Clothes Maketh the Horsewoman

I have resumed my equestrian education. I’m three lessons in, and have walked, trotted, and–wheee!!!–cantered both directions on an elderly school horse named Jack. I love him. He loves treats. We’re getting along just fine.

I’ve also just finished A Duke in Shining Armor by Loretta Chase. For the most part, when an author includes fashion descriptions, I yawn, but Loretta uses fashion to symbolize story elements–like a fussy, flouncy, hard-to-get-out-of wedding dress that’s all wrong for the pragmatic, whip smart heroine.

What has Lady Olympia’s wedding dress to do with riding lessons? Well, you can’t just slap on your schooling tights and head out to the barn. I have to get some layers on my top half, because even though it’s 25 degrees out, after leading himself around in deep sawdust for twenty minutes, I don’t need a coat. Then too, you have to get your hair all tidied up and out of the way.

As I’ve resumed the routine of dressing for my lessons, I’ve noticed a few things. First, my paddock boots have about a one-inch heel. This is to stop the foot from sliding through the stirrup iron, but the effect on me is a slight increase in height. The paddock boot also protects the toes from mis-steps by a half-ton equine. They are substantial footwear, and my footsteps announce my stride when I’m wearing them.

I wear winter schooling tights for my lessons, which have an elastic waistband, and suede patches on the inside of the knee. That patch helps me grip the saddle more snugly, and protects the inside of my calves from being pinched by the stirrup leathers.

Everything I wear for riding is for my safety or for my comfort. NOTHING is designed with a primary aim of enhancing my attractiveness, making me look skinny, or hiding my bulges. Interestingly, riding is a sport where men and women wear the same attire–unlike our Olympic beach volleyball athletes.

I can’t think of any other venue where the dress code is for my safety and comfort–none. Not the courthouse (no open-toed shoes… why? Are my bare toes that distracting?), not church (cover my hair because that was a cultural norm 2000 years ago?), not the office. My Chico’s duds are cold in winter and hot in summer, and in the Chico’s store, the nice ladies are usually whispering “slim secrets” (which always involve the purchase of accessories) before I’ve tried on the first outfit.

Reflecting on how much I love riding attire makes me aware that when when you tell somebody how to dress, you are to some extent telling them who they should be. Wear those stilettos, and so what if they will result in a hip replacement by the time you’re 55. Wear the perfume, because the smell of horse, hay, and leather isn’t attractive, unless it’s on a guy. Wear the smile, because…

What items in your wardrobe are for your comfort and safety? When have you told the dress code or the fashion police to get lost? To two commenters, I’ll send… a $25 American Express gift card, which I hope you spend on something comfy to add to your wardrobe.


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60 comments on “Clothes Maketh the Horsewoman

  1. At my age (73) with both hips and one knee bone on bone, everything I to wear is designed to get in and out of with ease. Fashion means nothing to me anymore. But back in the day I was a real girlie girl. I loved clothes and loved shopping for them. I never wore stilettos, but the high heels I wore are most likely responsible for my problems today.

    • I’m sorry your joints are troubling you so badly. Bone on bone is not fun anywhere. My mom had friends who’d spent so many years in heels, if they had to wear tennis shoes, they’d be in agony by the end of the day.

      I’m glad you’re comfort-first in your wardrobe decisions. My hips are getting a little tentative, and one of my friends who’s both a surgeon and an equestrian told me that if we stop doing the things that hurt, we can put off serious medical intervention for years (does balancing my checkbook count?).

  2. My LL Bean boots serve several purposes. They are comfortable especially with a pair of thick wool socks, keep me safe in the snow and ice and they are attractive in a New Englandish way. I wear them to work, outside when I shovel or walk the dogs and they keep me warm when I go tracking with the dogs. I love them so much that I have 2 pairs– ankle and mid calf length.

    I bought a nice pair of black corduroy pants last year. They pair up great with sweaters, vests and Blazers. This year the company changed up the style and the bottom of the pants are fringed. Trendy, yes. But, they don’t work in the work environments or for me. So, I told the fashion police…NO! 🙂

    Am glad you are taking riding lessons!! And it sounds like you have a nice friend to ride!!
    Enjoy the week!

    • Dontcha hate it when you find something that works–especially a bra–and then they go messing with it? GRRR. My former spouse was a distance runner, and said the prevailing wisdom was to always have two pair of the shoe that was working for you. They lasted longer if they got rest days alternating with running days, apparently, so good on ya and your LL Beans.

