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Transitioning from red to silver has been a weekly evolution with constant surprises. It offers change on the most personal of levels.  How I see myself physically in the mirror, but also emotionally and spiritually.  I feel it, but cannot put words to it as yet.

My red hair has been my companion for the past 22 years.  I have loved how it interacted with the colors that I chose for adornment.  I was fond of the fringe of red that framed every style of headwear that met my gaze and landed on my head. Though I sense its loss, I’m embracing a new era which is about more than the color of my hair.

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I decided to allow my silver to emerge naturally.  During my last visit to NYC, I was browsing for hats (big surprise) in a millinery shop.  As I was trying on a turban, I mentioned to the milliner’s young assistant that I was going to stop coloring my hair and was looking for something which would  harmonize with silver. She replied, with a hint of excitement in her voice,  “Are you going to go ombre?”  Not knowing what she meant, I looked for “ombre images” on-line HERE and I was in love.

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The colors fading from dark to light became a fascination.  I grew enamored of the red and the silver playing together in differing patterns, as the grey-white grew more prominent.

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I’ve been inspired to go through my closet and look for pieces that I haven’t worn for years.  This  vintage silk kimono with embroidered blue and white floral trim is one of the long neglected beauties that engaged me.  It seems as though one small change has the ability to ignite other shifts in my choices.

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As I watch the silver emerge, I feel as though I’m growing into myself.  Another level of self acceptance.  An honoring of aging.  After every haircut, to my eye I look like a different woman.  I had no idea that this would be so energizing and entertaining. Though somewhat ambivalent at the beginning, I have become more confident in my decision.

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I’ve begun to wear my hair back with my headwear, like I did in the hat shop days of the 80’s. I feel more exposed, but also more open. I’ll take that as another metaphor for life.

I’m looking for a new hair style and I have no idea where I will land.  Who knew that hair would become a new frontier in my 70’s?  I thought it was all about the hat!

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Photos By Daniel

Vintage black silk kimono with blue and white embroidered trim and black vintage clutch – estate sales, black cropped tuxedo pants and silver earrings – consignment stores, black heeled sandals – retail sale years ago, Patricia Underwood royal blue straw hat – hat shop in the 80’s, jewelry – estate sales, gifted, flea markets.

65 Comments

  1. My mouth is hanging open with a smile, with respect for your journey of self-discovery, and for the hidden beauty that has begun to reveal itself. Blessings, every step of the way.

  2. I am amazed by your style and the change in your hair colour! I have seen that other bloggers are also growing out their greys.

    Myself, at 73, my dark purple-tinted straight hair reaches well down my back past my bra strap. My daughter lately keeps muttering about “long unstyled hair with grey roots”. I take this as a hint that she thinks I should get it cut and restyled. The very idea fills me with horror! I have had long hair my entire life – my hair is me, whatever would I do without it!

    How very brave you are to change what you have clearly loved for 22 years. Of course it helps that you are so slim and with distinctive dress style but grey hair – in my mind this conjures up images of fat frumpy dowdy women with grey or lavender-tinted short permed hair.

    Oh, you are so brave – and I look forward with admiration to seeing the final result.

  3. I, too am 72. Last year I decided it was time to give up my red hair. I was born a natural red head and it was a large part of my identity! My then 18 year old granddaughter was very much against my decision so my compromise was if we don’t likely, I could always color it again. A simple solution. I chose to go “cold turkey” and spent an afternoon stripping the color out. My hair is short, very healthy despite the years of coloring it, and I wear it spikey so I was fearless. It has been, for the most part, an enormous success. The occasional “you look so good as a blonde” makes me flinch as I gently explain that no redhead wants to be a blonde!
    I think you will be very happy with your results and you will look as elegant as ever.
    I enjoy your blog very much.
    Best,
    Alix David
    NYC

  4. Love it. Started by own journey about six months ago
    and so far so good. I thought it would be much more
    silver than it so so thinkinging about putting in some white
    streaks or chunks. My hairdresser likes the idea so we will try
    it next month.
    Continua as they say!

  5. Judith, this is powerful to observe. I know that hair color is both superficial AND part of us at some primal level. Beauty is such an intensely personal expression while being a complete mystery. It’s a journey, too. So many of my sewing friends lament that it is difficult to adapt to the ever changing dimensions of our bodies. Even if we aren’t gaining or losing weight, proportions change and we keep starting over with the measuring tape and pattern alterations. But lately I am not complaining as much as enjoying the journey. It will keep changing and it will keep me on my toes.
    And I’ll keep following along with you!

  6. You do look transformed, transforming, transformational. As you said, it’s amazing what one change can do. You look even more essential, victorious, and vulnerable at the same time. Amazing Grace.

  7. Ombre. What a lovely word. I think of life as “ombre” because it is rarely black or white, or any single color, but always a variation and blending. I think that the serious profile in this collection is stunning and so much more the deep and wise Style Crone than all the beautiful and smiling photos we so enjoy. Welcome Wise Woman, stepping into wise Crone, as well as style Crone.

