Nora Ephron’s best-seller, “I Feel Bad About My Neck,” is the latest installment of her self-deprecating schtick—employed to such witty effect in earlier journalism. Now that the subject is aging, she turns out to have rather strict views on the subject of what is appropriate, fashion-wise—as she elaborated in an Octover essay in the New York Times.
Nora, I am horrified. You can’t mean it. Do you really think all my clothes are horribly inappropriate, that I should pack them up and send them to somebody younger? Somebody who “would look much better” in them than I do? That when shopping, I should “walk straight to the blacks and browns and not bother with any other section?” You might have come out with this earlier, Nora. Say a year ago. Because that is when, after a long struggle with myself, I started to buy clothes in colors. Before that, it was all black all the time. Black has so much going for it: it’s slimming, it doesn’t show dirt, it goes with itself. You never feel like an Easter egg or a Christmas tree ornament when you’re wearing black.
Still, it’s black. If you’re not a Sicilian widow, consider the rainbow of hues that is open to you. Why not branch out? I thought. If not now, when? So I talked myself into buying a new wardrobe of clothes that were the colors of eye shadow. Not crayon-bright, but not black either. A little more form-fitting, too. I was pleased. It was about time, I figured.
Well, according to Nora Ephron, it’s way past time for us middle-aged women. Face facts, she chides us in the pages of the New York Times Style Magazine. Forget yellow, blue or red. Instead, “you can load up on turtlenecks.”
Thanks for the advice, Nora, but I’ve thought it over and I don’t believe I will purge my closet. So maybe I am “avoiding reality,” as you put it. But whose reality are we talking about? Just who is this disapproving beholder you imagine, the one who’d be scandalized by the sight of an old lady in a red dress? I’d really like to know. Because the way my color palette is brightening up, that could someday be me.