When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
It’s titled “Warning” by Jenny Joseph, who was just 29 when she wrote it (full story here). It inspired Sue Ellen Cooper to found the Red Hat Society, “the place where there is fun after fifty.”
Here’s a whimsical gift guide to inspire you or the exuberant woman you know to make midlife colorful!
When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple…
Who says wearing purple has to be over-the-top? For millennia, it has symbolized royalty and enlightenment. A few tasteful purple pieces anyone would love:
- Paisley Rose Jacquard Scarf, around $20. I own several of these in different colors and use them as part of my office-casual “uniform” with a tee-shirt, a pair of knit slacks, and a cardigan like the one below.
- Plush-lined Winter Gloves that let you use your touchscreen device, less than $10.
- Draped Open Front Cardigan, around $17. Also comes in plus sizes.
With a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me…
All the best hats invoke the romance of another era, don’t you think?
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain…
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and books…
That’s not really how the line goes (it’s actually “brandy and summer gloves”), but I like books better! I could list a dozen books here and maybe someday I will. For now:
When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple, under $10. This is the official gift book edition of the poem. Most renditions you see in print and on the Internet violate Jenny Joseph’s copyright. After I realized that, I sheepishly wrote her publisher for permission to publish “Warning” on my blog. They graciously granted it.
Collected Poems by Jenny Joseph, under $25. This book is rare, so a bit more expensive. But I feel it’s important to support Jenny’s work after all the joy she has given the world.
A Glorious Freedom: Older Women Leading Extraordinary Lives by Lisa Congdon. Disclaimer: Lisa features a quote by me, of which I’m inordinately proud, right in the middle of the book. By that’s not why I recommend it. The title says it all.
Rejected Princesses: Tales of History’s Boldest Heroines, Hellions & Heretics by Jason Porath, a renegade Dreamworks animator who grew weary of all the nicey nicey princesses he brought to life. The artwork is stunning!
Hope you enjoyed this. I hope you don’t mind…I receive a small commission from Amazon for these items that doesn’t affect your cost. I use it to keep Later Bloomer running.