grace and bravery. I'm sure most everyone you know feels the same way. Knowing we both feel the way we do about ourselves is liberating to me. We aren't alone and the problem is bigger than ourselves.

Much love,
Matriarch Keogh

Patti said...

love this post so much. I will not put my mostly naked body out here on the nets, but not because of my age, or because it's got lumps and bumps. It's because my body's private to me, and it would feel like a violation of my own privacy to show so much of it (I swim in board sorts and a surf tee). That said, I admire and applaud the gorgeous women in the photo essay, and YOU of course. We have nothing to be ashamed of as we age. As Desiree wrote, if we're lucky, we get old! xoxoxo

Unknown said...

I think sexy shouldn't have an age cap. I hope to be a major sex-pot when I reach 80 :-).

Shybiker said...

I understand your inner conflict. It's easy to grasp something intellectually and harder to absorb it intuitively. Your confusion deserves respect.

Some of the rest of us lack that conflict. As you know, I'm 55 and wear crazy shit all the time. My attitude is: until they put me in a box, I'm living large. Society told me for five decades I can't wear women's clothing; now, I refuse to let anyone tell me which women's clothing is off-limits. Everything is fair game.

Vix said...

Your friend is dead right and I agree wholeheartedly.
I'm so bored with all this self-inflicted age nonsense.
You are an intelligent and beautiful woman, please don't allow yourself to be told otherwise, you deserve better. xxx

Veshoevius said...

Bella you are simply the best - I love this heart felt post. To answer I agree with your friend but you my friend, you have my complete empathy because these days there are more and more days that I feel as you do - not very happy with the body and less and less happy about showing it off. It's a tough internal struggle - wanting rightly to see change to get wider acceptance of what is sexy, yet just not feeling it oneself because it sadly still not deemed acceptable, and that is I think what you and I have been conditioned to react to. You look wonderful in your shorts - I've not been feeling short worthy of late but I'll post a shorts post as a toast to you and this post.

Melanie said...

Great post, Bella. When I see you in this photo I see you as just Bella looking fabulous as always. But of course I applaud you for hitting that Post button because it was difficult. What I don't get is why the concept of sexy so often revolves around body display. I don't see men stripping down to prove their sexiness. Women are so conditioned to feel that the only way we can prove we are sexy is by taking off our clothes. I don't buy it. I see you as "sexy" all the time, meaning powerful, smart, witty, beautiful as yourself, able to walk into a room and turn heads in a heavy coat, knitted hat, and layers of lumpy leggings. I could write a bad book on this topic...! We need a new word that goes beyond "sexy."

Tricia said...

Bella, you always look fabulous and sexy. If your boyfriend doesn't se it, then he's not worthy.

Becky said...

Sooo pretty!! Good for you for pushing out of your comfort zone. I do think older women are sexy. My sexy style, though, is usuaslly diferent from pin up sexy :)

Hollie Black-Ramsey said...

heck, you're old enough to be my mom and I'm totally jealous of your style and figure! YOU are sexified and don't let anyone try to convince you otherwise. I adore you!!

Sheila said...

Bella, I would not have imagined that you don't consider yourself sexy! And seriously, boyfriend who points out "flaws" - lose that sh*t now.

I did nude photos when I was in my 30s, but 50 lbs heavier. One is on the studio's website that did them. I am not going to post it on my blog because, well, I have them framed up my walls! I don't need to share them with the interwebs (but if you want to see, I will show you - email me).

I also did a pin-up makeover day with a girlfriend, and it was really interesting to work past all that body image crap and see myself actually beautiful. I've never considered myself more than passably attractive, but now I can see that yes, I am beautiful.

Oh, and I have to agree with your friend. I work so hard for my body, to maintain my weight (you know I lost 50 lbs 5+ years ago, yes?), and dammit, I am going to show it off!

In closing, you're awesome, you're gorgeous and I won't ever, ever shut up!

The Style Crone said...

Such a great post Bella. You deserve to be treated with kindness and devotion. Please know that!

I agree with Melanie. You are powerful in all of your creativity and beauty, as you present yourself in every post. Today, and always.

Susan B said...

First, you look amazing. Second, what Melanie said.