  3. My USAF safety gear was designed for men, so I occasionally had injuries from jury-rigging equipment to work on my same height as the men, very different proportions & capabilities body. Corporate gear is a mix of keep us females toddling in 1950s leftovers (heels with can’t keep up pencil skirts? Really?!) and male status badges. Explain to me again what suits are for in tropical climates other than leftover European sumptuary relics. Men’s ties aka mini cravats are an abomination in any climate below the Arctic Circle.

    But now that I work from home and own my own company, I can wear comfort clothes to keep from putting strains on my joints and lower back. I’ve got track shoes with inserts that let me stride out when I leave the house while catering to my aching joints. My hair is all about staying out of my eyes when I’m busy. Thank the Creator I’ve reached an age I don’t have to follow the crowd and seek male approval. I have the power to hire and fire.

    Too late for my multiple knee and back procedures I’ve scooped up and donated every shoe with a heel (other than winter boots since it’s nearly impossible to find a dress boot with under an inch.) All that 20th century foot binding is off to the charity shop for whoever is still at the mercy of corporate idiocy & wears my size.

    Now when I wear a dress it’s for comfort, ease of movement and warmth or cooling. When I dress up, I’m wearing flats and makeup is just enough to look healthy or celebratory.

    • What you said… though I think the man’s tie is left to him as a pitiful gesture in the direction of allowing him to make ONE fashion statement and still be dressing within corporate bounds. One of the supervisors at DSS wears cartoon ties–Pooh, Tigger, Wile E. Coyote–and I bet his socks might be a little on the wild side too.

      • I adore the humor you intersperse in your fiction & newsletters I laugh at various scenes while my husband is trying to fall asleep,
        He cannot believe an e-book is the cause of the laughter.

        I am grateful to you for the humor that brightens mylife and to Chico’s for lovely clothes that a 75 year old can help look nice as be comfortable, season after season.

  4. I never realized the protection they have in horse riding gear. Loved horses but never able to take lessons. As a young girl in the 70’s I wore the wedge shoes and boots but truthfully I always wore what I wads comfortable in. Fashion or not. With the exception of the wedges I pretty much dressed for comfort. Having married so young and being a mom had me getting rid of the heels and going for the comfort in shoes. But the damage was done. I have terrible back and hip problems today. I can’t blame it all on the shoes though, having 7 kids one after the other helped too. 🙂 Thanks Grace for the post. Happy Holidays.

    • Carol, my mom had seven as well, but the toll taken was on her plumbing rather than her joints. With that many kids, something’s gotta give. Good for you, though, that you ditched the heels. How could you possibly have run after seven kids wearing your heels?

  5. Most of my clothes are for my comfort and safety. I wear jeans with hiking boots or workout type shoes at work — my other boots aren’t practical for work but I wish they were. I wore high heel to my niece’s wedding and was hobbling by the end of the reception. It was enough that I wore my cowboy boots to my husband’s work Christmas party – Thank God I live in Texas where cowboy boots are accepted fashion pretty much with everything.

    • That is an eternal verity–you can wear those boots to church, from what I’ve seen in Texas, and cowboy boot can be pretty, fashionable, and comfy. What’s not to like?
      They aren’t so good in the snow, that’s what. Those smooth soles have sent me skidding into the ditch more than once. Guess you can’t have everything.

  6. I am not beautiful but I am cute. The beautiful girls I knew (including one of my sisters)have not aged well. It ticks them off to no end to see me, in my cute tights with colorful spots (and they are warm too), a denim dress, interesting belt and turquoise flats looking cute. I look good because I don’t pretend to be a Glamor Puss, and an aging one at that.

    About 20 years ago, I decided to embrace my cuteness. I wear clever colors and clever accessories–I get so many complements about my purses. I still look like an old-fashioned French Baby Doll (with reddish brown hair cut in a bob)and I wear clothes to compliment my *look*. I do like clothes–one of my great-aunts was a costume designer for an opera company and was always dressing us up–but now I have so many timeless clothes, I don’t have to think about what to wear, I just wear what makes sense.

    In my professional life, I am a conductor and have a whole wardrobe of black tops and black bottoms as well as black long dresses. I learned early on, they must give as I move so all are stretchy. I sometimes pair the dresses with lace (washable and stretchy)blazers for a more formal concert look……men conductors wear tuxes but we women conductors have to wing it!

    There is an appropriate component to what I wear, when. If I am conducting a concert, I need to be comfortable as well as formal. My normal *costume* is jeans, sweater or tee-shirt or top and when I am going to a business meeting, my denim dress mentioned above or colorful sweater dresses with tights and a clever necklace works for me; I’m a musician, not a lawyer, so I CAN be funky!

