Grandma Style: It’s a Dirty Word

Grandma Style: It’s a Dirty Word

I had an interesting experience last week and the longer I reflect on it, the nastier it feels. If you’ve read me for any length of time you won’t be surprised that when I feel angry about something I like to share a small rant here and get your opinion on it.

I spent several days at a business event with women who were all younger than me. That’s not unusual in my business but it can be unnerving.  Most were in their 30’s, some in their late 20’s and one or 2 may have been in their 40’s or 50’s.

We shared a panel to discuss style and fashion in a shopping environment. As the conversations progressed I started tallying how many disparaging remarks were made about “grandma” style. It was made to sound like a fate worse than death.

A dinner conversation turned to how adamant some of their mother’s were that they are never called grandma…ever. They’d chosen other names like Mimi, Gigi, Glamma, etc instead.

When did grandma and granny become offensive titles worthy of contempt?

And just what does grandma style look like? These ladies were talking about frumpy, that dreaded term none of us aspire to. They were categorizing it based on age which is pretty stupid because I’ve seen plenty of frumpy young ladies in my time.

Being young doesn’t mean you’re more stylish or hip. It simply means we’re coming from different places and you’re less experienced. You can may wear higher heels, shorter skirts, and tighter garments but that doesn’t make you superior and it doesn’t make me frumpy.

Even Tim Gunn takes pot shots at grandma style which I find pretty assinine and yet…we all have an image that flashes up when we hear it. Mine is not negative, but then I’m a proud granny and dress with confidence. I’m not offended by the term grandma or granny and hate to hear it being used as an insult.

How about you?

Now for some sale alerts:

Talbots is giving 30% off everything with the code FRIENDS30 at checkout.

Ann Taylor is giving 50% off wear now styles and an extra 50% off sale, no code necessary. Some great velvets are included.

Loft is giving 50% off practically everything and 60% off sale items.

Anthropologie is giving an extra 40% off sale items.

 

What do you picture when you hear the term Grandma style? Is it what your grandmother wore? Is it what you wear? Is it frumpy? Is it insulting?

Thanks for reading ladies and as always, I’d love to get your take on this.

 

Affiliate links within this post may generate income for AWSL.

Follow:

145 Comments

  1. Debbie Carr
    October 28, 2017 / 5:19 am

    You are right, there are plenty of frumpy younger women. I have grey hair and I am 65 but I don’t think I’m frumpy, and I stay conscious of that. I do’t overdue it either.

    • October 28, 2017 / 9:13 am

      There are frumpy dressers at every age! Let’s call it what it is, not granny style

  2. Rachel
    October 28, 2017 / 5:21 am

    I will be a first time grandmother in December. I will be blessed to be called whatever he chooses to call me. I will wear the name hopefully with class and style.

    • October 28, 2017 / 9:14 am

      Huge congratulations Rachel! You’re in for the treat of your life.

  3. Polly Sue
    October 28, 2017 / 5:22 am

    Yes! I”m a young active grandma at 52 and I have asked the kids to just call me Gran or Granny, because all those other cute names seem like trying too hard. Just this morning I was reminded that in our 20s and 30s we worry what others think of us. In our 40s and 50s and we don’t care what other think of us. In our 0s and 70s we realize no one was thinking of us anyway. It doesn’t matter in the end.

    • October 28, 2017 / 9:15 am

      Love this Polly!! You’re spot on!

  4. Priscilla
    October 28, 2017 / 5:28 am

    Totally agree with you!! This hot Granny looks better dressed than many younger women ❤️

  5. Susan Gowan
    October 28, 2017 / 5:29 am

    Thanks for this. I swim with a group of women who are all Grandmas save one. We range 8n age from 65 to 83. One thing I’ve noticed is that we all have our own personal style. And appreciate each other for our individuality. The 83 year old is an aunt who recently went to a family wedding of a granddaughter but was convinced to get a sassier style than the staid grandmother dress from Sears. She chose rainbow colours. Our youngest member who is a Grandma twelve times over always looks pulled together regardless of the occasion and is very fit. The other members fit in between as far as fashion gies and are comfortable in our skins for the most part. I have been told I have a flair for fashion and I think I inherited that from my Mom. Today more than ever we live in a very judgmental society. Good of you to comment on this and make it public.

    • October 28, 2017 / 9:16 am

      Thanks for sharing Susan. We are an awesome demographic I’m proud to be part of!

  6. October 28, 2017 / 5:34 am

    One of my grands was tall and slender but wore her hair teased till the day she died. She dressed very fashionably. I can remember her wearing off white trousers, a navy blue sheer striped blouse and loads of bangles to go out to dinner….My other grandmother was very conventional. I am built like her…short and stout…she only wore pants for gardening and made many of her own dresses and suits…I would be fine with dressing like either of them…I am 60 but no grandchildren yet!

    • October 28, 2017 / 9:31 am

      I never saw my granny in pants. She paid attention to details with her appearance but was quite subdued. She was confident which is the most important thing.

  7. October 28, 2017 / 5:44 am

    I actually wrote Project Runway and Tim Gunn last year about the fact they use “grandma” to define bad fashion designs. I don’t have a problem with FRUMPY, but defaming grandmothers is a whole different concept. Thank goodness bloggers like us are changing that discussion, by encouraging grandmothers to look and feel our best. But we need to support each other and take a stand with younger bloggers and fashion industry professionals like those with Project Runway and tell them to stop using Grandmothers as a description for bad fashion. Shame on them. Shows that they do not understand what is happening with today’s Baby Boomer generation…we are more active, healthier, living longer, and spending money more than generations before us….and we are in style. What would happen if suddenly bad fashion was descriped as “so-millenial.” They would have a cow. Come on grandmothers…let them know we don’t appreciate it or accept it. They should not use us as a way to describe fashion that doesn’t work. Just say it’s frumpy or out of date…that is enough. Leave grandmothers alone!

