When I got out of the dressing room at Max Mara in Paris, wearing this white cherry print dress, my friend Susan (of Une femme d’une certain âge) went “Ohhhh, lovely”…which immediately sold the dress to me. The previous day my husband had already picked this dress out as something he loved but I thought it would be too short. I still prefer it to be 2 inches longer at the front but decided not to fret over it.
I suggested to Kitty we’d do the photo shoot for this dress at another ‘hofje‘ (almshouse), like the one you saw two weeks ago. Kitty is swamped with work these last months so we only had 1 hour before the ‘hofje‘ would close for the public.
This week’s hofje is Hofje van Staats, after the thread-seller Ysbrand Staats, who left his entire legacy to poor women over 50. Initially there were 29 houses in this hofje, but after renovation in 1990, the number of houses was reduced to 20. The term ‘poor women’ should be used loosely as they had to buy themselves a place and have possessions. Just like the women in hofje Den Groenen Thuijn (see further down in this blog post). So much for charity.
Below: The entrance of the main building, with the family crest at the top.
Below: Although I do not like a distorted view like this, it is the only way to show you the whole street. The main entrance, as on the photo above, is on the left and at the end of the street you can see the Saint Bavo church on the main market square of Haarlem.
We had to go through a little side door on the right to enter the garden with the almshouses.
Below: Above the garden entrance door is this face brick.
Then, shock! There was a sign on the door telling us they were very sorry, but the hofje was closed to the public due to renovations. As I am very law abiding, I wanted to search for another spot, but cheeky Kitty pushed against the door and said “We are no public, we are on a mission”. The door gave way and nobody protested. There were scaffoldings everywhere but Kitty managed to keep them out of sight haha.
Below: Entering the garden through the corridor behind the entrance door.
Below: View to the left. The ‘back door’ of the main building and a few almshouses. Oops…scaffolding on the far right.
Below: Let’s check the hair first, before we begin.
Below: What a beautiful background to photograph this dress. At this time I was still wearing the bag the way it is supposed to, with the pink flap and the fastening on the outside.
Below: Of course I had to descend the stairs.
Below: There was an opportunity for a sitting pose. Kitty loves photos at an angle and I hate them. But this is a mutual project, so we both have a say in it. As you can see, I did not remove the spots on my legs this time. Couldn’t be bothered.
Below: The earrings are by Lara Design and are called Biba.
Below: We wandered through the garden, carefully keeping the scaffolding out of sight. By this time I was wearing my bag the wrong way round. Any stylist out there who wants to help on shoots?
Below: The dress is longer at the back. I wish they’d made it the same length at the front.
Below: Yellow and black are the colours of the Staats family crest. Isn’t it beautiful that they have flowers on each side of this front door in the same yellow?
Below: Everybody has pots with flowers outside their house. Really pretty.
Below: Hanging from this lamppost, you can see through the dress a little.
Below: Kitty, after the shoot, having cappuccino at café Volkslust.
Below: And a head-to-toe shot to show you the lovely blouse she was wearing.
Below: Kitty took this photo with her iPhone. Me with wind-blown hair, showing the photo of the Max Mara model in the dress. The model obviously was size zero and ten feet tall, so the dress is even shorter on her.
That concludes this week’s main outfit.
What happened in my life this week
First I am going to show you the ‘elegant dress’ of last week with yellow pumps, as requested by a number of readers.
Below: I also took out my yellow clutch.
Below: Before I went on holiday I wanted another maxi dress and I ordered this one, only to send it back immediately. Too much of everything. Perhaps it would have worked with high heeled pumps but that is not going to happen. I find that most dresses in 2022 are this length and I don’t think it is a flattering length.
Below: After a week’s holiday I found my bicycle, which is always tied to a traffic sign post, completely surrounded by hollyhocks. I know who put the hollyhock seeds there.
Saturday Sylvia of 40+Style and I had lunch in Haarlem and did some shopping (bought nothing). She is spending a few weeks in the Netherlands again for family visits. Always so nice to see her.