    Hope these days leading up to Christmas are happy for you, Grace!

    • I always liked wearing concert black–didn’t show the sweat, and made me feel like the real thing (which I never was). I cannot image how a beautiful woman deals with aging in this culture, but I hope the pressure on all of us to be attractive, exquisitely put together, and femmy-nine is abating. Then we can get to work on guys having to always be strong, competent, and mascu-leen.
      So much work to do, but you’ve found a rotation of looks that works for you in many different settings–hats off to you!

  7. I’m very much out of step with what is fashionable. If it’s not comfortable, I don’t want to wear it. I have a bunch of leggings that I particularly love, and I wish I could wear them to work. Alas, they are not up to work dress code.

    Enjoy your riding lessons!

    • Work dress code… GRRR.
      I recall interviewing decades ago at EDS of Ross Perot fame, and everything about the job appealed, except the quasi-military dress code. Could not deal with people telling me exactly how to dress, rather than just trusting that I’d show up looking professional.
      Sorry you can’t wear your leggings at work, because there are tons of fun, comfy leggings these days.

  8. Most of my clothes are comfortable (I rarely wear anything that’s not unless I’m going out fancy & that’s a rare occasion). My shoes/boots are where I am very aware of the need for safety & comfort. I don’t want to trip, or slip on ice. Because I’m tall, & don’t want to slip, I rarely wear more than a 1″ heel. I have some slip on Sketchers that are pretty comfy & very light weight, but don’t have as much support as tie shoes. After Christmas I’ll be searching for a new pair of ties sneakers – my current pair are about ten years old & don’t clean up very well anymore. ps I love the reports of your return to riding

    • Wish you happy hunting on the great sneaker hunt–the January sales are among mid-winter’s few joys.
      The riding is mostly for my head. I can see the law practice gently drifting into the wings, and that will leave me sitting in my writing chair, bouncing around the house, and getting out less and less. The benefits of riding are a little bit athletic, but also psychological. I have to use a different part of my brain to communicate with a horse, and I’m riding with a teacher who is very much attuned to communicating with the horse rather than controlling the horse.
      Then too, I’m stuck on where to go with my next book (you haven’t met him yet), and amazing insights can emerge on the way to and from the horse barn.

  9. Shoes. After knee surgery to repair a torn miniscus and fill a stress fracture, cute shoes are a thing of the past. I cannot find a boot, flat, or athletic shoe that is a guarantee of pain-free comfort. So now I am the middle-aged woman I promised my self I would never look like.

    Ah well.

    1st, I sustained my injury while participating in Field Day with my 6th graders. While younger teachers were seated in the shade, older, over weight me was actually playing with my students. I could not say no when I was asked by a child, who had plenty of peers to choose from, if I would be his partner in the 3 legged race. And we had a blast!

    So, after surgery and physical therapy, many restrictive, painful months, my shoes are plain and unattractive. But I walk unassisted, mostly discomfort-free, and I still get asked to “play” with my students (only now with a little more discretion!). Priorities. And I like the smell of a barn 🙂

    • Interesting that you should mention play.
      An very experienced social work supervisor told me years ago that we know how to tell which kids in foster care are going to succeed, and which ones are going to struggle, based on two factors. The first is having somebody model for them, consistently, what a healthy definition of love looks like. Can be the clarinet teacher, the neighbor, the youth pastor, anybody. The second factor that characterizes foster children who are bound for success is… not good grades, not intelligence, not white skin, not attractive appearance, not church attendance, not athletic ability…. but rather, an ability to PLAY, to have fun without getting in trouble.
      And how much do we focus on modeling play for our children? How big is the play budget? How clearly does our society prioritize recreation?
      So you play, my friend, (though you might also have to invest in a knee brace).

  10. I suspect the no-open toes shoes in court started as a conservative note since peek-toes are flirty. On the flip side, every little bit of sturdy leather helps if you drop a law book on your foot.
    The fashion police insisted that I should aspire to wear pointy high heels at the same time that they wanted to charge me over a hundred bucks for anything big enough to fit my feet. For my twelfth birthday, I instead requested (and received) a pair of rock climbing boots I loving nicknamed my orthopedic ballet slippers. While those boots have long since worn out, they lasted far longer than any dress pumps. And yes, I can got on-pointe in clunky ankle boots.

