Aging And Feeling Invisible

The older I get, the more I feel like I’ve disappeared. I notice it especially when I go shopping. There’s a connection between aging and feeling invisible.

I’ll confess, I like clothes. I always have and something tells me, I always will. I like to know what’s new and trendy (for example, floral pants are big this spring) and I get that this comes from some childhood obsession with Barbie.

My Barbies were always wearing coordinated outfits and I made sure their shoes matched their handbags (totally a ’60’s thing!). I tolerated dressing Ken (his darn arm always fell off when I put him in a jacket), but didn’t really care what color shoes he wore. Heck, he didn’t even own socks and my Ken went without socks long before it was cool to dress like Adam Levine. In my world, Ken’s life purpose was to make Barbie look good; he was her ever-present accessory. Inconvenient to dress perhaps, but totally needed for arm-candy.

With thoughts of Barbie floating through my head (would she actually wear floral pants with a raincoat?), I went shopping last week at my favorite store in downtown Seattle. No names, but think about a major retailer in Seattle. Soon I was looking at what’s new and trendy (vetoed the floral pants!). After a half hour of collecting things to try on, I decided to look in the mirror just to see if I really was as invisible as I felt. Nope, I was there. Looked just the same as I had before I left the house; I wasn’t suddenly wearing coffee-stained pj’s.

All around me, sales staff were circulating with a real sense of purpose and they were obviously busy re-arranging all that was new and trendy. But I was invisible. No one offered help or acknowledgement. Physically, I’m not new and trendy anymore; I’ve reached that age of invisibility. It’s happened plenty of times before; I just never thought to actually look for myself in the mirror.

I know I look like an older woman because that’s what I am. In my head, I’m still a youthful, style-conscious, fashion-loving shopper. It always feels a little disappointing. No one likes to be dismissed just because they are older.

I often wonder just how many other women feel this way when they shop? It could get you down if you let it.


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Showing 2 comments
  • Carla

    Beautifully written, Deborah! It’s those salespeoples’ loss. You’d look great in whatever you tried on (even the floral pants!)! 🙂

  • Deborah Williams

    A vote for the floral pants! Hmmm,I may need to re-consider…

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