JTWisdom said...

You look great Bella. I believe that I can look sexy without showing all my body because that's for me and not the world to see. My hubby tells me I am beautiful everyday but I had to really believe it. I had to believe that I am beautiful on the inside and when I look in the mirror everyday. When I believed it and he would say that I am beautiful I could really truly believe him.

Helga said...

Melanie did indeed put it well!
Your friend is spot on!
The boyfriend...?! Hmm.
I am tired to death with all this age related rubbish! I have days of not being thrilled with my weight, but I'm pretty fit, and it's nothing to do with my age, just that I can't be bothered putting in as much time as I used to to stay trim!
We're all fabulARSE!
You fecking ROCK,baby!


Ofelia said...

Bella, when I look at you all I see in the good, not the flaws. Great legs, a voluptuous figure, darn perfect skin and thick, beautiful black hair! If he doesn't see, then you know what to do next...
I do believe in showing a little less but even as a younger version of me, if I showed breast don't show legs and vice versa.
I have friends that are also fit and like to flaunt everything they have and at times, I think that it looks a bit desperate and not fashionable at all.
I love the pin up photos and I agree on embracing our bodies as they are as soon as we are healthy and able to function then lets forget about all those non-eating, plastic surgery fuel magazines versions of women.

Anonymous said...

I think that 66-year-old looks pretty sexy, but I also don't think showing flesh automatically defines sexy. It's a look in the eye, a sense of knowing who you are and what you are capable of. And not being afraid of pleasure!

Valerie said...

I'm 53 and It has taken me 4 years to get brave about taking photos of myself (unfit, and curvy) and posting them on my blog, as my body shape has changed/going through menopause - and I felt initimated by all the slim, fresh looking 20 odd year old bloggers. I'm so happy to see so many bloggers over 40 - it has really empowered me, to be more visible. I love your post! Val

That's Not My Age said...

Good quotes from Jenny McCarthy & Erwin Olaf. I agree with Melanie - and you look fabulous.

Content Director - Strong Female Leaders said...

What an interesting post - and I had no idea that there were pin ups for older women, though it's a good idea. I must admit that when I was in my 20's, I never imagined life after 29. I was just too young to care. Now that I'm 35, I think of growing older a lot more, especially because I have my kids (to live longer for). And my goodness do I want to be sexy for as long as I can :O)

By the way, you don't look 48 at all. Not even in person.

SeƱora Allnut said...

love reading your posts, because I usually don't give a damn about age appropriate dressing, or about modesty!, but sometimes I refuse to wear something I like, so I'm also under that pernicious influence!
oh yes, we need to stay sexy and visible, dear lady, and you look absolutely gorgeous!!
love that you're wearing shorts! sassiness!

Sara Kristiina said...

Pin up! <3 Loved this post, even though I am just a 20 years old girlie :D I love how you inspire your readers to be what they want to be

Unknown said...

Bella! I freaking LOVE this post! You hit some great points and I'm wondering if that inner pull that just can't embrace the bare all is not so much insecurity as propriety. For my part, I'm just tired of a singular definition of sexy and body confident. Why does showing everything have to do with being sexy? Is a woman REALLY sexier with exposed cleavage and crotch skimming shorts? Is the only way I can show my body confidence is to bare all? I'm all for confidence, but I reject that idea. And in some ways it's not about modesty for purity's sake. It's about imagination. It's about sexy being interesting and not pedestrian. It's about having enough confidence in myself (and my body...which simply is a shell) to NOT think about it constantly.

And why is sexy such a goal? Seriously. The only place or time I TRY to be sexy is in the bedroom or on a date with my husband. That doesn't mean I don't dress cute or fix up all other times. But outside of my husband, I don't really care if anyone else thinks I'm "sexy" or wants to jump my bones. To me, being confident is not needing that feedback from others to feel good.

Desiree is amazingly gorgeous and the sex appeal that she has, in my opinion, comes from her cheekiness, her sense of whimsy, humor and fun! I LOVE that about her! Does she have GORGEOUS legs? Absolutely! But she doesn't rely on them for her confidence.