  11. Maternity outfits/clothes designed for breastfeeding seem to be designed for comfort (hurrah). Though I understand why it can be frustrating that there’s so much overlap between the two – little one is fifteen months and I got asked the other day by a well meaning lady when I was due (I’m not). Now, I carry more weight than is healthy, but wearing clothes designed to accentuate my ‘bump’ definitely doesn’t help.

    I also owe my parents a debt for forcing me to walk several times around a shoe shop in new shoes before they would purchase them. Seven year old my was devastated not to be able to have the uncomfortable pretty patent leather shoes with the hidden key that EVERYONE else had, but thirty year old me now puts being able to walk comfortably at the top of the list for shoe purchases.

    • Your comment brings back memories of shoe shopping, and feeling crummy because boys shoes fit me best as a kid. I ended up finding ladies saddle shoes that worked, though nobody else–ever–wore saddle shoes. I didn’t mind by then, they were SADDLE shoes.

  12. I’m lucky enough to work in an office setting where even athletic clothes are acceptable and my wardrobe for work is all over the place just depending on my mood. I’m someone who likes dresses, and it always makes me laugh how everyone assumes that someone dressing nicely must be interviewing for a job.

    • This is one thing I think a lot of tech firms get right: Unless you’re in a high visibility customer-contact position, or possibly senior management, what DIFFERENCE does it make what kind of shoes people are wearing? Why not wear your jeans, or yoga pants, or floaty-dress? Geesh. My daughter and I have both found that we’re more creative in play clothes than work clothes, and I suspect we let men schlep around the office in jeans and T-shirts, they might not be so inclined to act in objectionable ways. Just at theory.

  13. I gave up heels for flat shoes a couple of decades ago, after I went out to dinner and the theater for my birthday in my lovely stilettos and could hardly walk back to the car afterwards. And, since I am perfectly capable of tripping over air, flats are for my safety as well. I tried to tell the dress code to get lost when I went away to college and found that in order to get fed on Sunday in the dorm, I had to wear a skirt. I argued that the males had no restrictions at all but lost. So I bought a lined navy wool skirt and wore it every Sunday instead of my jeans. For what it’s worth, by Spring Term, the dress code was lifted for women as well. Of course, I moved out of the dorm the next Term into off-campus housing but I felt pretty good about having successfully argued it anyway.
    And Happy Holidays to everyone!

    • And our daughters can’t believe you had to argue that, but you did. I had to argue to take shop class, because I guess a female with a grasp of lawn mower engines is a dangerous creature.
      We’ve come a long way… but not nearly far enough. I hope you burned that skirt.

  14. At work we are not fussy. Today I am at work, but we are not open. I have on a top, jeans, and my favorite shoes. Church, it took a long time to get used to not wearing panty hose. At home I’ll wear pajamas or a nightgown. Most of the time I’m pretty comfortable, I just don’t like laundry.

    • Church was drudgery when I was a kid in part because you HAD to dress up (and wear something on your head, even if it was a tissue bobby-pinned to your crown). I wonder how many of the faithful are lapsed in terms of attendance because of nonsense like that? The Catholic school was equally ridiculous: In two degree weather, girls were not allowed to wear pants on the play ground. We could wear snow pants to school under our dresses, but in the middle of the day, that was a nope.

  15. At this point in my life, my wardrobe exists for my comfort. And if I’ve bought something for another reason, typically it doesn’t get used and then I get rid of it. When I have somewhere to go, I figure out what I’m going to wear starting with the shoes and going from there. And all my shoes are the low- to no-heel type. I want to be comfortable. Safe, too, but that’s not a concern in my everyday at-home life. The one example when I conform to wardrobe expectations of others is when I attend the Kentucky Derby and Oaks. I wear a hat. It’s not that the hats are uncomfortable, but they certainly are not part of my normal attire. I really enjoyed your post today, Grace. Happy riding and an early Merry Christmas.

    • I get a kick out of the fascinators ladies wear to some of the fancy English races. I’ve never been to the Derby, but it looks like a lovely party, and the media does a good job of turning it into feel-good stories. Why have I never written… oh, wait. I did write a horse race romance (waves to Lady Eve).

  16. All of the clothes in my closet are comfortable and easy care. If they aren’t comfortable, they won’t be worn and will soon be in the donation bag.

    Comfortable shoes have been the hardest item to find, as I can buy shoes that fit, but turn out to be uncomfortable after wearing for an hour or so – something you can’t know in the store. I have donated many pairs of virtually new shoes. Now I buy mostly Merrill brand shoes.

