Getting that sine qua non

I’ve nabbed a chunk of my title from this intriguingly exotic and regrettably not friendly-to-my-budget necklace, whose designer borrowed her title from some nice dead Latins. In the design world this is called “precedent” which amuses me no end because in the English class world it’s generally called “plagiarism.”

public service announcement…Latin terms are in the public domain…no intellectual property rights were harmed in the making of this post

Translated with great abrasiveness, sine qua non is what makes things happen and people shine. Without it one can’t have mojo. No lie, no joke. Seriously.

So: Style mojo. COMPLETELY SUBJECTIVE as to who has it and who doesn’t, yes. But as I mentioned in a prior post, I do enjoy women who break cultural rules around fashion. And as I also mentioned in that post, I have a pal—heretofore known as The Gilded Lily—who is incredibly future-oriented despite heading for 70.

Though she’s selective about the trends she wears, Lily dresses “young,” very young. As in frequently I would not be putting my toe in the fashion water she loves splashing around in. Were you to see her from afar, you might think, “Whoa.”

But once you get to know her even a bit, her very conscious decision to ignore many of the rules du jour makes absolute sense. Especially since she’s not delusional about the fact that she dresses quite outside the norm for her age:

I was reading an entry by Simon Doonan in the NY Observer where he says he never imagined as he aged he would become MORE UNRELENTINGLY TRENDY than ever! That describes me perfectly!! He says he probably resembles one of those unfortunate kids with progeria syndrome, that dreadful disease that causes one to wrinkle and age prematurely.

That is how I feel. That my dress of choice is so young that I look like a contrast of opposites…a grape and a prune.”

Ms Half-Grape/Half-Prune Lily fascinates me and invigorates me because she is out and ABOUT in the world. She’s endlessly captivated by the new, the evolving, the capability to take something (an attitude, an object, a neighborhood) from A to Z. If she had money she’d probably be a patroness of the arts, but she’s just an Ordinary Extraordinary.

Refreshingly, she has no desire to be a “wise elder” because she’s too busy learning from those around her. And she doesn’t discriminate: decades younger, her peers, the truly elderly…if it makes her cut it makes her cut.

Am I hinting that those dressing in a more mature or establishment way are stuck or tools of The Man? Nah, or rather not necessarily. For one thing I don’t feel like tarring myself with that particular brush today. For another every snowflake is different etc etc.

It’s just that Lily and I live in a region where the Hiking to the Latte Bar look has a stranglehold. Plus my own style often skews monochromatic and classic–especially in the winter, when I’m apt to look like a cross between a nun and a coal miner. So I take solace in knowing that when she throws on her leggings and lamé, it’s a chance for my horizons to expand right along with hers. I take solace in hanging out with someone who’s blasé about her past because she’s living in the present.

2 Responses

  1. I have a friend who is 81. She isn’t much of a dresser but she is much more alive and forward than some of my 30 something friend.I feel so very lucky to have her in my life.

    Borrowing a Latin term for a title or a mode of dress from a younger demographic is fine as long as you know what the Latin phrase means(oh, how often I have heard them misused) and/or that you aren’t so old that you speak Latin.;-) Good for Ms. Gilded Lily for her forward thinking and for dressing to match who she really is regardless of her calendar age. I suppose it is better to gild the Lily than to die on the vine.

    Lovely ode to the Lily!:-)

  2. “I suppose it is better to gild the Lily than to die on the vine.”

    Hell’s bells, I wish *I’d* written that; The Gilded Lily will love it. Thanks much for stopping by.

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