Cher: Mutton Dressed as Mutton

A reader brought up the subject of Cher, and while I’d rather ignore her, the issue of how to age gracefully is never far from my mind.

Regarding Cher and her reprise of the see-through bodysuit, it was horrible and inappropriate the first time around (in 1992?) and it still is today. Who gives a shit if she wears it at 40, 60, or 80 years old? The woman wants to look stupid and embarrassing; She’s Cher! It’s her shtick.

The problem is, we don’t want her influencing other older women who might see this as a green light to Dress As Young as They Feel.   Let us not encourage the tragic notion that age doesn’t matter. When we see a woman who seems blind to her own folly, and I’m talking to you Madge, it’s just sad.

Vivienne Westwood has managed to carry her look into old age, in part because she’s simply a great-looking woman, and because she knows what suits her. Maybe having the hot younger husband helps as well.

But Betsey Johnson makes me feel depressed. She looks like she doesn’t get it. Is she being ironic by looking like she’s nuts, or is she sincere? Patricia Fields is scary looking, but I’m guessing she works hard at being that scary. Pam Hogg looks nuts too, and I’d still like to know how old she is. Her look seems to say, I’m a Rule Breaker, Go to Hell if You Can’t Dig Me.

Most of us, though, have to be willing to accommodate old age into our look. It’s not nice to look 18 from behind and and then give someone a heart attack when you turn around. Half the woman in L.A. are unaware of this simple rule of etiquette. I personally have asked several friends to let me know when I start committing this gaffe but I think they pity me too much to let me have it.

To tell you the truth, now that Patti Smith has dyed her graying hair, I am feeling a bit disoriented.

What is Patti’s message to me? If she’s just saying, Fuck it, Who Wants Gray Hair, then I’m on board. Women who let their hair go gray are so misguided. It’s just bad, and that’s that. They might as well go around screaming I NEED ESTROGEN! (Fine, I have screamed that at my family on a couple of occasions, but that’s because I could feel my estrogen plummeting. They didn’t even need me to tell them, apparently.)

Women whose style is always evolving will probably have the best chance of carrying off old age without evoking pity or shock. Me, I’m in for trouble. My style hasn’t changed, but old women in tight jeans tend to offend me. I’m thinking, oh god, Woodstock is over, lady.

And they’re probably thinking the same thing about me!

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27 Responses to Cher: Mutton Dressed as Mutton

  1. Jill says:

    Really? You don’t want to see Cher in her see thru bodysuit at 80? I do! Just for the pure fun factor.

    I think i’m going to morph into Georgia O’Keefe without the talent when I’m older. Or Millicent Rogers with all of her silver bangles. I don’t have to worry about embarrassing any children.

  2. TobiLynne says:

    Heh, Vivienne’s hair is the same color mine used to be … She looks fantastic in that photo (and always does). I think the key is class. That bodysuit was classless then, and remains so now. Madge never had any class either. Patti and Vivienne have always oozed it, even when they’re rockin’. (But I disagree on the grey hair – I can’t wait until my hair goes grey — I LOVE it).

  3. WendyB says:

    Didn’t Westwood once wear a sheer dress to meet the queen? Also…I NEED ESTROGEN! or maybe just a stiff drink.

  4. annemarie says:

    I agree with TobiLynne– I LOVE long grey hair on a woman I think Patti looks much more stiking and beautiful with it that way.

  5. Jools says:

    I think about age/appropriate stuff way too much…..gray hair looks fab when it’s silver. Patty’s had a bit too much black in it to be pretty- so I support the dye job.
    Vivienne does look stunning….so does her husband. Sister, you will always look great. Long legs never go out of style.

  6. Ann says:

    My former sister-in-law Pam always dresses as a tall, slim 19 year old despite the fact that she is a short, bloated 50 year old, and she has now become our family’s poster child for age-inappropriate attire. I, at age 38, will often try something on and ask, “Is this OK or am I pulling a Pam?” My posse assures me I am not in fact pulling a Pam, but like you, I am not inclined to believe them.

  7. WCGB says:

    I’m developing a business model for an estrogen bar as we speak.

  8. Bex says:

    I look forward to going gray, but not just yet! Although stressors like work and husband seem to encourage their appearance!

  9. hammie says:

    So when do I have to stop wearing jeans and hoodies?

  10. I saw a woman at the mall today who must’ve been 80, wearing a pair of bright turquoise H&M skinny jeans. Oddly, she didn’t look half bad. Better at least than the hoards of pastel sweatsuit-wearers walking the mall in big white sneakers.

  11. Bex says:

    @ Hammie: Never, I hope!! I’m the jeans and hoodie type, too!

  12. Andra says:

    My once jet black hair is now a very short silver grey and I just love it. Simple, elegant and very easy to look after. And I find I can wear colours I couldn’t before.
    Much fun.