    • October 28, 2017 / 9:33 am

      I totally agree Pam!! Good for you writing to them. Let’s call it what it is!

    • IamBEV
      October 28, 2017 / 3:15 pm

      I am in total agreement with Pamela’s comment here…These millenials need to stop their negative references to grandparenthood…One thing is for certain, most of them will be at this age at some point, and I dare to say that most will be “over the top” grandmothers just like we are!!! Thanks for reminding these younger ladies that we have many fine attributes and disposable income that pays for a LOT of clothing items. All the best to every grandmother (and grandfather) out there!!

  8. Linda
    October 28, 2017 / 5:49 am

    Oh boy, do I hate this term too. Because honestly, nothing looks worse than a woman who tries to dress like a younger woman (we also all know that image, don’t we). Aging has nothing to do with style, you can get it at any age, but it is not related to age. It is related to dressing in a way that is attractive, does the most for you personally, and gives you a sense of confidence. No matter what your grandchildren call you, you can be stylish and confident by choosing clothes that suit you!

    • October 28, 2017 / 9:34 am

      Exactly Linda! Thanks for saying it so eloquently.

  9. Michelle Robinson
    October 28, 2017 / 5:50 am

    I am well into my 50’s and I try to be stylish. I am surrounded by women of many ages that are supportive and positive. I remember when I was young and my grandmother was alive, she was not the frumpy one. She couldn’t leave the house without her hat, jewelry and bag just so. Now, the hat may have been one that she crocheted and the jewelry not expensive but she put out an confident attitude with what she had. That’s how I want to present myself. And when its time for me to be called “Grandma” (no hopes yet), I will be very proud. Thank you for helping to encourage confidence and promote style for us experienced ladies!!

    • October 28, 2017 / 9:37 am

      My pleasure Michelle. Thanks for reading and sharing.

  10. Deb Meyer
    October 28, 2017 / 5:54 am

    I am a very proud Grandma who loves fashion and loves to dress. I dress for myself and nobody else. I wear clothes that are classic in style, timeless, but with a bit of an edge. I dress to make me feel confident & polished and I don’t care what others think. At this point in my life, 64, I do what I want to do and what makes me feel good!

    • October 28, 2017 / 9:37 am

      Yay Deb! I love to hear that

  11. Kate Budacki
    October 28, 2017 / 5:54 am

    Great post. I turn 70 today, so yes this is on my mind. What my friends mean when we label something Gramma Style is how OUR grandmothers would have looked. And then we have a riotous conversation comparing ourselves and our wardrobes, makeup, and perfume to what our grandmothers wore. I remember Evening in Paris Perfume and nylons rolled up into garters. And that was when she was in her 50s! So much has changed. Her image is always floating in the back of my mind. I am 70, but sweet as she was, you’d never mistake us.

    • October 28, 2017 / 9:39 am

      Happy Birthday Kate!! Thanks for sharing.

  12. Debbie
    October 28, 2017 / 5:57 am

    I was thrilled when my first grandchild called me Nannie. I find that dressing classy makes me feel good and shows that I have happy with this wonderful time in my life. You are so right that there are certainly younger women that dress frumpy. Don’t you find that our younger generation look down on us and have no respect. I admire your sense of style and look forward to all the wonderful and stylish outfits you share and great advice you pass to all of your readers. Thank you and you are a beautiful Grandma!

    • October 28, 2017 / 9:40 am

      Thank you Debbie! We’re all in this together and women should support one another.

  13. Linda
    October 28, 2017 / 6:26 am

    Hi Jennifer, in my experience, people don’t suddenly change as they age. Women with style, stay stylish. Frumpy young women become frumpy older women.
    I can remember as a child thinking, “at what age do women start carrying Grandma purses and wearing Grandma shoes, etc, etc”. I thought there was this scary moment in time when everything automatically changed. Stylish mentors were few and far between in my life.
    One of my good friends is in her late 70s. She’s been my style icon forever. She’s probably going to see this since she too follows your blog. She continues to inspire me and since she’s a decade older than me I know for a fact we don’t suddenly turn into frumps. She has a great granddaughter, is not afraid of being called Grandma, and will inspire that generation too.

    • October 28, 2017 / 9:44 am

      Women can also learn to change their style and I think that can be very empowering. I love women inspiring others!

  14. J.Smith
    October 28, 2017 / 6:27 am

    I’m not sure what “grandma style” is supposed to look like. I think of my mother. She was close to 90 when she passed away. She was a tall slender mother of six ,as well as a grandmother and great-grandma of several. She always dressed stylishly yet in comfortable clothes. Her friends also dressed appropriately for whatever they were doing. Age has nothing to do with style!

    I love the way you dress so keep your blog going and showing what you are wearing. I take inspiration from you.

  15. Cindy
    October 28, 2017 / 6:28 am

    Amen!!! I have 2 step daughters with children, so I knew I would be last to be “labeled”. When it got to me, I was “Grandma”. Yea!!!! All other mothers chose those play words and I was thrilled that I could be Grandma. That’s a proud and wonderful person to be!

    • October 28, 2017 / 9:47 am

      This brought a smile Cindy! You are indeed lucky:)

  16. Betsy
    October 28, 2017 / 6:33 am

    Jennifer, I agree with you that “granny” style infers frumpy; I used to work on a college campus, and let me tell you — frumpy was rampant among the students (how else can you describe it when they wear pajama pants and tee shirts to EVERY class). I’m a proud new Nana and I hope my granddaughters remember me as fun, fit, and fashionable:).

