Is beige even a colour? Ageing in shades of beige is not for me

The Beige Army is set to invade …..

While visiting a popular beach-side town in Somerset in the UK a while ago, I was taken aback by what I dubbed as the Beige Army.

I am vowing and promising to you right here and now, that I will never succumb to being counted in their number.

I will be a colourful old lady with a smile on my face 🙂

Life’s too short to wear beige
Life’s too short to wear beige

What is the Beige Army?

It suddenly dawned on me that there were a great many ‘older’ ladies out for the day, sitting having coffee, lunch, chatting with friends – all of  which was great to see.  What wasn’t so great to see was their ‘uniform’.  They were all wearing various shades of beige – either beige pants, shoes, tops, jackets, hats, scarves and sometimes all of these together.  Now that’s a lot of beige!

I am no fashionista but I do have a certain personal style, which includes colour and usually a lot of it.  Think orange, red, yellow, pink…..I am lucky to have an olive complexion so I can wear most bright colours and I make sure I do!

It got me wondering – when did these older ladies swap their colourful outfits and become beige?  Or were they always beige?  Were their times so different to ours that they were limited by society’s expectations, the conditions at the time, their perceived place in the world??  I know we are living in a very different place and time than these ladies.  Maybe they had more important things on their minds at the time.

Their hair was grey and the beige clothing just washed out any colour they may have had in their faces. But you know what, they were happy and out and about, so who am I to dictate what they wear!

Here’s a random photo I found on the WordPress free photo library – see what the favourite colour seems to be? Shades of beige!

Beige ladies
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

What is beige?

Beige is variously described as a pale sandy fawn color, a grayish tan, a light-grayish yellowish brown, or a pale to grayish yellow. It takes its name from French, where the word originally meant natural wool that has been neither bleached nor dyed, and hence also the color of natural wool.

Wikipedia

Now I know beige is a great base colour and it does go with lots of things but does everything have to turn to beige as we get older?

When I returned to my daughter’s place, I declared that if I ever resorted to wearing beige she had permission to give me a stern talking to. Like the time I told my daughters that if I was ever caught wearing leopard print they were to question my sanity and could even go so far as to disown me.  I have nothing against other people wearing leopard print but I just don’t ever want to go down that path (maybe I do have some issues if I’m being honest!!)

My daughter laughed and said she could never see me being a part of the Beige Army. She knows me too well!

Beige ladies

Not long after this sighting I was visiting an old friend in Scotland, old as in friends from years ago not as in age, and she mentioned ladies wearing beige!  She stated quite categorically that she was determined never to become one of them.  Hadn’t I just been saying that myself just days before?? Were we in sync or what?

We had a great time discussing the phenomenon and wondering what happened to make beige such a popular colour for certain age groups.

After doing some research I found that beige:

  • is a colour that goes with lots of things
  • it’s a safe colour for some people
  • could indicate a lost confidence in buying clothes perhaps
  • it’s seen as a classy colour
  • it can be quite elegant
  • it doesn’t stand out too much – is this the attraction?
  • Beige is dependable, conservative, and flexible. The colour beige is neutral, calm, and relaxing. The colour beige offers some of the warmth of the colour brown and the some of the crisp and coolness of the colour white. While it is a relaxing colour, beige is often seen as a dull and boring colour. Source

As we age, it can become quite hard keeping up with fashion or even feeling confident in buying clothes.

Hey I know that even as a 57 year old I have trouble finding anything decent in some shops.  It can also be hard to know if we are dressing too young for our age or trying too hard to fit in.  My daughters often tell me I buy things in a size bigger than what I actually need.  Why do I do that, do I see myself differently to how they see me?

I am lucky in that both my grandmother and mother have had their own particular style and enjoyed wearing a range of clothing and colours, and never looked out of place.  They had the confidence to carry it off I suppose, not to mention they were and are, strong attractive women well into their eighties.

I wonder if it’s a part of the getting old process and feeling as if we’re becoming invisible as we edge past a certain age?

I know other midlife bloggers have written about these issues in the past and I enjoy reading their thoughts. Just today my blogging pal Leanne Le Cras at Cresting the Hill, posted how A Smile is the Midlifer’s Secret Weapon – and you know she’s onto something there!