  13. HelOnWheels says:

    So many women not realizing that age does matter that you would never run out of material, SW. I’m talking to you, Melanie Griffith.

    I would like to think that when I’m really old and decrepit I will freely wear plaids and florals (and, gasp, maybe even with animal prints) together just because I’m crazy and old. My goal is to be like one of those Parisian old ladies: not a hair out of place, in a crazy-colored skirt suit, a pair of high heels even while having to use a walker, drinking my Cote du Rhone by the barrel with the ubiquitous cigarette hanging out of my red lips. It is a dream. However, I have made arrangements with my family to do the kind thing, in case I turn into Arizona/Florida Old Lady, and transplant me to France (or euthanize me, whatever seems appropriate at the moment).

  14. HelOnWheels says:

    PS – Where can I get me a hot husband like Viv’s? I want one NOW!! Do I have to wait until I’m older?

  15. Aja says:

    I have to say, I always think Vivienne looks scary as shit. The flame red hair makes her look otherworldly. . . but I think that makes me love her more. I do believe though Viv disagrees with the idea of classy vs. unclassy. And if we’re really getting literal, Viv’s probably worn some stuff that people would declare “unclassy”.

  16. Aja says:

    PS – You all must really read her biography. It’s very VERY interesting.

  17. K-Line says:

    Really Cher has been a disgrace since the 60s. She peaked early. And what woman over thirty couldn’t use a shot of estrogen every once in a while?

  18. Winter Bird says:

    Patty Smith is a woman? Who knew?

  19. NOOO, don’t stop wearing skinny jeans! If you look great in them, why stop? Think Chrissy Hynde. And I recently tried to talk my husband in to Sheridan as a baby name, and call her “Sher” for short. Even my argument “Cher from Clueless, not Cher” could sway him.

  20. crocodilian says:

    I agree with the defenders of grey hair! Whenever I think of going grey beautifully, I think of this woman:

    With a dye job, she would have still looked stylish but painfully ordinary, no? The color of her eyes with the grey of her hair is otherwordly!

  21. Sister Wolf says:

    Jill – SHIT, I forgot to worry about embarrassing my kids!!!

    TobiLynne – Please never go gray.

    WendyB- Someone is working on our Estrogen Bar.

    annemarie – Yes, I want Patti’s regular hair back!

    Jools – Oh Jools, if only I could be upside down, then people could admire my legs and not see my face.

    Ann – I can’t wait to say Pulling a Pam!!!!!! I love it.

    WCGB – Wendy and I want reservations.

    Bex- You’d look cute even if you shaved your head, damn you.

    Hammie – I have no idea! Maybe we’re already both Pulling a Pam?!

    Iheartfashion – Well, you have a point.

    Andra – Are you of the lesbitious persuation, by any chance?

    HElOnWHeels- Looking defiantly crazy in that manner is all good! That is my plan as well, only with Mourning gowns.

    Aja – I would say the issue is not class but taste. Vivienne’s taste is perfect! I would love to read her biography.

    K-Line – Please join Wendy and me at the Estrogen Bar.

    fashion herald – Can we run a competition for people to help you with names??

    crocodilian – I would like that woman to dye her hair. But I appreciate you romantic point of view.

  22. Andra says:

    Sister Wolf – I am not remotely lesbitious … I am working on becoming an old virgin.
    However, I will rule out nothing.
    I just haven’t met the right woman yet!

  23. ^^Andra, I’ve been telling my husband that for years.
    And shit, I’m way behind in reading thanks to my preggo mush brain, YESSS to competition for names! As long as, of course, we can chose what the hell we want in the end.

  24. izzy says:

    So you’re saying you’re a lonely fat gay man?

  25. Sister Wolf says:

    izzy – First I need to know what YOU’RE saying with that question.

  26. lol says:

    lol, I like some of the comments on here but I agree with them, this blog seems inappropriate and misguided on so many issues.

  27. Hannah says:

    You’ve obviously got some huge stick up your ass. Cher is Cher. The beauty of her is that she has the courage to still do it. She is a legend and you know what if older women want to feel good about themselves and dress young, the more power to them. Theirs tons of young women out there who obviously didn’t look up to Cher enough because they have no self confidence to wear anything nice, elegant, and sexy. In fact it’s the people like Cher, the believers, the go-getters- and the risk-takers, that have established America as a great country (when it used to be great). It was people like her that came up with the idea of Manifest Destiny, and women like her who established women’s rights. The woman freakin’ revolutionized music AND had two kids along the way. If she wants to wear a see through body suit (and look damn fine in it if I do say so myself) then she can go right ahead and do just that. Does this writer even realize that Cher is a person, oh no I forgot, they’re too busy craping on everybody’s parade.

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