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 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 🙂
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!
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!
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 color beige is neutral, calm, and relaxing. The color beige offers some of the warmth of the color brown and the some of the crisp and coolness of the color white. While it is a relaxing color, beige is often seen as a dull and boring color. 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.
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!!
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