Sorry for going on so long...this really touched on something I've been simmering on for some time. The whole body confidence issue and what it means. By the way girly, you are absolutely DROP DEAD GORGEOUS! You have some fabulous legs and a DEFINITE sex appeal. There's only ONE Rosebud and no one does that like the inimitable Bella! Hugs and Love to you!! Serene

Forest City Fashionista said...

Bella, doll, you are a very sexy woman and always will be - you've got sass, style and smarts. If that guy does not see that, he doesn't deserve to be spending time with your awesome self. Sexy isn't about being naked and it's unfortunate so many women don't realize this.

I had a few naked shots taken when I was in my 20's but they were more about light and shadow than my body. I have struggled with accepting my "new" body shape that I have acquired in the last 5 years after being very thin my whole life. I never felt that I was pretty, or sexy, but I have realized that I am attractive, in an unconventional way, and I am pretty happy in my own skin. We have an amazing woman pin-up photographer where I live and if I ever get the $$ together I'd love to see what she could do with me.

Confidence, self-love and acceptance, a sense of humour, and smarts - these qualities can be just as sexy as a great rack, but society doesn't want us to believe that, because then who would buy all those 6 inch heels, push-up bras, and micro-minis?

Kristy said...

To me sexiness is all about the mind, not the body. Even fit people can be insecure about how they look and not feel sexy. Also, I can't stand "rules" telling me how to dress or not to dress being over 40. I say break all the rules!

thorne garnet said...

We need to stop beating ourselves up over how we think we look. I've had issues about my looks my whole life, then I started my blog and taking a lot more photos of myself. That got me realizing I look pretty. And when I went through old photos albums, I was shocked at how nice I looked at times I thought I was a hot mess. Now that I'm 57 (and proud of it) I really don't care if people think I'm pretty, sexy, cool or whatever, I just be me.

Anonymous said...

Freakin' AMAZING post Bella!!

You know what's the sexiest part of you?? Your BRAINS and your HEART. All the other stuff is just packaging.

Unknown said...

Oh Bella,

I love you so very much.
You are the most beautiful woman I 'know'. I admire you from your perfect cropped pixie to your red-tipped toes.You,my friend, has what's kept me going many days. I think, 'If Bella can be so creative, diligent, and SEXY, then so can I.

I don't love my body , either, and feel like if I say it, I'll get sympathy platitudes.

I look like the lady in the tub, but much bigger in the belly and my boobs would be laying on my lap.

So, if there is anyone out there who doesn't get how amazing YOU are, and TELL you how amazing you are (let's face it-we need it), then that person is insane. Run... (kidding)
I know how tough things can be for us 40+ers. I too turned 49 last month,(and thanks so much for your happy wishes!). I feel like I awaken with a new 'beauty' issue every day. I know my issue is about how I see ME, but society sure does make it tough to "celebrate" my fat and just move on.
Ah, I'm writing a letter! I'll just do that instead ;)

Huge hugs,

doradadama said...

Mi Corazon!
You look so adorable in your polka dot chonis. I learned not to give a damn about mi curves and mi body. I love mi gordura! If you don't love yourself no one will.We all need to be adored and treated like Goddesses and praised everyday.


Unknown said...

You look so cute in your pic. I must admit, I am 53 and, I still think younger bodies are so much prettier to view than older ones. I am not really keen on seeing naked pics of women over 50. Too much sagging skin for me. Just my own feelings.

Curtise said...

Is it an age thing or a confidence thing? I think it's all about attitude. If a woman believes she is beautiful and sexy, then other people believe it too. Your man should be ashamed of himself, pointing out imperfections in the woman he loves, that doesn't sound too loving...
I agree with the comments of various people above that sexy is not the same as naked or exposed. Sexiness comes from within, it doesn't depend on clothes or age or size. Or conventional pin-up styling.
You're just fine exactly as you are, Bella, please believe that, and resist any voices (your own or those of others) which cast doubt on that fact.
I really like and admire your honesty, btw! xxxxx

Unknown said...

I wish you loved yourself half as much as I do! I didn't know you in your 20's but I can tell you, honestly, I thought you were just 40. Never, never, would I peg you for 48. Your bestie is right, and your boyfriend doesn't know how good he has it.
Some people have, and will, always make fun of me. I'm so glad I'm old enough to not give a flying phuque anymore. I'm going to dress my shape until I fall over and die!


