‘When I am an old woman I shall wear purple with a red hat which doesn’t go….’ The famous opening lines of Jenny Jones’s, ‘Warning’? . It’s a truly wonderful poem with some unforgettably vivid images, especially the very satisfying line: ‘running my stick along the public railings’.
Yet although I love the poem, Isn’t it time to challenge it? Would our Baby Boomer generation still agree with the sentiment? Is that what a 21st century ‘Old Woman’ wants or needs to be?
‘Making up for the sobriety of my youth’ was the reason Jenny Jones aspired to this. However, when we were teenagers of the 60’s and 70’s, were we sober? Ours – the generation who swooned over Elvis, screamed at The Beatles and Rolling Stones, read Oz Magazine under our desks, watched Woodstock, dabbled later in Punk – and a lot more besides?
We rebelled against the drab, spirit sapping conformity of the 1950’s, which stifled Jenny Jones. We horrified the older generation by wearing teeny mini skirts, (thank goodness tights had just been invented and heavy beige Max Factor Pan Stick on our lips. Then later it was tie dye tops, cheesecloth, loon pants and floppy hats, followed in the 1970’s by bin liners and safety pins. Not to mention other ideas in the poem like picking flowers from other people’s gardens (if you were a flowerchild) and learning to spit (if you were that sort of Punk)! We did pretty much everything in the poem and more besides.
So, if we have already experienced the exhilaration of our own version of ‘Warning’ in the days of our youth, where do we go from here? How to avoid sobriety and invisibility setting in? I don’t have all the answers but there’s plenty of inspiration out there.
So I thought I’d start, like the poem, with the colour purple, as I seem to have acquired quite a bit of. Here are my very conservative attempts. The shoes above are Bottega Veneta: an extravagant pre Christmas present to myself. They are not only divine but also very comfortable, beautifully made and go with everything. The scarf above is Liberty. Light as a cloud and a Christmas present to accompany the shoes.
Purple, my experimenting reveals, goes brilliantly with navy and demin, which is just as well. Have a go. I bet your efforts are better than mine. I’d love to see and I hope this has made you smile.