As I’ve been mentioning lately, September brought the 40th anniversary of my arrival in the world. This may sound crazy, but I’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time. When I turned 30, I was as secure with myself as I am now so I didn’t view it as different from any other birthday… So imagine my shock and horror when those around me started making the “over the hill” jokes. The horror was not because their attitude toward this event caused me to feel old or insecure about my age (it sure didn’t!) but because I felt so sorry for them that THEY felt 30 was old. I decided then to always be proud of my age, and the ever-increasing wisdom, dignity and good taste that come with it. I vowed to take care of myself so I could age in a healthy way, and to live a life I could be proud of without obsessing over a number. I’m pleased to say that 10 years later, I’ve done just that. I always seek to improve myself, but have no complaints about who I am today. My 30s were the happiest decade of my life so far, and I plan to make sure my 40s are even better.
To kick this decade off right, I wanted a grand celebration with (more than) a touch of extravagance. Because I’ve worked hard to keep plenty of “mad money” in savings for a special occasion, and because if you are going to grow into an eccentric older woman, you might as well own it! 😉 After much debate and plan-changing, we dialed in on the perfect celebration that would be luxurious but still stress-free to plan: a day of limo-chauffeured wine tasting throughout Temecula with our closest friends. Mr. Kitty and friends did most of the preparation, while I, naturally, focused on the most important question: What to wear!
My initial plan was full-on custom-made Gothic Victorian splendor, complete with corset and bustle skirt with train, and loads of lace. Then I thought about sliding in and out of a limo repeatedly on what would likely be a hot, hot day. All while drinking loads of wine, making me even hotter and less coordinated. I decided to go with a more practical, true vintage outfit.
Hours of scouring the Internet led me to this 70-year old cocktail gown by Dorothy O’Hara. This designer did a lot of wardrobe work for Golden Age of Hollywood movies, as well as designs especially for high-end department stores. She was known for making the most of the female figure. After about a zillion questions back and forth with a very patient Etsy seller, I decided to go for it.
Seeking the perfect foundation garment for this beautiful dress, Mr. Kitty and I headed down to Hollywood to shop the What Katie Did boutique. What a fun day that was! I walked out of there feeling like a glamorous siren from times long gone. The clerk kindly allowed me to photograph the shop for this blog, so I’ll be posting more about that next time.
I already had this vintage hat, so I just needed to determine the perfect accessories. I naturally consulted various 1940s films until I found an idea to
rip off inspire me. Hence the wrapped scarf and giant rhinestone brooch (a $12 last-minute score on eBay!). I went for black nails and lips because I wanted to look as much like a black and white movie as possible. 😉
Finally the big day arrived, and every detail was perfect. We had a truly joyous day, and brought home ample quantities of wine to help us remember the experience.
For those of you still under 40, how do you plan to celebrate your 40th birthday? If you’ve been there already, how did you celebrate?