    • October 28, 2017 / 9:49 am

      So true Betsy! Some wear pajamas to travel by air. Great style has no age limit and classy is available at any stage of life.

  17. October 28, 2017 / 6:36 am

    Hi Jennifer,
    A quick share.
    I attended a “Cher” concert in August.
    She is amazing!
    In her opening monologue, she discussed her career, where she started and where is she now. Also, the fact that she is 71 years old. The crowd started clapping. She stopped them. “It is what is , referring to age, glad to be here. And then she stated that she had just won a bet that she could hold a plank for 5 minutes.
    Then abruptly turning on her heel and heading off stage, she said over her shoulder, “AND WHAT IS YOUR GRANNY DOING TONIGHT?”
    As you can imagine the crowd when wild!

    Referring back to your group, What was their Granny doing that day?
    We all know one Granny who was right in the middle of the group, keeping up with them every step of the way!
    Congratulations , Jennifer for being an inspiration!

    “WHAT’S YOUR GRANNY DOING TONIGHT? ” has become my new mantra.

    One proud Nana, (my boys other Grandmother is Grandma because she had grandchildren first)

    Rosemary Davis
    Distinctly Southern Style

    • October 28, 2017 / 9:51 am

      I love that Rosemary! She is and always has been amazing. My mother was riding a motorcycle at 70 and inspiring.

  18. Donna
    October 28, 2017 / 6:38 am

    Boy, am I glad I’m seventy years old and have some common sense and consideration. Did these young upstarts explain what they meant by “granny” style or were they just parroting what someone else said? Frumpy isn’t necessarily a label for the gals who are of a certain age or have grandchildren. As for the term frumpy, I totally agree with you…I have seen some “really, did you look in the mirror?” outfits on younger gals. Actually, that attitude is really rich since Pinterest and the internet show young women dying their hair gray. I am very proud to be called Mamaw. Do these women really fear aging so much they are trying to disguise it by choosing a cutesy name instead of what they actually are? I share your indignation and I wasn’t even there…ha! This post should start a good discussion. Have a lovely weekend. xoxo

    • October 28, 2017 / 8:47 am

      Spot on Donna! Thank you.

  19. October 28, 2017 / 6:41 am

    Don’t get me started. I’m honored and lucky to be a grandma. I don’t think I’m frumpy at all. But if I were I earned it. How dare anyone put me down. I’ve heated even oprah disparage grannies. I get furious. So with you jennifer.

  20. October 28, 2017 / 6:49 am

    I understand exactly how you feel and even wondered (when I saw your IG story, I think it was), how you were faring in a ‘young’ crowd. I’m glad you went as a stylish rep of our generation! In time those women – if they are lucky – will grow to be our age and will feel exactly as we do when others disparage them simply because they are of a certain age. Karma. 🙂

    • October 28, 2017 / 8:50 am

      Thanks Ann. Karma is always listening.

  21. Harr
    October 28, 2017 / 6:49 am

    Maybe you should suggest to the meeting plannners of these events that there should be one session on proper terminology. Singling out older women is in poor taste. I am a grandmother who reads blogs written by young women but know what is age appropriate. And while you are making suggestions, a grammar session would help many of them improve their writing skills.

    • October 28, 2017 / 8:52 am

      Lol. Great idea Harr. I did give feedback to the management team less than 24 hours after the event!

  22. L. Wise
    October 28, 2017 / 6:52 am

    Well spoken. I understand completely. I believe your comments reflect what many of us feel. The term “Granny Style” has indeed become a derogatory term.
    To me “Granny Style” is head to toe polyester, ill fitting undergarments, a pullover knit top that is too short before it rolls up in your fleshy rolls, tee shirts with cute little things embroidered on the front, blouses that look like the maternity smocks of the old days, someone who doesn’t dress in their color range of flattering colors, with a 20 pound purse full of JIC’s (just in case items), and SAS like shoes.
    In full disclosure: I will soon be 74, I am a larger person. I am very healthy and walk daily at a quick pace. Get frequent compliments on my grey hair. I am not what some people would call stylish because I don’t dress in fads and am careful with trends. Classics are my preference. My everyday style is “neat and clean” but I enjoy stepping out of my box and dressing up in what is attractive and best for me.
    .

    • October 28, 2017 / 8:53 am

      Good for you!! I love this. Thank you for sharing!

  23. Wendy
    October 28, 2017 / 6:54 am

    Ohh… steam is coming out my ears now! I’m with you, Jennifer. I may not be a granny, but I am of of that age group, and if some young thing disparaged me, and my style, in that way, I’d blow a gasket!

    We are stylish (not trendy), comfortable (not frumpy), confident (don’t need to dress sexy to be admired), experienced, wise, and appreciative of quality. We do not have to prove or empower ourselves by putting others down.

    And those of us who are in this age bracket will understand when I say “I am WOMAN, hear me roar..”

  24. Lori McClintick
    October 28, 2017 / 7:08 am

    I am an extremely proud 63 year-old grandma of four with two more on the way who loves to be called “Grandma” or “Ammaw” by our grandson wh can’t pronounce Gs yet. I try to dress stylishly as I always have and enjoy fashion and syle. I enjoy receiving compliments on my style. Many people are ignorant about age as they are about race, ethnicity, religion, etc. It is interesting that those who demand “tolerance” often feel totally free to redicule others’ age and religion. I wish the “Grandma” style comments had been addressed, but the “tolerant” intoleratnt may not have taken it well.

    I truly enjoy your blog.

  25. Leslie Cambre
    October 28, 2017 / 7:09 am

    This made me laugh! I am in my early fifties with younger children. Most of my friends already have a grandchild or two. I figured by the time I have grandchildren, I want to be called grandma! HA!

