I've been struggling with writing a post about my most recent photoshoot. There didn't seem to be a way to tie these photos together, except as proof that more mature women adore wearing beautiful lingerie. Then I remembered Congresswoman Maxine Waters and a phrase she kept repeating during a Congressional hearing. The video went viral. "Reclaiming my time" wasn't some slick parliamentarian move, but a way to get direct answers to important questions.
So what the heck does any of this have to do with a 62-year-old grandma posing in her underwear? These pictures tell a story, of where I've been and where I am going. Underneath all the glamor and glitz is a woman still finding her way. And maybe they'll be useful as you count up your years.
I'm no fashion model. But great lighting and a fantastic photographer make it easy to expose oneself. Vulnerability becomes my strength. (Or I'm a late bloomer since I didn't take up professional writing until I was almost 50.) At the height of my youth, when I thought my body was "perfect" in every way, I had no clue what I wanted from life. These images memorialize my current state of mind and self-confidence. For better or worse, this is the "me" I've waited my entire life to meet. I'm okay with never doing another photoshoot like this again, too.
All of the intimates I'm wearing were gifts from woman-owned or woman driven brands. I paid for the photographer and did the styling, using some very favorite pieces from my closet. Posing in them was the perfect 62nd birthday gift. If they seem over-the-top and a bit outrageous, that's also who I am.
Persephone Bra, High Waist Brief, Sheer Skirt Harlow & Fox Adrienne Landau Embroidered Coat Dolce & Gabanna Shoes w/Crystal Buckle Mikel Healey Photography
Greater Awareness of Time
These days, it feels harder to reclaim my time. Sure, I'm single, my kids are all grown, and both my parents have passed away. So there's no one to care for but myself. But between the 24/7 news cycle and the constant bombardment of texts and social media alerts, I worry that I'm letting more important moments slip through the cracks. Here's a news flash: 60-year-olds are just as likely to be iPhone addicts as their millennial children. There's no age discrimination when it comes to FOMO.
The average life expectancy for a woman in the US is around 82 years. There are fewer years ahead of me than behind me now. And, yes, my family tree is littered with relatives who made it to their 90s and even 100s, including both my parents. It's less an ominous statistic to dwell on than a nagging reminder to wake up to how I spend my time.
The things that were important to me 20 or 30 years ago don't matter anymore. I did the marriage and kid thing. I did the home remodel thing. I spent the first 50 years of my life accumulating "stuff," only to find myself spending the second half trying to get rid of it. Yes, shopping for expensive designer clothing and shoes was fun. Getting all dressed up to go to some black-tie event seems boring, now. And I'm done wearing sky-high heels and accumulating items that take up space. Downsizing is my senior mantra. So, in these photos, I commemorate some of my favorite coats and footwear before sending them off to a consignment shop.
Jane Half Pad Balconette & High Waist Brief Dora Larsen Lingerie Adrienne Landau Stole Mikel Healey Photography
On the flip side, what's underneath is more important than ever. My lingerie must be well-fitting, and I don't mind spending more to get quality over quantity. Back in my youth (and even through my married years), I thought of beautiful intimates as a treat to show off to someone else. Now I wear them every day. I think these pictures reflect how they make me feel.
My limited collection of fine jewelry is sitting somewhere for my children to inherit. My love of things with sentimental value outweighs any sparkling carats. The necklaces and earrings in these photos are those my mother once wore. Crystals and rhinestones may not be expensive but, like me, they are vintage treasures to appreciate.
Affection Balcony Bra & Brief Fleur of England Adrienne Landau Jacket Manolo Blahnik Shoes Mikel Healey Photography
When it comes to my beauty regimen, it's less about the latest makeup and hairstyle, and more about saving time. Besides, pretty powders and colorful shadows end in the creases of my visibly wrinkly eyes. After coloring and cutting my hair for decades, I'm all about simplicity and throwing away the curling--or straightening---iron. I did hire a professional makeup artist for the day, but her goal was to highlight and not cover up my numerous physical flaws. One bonus of aging? No more pressure to appear "flawless." What a relief.
Sophia Ivory Lace Bra and High Waist Knickers Katherine Hamilton Dear Bowie Robe Kate Spade Heels Mikel Healey Photography
"Working out" has taken on a different meaning, too. From my teen years, I was one of the yo-yo dieters and binge eaters. And in my post-baby upper-middle-class corporate wife days, I might spend two hours a day on the treadmill or at spin classes (after morning carpool and before afternoon pickups of course). Walking and everyday movement is my routine now. Going to the gym means lifting weights to preserve bone health. Finally, exercising maintains my mental agility and muscle tone. So, fuck the scale. When I look at these images, I see strength and sexiness.
It's not over for older women in that department either (unless we want it to be, lol). Because those assumptions about invisibility don't make us less attractive to the opposite, or same sex. The focus is different now, less about marriage and partnership and more about exploring possibilities. That said, there's no more time for toxic or frivolous relationships, either.
Maestra Bra, Brief, and Suspender Dita Von Teese Lingerie Max Mara Coat Mikel Healey Photography
Reclaiming my time means putting myself at the top of any list. Because investing in myself pays off. I'm reveling in more meaningful relationships with friends and family. And I'm not too old to try new things. In these photos, I see a joyful expression of life. Isn't that the goal? Then again, maybe it's the gorgeous lingerie pieces enhancing my inner beauty.
I don't think I'll be retiring anytime soon. Far from it, I'm still looking for the next best way to empower and inspire others. It might be through this website, my stand-up comedy, storytelling, or something altogether new and different. Every day is an adventure. And screw anyone that claims aging sucks. This 62nd year may be my best ever.
Latest posts by Elisabeth Dale (see all)
- Else Lingerie: Effortless, Modern and Elegant Intimate Apparel - May 16, 2019
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- Where to Recycle Bras, Part 2 - February 28, 2019