Sunday we had lunch with Ron’s daughter and her husband for Father’s day. The forecast was rain and low temperatures but luckily we had none of that. We stayed until 4 p.m. and left the youngsters to enjoy the rest of their Sunday.
In the evening mum told me the wound on her heel was getting better. Yay.
Monday was a day of sorting out the holiday photos and I paid a visit to the seamstress. She advised me not to alter the dress and skirt I bought in Spain, but she will add two buttonholes on a short dress, so it can be closed all the way down to the bottom.
She had taken the hem up of the kimono in a very skilled way and she made me a pattern of my favourite (green) jumper. Making new tops with this pattern will have to wait a few months until my eyes are used to the new lenses and I can get a definite pair of reading glasses.
My friend Ayen did a photo shoot with me on Tuesday. I called her and inquired whether she would mind taking photos for my blog. She didn’t mind; as a matter of fact, she was quite enthusiastic. We had a great day, chatting, seeing her new apartment and taking photos.
Wednesday I had the first cataract operation and the lens of my left eye was replaced by an artificial lens. The surgeon said it went very well. My other eye will be done in two weeks which means, effectively I cannot wear eye make-up for 4 weeks. So blog photos with sunglasses, guys haha. I have photos for two more Sunday posts so it won’t be too bad.
Below: This is what I looked like when I came home.
I kept rather quiet that day as you can imagine. I have to say I did not particularly like this cataract operation, but perhaps it had a lot to do with anxiety. After all, you don’t want to lose your eyesight. The operation isn’t painful, just rather unpleasant.
Woke up the next morning, removed the patch, got rid of the ointment in my eye and presto, very sharp, clear vision with my right eye. Now I cannot wait until my left eye will be done (the 8th of July).
Thursday I kept quiet as well. Ron is doing all the household chores as I am not allowed to operate heavy things like a vacuum cleaner or lift heavy stuff. He put the sunbed in the garden and I laid in the sun for less than an hour in the morning.
Below: Sophie, my cat, was watching over me from the neighbours shed roof and the jasmine next to my sunbed was blossoming. Not really a punishment to keep quiet. In the afternoon it was far too hot to be in the sun and besides, an hour a day is more than enough. (And please don’t say I shouldn’t be in the sun at all, skin cancer and aging etc. I know all that. We all pick our risks.)
Friday nothing happened. I had coffee with my friend Loes across the road and during the rest of the day I created a photo album for the girls I went on holiday with. I also put the two photos below on Instagram with the following text:
“When you see that first photo, I bet you think “Wow, what a gorgeous figure for a 68 year old woman”. Then look at the second photo for some reality haha. That, my friends, is the body of a 68 year old woman: chubby, wrinkly but oh so happy.
Below: The top was €4 at a charity shop in Spain. (Bargains…the poor need them; the rich love them.)
Below: Now for some reality.
I often get the comment that I am brave posting a bikini photo with my less than perfect body. But hey, what can happen to me? Will somebody kill me? Will I be scorned? Laughed at? None of these things happen; quite the contrary. Women are so relieved to see a normal body they can relate to, that you only get compliments. Perhaps perfect looking women might think otherwise, but they don’t bother commenting as I am not in their league haha. If you don’t take yourself too seriously, it makes life lighter.
And with that deep thought (LOL) I say goodbye. Next week you will see all holiday photos.
Dear lady, you know I love your ‘oh so happy’ attitude and great advice on don’t taking ourselves too seriously. And I love your style so much. You rock this cherries dress, and look fabulous in your bikinis (whatever your age!).
Ah… what a lovely comment. Thank you ever so much for all these compliments.
I love the dress, its print and that pretty design, which I don’t think is too short for you. The bag and shoes are perfect accessories in this look. I hope that the recovery of your eye is quick and perfect, I have also undergone cataract surgery and I am delighted with the result. You look very cute with your shorts and your yellow blouse, very informal and very cool. I think it’s fantastic that you publish your photos in a bikini, there is nothing more attractive than a real body in her elegant maturity.