  26. Maria Wakeford
    October 28, 2017 / 7:38 am

    I am turning 70 on my next birthday. I am reasonably fit and in shape. I have a good sense of style and willingness to put some effort into my appearance. That kind of attitude has been my style all my life, no matter my age. I must admit that I, too, referred to older women as having “old lady” style….’gramma’ style. I need to change my terminology.

    Age doesn’t determine one’s style sense at all. It’s time society, each and every one of us, recognizes that.
    Style sense is ageless!

    • October 28, 2017 / 8:56 am

      Excellent point Maria. Style has no age

  27. Christine Jasper
    October 28, 2017 / 7:45 am

    I am 60 years old, grandmother of 12, great grandmother of 2 and I am proud to be called grandma. I do not dress frumpy but dress what I like to think is classic. I want to always look put together not like it is an after thought when I go out the door. I don’t do it for others I do it for myself. Except for a few times when I have been ill, I get up everyday and put on my makeup and dress in an outfit that was thought about beforehand even if I am going out to rake leaves. This is my time of life to do those things that I want to do and I want to look and feel confident while I am doing it. If anything I am more interested in fashion now then when I was younger and had less time to think about it. I follow the trends and if they are appropriate I buy a piece or two. My heels might be lower now but my confidence is not. As for those grandkids, there is nothing sweeter than hearing those voices call me grandma. They can call me anything they want as long as they still call me.

    • October 28, 2017 / 8:59 am

      This brought a tear to my eye Christine. Thank you

  28. Becky
    October 28, 2017 / 7:46 am

    I have to admit that I am guilty of using that term, looking like a grandma, when I really meant frumpy!!!(and I’m a 67 year old, very proud to be Grammy) You are so right! Thank you, for Speaking up. I will no more use that term.

    • October 28, 2017 / 9:00 am

      Thanks for sharing Becky!

  29. Ann Stevenson
    October 28, 2017 / 7:59 am

    When I think of Grandma, I think of individuals, including my mother,my grandmas and my great-grandma. Each of these women had her own individual style, and they always looked stylish within their own means. I don’t like to type cast anyone in any way and prefer to be interested in who she/he is. Having recently joined the 3/4 century club, I am grateful for your column, which gives me creative ideas, and for living in an era where I can freely choose comfortable, stylish clothing that I feel good in.

    • October 28, 2017 / 9:01 am

      My granny’s were so distinct and very special women. Thank you for sharing.

  30. Carolyn
    October 28, 2017 / 8:01 am

    I’m proud to be Mamaw to 5 grandchildren. My 15 year old granddaughter tells me I’m trending. Makes me happy.

  31. Eileen Ternullo
    October 28, 2017 / 8:14 am

    My Grandmother wore, dresses, small heels, jewelry, hair and makeup done. Mother wore, polyester elastic waist pants, printed poly top, no makeup, flats. Young gals now: yoga outfits, jeans, tees, hair in top knot, minimal makeup, Uggs, tennis shoes flip flops, boots, and a “great” bag. What would I like to see less of in older gals style, tent shaped tops, Merrell, and Sketcher shoes, Cargo pants, beadazzeled / sparkly clothes/ bags, LARGE prints. And casual clothes looks with “work appropriate ” jewelry, makeup, hair, nails, just looks strange to me if not done right. We are all guilty of strange fashion choices. I want to be a interesting, fascinating older lady, closer to the French style, grandmere, if possible. love your blog.

    • October 28, 2017 / 9:06 am

      I agree, we all make unique fashion choices. Some for medical reasons (shoes) some for lifestyle but feeling confident is the very best thing we can wear.

      • Eileen
        October 28, 2017 / 10:58 am

        Got to thinking… Granny clothes, could be a term used for ” not current”, not bought recently? The term ” granny clothes” in an of itself, is dated, and not current. ha, ha 🙂

        • October 28, 2017 / 11:49 am

          You’re right Eileen!! It is dated:)

  32. Annette Harrison
    October 28, 2017 / 8:20 am

    I am called Granny by my 3 year old granddaughter and I love it. I am 73 years old & consider myself a “hip” granny when I dress. I wear blazers, jeans with decorations &classic clothes.

    So I don’t consider “Granny Clothes” in my vocabulary. “Grandma clothes is what my Grandma wore a long time ago.

    • October 28, 2017 / 9:06 am

      I like to think I’m hip too!

  33. Gail Schwartz
    October 28, 2017 / 8:34 am

    Nothing thrills me more than when my granddaughter calls me Grandma. I lived a long time without this joy.

    You are right…it has nothing to do with my age or how I dress. In fact, since I have been following you, I look a lot more stylish! And I am 70.

    • October 28, 2017 / 9:07 am

      Yay Gail! It does warm my heart too!

  34. Rosemary Burrows
    October 28, 2017 / 8:36 am

    Well, I’m a grandma of three and I don’t feel like I’m “grandma style”. I live in nuu-muus and leggings or shorts. If that’s “grandma style” then so be it; I’m happy with it and that’s all that matters. My nuu-muus take me from the gym, swimming, kayaking, hiking to shopping and even out to dinner.

    • October 28, 2017 / 9:08 am

      Bravo Rosemary. I love your confident attitude!!

  35. Joanna
    October 28, 2017 / 8:44 am

    I’m so sorry that happened during your event. It was at the very least insensitive of those younger ladies to speak disparaging of us grammas. While there are many older women who seem to discontinue caring about fashion, there are many young who dress terribly wrong. Fashion sense is not a given at any age.
    I’m a gramma eight times over and love it.
    A proud Gramma! 😄

    • October 28, 2017 / 9:09 am

      So true Joanna! Great style and dressing fashionably is not age dependent.

