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Cover Up, Buttercup?

As if older women aren’t already trying to shed their invisibility cloaks, here comes a company saying we should be more modest —unshowy, decorous, decent, seemly, demure, proper.

The Covered Perfectly clothing line proudly proclaims it offers “Modest women’s clothing designed especially for women over 50. Flattering, luxurious and oh so comfortable.” When did 50 become time to cover up?

The website advertises clothes that “cover your décolletage” (that’s cleavage, fyi) and are “perfect for your set of pearls.” So now I’m relegated to my mother’s pearls rather than my thumb ring and silver hoop earrings? Basically, it sounds like we’re being told, “Hon, try not to draw attention to yourself. You really should cover up all you’ve got going on over there. It’s not for public consumption.”

Let me fess up: I stopped wearing sleeveless shirts and dresses—well, sleeveless anything—about 10 years ago, and I haven’t worn a swimsuit in more years than that. That’s been my decision and I own it. But don’t tell me that I should cover up my bat wings or hide the crepe slowly creeping up on my neck. I respect any person’s right to wear what she likes—whatever makes her comfortable—but there seems to be an embedded message here that those of us born in the 1960s or earlier need to “put it away.” And that’s not okay!

–Densie Webb

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