"I'm going to a party tonight," says a former colleague, retired years ago and now in her late-80's. A friend will drive her.
"It should be fun," I say.
"What's fun is to see my old friends," she replies. "The hostess has been a good friend since grade school and she has this big party every year with friends, their children and grandchildren, who are now teenagers. Actually the younger generation plans most of it."
"What are you wearing?" I ask.
"Don't know, will have to see what's in my closet," she replies.
It's too late for her, but NorthStyle catalog( NorthStyle.com, 800-336-5666) has velvet drape-neck tops ((NA-133 in chocolate or black) with 3/4 length sleeves. For a woman who is physically able to put something with a wide-necked-opening over her hair without messing it up, they would look great over black slacks, pulled together with a jacket. Check out Copper Foil Jacket N4-707 (hand washable).
Serengeti (SerengetiCatalog.com, 800-426-2852) is loaded with holiday and everyday wearable clothing...more than I can begin to name, so you need to check everything out! However, the silver-sequined zipper jacket & velour elasticized drawstring-waist pants set (W9-297) would be great for my former colleague to wear to the party tonight.
Appleseeds (www.appleseeds.com 800-767-6666) has the $79 black velvet jacket MQ1-61F (Misses) MQ1FP (Petite) that is a "must-have" for many--along with attractive pants, shirts, skirts, sweaters, jackets, coats, pant suits--you name it. Definitely check out Appleseeds. You may find something for yourself too!
Lastly, aging/older/old dads. My dad liked to look "sharp," he would say. But I could never figure out exactly what that meant or what to buy. His sister had cornered the pajama gift...at least one new pair a year.
His favorite article of clothing in colder weather was a wool knit, button-down-the-front sleeveless vest. When it was sunny, he wanted cotton long-sleeve shirts to protect his arms from skin cancer when outdoors. He also liked a nice zipper jacket (lightweight for summer, warm for winter), and slacks with an adjustable waistband.
I found the latter (check out 130221 @ $99.50) in The Territory Ahead catalog, which is fairly pricey (territoryahead.com 800-882-4323). Wool knit sleeveless cardigan vests were always fairly expensive but the ones in this catalog aren't the kind he liked. There is, however, a wide variety of zipper jackets. While marketed for much younger men, my dad in his 80's and 90's thought they were just fine--and on him, they were (in fact I still wear his gabardine one with jeans).
Remembering parents' physical limitations and personal preferences (make certain flabby arms are covered), makes gifts of clothing more problematic. Yet if we subscribe to "look good, feel better" it can be worth it, especially for the holidays, as we try to help our parents age well.