  36. Jill
    October 28, 2017 / 8:45 am

    There is a fear of growing old that is pathetic. If they are fortunate, those younger women you mentioned will be old themselves one day and will find out that age has many rewards. To each her own. I have been Grandma for years now and love it. Am I “frumpy”? No doubt at times, but so what? Each day is a gift and a chance to learn.

    • October 28, 2017 / 9:10 am

      I so love your attitude Jill!!!

  37. Mindy
    October 28, 2017 / 8:45 am

    I am a 65 yr old grandma and I do dress frumpy-at home. When I go out however I always try to dress stylishly even if its just grocery shopping. I am proud to be a grandma and a great grandma. I feel if someone doesn’t like how I am attired, its their problem.

    • October 28, 2017 / 9:12 am

      Congratulations! Great grandma! Go you

  38. Carol Harris
    October 28, 2017 / 9:11 am

    I’m a Nana to 11 of the best grans….and when I think of ‘Grandma style,’ I see a loving face, open arms, ears that can listen without any judgement and encouraging words being spoken. I see a wisdom that comes from not seeing what someone wears on the outside as much as who someone is in their truest heart. Thank you for this post. We all need to be re-centered in what’s really important.

    • October 28, 2017 / 9:53 am

      Yes, yes, yes! That’s what I aspire to be for my grandson. Open arms and love without question.

  39. Sandy
    October 28, 2017 / 9:11 am

    Oh boy did you ever hit the nail on the head !! I’m 68 a proud Grammy and so offended with the “Ageism” I see all around me! In most of the ads on tv, if tour 60 or older, it’s ok to portray you as a bumbling idiot. It’s ok for comedians etc. to portray me as an idiot or worse. Can you imagine what an upheaval there would be if one of the minority’s were portrayed according to past ideas that people have of them…….enough complaining, I’m just grateful that this Ageism is coming to light !!

    • October 28, 2017 / 9:54 am

      So true Sandy. We need to speak with our dollars and not give those brands our money!!

  40. Debi
    October 28, 2017 / 9:17 am

    I am the proud Grammy of 5 soon to be 6! I’m all about being a part of the solution to a problem. My grandchildren will have the memory of a denim, tennis shoe, flip flop wearing, paddle boarding, classy, fun Grammy that plays in the dirt with trucks and plays dolls and has camping sleepovers on the living room floor but can dress to the nines and go out with Grandpa! Standing up and being proud of our age (62) our hair (red with nature’s highlights) is the best way to combat negativity of a frumpy Grammy. I personally would not want to go back – I love who I am and all the facets of who I am. Including the blessing of being a Grammy. Perception changes Amaya take time but our grandchildren will have a different memory of what a Grammy is.

    • October 28, 2017 / 9:56 am

      I love this Debi! You sound awesome. Thanks for sharing.

  41. Cindy
    October 28, 2017 / 9:36 am

    I will take a well dressed “Granny” over a 20 something “Let’s wear our pajama pants out to dinner” any day. I love clothes and fashion, always have and even though we don’t wear the same clothes, it makes me so proud when my 18 year old granddaughter says she gets her fashion sense from ME. Now that’s Grandma Style!

    And I love your rants. They always make me think

    • October 28, 2017 / 9:57 am

      Yay Cindy!! I’m with you and way to go!:)

  42. Kathleen O'Brien
    October 28, 2017 / 9:37 am

    Not having children of my own, I won’t ever be a “grandma” – but am happy to be a “auntie” to many of my friends and family members children. While I may be an old biddy to some – I certainly don’t dress like that or behave like an old lady – and probably, I hope, never will. I’m not ever going to give up on looking the best I can and hopefully be age appropriate. I don’t want to ever wnat to be seen as “mutton dressed as lamb”. But I really don’t worry about folks that want to judge me or others and just try to focus on being my best.

    • October 28, 2017 / 9:59 am

      Such a great point Kathleen. Dressing our best is the confidence builder and keeps us young at heart.

  43. Cheryl Ann
    October 28, 2017 / 9:41 am

    Jennifer, this is my annoyance too…since when is grandma a derogatory term. It’s like the BIGGEST INSULT! People would rather be called a bitch than a grandma. I simply do not understand. I have four grandchildren and have been a grandma since I was 50 years old. I wouldn’t want to be called anything but Grandma. It is the sweetest relationship of my life and I’m also better dressed now, because I can afford it. I’m not sending kids to college, and putting braces on their teeth, their parents do that. One happy stylish grandma…

    • October 28, 2017 / 10:00 am

      Great point Cheryl Ann! We have the time and money to dress to please ourselves now.

  44. October 28, 2017 / 9:43 am

    I love how you spotted this social prejudice against older women! This “rant” as you called it I actually a healthy observation and you are speaking out against it, which needs to be done. Kudos to you! I have the picture of the “old Grandma” in my mind as they referred to it (my beloved Grandma, old neighbors when I was growing up) but it seems to me that is fading as women continually improve their self-worth and modernize. As you said, it comes down to being frumpy…but I can’t think of any words used against the young frumpy, and the old frumpy mostly comes from a fear of age and what it means to grow older in our society. All of it probably happens because of insecurity. So I say: women, young and old, need to appreciate their true selves 😉

    Angie

    • October 28, 2017 / 10:01 am

      So true and we need to support one another!

  45. Debora
    October 28, 2017 / 9:44 am

    I am a 60 year old grandmother. I am called Mimi. My grandmother was called Mimi so it is not just for people who are uncomfortable with the aging process.
    I wonder if some of us are just being overly sensitive to a simple descriptor that everyone can understand.
    Most people do not mean to offend. I think a simple reminder to the younger women that we the older women would like to redefine “granny” fashion.
    Lets find a kind way not angry way to change what we do not like!