  8. How wonderful that you are able to make these changes with such an open heart and willingness.

    You are such an inspiration Judith!

    Such a shame you didn’t make it to the NYC blogger meet-up. I would have loved to have met you.

    bisous
    Suzanne

  9. LOVE it, Judith! What a soft and lovely natural hair color you have in addition to its gorgeous texture. Your future is undoubtedly full of more creativity and new possibilities.

  10. WAHOO! You look fabulous! I want to send you a hearty THANK YOU, Judith! You inspired me, at 43, to embrace my natural hair color. I’ve been coloring my hair since I was 15 — mostly reds, pink, platinum, and — for the last 20 years — black. I chopped all of my hair off just to get rid of the black; and lo and behold, my natural strawberry blonde is mixing with a most gorgeous silver-white. It’s wild and weird and strangely emotional.

    THANK YOU for being such an inspiration to me! THANK YOU! Sending you so much love from NYC!

  11. This is such an interesting subject and you seem to be doing so well. I get loads of questions from my readers about transitioning into grey. I think because I am a natural muted blonde I hardly noticed going grey and I still have highlights to even out the back. I am doing some research into the subject and would love to do an interview with you some time about your experience and any advice you might have.

  12. Judith, it is wonderful to travel with you on this journey. I am so curious. Very exciting. And you can never go wrong. If you have enjoyed your silver hair but are longing for your red hair again, one visit to the hairdresser and it is fixed. Don’t make the mistake to ever feel obliged to be a forefighter for grey hair. Always do what YOU want, whether it is red or silver hair. But by the sound of it, you are going to like grey.
    As for the kimono…. Fantastic. You know how much I love kimonos. And to let the hat pick up that blue colour… oh you can do so much with a hat.
    Greetje

  13. Hi Judith

    I’m not sure how I came across your blog but I’ve been following you for the past couple of months. I think you are an inspiration and look fabulous. I’ve just decided to retire from my full time job and to step out into a completely new and adventurous lifestyle. When I was younger I always enjoyed shopping in charity stores and flea markets but having to work and bring up children seemed to stifle my creativity and I feel I’ve lost my confidence to put clothes together etc. You have reawakened my enthusiasm and motivation to be me again. Your hair is looking so gorgeous.
    Best wishes
    Wendy

  14. Judith, the journey of self-discovery is the most wonderful thing a person can take! One of the things we mature women are discovering about ourselves is the surprises that await us when we bravely take that journey.

    Bravo, Judith, in discovering yet ‘another’ beautiful self!

  15. Judith the transition seems to highlight even more your beautiful face and cheekbones. It is almost like it there is no longer a competition, all eyes go to your lovely visage. You look like a high fashion model. The kimono is glorious!
    Accidental Icon

  16. What a fantastic kimono! I’m surprised its languished in your wardrobe unworn for so long, it looks gorgeous on.
    The hair journey is a wonderful voyage to follow you on. I’ve often discussed going natural with friends, the upkeep of covering those roots is such a hassle but, at the moment, I like the result.
    Yours looks fantastic. xxx

  17. I find this blog fascinating because I am going through something similar. I so agree with your interpretation of aging and the emotional piece. I have has very short hair for more then half of my life, I’m 70 yrs old. It is grey in the front and very dark in the back, hard to tell with really short hair.

    I decided to change it up, it was far too long waiting for what I don’t know. It has brought up many feelings about myself. I get mixed viewpoints but it isn’t about that,it is more about myself.

    Thank you for sharing, it feels like when my daughter lost her breast from cancer and the whole thing about femininity, she never had a problem which blew me away. I had more of an issue then she did! This for some strange reason feels connected, maybe being my hair was my identity, it longer is?

  18. love love the transition and your words of spiritual inspiration
    Love love the hats as i wear them too and have them up my stair wall in an old house in the middle of Wales!
    medieval Anna

  19. I love this. It is so interesting to me to read about the psychological power women give to the length and color of their hair. Mine has been all over the place length and color-wise and I find fun in changing it up. At 66, I’m still looking for something different ever 6 weeks or so! I think I get bored with it easily and so go for a change. Maybe I am stuck in a rut — the rut of always looking for the next do? Mind you, this only applies to my hair style and color. My sense of fashion and jewelry style has not changed since about the age of five!!

  20. You are an inspiration to older woman – in fact, to all women. Age is no barrier. I love your photos; I love your upbeat comments; I love your clothes and jewellery. I hope to be as ‘out there’ as you are when I hit 70. I have no fear, after you. Thank you.

  21. Oh Judith what a wonderful inspiration you are to us all. I so enjoy your Blog and hearing of your innovative ideas.
    I am younger than you but feel much older, not because of how I look but believe because of my attitude which is going to change due to your inspiration. Many thanks.

