« Chapter 24 | Main | Stairway To The Heavens »

Open Features: Can’t Get No Satisfaction!

...With optimism running high in my blood I made a momentous decision a few months back and took the matrimonial plunge again on 11 June. With six grown-up children and more than a dozen grandchildren between us, my future husband and I wondered what the reaction would be when we announced our intentions. On a scale of one to ten I would say about seven and a half for enthusiasm. Shock factor among the offspring, much higher. I suspect one or two would have liked to have uttered the words ‘aren’t you getting on a bit for that?”...

But Mary Pilfold-Allan (formerly Basham) had difficulty in finding a suitable outfit for the big day.

She invites Open Writing readers who may have experienced similar problems to share their experiences.

When The Beatles laid down the first track of their 1966 album ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’, they, like millions of their contemporaries, including me, had no sense of the reality surrounding ‘Will you still love me when I’m sixty-four.’ Forty odd years hence seemed like so far off it would never come. Youth on your side is magical and a wonderful insulation to the possibility of time passing by at a rate of knots that could leave a Formula One standing at the start.

In just under a month I will be sixty-four and although my son recently described me as in the ‘autumn of my days’ I don’t think or feel it. If I’m ‘past it’ then as yet I have no sympathy with Pete Townsend and his hit of the same sixties era ‘Hope I die before I get old’ because life is good and every day brings fresh experiences to enjoy and treasure.

With optimism running high in my blood I made a momentous decision a few months back and took the matrimonial plunge again on 11 June. With six grown-up children and more than a dozen grandchildren between us, my future husband and I wondered what the reaction would be when we announced our intentions. On a scale of one to ten I would say about seven and a half for enthusiasm. Shock factor among the offspring, much higher. I suspect one or two would have liked to have uttered the words ‘aren’t you getting on a bit for that?”

We only gave them eight weeks to get used to the idea; therefore they had plenty to think about in the interim. The wedding venue was the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Holborn, and afterwards for lunch at the Tower of London, so hats all round for the ladies. They all rose to the occasion beautifully. Many a hen, ostrich or peacock donated to the cause of feminine vanity. Even the granddaughters had tiny fascinators.

It was when it came to choosing my own outfit that the trouble started. Try walking into a special occasion shop and asking for something suitable to get married in. First come the side-ways glance to see if that was what you really meant. Then the intake of breath and out come the lilacs, greys, dull beiges, insipid creams, dusty pinks and baby blues. As for style, I have seen better-cut sacks than most of the creations I was offered. Polyester rules for sure in designers’ idea of chic for the older woman. Having something made became the only sensible alternative but there again, time was not on my side and it appears you need to start briefing your dressmaker about a year in advance to ensure a result.

Eventually – and I hate to admit this - it was a French designer that supplied the answer. Raw silk, turquoise, a fan of pleats at the cuff and the back of the skirt to draw the eye away from the laughter lines. I felt like a million dollars. It almost cost that much! O but it was worth it.

Which brings me on to the nub of this saga. Please could today’s British designers and dress shops have a mind to the fact that women of a certain age do get married? Is it too much to ask that we are treated as brides and not a joke? Does it really matter how old you are? A wedding day is a very special day and one to remember for so many reasons, among them looking and feeling good.

I drove miles in search of my outfit. It was a frustrating few weeks. Only with it safe in the wardrobe did I begin to enjoy the build-up to the big day. At times during my search it wasn’t only ‘Will you still love me when I’m sixty-four’ that ran through my mind but also Mick Jagger’s great hit, ‘I can’t get no satisfaction’.

Are there others out there among Open Writing readers who have experienced the same problem? If so, I would love to hear from them and together perhaps we might be able to change the fashion industry’s thinking on ‘something for the over sixties’.

Categories

Creative Commons License
This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License.