    • October 28, 2017 / 10:04 am

      Many people use family names too. My grandson couldn’t pronounce granny for a long time so we waited. I could have stuck with gammy but I wanted to hear granny, which is what my children used and I used growing up. It felt right and I’m so glad I waited. He’s the light of my life

      • October 28, 2017 / 10:22 am

        My DIL thought she’d have her first grandchild call her Gammy. It came out as Mammy. She decided to let the child call her what she would and ended up as Nai Nai.

        My own grandchildren call me Grandmother. The first one chose it after his Mom would say “We’re going to see the Grandmother” in the way that Clara and Heidi went to see ‘The Grandfather’ in the movie Heidi.

        The only garment that I think of as ‘granny style’ is a long flowing flannel nightgown. Most of the grandmothers I know wear pants.

        • October 28, 2017 / 10:45 am

          Most every woman I know wears pants, I think it’s a sign of the times. I had a girlfriend who called her’s grandmother and I thought it sounded quite elegant. Those nightgowns:)

  46. October 28, 2017 / 9:49 am

    I am 65 years old and I have just returned to work due to a critical teacher-librarian shortage. Some of my colleagues are in their twenties. I think that I have developed a sense of myself that is congruent to my age and body shape. It’s different from a younger woman’s style but I still get compliments. I like that but for some women (of any age) “style” is irrelevant so if they are free and strong-minded enough to dress as they wish, that’s great. An advantage to being older is to have gained self-awareness.

    • October 28, 2017 / 10:06 am

      Yes! Self awareness and acceptance of others is often a benefit of age. We are just more experienced.

  47. Penelope
    October 28, 2017 / 9:57 am

    Well let me be the voice of dissent here. The term does not offend me. There are so many things to be upset about but this is not one for me. It is a kind of short hand term that refers to a cliche but we all get the picture when we hear it. I am a proud Oma because my step kids who grow up in Germany made me one and termed me so.
    Lighten up ladies and rock your style with a smile.

    • October 28, 2017 / 10:12 am

      That’s a cute name! Perhaps I didn’t explain it properly. The short hand term “granny style” was used in a derogatory manner which insulted older people.

  48. October 28, 2017 / 10:08 am

    I have three small grandchildren 7yrs, 4yrs, and 2 yrs. All boys. I do a lot of babysitting and looking after them so I guess what I wear is classified as “grandma style!” They all call me Granny which I love.

    • October 28, 2017 / 10:19 am

      Why is it classified as granny style?

  49. Tracey
    October 28, 2017 / 10:44 am

    I agree completely! I decided to go back to collage late in life (my 40’s), & often I am the oldest student in my class. I don’t love that I am so much older than the other students, but I am certainly not dressing like the younger students. They look thrown together like they just rolled out of bed, which is probably exactly what they did. I don’t see much effort on the part of these young ladies in their prime. I guess they don’t care. A lot of looking good is taking time to be well groomed & I see that being lost on a lot of the youth today. So, it is ironic to me that older women are compartmentalized into a category that doesn’t have any validity. These “Grandma’s” they are referring to were probably frumpy in their youth too, & they have just gotten older.

    • October 28, 2017 / 10:47 am

      Good for you Tracey! I also think they are afraid of age which is such a blessing.

  50. Judy
    October 28, 2017 / 10:49 am

    I am super proud to be called Grandma. I think people that talk about others and call them “Grandma style” would talk about other people no matter what. Everyone has there own style young and old. I’m a blue jeans Grandma that lives on a farm. I also think it is insulting, I totally agree with you. I look at the new fashion cloths coming out and the cloths and shoes are just like what my Grandma used to wear. I laugh…

    • October 28, 2017 / 11:48 am

      You’re right Judy! I remember when block heels came back they looked exactly like what my granny wore. I’m a firm believer in supporting other women’s fashion choices, no matter what…just don’t insult us.

  51. Allison
    October 28, 2017 / 11:05 am

    Jennifer this must have been exasperating for you…you are too polite!! If it had been me there would have been a verbal smack down right there! Although I really can’t relate to “grandma style”! When I think of my own grandma, well, she had a cigarette in one hand and a martini in the other..or a fishing rod ( fishing was her passion) My own mother is 91 and a doppelgänger for Iris Apfel and feels she is not yet ready to be a great grandmother!! I am 62 and will be a first time grandmother in the next week or so. There are a number of grandma’s and great grand ma’s, mémères and pépères so my husband will be Père and I will be Ba( Gujarati for grandma, my own GG was born in India)
    At 62 I wear my (dyed) hair in a ‘messy’ bun, high black boots, black leggings, cashmere sweater, nobody I work with is over 50!! They usually ask where I buy my clothing … I like the writer above who is proud of her moo-moos and finds them to work for her…you go girl! What that lady is saying is this” what you think of me is none of my business, I am happy in my skin.” We would ALL be happier if we repeated that to ourselves regularly.
    May I say that there is absolutely nothing better at sniffing out a ‘poseur’ or mimicking a prissy female relative ( even a Grand mère:) than a small child…kids keep you real. I was 42 when I had my second son, that millennial child is very good at calling out any baloney as is his five years older brother…hahaha I have been on the receiving end …they take no prisoners.

    • October 28, 2017 / 11:52 am

      I love this Allison! Your grandma sounds like an awesome lady. Kids always call it like it is which is so refreshing. Honesty served with innocence and kindness. Congratulations!! You are going to be sooo happy.

