Bloomies May Kay1    

From Retirement To The Runway: Norwood Park Woman Models How To Age Well

When Kay Holstein of Norwood Park heard about a Chicago fashion show looking for volunteer models age 50 and better, she jumped at the chance. “I didn’t think about it—I just called and arranged a meeting, and everything fell into place,” says Holstein, a recent retiree who enjoys clothes and wearing bright colors. “It ended up being an unforgettable experience; overall, it was absolutely wonderful and I am so glad I participated!” The show that Holstein modeled in was organized by Fashion Over Fifty, which targets helping older women gain self-esteem—and those who want to dress fashionably and appropriately, without looking “too old or too young.” The event was held at Bloomingdales’ on Michigan Avenue on Saturday, May 9, and featured clothing and accessories from the store. The models strolled among audience members in the store’s aisles;Holstein estimates there may have been 50 people in attendance. “I’ve always suffered from shyness and stage fright, and I was amazed afterward to realize that I had walked down the runway without one thought of fear crossing my mind,” says Holstein. “In fact, I hope I have a chance to do it again!” Holstein spent more than 20 years working for the Ludwig Drum Company in Chicago, followed by several years in various office positions. After she retired in 2014, she says, “I felt like I’d been turned loose. I didn’t have a lot of free time when I was working, and now I’m always on the run, trying different things and getting involved. Honestly, I think I’m more active than I want to be!”  

It All Started at Mather’s—More Than a Café

One of Holstein’s avenues for learning and entertainment is her local Mather’s—More Than a Café at 7134 W. Higgins Ave. She began dropping in just three months after her retirement. At these innovative neighborhood places, people of all ages can enjoy fresh, made-to-order food; additionally, those age 50 and better can sign up for programs and events, including computer tutorials, live music concerts, exercise classes, and informative lectures. It was at Mather’s that Holstein learned about Fashion Over Fifty. Although the two organizations are not affiliated, the Mather’s—More Than a Café receptionist handed Holstein a brochure on the fashion event, telling her that she would be a perfect fit. “Mather’s is a great way to stay active by attending classes and lectures covering a wide variety of interesting subjects,” says Holstein, who seems to be interested in learning about just about every topic. “Last week I attended a class on painting vases and also a presentation on haunted houses in the Chicago area.  I’m currently attending a series of lecture classes on Saturdays, which covers topics in medicine. There are exercise classes, dinner theater performances, and a lot of other subjects to keep you very busy, along with meeting a lot of new people!” People of all ages are welcome to drop in and visit Mather’s—More Than a Café. Mather’s on Higgins Avenue is open six days a week: Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Friday 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Another Northwest Side location, at 3235 N. Central Avenue, is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For general information on Mather’s—More Than a Café, visit or call (888) 600.2560.