From the beginning when I started blogging and you had your own blog, I have said it: You are a blessing for women.
Thank you very much for all these kind compliments. Knowing you for such a long time, I know you mean it. You are God’s gift to women haha.
Thank you very much, Greetje, I am very flattered and happy. Our mutual love for fashion and mutual respect has made us good friends.
It has, yes indeed.
The dress with the cherries is darling. It looks fantastic on you. So very stylish! I’m glad your cataract surgery went well and your vision is so much better. And thank you for reminding me not to take myself too seriously. 🙂
I agree, it is a stylish dress and I feel very good in it. I have put it on twice in the past week, only to take it off again as is not a dress for 18 degrees C. The weather is nice but not warm enough (yet?). After being in Spain for a week, with sweat dripping from your forehead, it is strange to be back to low temperatures.
Love the cherry dress, and it’s the perfect length to show off your gorgeous gams, Greetje! What gorgeous pics – so glad you and Kitty just barged in and took pics, even if it was closed, ha ha! Love the pink/red purse with it.
I just noted in response to your comment about my recent “long over long” outfit, that when an item is blouse-y/full all over, it’s just too much. Either a full bottom with a slim top or a full top with a slim bottom. That pink/white dress is just too full all over.
Who planted the hollyhocks? Was it Ron?
Congrats on your cataract surgery! Love the pic of Sophie overseeing you. Dang, you look amazing in shorts! Wise words – why do we call it brave when everyone has a body?? Opening ourselves up to criticism of our bodies does feel brave to a lot of women, though. Thank you for showing us it’s not a huge deal!
I still think your orange blazer was slim over that full skirt. Otherwise I agree with you on this styling aspect.
No, a female neighbour from a few doors down planted the hollyhocks. She had seeds in her hand and secretly planted them everywhere in the street haha.
Nobody said anything nasty about me in bikini; quite the contrary. I must say I am lucky in that respect, I have only had one disapproving response in my blogging life and that was on Facebook. Something about a tunic making me look pregnant. I replied that if anyone thought I was pregnant at this age, I’d see that as a huge compliment. The woman who commented laughed and withdrew her comment. Humor solves a lot.
Very cool cherry dress! I find that when I smile my lip wrinkles disappear but then wrinkles appear around my eyes! Ha-ha, cannot really win but I think smiling is the way to go though. 🙂
Wrinkles around your eyes are laugh wrinkles, they don’t count. Let’s keep on smiling!
Ron and Susan have a good eye – the dress IS lovely, and in my opinion, not too short in the front. You have great legs so by all means, show them off!
I’m glad the cataract surgery went well. I’m sure it was an unpleasant experience, but better vision makes it worthwhile.
Thanks Shelley. I find knees not to be too terrible (unlike what most women think) but my left knee is still a bit more swollen than the right one. Never mind, I’ll just walk fast, then nobody will see it. (Advice in the old days by my mum.)
The cataract surgery was unpleasant, but unpleasant isn’t that bad, right?
What a fabulous location for the photoshoot, Greetje! I wouldn’t have been able to go into the almhouse the way you and Kitty did. I love how brave she is lol! I think the cherry print dress is super cute, and the length is good on you, although I know what you mean. If it was me, I’d probably want a little more length at the front too. I also really loved that dress you sent back!! I think it looked gorgeous on you!
And yes, I think you look great in a bikini too!
I often am brave when I photograph as well but this time I wasn’t. Luckily Kitty was the brave one this time. We have a saying: “If you want thing done, it is better to do them and apologize afterwards then to ask permission beforehand”.
The length of the dress is a bit of a pity. That happens to me with this brand all the time. Apparently they create them for Italian women (= shorter) or younger women. I just ignore it this time.
The dress I sent back overwhelms me but I love the print. They also have a big blouse / tunic with this design. Hmmmm….