  52. October 28, 2017 / 11:10 am

    Judging from the huge number of comments, you struck a nerve! I am turning 73 in a couple of days. I have four children, who thought the world needed more of our clan, so gave my husband of 56 years and me 21 grandchildren! We are very PROUD to be called grandpa and grandma! As for style, I dress much like you do Jennifer. I try to stay up with trends that don’t make me look foolish like I’m trying to look 18! I’m afraid I can’t purchase from many retail stores, but if you look hard enough, you can find classic styles at consignment and thrift stores. I appreciate your help in keeping us up to date as to what is trending and how to make it work at 73!

    • October 28, 2017 / 11:54 am

      Wow, Doris, that’s fantastic. I can’t imagine the delight of having that many grandchildren. You are truly blessed. Thanks for being here and sharing.

  53. beth byrd
    October 28, 2017 / 11:36 am

    At the risk of sounding too political, I think the term “granny” being synonymous with “frumpy” was just another form of sexism. If you weren’t young (aka sexy) then you were an old granny (not attractive to men) and should just fade away. Fortunately, we now live in time where that mindset is changing (although not quickly enough). A woman’s worth is no longer determined by her age or sex appeal. Women of all ages are of value and have something to contribute to this world. It is important to me to look and feel my best, and I was lucky to be raised by a strong woman who had the same mindset. It’s exciting to me to be part of this generation of women 50+ who are stepping forward with confidence, grace and strength. We are proud to look and feel our best — no matter our role in life.

    • October 28, 2017 / 11:56 am

      Good point Beth. It’s not just ageism it is sexism which we can all do without. The older I get the less tolerant I become of injustice. As a previous reader said this, Here us roar!!

  54. Jane
    October 28, 2017 / 12:35 pm

    What makes me angry about this is that it’s ageism, pure and simple. Even worse, the term is used by young ladies to disparage a generation that really worked hard to pave the way for them to make it on their terms. I could write volumes, but instead I will just keep on enjoying what I do (I have a creative tech job, and sadly, that fact just amazes the young ladies I encounter), and continue to be true to myself, which I have done for 60+ years.
    Sighhhhh.

    • October 28, 2017 / 1:16 pm

      Excellent point Jane! We blazed trails for these young gals.

  55. Katherine
    October 28, 2017 / 1:11 pm

    Being a grandma to six is my favorite role yet. I had a successful career in finance but my family is my most important possession. I’m tired of women who won’t admit to what they are. Always wanting to be younger etc. be who you are. 60,70 grandma-granny Dress comfortable and stylish. Stop judging and live your lives

  56. Trish Hertsgaard
    October 28, 2017 / 3:11 pm

    I can’t wait to be a grandmother! There are bad dressers at every age. We should simply refuse to call it anything other than bad dressing! My friends who are already grandmothers are embracing this stage of life with elegance, grace and have remained very fashionable. I think we can admire each generation’s fashion style and leave the “granny” or “frumpy” label out of the discussions.

    • October 29, 2017 / 8:38 am

      I agree wholeheartedly Trish! It has nothing to do with age.

  57. Connie Miller
    October 28, 2017 / 3:53 pm

    Frumpy is nothing more than an attitude. Age has nothing at all to do with class or style. I think maybe these women are just too young to be smart enough to know better yet!

    • October 29, 2017 / 8:40 am

      Agreed! Frumpy is a look not an age!

  58. Julie from Mel
    October 28, 2017 / 5:37 pm

    Wow,what a response to your article!I immediately thought of the quote “youth is wasted on the young”.I wonder how these young ones will handle getting older,having children and possibly grandchildren.Hopefully they lose their condescending attitudes and realise there is more to life than “me,me,me”. I am sure people come up with these derogatory terms to make themselves feel better and more important.Social media has got a lot to answer for when it comes to judging others.
    You are a shining example of being a stylish and vivacious grandmother.Hold your head high. xxx

    • October 29, 2017 / 8:42 am

      Thanks Julie! I think social media fostered criticism which them leaks into real life. Women need to support each other at all ages!!

  59. Cynthia
    October 28, 2017 / 5:57 pm

    My mother, stylish all her life, passed away last year aged 91. We went shopping a few weeks before she passed, and we went into a store she often frequented. She went in, looked around, said, “These are all old lady clothes,” turned and walked out. She was a great-grandmother and was never frumpy. Like you and many of the commenters, I LOVE being a grandma. I think I am just as stylish now, at 67, as I ever was — perhaps more stylish as I am eager to try ideas I get from style blogs like yours!

    • October 29, 2017 / 8:45 am

      Your mom sounded like quite a gal Cynthia! I think I’m more stylish now because I have more time and desire. Being stylish raises my confidence level and that’s priceless.

  60. October 28, 2017 / 6:50 pm

    Becoming at grandmother at 56 was so exciting for me and I became Grandma Nana while the other grandmothers became Grammy and Grandma because they already had older grandkids. Now, at 70, I am Grandma Nana to 2 grandsons, Nana to 2 granddaughters and Grandma to 1 grandson. I don’t care what they call me as long as they call me. My philosophy is that age is more of an attitude than anything else. Wear what you like, no matter what style is it. Be comfortable and be true to yourself and your lifestyle.

    • October 29, 2017 / 8:49 am

      So many ladies have commented exactly as you have “I don’t care what my grandchildren call me, as long at they call me”. Tuer words were never spoken!! Thanks Norma. You are blessed to have so many.

  61. Stephanie
    October 29, 2017 / 7:53 am

    Hi Jennifer. I’m a new fan of yours at 52 and really love the styles you present! Great inspiration!! More importantly, my mom still has amazing style at 79 and is so proud to be called Grammy!! My 20 year old daughter thinks I need to take style tips from her Grammy and I can’t argue with her! I aspire to be a well styled grandma myself someday. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!