As she says in her fabulous post:

So often we hear Midlife women bemoaning the fact that nobody sees them anymore. They feel invisible and they feel overlooked. But really, it doesn’t take much to step out of that “grey zone” and to be recognized as viable and worth being paid attention to. It’s not rocket science – the answer is so simple and it begins with a smile.

A smile is a Midlife woman’s secret weapon against invisibility – when we use it properly it helps us to be seen and  to be happy. If we start to really be present, to be involved, and to be interested in other people, we open ourselves up to being seen as the vibrant and valuable women that we are.

Cresting the Hill

Everyone has the right to wear any colour and I respect this.  I’m not saying it’s wrong but I know it’s not the way I intend to age.  The group of old ladies I spotted all wore a smile and this transformed them in spite of their beige-ness!  I intend to keep smiling for as long as I can.

I even have a smile named after me – the Debbie Smile – true story 🙂

Here’s a photo of my sister and I not only in colourful outfits but also smiling.  It makes me smile just looking at this photo of us both in our 50s and rocking our outfits (we often dress in a similar way without any pre-planning!) and full of life.  I hope it makes her smile too 🙂

How do you feel about beige or any other colours for that matter, especially as you age?? Just don’t get me started on leopard print!!

Feel free to leave me a comment below. I always love hearing from you and try to answer all your comments 🙂

Deb xx


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69 Replies to “Is beige even a colour? Ageing in shades of beige is not for me”

  1. I love this post. I think you are right but as an expert 😂 on ageing I think people feel that they become invisible as they age and beige helps them blend into the background. I work for a retirement builder and I see some stunning, vibrant characters who refuse to join the beige army and I wholeheartedly applaud them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your thoughts on my post Liz. But what I don’t understand is why people want to blend into the background??? I am one of those refusing to join the beige army 🙂 I think I may have made that point clear in my post though!! It’s such an interesting topic, and ageing is definitely not for the faint hearted I’ve decided. I’ll go check out your blog and gain some more insights.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m happy to report I rarely wear beige. However, I probably wear more black than I need to. It’s just so easy to mix and match, and I feel like if I wear the same thing a few weeks in a row, no one in the office will notice. I do have some bright colored pieces though, and I love them. I think I’ve actually been moving in the direction of more color these past couple of years. Thanks for an entertaining read–and I love the picture of you and your sister smiling in all your brightness. Have a colorful day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I know what you mean about wearing lots of black, but when it is mixed with a brighter colour it looks good! When I was working I tried to wear muted tones as working in a jail wasn’t the place for trying out the latest fashions, so I love the freedom to wear colours and whatever I like these days. I appreciate your comment about my post thanks 🙂

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  3. I am so with you! When I was younger – 20’s – all I wore was beige and browns, maybe, if I felt a little daring I’d go for a blue or navy. I finally passed out of that and now don’t have a single piece of brown or beige in my closet. (Shudders to even think of it!) Pinks, fushias, purples, teals – love all the jewel tones now. I think I was afraid of my shadow back in those days and afraid of being noticed. No more!
    Loved your post! Sharing for MLSTL