Krista said...

I think you are over thinking all of this a bit too much. Age has nothing to do with it it's all about how you feel about yourself wether you are 20 or 50. I also think any man who points out the flaws on his woman should be bitch slapped. We all have our pretty days and our ugly days, even supermodels do.

You know what is sexy at any age? Confidence.

citizen rosebud said...

My point being that we all have knee-jerk and unexamined opinion that contradict other held opinions- and I was Pinning up so to speak mine. I don't think getting naked it the way to go, but to stretch the comfort zone, no matter where we are at, in maturity or age. I agree with my BFF and was fortunate to have her in my life, and am honest enough to catch my own embedded prejudices- that's all.

I agree that confidence is sexy, Krista. I also feel that exploring thought patterns and starting discussions can be uh sexy. Uh, carry on.

Catherine, Not Dressed As Lamb said...

I'm too awash with excitement and pride to say much more than you are the BOMB, Bella! Well said and beautifully written. I'm sure you already know how I feel about the whole silly age-appropriate dressing thing, so your bestie sounds like a fine woman. As are you, girl :)

PLEASE please please come and read the post I have scheduled for 25 July, a bit of a project is in the pipeline, you'd be the perfect person to comment!

Oooh I'm so mysterious ;)

Catherine x

Anonymous said...

YOU are gorgeous! YOU are adorable! YOU are rad, baby! ;)

The Goodwill Fangirl said...

First, dearest Bella, I'm a more than little concerned by your SO highlighting perceived flaws rather than your actual glorious beauty. You are a stunning woman, and I would love for you to see you as I do. Totes smokin'. Beautiful legs. Terrific curves. Bedroom eyes. I'd want you to be my girlfriend if I was looking for one.

I've been thinking about "age rules" things on my own blog recently. When I turned 40, I stopped wearing shorter skirts and oddly enough, sleeveless dresses unless a jacket or cardi was worn on top. I somehow convinced myself that I had old arms (whatever those are) and old pasty white legs. Lately, I've been telling myself to LIVE, revel in what I have, such that it is, because even though my body is 50 and looks 50 especially undressed, it's still my body and I'm lucky to have the use of all my limbs and I'm lucky that sometimes men still whistle and honk. Which I should find demeaning, but honestly, who doesn't need a little ogling every now and then?

You are beautiful. Cynthia is a Goddess. Desiree is the carefree sexy I aspire to.

I love you so much,

MaggleBish said...

A. MY bf thinks you're pretty sexy, for whatever it's worth. And I agree. B. I think it isn't necessarily about being "fit", as it's about being true to yourself and having confidence. I'm not "fit" and I will keep wearing short shorts and other things that make me happy until I don't feel confident in those things anynore. I like this idea - pin up or shut up - and I will think about doing my own.

Jennifer said...

You're brave and beautiful and deserve a boyfriend who celebrates your fabulousness. Ditto to what Melanie said too!! You inspire, you stimulate and you rock!!

Ulla-Marie said...

You express very honestly, brave and well and you're as pretty as a pin up as a grunge Queen as a ...etc

Suzanne said...

What Serene said so elegantly I second.

I loved this post. So interesting to read all the replies as well.

I wouldn't hang out with a guy that was constantly pointing out my flaws. Society does that enough, no need to get it at home too.

I've found that every year that passes I feel differently about my body. Last year I wanted all my skirts and dresses shortened. This year I want them longer.

I hope to always hang onto what makes me feel sexy and desirable since that has always been a huge part of me.

You always look wild and sexy in a "rage against the machine" way to me.


Jill said...

An amazing post Bella and I love those pictures of you. I think you look fabulous! And seriously, how are you 48? How is this possible? As for looking sexy, I hear ya, this stuff makes me cringe. I am working what's still looking good after 43 years and 2 kids: legs (in jeans to make them look loooooong), gloss on the lips, and a ton of hair spray to fluff out the hair.

And btw, I think you have a super sexy mind to go with that super sexy bod! XO, Jill

Unknown said...