    As for safely, I always get non-skid soles, and shoes that I can stride in if I so desire. I don’t own a single pair of heels.

    I wish you all the joys of the season.

    • Thanks for those kind wishes, because there are MANY joys associated with this season. I’m struck by how many of us insist on safe, comfy shoes. You’d think something that basic–the ability to walk comfortably and safely–wouldn’t be compromised by fashion. Oh well.

    • Yoga pants here, and I don’t do yoga (much). I’ve never been one to wear blue jeans or sweats, and when I thought back to, “Well, then, what were my play clothes before yoga pants?” For the longest time, it has been my riding duds.

  17. A warm coat that was made for the weather and not to look stylish. Boots that are good for your feet and the terrain but not at all fashionable. I can remember as a young adult being invited to go out with the ‘group.’ Many of the participants would dress to impress in clothes that did not really lend themselves to the weather or activities involved. I would always dress for the weather and the activity and was alway warm and safe, but very frumpy in comparison!!!!!

    • Eloisa James said she learned a lot of about shopping in her year in Paris. According to her, French women don’t own a lot of clothes. They have a very few outfits that they love. None of this buying a green blouse because it has a cute collar, and hoping it will go with something else in your closet.
      I like that idea, of finding a few outfits that make me feel well dressed, but also just feel great to wear. How frumpy can an outfit be, if it’s what makes you feel like yourself?

  18. I live in MN so I always, always dress in layers. T shirt layer is for summer humid days, Hoodie sweatshirt is for windy or chilly days, thermal lined flannel, is for the close to, but not quite 0 F weather. Then there is the thermal insolated leather coat with hood. Top layer for the wind and the sub 0 degree F days and nights. Because these make me look more and more like a snowman every year, I decided, for my own comfort, one of these layers will be an everyday thing. Fashion??? That comes in with a matching hat, scarf and fur lined mittens!

    • I like that notion of fashion. When I’m in Scotland, I buy wool scarves. They are soft, warm, pack easily, and come in a zillion tartans. And I love wearing a little bit of my favorite place when cold weather comes, and vacations feel far, far away.

  19. For my comfort and for my protection, I would pick my zip up the front hoodie. I own many and almost everyday of the year have one on. Outside its a must, inside, most the time for comfort. Dress code fashion police, would shake theirs heads at me. More than likely, point and laugh out loud. But frankly, I don’t care!! I’m warm and comfortable.

  20. Having been in a car accident as a teen, I was never able to wear beautiful bad-for-you shoes because of joint injuries. I’m not inclined to high-fashion and I’ve never really been willing to give up comfort in my clothing but I can admit to having lusted after some gorgeous shoes over the years. Now, my middle-aged joints are happy I didn’t give into temptation.

    I do like to have my comfortable clothing in beautiful colors though, relying on colors that don’t show stains just for work. Also, I can’t seem to make myself buy anything that is not machine-washable. Dry-cleaning is a necessary evil for some, but with my lifestyle I can get by in cotton or washable wool dresses. Even my heavy duty down coat which keeps me warm and dry here in the northlands, is machine-washable. I hate to be cold or wet and my wardrobe definitely supports that.

    • You remind me of the days when a trip to the dry cleaners was just another of the many weekday chores many of us crammed into a lunch break or dealt with on the way home. I don’t miss those days. The last time I went to a dry cleaner, it was to get a bunch of my daughter’s horse show coats cleaned up.

  21. I loved reading your blog about the fashion police. I have worked in the retail industry for over 20 years. Currently been with a company for the past 10 years and though they are all about fashion. What I like best about this company is that we love dressing women for life. Real life. If she into jeans, lounge wear, or dresses we sell it. But as I was once asked by my regional manager, “what’s your style” and my answer was whatever my mood for the day was. I just love different looks. Don’t believe in having to dress the same way everyday. Your personality will shine through no matter what you have on. Confidence comes from within. Not the clothes you I have on. So you can still look awesome in a pair of jeans as well as a dress. You own it so wear it with confidence. Oh, and doesn’t matter if you’re a size 2 or 18.

    • Sounds like you enjoy that job, and like the company has enough sense to appreciate you and your eclectic tastes. I bet that really comes in handy when customers come in who aren’t looking for “any one thing.”

  22. When I was a young mom. I wore Dasko clogs for 10 years. It was the only way I knew how to keep up with them. I was on my feet constantly.

    Now that the kids are grown (16 and 18), I wear 4 inch platforms and I am turning 50. Woo Hoo. Why? Because I love being taller and I loved plaforms. I was too young to wear them in the 70’s. They are pretty comfortable compared to stilettos.