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, you hit the spot with this post Debbie, I never thought I was going to get to the end of all the comments. Beige – no, but I do seem to stick to black, white, grey and navy for basics, never leopard skin! Then I add colour with scarves or chunky jewellery. The exception was when I spent a whole winter in the UK and everyone, and everything looked grey. You could buy new anything you wanted as long as you were prepared to wear one of the fifty shades of grey. I ended up searching through the charity shops for bright pinks, reds, lime green, and yellow, anything bold and bright (except leopard skin) and went on anti grey campaign for sure wearing more colour than I’d worn in my life. know where you’re coming from.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love bright scarves too and have soooo many. Just yesterday I was out with my daughter and spotted a pink scarf with orange baubles that was so tempting!!! So happy you know where I’m coming from Chris and I appreciate the support of another non leopard print wearer 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have never noticed this before, but I’ll now keep my eye out for the aging beige brigade. I love color too. I can’t usually wear bright colors as they overwhelm me, but there are no beige clothes in my closet… except maybe a tank to wear under something with color. Now, don’t get me started on those baggy calf-length capris so many older women wear (including a couple in your Pixabay photo). But, you are right, bottom-line, as long as the wearer is comfortable… who really cares?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Beige is not a color I look good in – at all. I love color and I intend to keep on wearing it 🙂 Everyone knows I like lots of colors. You should see how many pairs of colorful socks I get for my birthdays, Christmas’, and any other gift-giving occasion. But, I have to say I love it! Bring on the color! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. How funny that they were all wearing beige. I actually like beige. I think a neutral palette is very sophisticated. But my closet is also filled with color, lots of it. And I don’t think if an older woman is wearing current trends “she is trying to hard to fit in”. Maybe she likes that style. I’m 55 and I wear mini skirts, short dresses, off-the-shoulder tops, you name it. I don’t believe “I’m dressing too young” for my age. I’m dressing for me. I’m wearing what I like, what fits my personality, and what looks good on me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds like a great attitude to have Amy, I’m much the same in my fashion style and I’m even older than you!! I wear what I like and I’m at an age now that I know what suits me which is a great advantage of age. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts 🙂

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  8. I have noticed this beige thing! All my life I’ve worn lots of black. But now that I’ve stopped colouring my hair, all black makes me look like I’m close to death. So I’ve started adding more colour. Not that fashion interests me much these days. But I’ve found a little bright colour makes me feel good #MLSTL Will share on SM

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jennifer. It’s funny how we notice these things and I’m glad I’m not alone. Black is another colour that’s overused a lot but can make people look washed out as in your experience. A pop of colour never goes astray is my mainstay these days. Great to have you join in with your thoughts and thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I have to admit, I do wear beige, but I usually wear a brighter color with it for contrast. My mom went through a period where she wore a lot of beige until my sister pointed it out to her. Now she wears other colors as well. Who says you have to wear beige when you’re old? LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly Lisa, but it does seem to happen quite a lot!! How funny that your sister had to point it out to your mum. I think it’s OK to wear beige with bright colours but who am I to say what’s allowed 🙂 Thanks for joining in!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Not a chance of beige for me ever. I “may” have had some beige but always with brights. I admit recently to some light coloured pants but always will be topped with brightts! My wardrobe is a ray of sunshine and almost a rainbow these days! Denyse #MLTSL

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  11. I agree with you Deb regarding the “animal print”, to me, it does look cheap and tarty. I think whatever colour suits is the best to wear, no matter what it is. I don’t enjoy wearing red though I do love autumn colours and even have been seen wearing pink. Beige washes me out so says the Squire, when on a rare occasion I got him into a women’s clothing shop! I also enjoy a colour coordinated [black/white/denim with lots of colourful scarfs] wardrobe just because I am limited to the amount that goes in it my suitcase 🙂 Do you think many women go for the aged look because of wanting to be comfortable. Or maybe an attitude of “I don’t care what I wear”. Another aspect is that the clothing companies put out what will sell the most. Have you ever tried to buy a certain coloured clothing item that is not in “fashion”? Frustrating 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I get what you’re saying Suzanne and agree, it could be because of the reasons you mention! It is very annoying when you know what you want to buy and then can’t find anything at all. You do well with your limited space and scarves are a lifesaver sometimes. Thanks for joining in the conversation, it’s always great to have your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I have this picture of my parents that I absolutely love. It was taken in the 70’s with my parents and all of my Mother’s siblings and their spouses at a wedding. All the men were in muted greys and blues. All the women were in pale blues and tans and browns. Except. For my parents! Mom had on this Asian inspired dress with red, black, white, and gold and a big gold dragon buckle. My dad had a black suit with a red shirt and white tie. Needless to say, you automatically knew which couple was going to have the most fun. And they always did.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Haha this made me laugh! I do seem to see such a lot of the ‘Beige brigade’, personally I love colour. I do think colours make you feel better as soon as you put them on 🙂 Gorgeous photos of you and your sister Debs – lovely post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m with you Sam, colour just makes me smile! I love the photo with my sister too, we have a history of being dressed similarly and somehow we often buy the same things despite being hours away from each other!

