“When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple” Gift Guide

“When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple” Gift Guide

The most popular post on Later Bloomer tells the story of a poem that starts:

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:

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…

I’d say that calls for some heavy-duty slippers!

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.


2 Responses

  1. Renee
    | Reply

    Hi Debra,

    I’ve just begun exploring your site and I know I belong here… A friend asked me if I’d be interested in doing your free Julia Cameron online study group & I jumped at the chance. I took a class w/ Julia at Kripalu in MA ( on The Artist’s Way) & went up to her during a break to tell her that Transitions was my bible during the year my mom passed… She took my hands & looked straight into my soul with those beautiful piercing blue eyes and said, thank you, thank you, thank you!… with such heartfelt sincerity that it brought me to tears. Clearly, we had a “moment”…

    So, that’s the backstory as to why I’m here. I’ve joined this book study group, but I’m having problems getting in. It keeps telling me I have to join to unlock the 1st week’s assignment. I’m meeting my friend tomorrow to discuss… Any ideas why it won’t let me in? You sent me an email to say it was all set. Any help would be very much appreciated. Thanks so much.

    • Debra Eve | @DebraEve

      Hi Renee, I wrote you an email about this yesterday, but it bounced and said “delivery temporarily suspended: lost connection.” So I don’t know if there were technical problems on your side or mine. I noticed tonight that you’ve gotten in, so hopefully, it’s all resolved!

      How lucky you were to meet her! I’ve heard from many people that she’s such a genuine person. Thanks so much for stopping by.

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