You so often look GLORIOUS, that I'm surprised looking merely sexy concerns you at all. You make an adorable pin-up in the most classic way. That you wear shorts so well is to your credit, and you always look much younger than your years.

I've been thinking quite a bit lately about HOW I think about ageing, and have a partial blog written about it, but I didn't think about worrying about whether I'm sexy. That's about my frame of mind, and not anything I feel the least inclined to try to display. I'm getting pretty old, but I'm not yet dead. But I hate feeling obliged to meet some standard of sexiness at any age, and am finally, perhaps, a resentful old feminist about it.

Idee Fixe said...

Brava Bella! You are a beautiful, sexy woman and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. If you aren't getting the support you need, then you need to make changes (sorry to be blunt but I would dump a man who didn't appreciate my aging body.) I'm 53.5 and have been posting pics of myself in swimsuits on FB mainly because my friends like the get-ups. But the impetus for this is my husband, he goes wild & wants a pic, lumps bumps jelly roll pancake breasts and sagging bum, the whole package. After nearly 23 years I'm lucky to have this, but even if I didn't, I'd still be proud -- I've lived a full life and it shows. Look at Helen Mirren, not a perfectly fit body, but damn sexy! I hope to be like her at that age! Baci!

Pull Your Socks Up! said...

Jeeeeeez I'm only just catching up here and gosh, thank you so much!!! I'm blushing that you think I'm sexaaay darling :). It's funny but I have a thing about the general idea of what both women and men think makes a woman sexy. In my experience, women have been brain-washed to believe that what makes a woman sexy, is what they think men believe is sexy. It's very strange to me that so many women follow a man's lead on what they think they're supposed to wear or look like to get attention. Recently I read some cock-n-bull story written by a man saying that males don't like women who wear too much make up, or wake up wearing make up, or show their facial blemishes. I'm proud to say that I've always followed my heart and worn what I like to see in the mirror. If that means a fecking PACK of gaudy make up, insane "ugly" wedges, whatever ... I wear it. I just don't what's sexy. Just what makes me feel good. And that's sexilicious. xoxoxoxo

Pull Your Socks Up! said...

**I just don't care what's sexy.** That's what I meant to type! Great post Bella xoxoxoxoxoox

List Addict said...

Wow. Good on you. This is an amazing post. There seems to be two major streams of blogger that I look at: the young and fashion conscious and the older and brave and amazing. While I love to see the beauty of the former, I much prefer the character, confidence, courage, drama, excitement and all-out-slap-in-the-face-to-conformity of the latter. I hate that society is brainwashed into a certain ideal of beauty or sexiness, but I think there are plenty of people more open minded or even just focused on looking at things in a different way. Ultimately it is about what makes you feel good (even though sometimes it takes, for me, a few nervous, shaky steps when I first step out in something 'not standard' and out of my comfort zone). And I am sorry to say this because I hardly know you, but that man does not deserve you. That is never okay. Thanks for this post.

Jean at said...

Hi Sweetie.

Ah, the courage!! To push the button and broach the sensitive topic. I have to concur with Melanie, and add my voice to the chorus that proclaims "sexy" is highly subjective and limiting. Don't let anyone or anything tell you that your beautiful, passionate self is somehow lacking. Your courage to question and expose your vulnerability only makes you "sexier" in my mind. Play with clothes, wear whatever you want, change your mind, and above all be gentle with yourself. Plus, you can always ask us if you need some affirmation. That's easy!!

Love you madly. .....J.

No Fear of Fashion said...

Well, this post of yours stirred up quite a conversation. You told my story when I was in my forties. That is still young enough. But when you really get older somehow it doesn't fit anymore. I saw my face in the mirror over a mini skirt and I did not like it. Which is my criterium. I have to like it. And perhaps that is dominated by society's opinion, but I choose not to be critizised all the time. Dn't feel comfortable with that. And before you post a nude picture... remember how you would feel if that photo was printed on the cover of a national paper. Because that is what internet can do.
Love you dear. And tell your boyfriend he will get the better of you if you feel praised.

No Fear of Fashion said...