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  14. I totally get what you mean – beige doesn’t really do anything for me personally but I can see why some people go for it – safe – dependable etc. Also I love your red coat I have one quite similar that’s unfortunately too small for me now so I gifted it to my brother’s girlfriend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love a red coat in winter, it just brightens everything up doesn’t it? How lovely of you to gift your coat to your brother’s girlfriend. Very sweet. I know why some people go for beige but I’m not one of them! Thanks for joining in.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. You see the Beige Ladies everywhere and I guess it’s a safe colour that can be worn with anything but it does look so drab. A bit of colour is always so much better isn’t it? Don’t be tempted by the beige-way? Fight against it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No I’m thinking India is probably safe from the beige army! I must admit when I went to India I felt so drab in everything I wore I ended up being dressed by my hosts in a different colourful sari everyday and I loved it! I think the pastel colours are a nice way to go as you age.

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  16. I’m totally with you on the leopard print! I was never a fan. I don’t mind beige and I wear it sometimes but only in small doses. I seem to wear a lot of blue. I also like white in summer. (I’m visualising my wardrobe here as I write) Red, navy, more blue, purple. Oh I love green…..black, grey, pink. I WISH I could wear yellow but it makes me look ill. No pleated below the knee skirts or button up blouses! Actually, I’m really glad you’ve encouraged me to analyze my wardrobe.This post is going to stay in my head….probably forever! Hahahaha!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What fun you’ve had Gloria! I’m so pleased to hear you have nearly every colour covered in your wardrobe and only minimal beige. Glad to meet another who feels like me about leopard print 😊

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  17. Great photo of the pair of us!! Thanks for making me smile – I need things to smile about at the moment.
    While I don’t ever wear beige, I have found myself wearing an awful lot of black since moving to Melbourne, particularly in winter. Black tights, black overcoat, black boots and, it seems, more and more black dresses. I need to change that as it tends to suck any colour I have out of me.
    I did just buy a gorgeous bright red coat though – I’ll have to show you next time I see you.
    I am allowing my hair to go grey though, which isn’t something I ever thought I’d do. I wonder if I’ll change my mind when a lot of it goes grey? I’m determined to think it looks distinguished … but we’ll see. I’m charging you with being honest with me!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it’s one of my favourite photos for lots of reasons and I’m gals it made you smile. I deliberately chose it for that reason 😀 no you don’t wear beige but I think wearing black is a bit different. It suits you when you have other colours added in.. can’t wait to see your new coat and I’m so glad it’s red. I still don’t have a lot of grey in my hair so I’ll wait for that to happen before deciding on what to do. Yours is looking great and you know I’m always honest in my opinions!! Get better soon 💕

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  18. Hi Deb – what I always wonder about is when do ladies start wearing ‘old lady clothes’ – do they just wake up one day and decide to stop wearing jeans and t-shirts (as I do – and want to continue to do!!), and go to the ‘old lady’ clothes shop’!!?

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Deb I loved this post! (And thanks for the lovely link and quote from my post!!) I couldn’t agree more. I actually saw a photo years ago of this cooly elegant woman in a beige twinset with pearls and thought I should try that (why???) and I looked AWFUL! It sucked the colour and life right out of me. The only beige that is allowed near my body is a pair of beige capri pants that I wear with bright tops – I LOVE pink/purple/teal/white – I’m a bit of a citrusy/sherbert girl too. Colour just makes us zing, so why wouldn’t we want to look as bright and beautiful as possible (like you and your sister)? I’m going to fight the grey hair thing too and when I finally have so much that it’s a pain to colour, I’m going to go rainbow – just to mess with my children’s heads 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so happy that you enjoyed my post Leanne. It’s been rattling around in my head for ages now and seeing your post on smiles just gave me the extra push to finish it off. I’m sure there are some women who look great in beige but I’m definitely not one of them, and neither are you by the sound of it! Good on you for wearing the bright colours and covering the grey, I’m with you all the way. Love the rainbow colours 🌈😂

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