Let me tell you about my aunt Phillipa. She’s 60, vibrant, and always stylish! She has her style game perfected. All her nieces are on high alert to sample her closet, her perfumes, her books (in my case), and any piece of her style we can get our hands on. We all feel a little more glam donning her pieces. She is known to light up the lives of her girlfriends, acquaintances, and family with her constant encouragement, laughter, stories, and advice.
Recently, my aunt’s husband passed away. It was an unexpected and abrupt end. The funeral happened, family left, and she’s now packing up the pieces to move onto the next chapter of life that she’s been shoved into. Last week, she was walking with a friend when they bumped into a lady acquaintance from the neighborhood. The lady acquaintance told my aunt that she didn’t look good, and that she looked much better and put together at her husband’s funeral—AND, that she really needs to get herself together (presumably as soon as possible).
Now the lady acquaintance’s crudeness and lack of manners is entirely her own unfortunate fault, but as I said, my aunt always flaunts fabulous, so evidently it’s ever so slightly my aunt’s fault. I mean when the rude, evidently closeted, fashion police lady did a quick analysis of my aunt’s style game, there was apparently too much ‘grieving widow style’ for her liking.
The thing is, style is personal and powerful. It expresses how we feel about ourselves everyday. It is also powerful because it seemingly shapes the perception of others in our minds, even in situations of death. My aunt has not been sleeping and she’s trying to get through and adapt to the new days of her life. Her style reflects that. When we’re experiencing the gritty, un-flowery parts of life, it’s our prerogative to dress how we want.
I’m sure my aunt looked lovely on that day, because she always does (she probably poops fur jackets and high heels). Or maybe my aunt wasn’t on her usual style game. Either way, when another woman is dressing differently or going through something (like her husband’s death), we should either support her, or at the very least, have the courtesy to shut up.
Therefore, I think we have permission to tell judgey rude lady acquaintances (and friends) who base our coping on their perceived standards, to give us a break. Additionally, and crucial to remember, many women who are impeccably dressed are still fighting their internal hurricanes behind the scenes of their flawless style.
So let’s just be kind to each other ladies. It’s one of the most stylish things we can do for our women kind.
p.s. I am in no way condoning ongoing lack of style. That’s a whole other issue.