Tag: style

THE PERFECT STYLE OF YOU #WednesdayWisdom

THE PERFECT STYLE OF YOU #WednesdayWisdom

style
This is a portrait of JEANNE LOUISE CALMENT (1875-1997) who was the darling of the media, back in 1995, when she reached her 120th birthday and became the oldest known person in the world – she would further become, by another year, the oldest documented person ever to have lived.

Online quizzes attract me like a kid to a cookie jar. Their popularity is a good indication that I’m not alone. Modern humans seem fascinated with the subtleties of their personalities and figuring out who they are, really. We want to know our hidden gifts and most attractive qualities. I’m no different. Many days I feel like a giant Rubik’s cube.

WHAT’S YOUR STYLE?

Over the weekend, the women in the Aging Abundantly Circle Meet UP group on Facebook had a lively conversation about our wardrobes, what we like to wear and why. Most had a pretty solid idea of where they stood on the subject. Unfortunately, I flip-flop from one style to another and am rarely consistent about anything I buy or wear.

Consistency confounds me in all areas of my life. My clothes are no exception. Some days I gravitate to free-flowing and colorful. Other days I want nothing more than the comfort of jeans and a sweater, figuratively and metaphorically.  It makes shopping difficult and having what I need available when I need it challenging. I whine to any of the Gods who are listening to please help me find a single, unmistakable style that I can embrace. I want to be me 24/7, and what I’m wearing is important! (Silence.)

My frustration was met by this  answer from one of the participants in the conversation: “You’re a mood dresser!” She seemed excited by her declaration, but what I heard was that I was moody and there’s no denying that. It just makes matters worse. I said such and she laughed and responded, “No! Not moody“, she said, “you dress according to your mood! That’s who you are!”

FINDING OUR COMFORT ZONE

styleBINGO! The unsettled blocks in my brain went click, click, click and my sense of identity fell into a new comfort zone. She was absolutely right! I want clothes that match my mood. Just like I want a coffee mug that matches my mood at any given time. But, could I embrace this about myself?

It’s not that we don’t know who we are, we just want someone to tell us its okay to be ourselves. We spent a half a lifetime, if not more, living according to other’s definitions of who we are and our essential self has seemed wrong for so long, that we could use a little reinforcement. So we take quizzes.

As I reflected on clothing styles and personality quizzes it occurred to me that what lies beneath the surface of both are one and the same. On the surface, what we learn is interesting if true, but so what? Beneath the surface the question remains, “what are we really looking for? What are we hoping to learn? Why do we need so desperately to know the answers?

If you look for the truth outside yourself, 
It gets farther and farther away. 
Today walking alone, I meet it everywhere I step. 
It is the same as me, yet I am not it. 
Only if you understand it in this way 
Will you merge with the way things are.
~ Tung-Shan

SELF-APPRECIATION IS HEALTHY

Most of the time I believe we are looking for one or two very fundamental things. We are looking for self-acceptance and/or affirmation of something we already intuitively know to be true about ourselves. We really don’t need the quizzes to tell us what we already know, we just want someone out there to say “yes, you are this”, isn’t it wonderful? In other words, we want permission to be who we already know ourselves to be.

My search for a style of clothes all my own is one of the least important things on the planet to me. What I believe I really want is to be okay with being me; to be okay with my idiosyncrasies and out-of-stepness. We all want affirmation, for someone or something to say, “hey, you got it goin’ on”, I like you!

We need this more than we might because a “mean girl chorus” hounds us to be like everyone else and to not dare be who we are. This very vocal and personal collection of people, made up of mom, sister and great-aunt Betty, has been with us for a lifetime. To send them packing is to open up a whole lot of space in our head that in the beginning feels really strange. As we begin to embrace the void, however, and fill the space with our own thoughts, appreciation and enjoyment of who we are, it gets a whole lot happier in there.


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Looking and Feeling Great at Any Age

Looking and Feeling Great at Any Age

Regardless of our height, weight or physical limitations, feeling comfortable in our body is important at any age. When our clothes fit and feel comfortable they become an expression of who we are and can not only be an enjoyable experience but uplifting as well. Many of us throw our hands up in the air as we sense our appearance changing and the clothes we once enjoyed no longer feel or look good on us. We just have to adjust! And, we can!

