By Linda Wallace

Author's thoughts on the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Better With Time Fashion Model

Tomorrow, 149 other semifinalists and I will stride down the runway to compete in the Seattle Macy’s Better With Time Modeling Contest for women 50 and older. Fifteen finalists will be chosen by a panel of judges from Macy’s merchandising and advertising departments and from the Seattle fashion community. The lucky winners will model in the Better With Time Fashion Show in October.

In the preliminary competition we were each required to write a 250 word essay and submit a photo—mine is the one posted here. My sister took it when we traveled to Newport Beach, CA, for my daughter’s wedding. The photographer cut the top of my head off, but I still made it through the first round of applications. Some of you, perhaps most, are now thinking it would have been much better if she’d lopped off my entire head. Too unkind.

It’s a real kick to get a chance to model at the ripe-old-age of 60. When I was a pudgy, bespectacled preteen, I spent hours fantasizing about glamorous photo shoots. I poured over Seventeen imagining myself in all the cutest outfits. Never mind that I wore a size 14 and my grandmother made most of my clothes—puffy cotton print skirts with gathered waistbands and color-coordinated cotton blouses. My mother made me add a pair of corduroy pants under the skirt in January along with an obligatory sweater or two. Winters were cold in Missouri. If someone had told that girl she was going to have to wait until she was middle-aged to audition for a fashion show, she would have been devastated.

Two magazines I’ve read this August have also featured older women in conjunction with style and fashion. Vogue’s cover reads, "Style Secrets From 20 to 93, Dressing Your Age." And sure enough, women representing each decade swan about in gorgeous clothes on the inside glossy pages. Prestigious women, too: Ellen Barkin 52, Nora Ephron 65, Yoko Ono 73, Robin Chandler Duke 82 and Babs Simpson 93. Who could ever have imagined Yoko would make 70? And in cutoff jeans, gloves, tights and high heels? Most of the pieces are interviews, but Nora Ephron writes her own essay, an excerpt from I Feel Bad About My Neck. She is not at all happy about getting older. She will definitely not go gently into that good night.

The other magazine with aging models is AARP. Not surprising, right? The five winners of the Faces of 50+ Real People Model Search were, according to the magazine, "…whisked to New York to appear in ‘Fall Style’…where they got in touch with their inner Armani." AARP’s models included two men. And a $498 sweater by Faconnable paired with $40 Target boots.

I debated at length over whether I should buy new clothes for the audition or wear something I already own. I put off the decision until today when I suddenly rushed to Macy’s to shop. It seemed only fair to reward the store execs in some way for giving me an opportunity to become a fashion diva. I picked out a classy but conservative liz clairborne pantsuit, a size eight, the six was the tiniest bit too snug—my preteen self would have been so envious. In the fitting room I took advantage of those mirrors that show you on all sides to practice my audition poses. I didn’t think I looked too bad, only a little dopey; however, I also noticed when I was changing from one outfit to another that the flesh on my back and belly hung down in folds in a manner remarkably similar to a Shar Pei’s. Sigh. Maybe Nora Ephron is on the right track after all.

Here is my 250-word contest essay. I’ll let you know next week if I’m chosen as one of the fifteen finalists for the fall fashion show.

Better With Time
I’m a sassy, sizzling sixty with the time and self-confidence to enjoy life and style. Try a new look? Why not? Now I have no boss or clients I’m required to impress. If it doesn’t work, it was fun to see myself in a new guise.

I can take the same light-hearted approach to how I use my time. Weight lifting? Sure. Wow, see that biceps definition! Yoga? Can’t do the Wheel yet, but Downward-facing Dog is a snap. Walking? Love it! An hour five days a week keeps my blood pressure and weight down and my health prescription free. Then for a dash of spice, throw in a little biking and swimming.

And speaking of spice, a lifelong passion for reading has segued into writing fiction with two published romances, Special Delivery and Big Bad Wolfe, both released by Wings ePress, and a just-completed mystery tentatively titled Touch of the Devil. Techno-phobia? Not allowed! I designed and maintain a Web site,, to reach out to my readers.

Volunteering warms my heart and allows me to give back to the community that nourishes me. A love for gardening has blossomed into grubbing Himalayan blackberry and ripping out English ivy in our parks and forests as a Washington Native Plant Steward. I’ve grappled with the mysteries of the compass with Boy Scouts and braved an icy plunge into snow-fed streams at Girls Camp. An old lady? No way! Life does definitely get better with an accumulation of wisdom and years.


At 10:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your web site. I hope you are well and your newest grand-daughter is growing by the minute. They are both so anxious. They even have a high chair ready to use. Hope you are having a great day.......Carolyn (pamela's mom)p.s. I think you are awesome and such a role model. Let us know how the modeling turns out. Pam got a great mother-in-law when she got you.

At 2:53 PM, Blogger Linda Wallace said...

Thank you so much! You are so kind. Pamela e-mailed the 4D images. Our granddaughter is gorgeous already. I was so excited to see the pictures. I can hardly wait to see her in person. Thank you for commenting on my blog. Visit again sometime; I post most every Friday.


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