Hi Greetje. I love the white cherry print dress! Looks so fresh and summery, plus you have the legs to show it off. So glad you are confident enough to wear a bikini and what’s the worse that can happen and who cares? Shock horror – a normal body on display. Good on you. I’m so tired of being bombarded by perfect bodies in the media but I do see a gradual reversal.
Because we see so many perfect bodies I thought I’d take one for the team and show my imperfect body. Fully realizing that I am still pretty lucky with the way I turned out. Everything is relative in life, right?
I love the yellow shoes and purse, picks up the yellow in the dress, it is balanced. And thank you for being a brave soul on the 2 piece bathing suit. With all the photoshop going on I just want to see what is normal aging. I’m trying to age with grace and it’s hard to find it. We should really celebrate it.
It is what it is and we are not fooling anybody about our age. It shows in hands, in the way we walk, in the lines in your face (I can now add haha). And I agree with you, we see so little normal pictures, photos of how women really are, I thought I put in my two cents.
Most of us would be thrilled to look as good as you in your two piece swimsuit! I love all these outfits, especially the dress you returned! LOL.
I remember that initial look in the mirror post cataract surgery! Don’t fret. All people notice is your dazzling smile and great style.
You are right, everything is relative and I should count my blessings. As for the wrinkles in my face…I am now smiling all day haha.
Have to agree with you about the length of the “maxi” dress..I have yet to see it looking good on anyone not matter age or size. I love maxi length dresses but over this way maxi is ankle length not as short as the one you were wearing..You are brave to wear a two piece and kudos to you and I really like the 40’s style shorts you are wearing. The yellow shoes look good with that dress that we commented on a few weeks ago but after seeing them I thought……hmmmmm I might go the navy route! Cheers……
I have sort of closed my mind on the length of the midi/maxi dresses this seasons and I’m just wearing them. I will probably get used to it, like I got used to so many trends which I found awful in the beginning.
The navy route for the ‘elegant dress’ is also a possibility. I have nice blue patent leather slingbacks from Italy.
I laughed when I read your comment to Susan about the cataract surgery. The same thing happened to me — how did I get all those wrinkles in one day!
Having said that, it is great to be able to see so well 🙂 So glad that your mom is improving. Love all of this post, btw!
I thought discovering more wrinkles wouldn’t happen, but I was wrong. Despite the magnifying mirror, I wasn’t used to seeing myself as sharp as this. The early morning light hit me hard as well, I must say.
Mum is still impatient about the wound healing and I can imagine that. She hoped that she could run around again after the surgery. Perhaps it is time to light some candles.
Cute dress! And this stylist thinks the bag works both ways. I often wear my cross-body bag backward for theft prevention. I like the ‘elegant dress’ with the yellow pumps very much – just maybe a navy or white purse to satisfy the ‘no-matching’ critics. Love that you show up in a 2-piece swimsuit. At 77 I’ve taken refuge in 1-pieces, but maybe I’ll risk it. So glad about your eye surgery working. Gives me hope for the future. Cheers from California.
Too bad you are not offering to be my stylist during shoots haha.
The yellow pumps with the ‘elegant dress’ are good too, but as you suggested, I would want a non-matching item. A white bag is a good option.
I am early with my cataract operation. It often manifests itself when you are around 80, although two friends of mine had it done at 72.
Love the cherries dress. You’ve got such great legs, and I think the length in front is perfect.
Have a good week!
I am really pleased with this dress. I think it is cute. Even though I really like dresses to be on the knee and not above, I decided other people will probably not have my issue, like you haha.
Oh, I do still love that dress on you! It’s such fun. And such a pretty courtyard for photos. I really like the brick patterns on the ground.
I’m glad your cataract surgery went well!
It was you who sold it to me. I think you just sighed “Ahhh”. It was the tone of that “Ahhh” that a woman wants to hear when she’s got something new on haha.
The cataract surgery went well but now I have noticed how many wrinkles there are in my face, how old I look. I am trying to smile more so the lines go upwards. Grinning like an idiot all day.