Things to learn from Italian women, or maybe I should say, Milanese ladies: regardless of your age you can maintain a sense of style and je ne sais quoi. See the two above, they may no longer be 24, they are not dressing to impress, they are dressing for themselves.
As I may or may not have mentioned I have spent much of my life not on Swiss shores, or, seeing as we have no shores to speak of, other than those of our beautiful mountain lakes, I have spent most of my life far from all that is Swiss. On my return from a longer stint abroad I remember arriving on Swiss soil at Zürich airport, at the time I was doubtful of my decision to move back, however it appeared to be a sane and wise career decision. The fates were against me that day, because as I doubtfully stepped off the plane, I was greeted by a brass band waving Swiss flags (no they were not there for me), which I have never seen at an airport before or since, as well as a whole group of women ( a curling club? sports team?) with red hair of a certain age, the women, not the hair….although the sentence could be interpreted that way, I grant you that! I could not have had a more Swiss welcome, and frankly it made me want to make a run for it.Why you might wonder, here is the reason why. You know that people who own dogs often start to resemble their pet, I used to worry intensely that if you live among a certain population you will start to look more and more like your environment and frankly I couldn’t relate to what I was seeing. I lived in Paris for a while, there it was no problem, I felt right at home.
Back to my observations: for some reason, after the age of 40 Swiss and German women start to dye their hair red: henna-red, or brick -red, or eggplant, or any other number of red shades. In addition, hair is cut really short, into a practical style that won’t need any styling in the mornings. Many of this type of Swiss women also like to tan in summer. The sum of the two end up being a disconcerting combination – a bit like looking at a weather leather handbag topped with a hacked off fox-brush. If the lady in question also goes in for tattoos, black clothes and piercings you have quite a look right there. The age of red hair in Switzerland, comes right before the indeterminate age, which is characterized by short grey hair, no make-up and baggy functional clothing. This is the age where gender has ceased to be of any relevance. Where woman has become androgynous. Where men have been married, children have been produced and races have been run. It is indeterminate age, in my mind also named the age of futility. Short hair, hacked off, in England at least it would be blue-rinses, and time is spent on anti-fungal treatments for the bathroom ceilings, observing the neigbours through the curtains and dusting African violets on old walnut polished tables.
So what a welcome relief the Milanese ladies are, oh yes they wear their hair in shades or red, and yes they are no longer 23, but do they still pick out trendy tights and combine them with skirts that have cute hems, or wear cute purple skirts with slits in the front and colour coded scarves and jackets, a little heal, not too much, but an ensemble that says “hey, you, I am not dead yet!” – I like that it’s sassy. It’s cool, it speaks of an independent personality, a woman who is not defined by her role, but by her perception of who she is and what she wants the world to see her as. Most of all, it says: you know what I still care about myself. I love that.
PS now I realize that some Swiss ladies reading this may be offended, don’t be, if you like to tan and have really red hair, more power to you, I applaud you, you probably spend less time than I do worrying about what others think of you! And that in itself is cool.
PPS I dedicate this post to Angies Fiesta Friday – over at the Novice Gardener – I know that all of you over there worry about what to wear to Angies, and while it may not always be in good taste, magenta onesie, or Angie’s sausage outfit, at least its fun. I would love to hear your thoughts on the above.
* it had to be done