Something just dawned on me. I don't mind dressing according to society's expectations because it makes it easier to communicate as people feel more at ease. If you are dressed in a non-conformative way you interact with people in a totally different way: usually about you being different and about the admiration people have for your uniqueness (or not..). Which is also nice and I sometimes do that too. But I prefer the conversations on any old topic without too much distraction. I love interacting with people. Sexyness is now for my husband. Not for attracting a mate anymore hahaha.

Tamera Beardsley said...

My dear YOU are a true style icon.... you always inspire me to dig a little deeper... and style my life truer. Much thanks!!


Mrs. D said...

Great post. I too have been assaulted by such doubts about my own body. I am almost 36 and sometimes I seem to still think I am in my 20's, when it comes to picking clothes- nothing too revealing without a pair of tights on as my cellulitis is best kept under wraps - but I still have the impulse of buying little shorts or skirts and it's starting to feel wrong... I'm at a stage that I really don't know what to do. Thank you for this post, it makes me think that I should just cut the crap and wear whatever I feel like!

WendyB said...

First of all " This isn't helped by a boyfriend who is quick to point out my flaws and flaps" -- WHAT? I don't want to go off on someone who love but if we were BFFs I'd be asking you what exactly makes him lovable.

Also, girly, you SO don't dress the stereotypical 48 now -- the 48 of Father Knows Best, which is what people seem to think 48 is -- so why not take it just a little further? :-) Be loud and proud!

Gabriala Brown said...

Throughly enjoyed this post Bella Q. Only sorry I missed it last week! You are adorable. xoxoxo

Sue said...

I am 51 and dress how I like now. I have been inspired to do so by reading blogs like, Helga's, Vix's, Desiree's, and Sarah's and many more. Sod anyone that says we have to dress a certain way at a certain age. I don't know how a 51 year old is supposed to dress but I sure as hell aren't ready for beige and powder blue or to fade quietly into the back ground. Fantastic post!!

Flora Cruft said...

I'm sorry it's taken so long for me to find this brilliant post. Bella I applaud you for your honesty and self enquiry. You've been really brave to write about a topic so personal and conflicted for you. I hope that by writing this you found a way, even just for a moment, to step back and view yourself from a distance, as we do, to see clearly all the beauty and sexiness that we see. I love those pin up photos of you and the bathing lady! Perhaps when you voice your concerns you're also saying something about your relationship, and how it might benefit from a bit of positive attention, when you talk about the 2 of you failing to value your great bits?
I agree with Melanie, that sexiness, while it may have nowadays become confused with showing flesh, is actually nothing of the sort: it is a way of carrying yourself, an attitude, a self belief. You clearly have and employ all these qualities in abundance, it's just maybe as you say you need to deliberately channel them more into your acceptance of your lovely physicality. There are so many ways of celebrating your physical presence without bearing flesh if it doesn't feel right, just be kind to yourself.

Heather Fonseca said...

You're not alone Bella. I struggle with this too. My husband loves my body and I know I'm lucky, but I don't always feels sexy or want to dress in a traditional sexy way. I still wear short skirts and bikinis, but I feel less and less comfortable in them. It might just be that I gained a little weight recently and I don't feel as good as I once did in body hugging clothes. Or maybe I'm trying to figure out what is sexy at 40 something. Maybe it's OK to say that what's sexy at 20 isn't as sexy at 40. Maybe we find our own sexy? Maybe that sexy is a bit more covered and more mysterious. Maybe it's OK not to want to be a pinup anymore. Maybe...

Indigo Violet said...

I've just read this post after reading Curtise's also amazing post on the subject. Thanks to you both for bringing it into the open.

Teresa said...

Fascinating to read this post shortly after reading this piece from a younger blogger: . While I don't have a daughter so can't follow her wise advice literally, I realized that I need to re-train my own thoughts about my body. Rather than pinup shots, I think I will be celebrating how well my body is doing in terms of strength, endurance, ability and vitality - and I will be wearing the bright colors to celebrate. Congrats on your honesty and your courage!

Amber of Butane Anvil said...

Dear Bella, finally catching up after a long while, coming back to say thank you for this courageously honest post which sparked so many incredible and ongoing international conversations. Echoing what so many have already said - Sheila, Judith, Wendy, Curtise, Lynne, Melanie, Jean, Emalina - xoxoxo