  22. Welcome to the club, Judith! Even more than the lovely silver showing up, I love your hair back, so more of your beautiful face can be seen. You are such an inspiration!

  23. Accepting one’s “wisdom hair” is a sure sign of loving Self! And I want to thank you for sharing this experience with everyone in such a wonderful fashion. (No pun intended.)
    And what a lovely shade its growing into. I think it makes you look very regal! Can hardly wait for more photos. Blessings to you!

  24. I agree that this natural hair colour will frame your face more dramatically, even when it’s back. You seem to have a greater sense of power about yourself. I like it!

  25. As a “fellow traveler”, you echo many of the things I’ve been thinking and feeling about this particular journey. However, more than anything, I’m feeling unstuck and freer. I’m excited about the domino effect I sense as a result, for both of us. 🙂

    This ensemble is breathtaking, by the way. And I can’t wait to see how you start styling your “new” hair!

    Much, much love to you and yours. XXOO

  26. I love your hair ombré, I loved it colored, I love the gray that I can see, and it’s just plain fun to read about your reactions to the whole process.

  27. I’m 74 and let my hair go grey years ago. Love it. Bravo to you. It does change the color of your face and you have to make adjustments in your makeup so you don’t fade away. I recently let my hair grow longer and noticed that I had to up the intensity of my make up. But would change it for anything. Love your new look.

  28. Love the silver. It allows the eye to focus on your fabulous bone structure and sparkling eyes. Absolutely gorgeous!

  29. I’ve been following you for some time now. I’m 49. I made the decision to embrace my gray 5 years ago, before gray was a “thing” with the twentysomethings. I was surprised at the very strong reactions from both men and women. It takes some doing to keep it from affecting my work life as well. I decided to wear my gray short with chunks of cherry or fuchsia in order to express that my gray is my choice, not a letting-go, and that I am just as vibrant a person as I have always been. I am inspired by your use of clothing to express that same thing.
    Enjoy your gray. Play with it. I look forward to seeing how your look evolves.

  30. Beautiful! So happy to see you embracing your true beauty. I absolutely loved the photo of you with the silver wig awhile back, truly beautiful.
    I am 68 and have never colored my hair, always loving my natural color. I am blessed with naturally dark hair and at this time have little gray to speak of. My Mother is 88 and I think I may have more gray then her!
    Love, love your new look!
    Jeanne

  31. Judith, I can’t tell you how much I like seeing that silver emerge, and the swept-back style is hugely elegant and striking. The matching silver jewellery and wonderful kimono only add to the beauty! xxx

  32. A really thoughtful and beautiful post! I love how you describe the power and change in alowing the silver to emerge! You look even more gorgeous now!

  33. WOW WOW WOW……..I think I say that A LOT with YOU!BUT I MEAN EVERY WOW!THis is fabulous………..I love how you haven’t shown us for awhile the changes………so DRAMATIC!
    SO, beautiful…………….I must go check that word now OMBRE was it?HAVE NO IDEA EITHER!!!!!
    THANK YOU FOR YOUR GORGEOUS COMMENT over yonder with me!I LOVED IT!
    XO

  34. I so enjoy your blog and it’s truly wonderful that you’re embracing your natural colour – you will look lovely whatever you do. Your taste in clothes is sublime and you have such an eye for style.

    But I won’t be joining you quite yet in your project. My hair is a mix of white, gun metal grey and red! It wouldn’t be possible to leave it in that odd state so I’d be dyeing it, which I think defeats the object. So for the moment, at 69, I’ll continue to be dye it light blonde. But I look forward to more stories about your transition to grey – you are a role model to me and many others – thank you x

  35. This has been a very interesting journey for you, from red to grey, and I’ve enjoyed reading (and hearing) your experience. It has inspired me to think about what choice I will make about my own hair in the coming decade. It’s also fascinating to see from the comments how your experience has inspired other women to examine their colour choices.

    My hair has become such a part of my signature look, I won’t be easing up on the colour anytime soon, but I think you are going to be a gorgeous silver-haired fox!

  36. Dear Judith,
    Such a wonderful journey you are sharing with us!
    It is all about the woman! The woman you were, the woman you are, the woman you will become– unbound! As all living beings are meant to be!! Much love to you. Xo
    Jewel

  37. Judith, what’s your secret to having that firm a jawline at seventy two?
    You look beautiful and will be even more stunning with all silver hair.

  38. Oh my gosh! Your red hair growing out looks exactly like mine did 12 years ago! Good for you!
    You look beautiful

  39. Dear Style Crone,

    This is my first experience at your site and I must say that you are a truly stunning and inspirational woman. I was directed to this site from unefemme.net because I was looking for ways for my sister to transition from blonde to her natural gray (I’ll probably be doing this in few years too). You’ve given my hope that this can accomplished with style and grace.

    Your fashion sense, while it differs greatly from mine, is so fun and imo really showcases what must be your vibrant, warm and lively personality. So thanks for such a great blog!!

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