Here are a few sage tips from Sylvia, a style consultant who know a thing or two about how to get to a place of comfort once again.

Get Yourself Out of a Style Rut

Ageing isn’t always fun. Although, it has tremendous benefits, like increased confidence, knowledge, acceptance etc., it comes with a few annoyances as well, like:

  1. More health issues (I never had to do so much stretching before playing tennis just to avoid any injuries)
  2. Thin and grey hair (it costs an absolute fortune to keep it looking great)
  3. Fat accumulation at all the wrong places (I’m sure I did not eat more than last year)
  4. Mood swings and hormonal imbalance (as if the challenges of day-to-day living aren’t enough already)

No wonder then that some women over 50 find it hard to keep up and develop a serious case of frumpiness. But rather than accept that and let it be, I would argue that you need to fight it and get your style grove back.

Just a few reasons why feeling and looking stylish is important

When you look great, you feel great You may have heard the phrase before: When you look great you feel great. I believe this to be true. You will know deep down that you don’t look your best and your face will show it. You will look less confident and less approachable. On the other hand when you have made an effort and could look in the mirror with a confident smile, you will show that to the world. You will look confident and happy and others will notice that too. I even believe that making an effort in terms of your clothing can actually reverse a bad mood, so it can be very therapeutic as well.

It shows that you care about yourself and others Others DO really appreciate when you look after yourself. Not only are you entertaining yourself with some creativity or some color, others will be delighted as well. Although I believe that you should mainly dress up to delight yourself, there certainly is no harm in entertaining others as well!

You will be taken more seriously Unfortunately, this one is a fact of life. If you look better, others will take you more seriously. In a recent study it was even shown that women that put on more makeup will have better promotion chances (for more info see my article makeup: is it essential for women). Don’t get me wrong. I don’t agree with this, but I have experienced myself that you will be more appreciated when you look better. I am hoping though, that you will take the first 2 reasons more to heart. I believe that making yourself look stylish and beautiful should always be done, because you yourself will feel and see the benefits and not because others expect it from you.

So how can you get yourself out of a style rut?

I may have convinced you to take some action and get some style back into your life, but where to start?  Here are some of my ideas to get you going.

Understand your body First and foremost you need to understand your own body. You can look good no matter what your body size, but you will need to select the right clothes for your body type. When you do that, you look better instantly.

Understand your style persona I also feel it’s important to understand yourself and your style persona. What kind of style appeals to you? What makes you, you? There are various ways to find out:

  • You can try to find out your own style statement, a 2 word description of you and your style. This ideas was pioneered by Danielle Laporte and Carrie McCarthey and is described in this book.
  • Have a look at your current wardrobe. Which garments make you feel great? Keep notes of that.
  • Perhaps photograph yourself in some of your outfits and see what appeals?  Make your own style scrapbook.
  • Get yourself a Pinterest account and pin everything that inspires you (if you want an invite, just email me through my site) You will get lots of ideas in no time and you will start to recognise a ‘theme’ from all your pins.
  • Try to define what your signature style is and do more of that.
  • Find out which colors look good on you. You may already know this instinctively or your can visit an image consultant.

Think carefully before you buy new items and make sure that they FIT you You will never look good in clothes that do not fit properly, so this should be your number 1 priority.

Most of all, have FUN with fashion Fashion, styling and dressing up is fun. I’m sure you already have  many items in your closet that are just waiting to be styled differently. Perhaps you only need to add a few items to make a lot of your current clothes work. I have found that if you really take some time for your clothes, look at your current clothes and start playing with them, mixing and matching, you can come up with wonderful outfits.

Some final words

I hope I have convinced some of you to have more fun with clothes and discover your stylish you. Looking stylish doesn’t have to be a chore but can be a lot of fun. I’m sure that the time (and perhaps a bit of money) invested will make you feel happier, more alive and will help you to enjoy your life after 50 even more! I would love to hear your feedback! What will you be doing (or perhaps have already done) to beat the frumpiness?

Sylvia is a style consultant and online marketing professional who writes about finding your style and how to dress after 40 at 40PlusStyle.com. She is currently based in Singapore.