    • A lot of my riding buddies swear by barn clogs. The advantage is they slip on and off, and they raise you up a couple inches so muck and wet and meadow muffins aren’t a problem.
      I would like to try being four inches taller, because it would certainly have an impact on how I was perceived. For much of my life I was about five-foot-seven, but I’m down around five-five now. Average. To be closer to man-height would be interesting.

  23. I tried to be my own fashion police and did not listen the first time. And paid the price.

    I never have liked to shop for clothes……………but shoes…totally different story. I never had high heels, but I did love step-in and slide-in shoes. Then I tripped stepping off a patio I had stepped off successfully for years. Broke my foot. Told myself to be more careful!

    Eight months later, wearing the same style of shoe, I felt (and heard) a bone snap while walking slowly across my kitchen. Broke the other foot.

    I saved all of my favorite shoes for years (mostly Naturalizers). Then realized that it probably was not worth the risk, since the second break had not been associated with a fall, just with a sort of “slide” off the shoe to the side.

    So now I only own flats, rubber grippy soled shoes. And lots of sneakers.

    And I do just fine.

    And I still hate to shop for clothes. But I do buy a fair number of “safe” shoes!

    • My dad for a time referred to my mom as “Imelda” poking fun at Imelda Marcos, who supposedly had 500 pairs of shoes. Easy for him, who probably had three pair of shoes–office, dress, and sneakers. I don’t like any kind of shopping, except maybe for a horse. Considering how much a horse costs compared to a pair of shoes, this might not be a good thing.

  24. My husband and I won a raffled riding lesson at the therapeutic riding centre a few years ago. They told us about appropriate footwear but I could have used some more thigh protection!

    The fashion police, my husband and children, sisters and well-meaning friends try to get my attention periodically. I started avoiding mirrors early in life, so when it matters, other people pick my clothes!

    • Interesting you should mention mirrors. In my house, the only mirror is the bathroom mirror, so I see my face fairly often, but the rest of me… not so much. When I stay in hotel rooms, the full length mirrors always give me a bit of a shock. Who is that short, dumpy, graying person staring back at me?
      As long as she looks happy, I just shrug and go one about my bidness.

  25. I wore a red baseball cap almost every day at school when I was 14. I still have that cap. It seems so tiny now. Do heads grow? Nowadays I have little care for fashionista societal demands. My biggest rebellion is wearing these plaid flannel pants which some may define as pajama bottoms. I also have these Ugg shoes that look more like slippers. Basically I’m prepared for bed whenever I go to the market.

    • Yes! Shopping in playclothes, one of the benefits of a well settled adulthood. I look at some of those people charging around the store in their office duds and hope they get a day off sometime soon. Bad enough to have to GO to the grocery store, much less to have to go in office attire.

  26. Awww, that’s a photo of Jack, right? He looks so sweet, definitely a fellow who appreciates a good treat!

    One concession to my own personal style that I allow myself when dressing for work is a pair of thick-soled mary janes with owls on them. They are more whimsical than professional and make me smile whenever I glance down, even on bad days. Sometimes we have to make our own bright spots in our days!

    Happy Holidays!

    • That is Jack, an elderly campaigner on the up/down circuit. He’s surprisingly spry for his advanced years, and puts up with a long, slow lesson. I like him, though he regards me as just another day at the office. Get out the treats, though, and Jack becomes a steed on a mission.

  27. I pretty much only wear Birkenstock sandels. Or I am barefoot. No way can I wear heels anymore, since I fall down going barefoot. The older i get, the more i seem to fall. Now I am planning on getting back into the gym, so that means I have to find or buy sneakers. I hate wearing socks and shoes, makes me hot. I wore my Birkenstocks year round up in Idaho. Now living in the Houston area, it is a matter of once in a while putting on socks.

    • I wear my Nike slides pretty much year round, but we do get snow, and they won’t work for that (too slippery). Good luck with the gym. I know core strength has a lot to do with fall prevention, and another odd fact: The faster your walk, the more likely you are to enjoy a long life. I know the speed of my own walk varies, but the better shape I’m in, the more I tend to clip along rather than mosey.

  28. I’m a self-employed lawyer in education law, so most often I’m wearing business casual at school meetings — comfortable dark slacks with a blouse or sweater, and always flats or sandals. In the summer in my office I wear tie-dye or batik because the colors make me happy. But the true comfort is not having to wear makeup!