    • October 29, 2017 / 9:12 am

      Hi Stephanie! Welcome and thanks for sharing. With your heritage, I’m sure you will be:)

  62. Julie from Melbourne,Australia
    October 29, 2017 / 2:42 pm

    Oh boy!I’m not a grandma but I’m upset that there are such condescending attitudes out there.It does not surprise me,as we live in an age that youth dominates and older people do not command as much respect.Do they realise how insulting it is to use the the term “granny style”?Probably not.I am sure they feel “better” about themselves when they look down on others.
    Be proud Jennifer of who you are and continue to dress in style and inspire us readers.

    PS I’m 64,have 3 children and no prospects of grandchildren,other than the furry kind.I’ve got a grandpug and grandkitty 🙂

    • October 29, 2017 / 9:55 pm

      Thank you Julie! I am proud of all of us, we are an amazing demographic.

  63. Linda Toan
    October 29, 2017 / 7:29 pm

    Frumpy is not an age but a poorly developed sense of style. Some ladies just don’t care what they wear. Some ladies just can’t figure out their style. Those of us who read you, care and like to learn. We don’t want to be frumpy.

  64. Melissa
    October 29, 2017 / 9:59 pm

    Taking any term that is used as a title for a group of people and using that word as an insult on any level is marginalizing, disempowering, thoughtless, and unimaginative. We should all be better than that.

    • October 29, 2017 / 10:03 pm

      I agree. Thank you Melissa

  65. October 30, 2017 / 6:20 am

    Agree, I don’t like or appreciate the term “grandma style”. It’s terribly insulting to women of a certain age. I am a grandmother and love it, although when my grands were little and trying to say “grandma,” somehow it came out “yaya” and to this day, I am called YaYa and I LOVE it.

    • October 30, 2017 / 7:57 am

      It was condescending. I’m not sure the young women realized it at the time.

  66. Lori
    October 30, 2017 / 5:16 pm

    My Mom has been a grandma to 6 for the last 30 years and she is more stylish now at 80 than she was when she was 40!

    • October 30, 2017 / 8:21 pm

      That’s awesome Lori! Style has no age

  67. Linda
    October 30, 2017 / 5:28 pm

    I, too, could write volumes! Grandma style, to me, would bring up images of Granny of the Beverly Hillbillies, Aunt Bea of The Andy Griffith Show, or Mrs. Doubtfire. As with the phrase, clothing is influenced so much by the delivery, execution, or intent. It would be interesting to know what the younger ladies at your conference were picturing in their minds, as those characters are probably before their time, but clearly they were not thinking of a good look. However, identical classic outfits may look chic on a young lady and frumpy on an older lady. Going beyond your question, I would like to add that retailers and designers could do a better job in their offerings. Listening to stylish over-50 bloggers, such as you, could really benefit them. No doubt they are in a Catch 22–what they manufacture is what sells; what sells is what is available. People with arthritis and other medical issues, and are on a fixed income, need better choices. I understand that there are a lot of post-menapausal women, like myself, who begin to expand in the middle, many are arthritic and it hurts to fasten buttons, many have incontinence problems and need clothing that is easy to clean, and can’t afford to spend a lot on an outfit. I feel depressed when I see so much polyester and ugly color combinations as choices for people of a certain age and body type, even in department stores such as Macy’s. Is that ever what anyone seeks out–a tacky polyester outfit, head to toe? Maybe a Project Runway for seniors is needed!

    • October 30, 2017 / 8:25 pm

      So much wisdom in your comment Linda! Thank you for sharing. None of us go hunting for those tacky polyester outfits. And yet…they’re everywhere. Who do they think we are and what do they think we want to wear? It’s a shame brands are so clueless. I’m always happy to share my opinion in the hopes they will hear.

  68. Katharina
    October 31, 2017 / 7:09 am

    You are so right! Let us as women embrace each stage of life and not diminish another age bracket of women.
    I have sadly used that term negatively myself and as it happens in life, when I myself arrived at that point I did not
    want to be dismissed as insignificant or something that made one shudder with horror.
    Embrace what we are, and lead the way to help promote positivity and confidence no matter at what point in life
    you are.
    Thanks for addressing this. aging, menopause and more are still taboo topics. It changes one person at a time.

    • October 31, 2017 / 8:24 am

      It’s interesting how our perspective changes as we age. Older, wiser and more experienced is also more rewarding. Let’s build up all women.

  69. Sharon
    October 31, 2017 / 12:11 pm

    This was a great article. I am 60 yrs. old, grandmother of 2 and very happy to be so! I also used that term, as well as “grandpa” to describe clothing that was frumpy. (I have hidden what I called my hubby’s Grandpa jeans). I will now call them frumpy jeans. But I will still hide them! He looks so much better in nice fitting jeans; the frumpy ones look like 2 of him could fit inside. LOL.
    I love your blog, and gain a lot of ideas and insights. I often wish I had more female friends that lived close by to chat with about clothing and fashion, etc. Your blog provides that opportunity, I feel like you provide the best conversations! Thank you for sharing your thoughts as well as the great photos and new products.

    • October 31, 2017 / 2:20 pm

      Thank you for being here Sharon! I’ve hidden frumpy clothes of my husbands too. He never missed them. 🙂

  70. November 1, 2017 / 1:19 pm

    I’m with you! I became “grandma” when I was 44 and never wanted to be called anything other than that! It’s not a dirty word…it is a wonderful word of endearment! And “granny style”? I have no clue what that is! LOL I’m simply me! I love fashion, but like most people, I can fall into a rut now and then. But, then, with a quick perusal of Pinterest and blogs like yours, I’m inspired to step out and update my wardrobe. I turn 56 tomorrow and never felt more confident in my skin! #yaygrandma

    • November 1, 2017 / 1:44 pm

      Happy Birthday, Joan! Hearing my grandson call me Granny, is a sweet sound. I love it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *