The Solution

I wanted to write about the solution as I see it. I wrote things out longhand over and over not satisfied with anything I wrote.

The solution might be as simple as liking yourself.

The fact is if you’re not living an authentic life it’s not possible to be happy or healthy.

(Cue the violin strings for my failed first career in insurance office jobs.)

I for one refuse to wear a suit or dress in neutrals. I need color and flair.

This is what I would tell readers: You have the right to be your original self.

Free of the torment of trying to please others and have them approve of you.

Ladies: I’m 54 years old and have stopped caring what people think.

Finally breaking free of the idea that I should conform.

I’m excited to read soon Beyond Beautiful the new Anuschka Rees book. This Curated Closet author replaced the body positive mantra with the term body neutral.

Narrowing down a woman’s worth to whether her body pleases a man or whether she lives up to a sexual ideal is just plain not right.

Wearing a cleavage-bearing mini-dress and stilettos won’t ever be my thing.

Fitting a mold holds no allure for me.

Living in menopause is the time to get things right in your head about how you feel about yourself.

In a coming blog entry I’m going to post 2 photos that illustrate this point. Along with what I’ve learned at 54 years old about self-acceptance.

It strikes me that if you turn 50 and still don’t like yourself this doesn’t bode well for when you turn 70.

I’ll end here with this affirmation:

Like yourself right now the way you are. Change what you’d like to change. Yet always remember that you’re the only person that has to like, approve of, and be happy with yourself.

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8 Rules for Conscious Shopping

I’ve been as guilty as anyone of amassing a ton of clothes.

In a coming blog entry I’ll review the book Wear No Evil.

I read this book straight through in one week. It’s great to have on hand as a reference guide to responsible fashion.

My Fashion Challenge is to not buy another shirt, pant, skirt, sweater, or dress for the next two years.

In my own way I do use and wear about 30 to 35 items of clothing per season.

To make it easier to choose and use wardrobe items I’ve come up with 8 Rules for Conscious Shopping.

It really isn’t that great to lose track of how much you spend and what you spend it on. Whether that is clothing, food, or entertainment.

My contention is that you don’t need to have hundreds of items to choose from to be well-dressed.

Editing out the skeletons of wardrobes past that you no longer wear or fit into is the start of reclaiming your style power.

Here I offer my 8 Rules for Conscious Shopping:

  1. An item of clothing you buy should be able to be worn with at least two or three other items in your wardrobe.
  2. Shop to fill in missing items in your wardrobe instead of shopping for impulse buys as a weekly hobby. If you have ten sundresses and work in a corporate office, maybe you need to buy a power suit.
  3. Buy clothing that flatters your body and your color type (a warm or cool undertone).
  4. “Shop in your own closet”—the guiding principle of personal stylists everywhere.
  5. Reject buying clothes that don’t fit your lifestyle—that either don’t fit your life or your style. For help figuring out your style I recommend two books: The Curated Closet and Nothing to Wear? The 5-Step Cure for the Common Closet.
  6. Treat your clothes kindly, and they’ll remain in good condition for the long-term. This will save you from having to constantly replace fast fashion items that can’t withstand numerous wash cycles.
  7. Just say no to a neon green coat. Is neon anything a great look? Only if you’re a pop star touring America with an entourage.
  8. If you’re iffy about purchasing an item, leave it on the rack. The clothes you buy you should absolutely love at first sight. You’ll wear the clothes you love often and get more compliments.

Having a Capsule Wardrobe

It strikes me today that having too many clothes is a liability.

Your mental health suffers every morning when you stare at a bursting closet and lament: “I have nothing to wear!”

Seeing everything take up all that space in reality you subconsciously think: “I’ll never get my act together!”

Having a routine and prioritizing what’s important to focus on is imperative at mid-life.

After the arrival of the Uniqlo package over a year later I understood that it can cause distress to be overwhelmed by the act of choosing and using items in your wardrobe.

To wit I had written: “Where would I be able to stuff yet another sweater?”

Having a capsule wardrobe is the antidote.

Ever the radical that I am I created a genius plan that beats Marie Kondo at her own tidying up game.

The solution is to only buy clothes you truly love instead of schlepping home impulse buys.

When you do this you won’t have to stare at a bunch of clothes and ask yourself if you truly love each item enough to keep it.

Choosing and using only a core collection of wardrobe items saves your sanity at the front end.

So that you won’t have to engage in clutter control at the back end.

Elsewhere this concept is calling having a capsule wardrobe.

Most experts say this involves having and using about 30 items of clothing each season.

My goal is to replace the clothes I buy in the future with fewer items of better quality.

Really one hack for front-end clutter control is to know Your Self and determine your Style. (More about creating your own style here in the future.)

Then you’ll be saved from purchasing mistakes that only hang in your closet unworn.

Here I can tell you that limiting the amount of clothes you buy frees you up to spend more time on things you truly enjoy.

Some of us hate to shop–at least in actual stores.

Putting careful thought into the clothes you buy is a good habit.

I plan to go 2 years without buying another sweater, pair of pants, skirt, or dress. I’ll talk about this Fashion Challenge in a coming blog entry.

My goal is to do what experts advise: “shop in your own closet” to create new outfits every week.

It seems about right to have 30 to 33 items of clothing you rotate every season.

For the original source of the Capsule Wardrobe Makeover you can read about Project 333 here.

The Be More With Less blogger edited out her clothes to help herself better manage a medical condition.

I’m confident that this approach can S.O.S.–save our sanity every morning when we open the closet doors and ask:

“What do I have to wear?”

Making Changes at Mid Life

Last week I used the last shred of dough to hire a Health Coach.

Her fee was customary and not at all exorbitant for health coach services.

The coach quickly figured out that I needed to change up my eating plan:

I’m to cut out carbohydrates like any kind of grains. I’m to buy full-fat plain Greek yogurt instead of 0 fat yogurt. I’m to add protein and healthy fat to my breakfast and lunch meals.

Out, out will go the granola, and the pasta of any kind except only rarely as a treat (once a season as opposed to weekly.)

Eggs are perfectly fine to have for breakfast. I buy the organic eggs and scramble them with organic mushrooms, diced peppers, and broccoli.

At mid-life I buy and cook mostly organic food. It tastes better. It doesn’t have cancer-causing pesticides. It’s cheaper than paying medical costs when you become ill.

Alas, lifestyle choices are often the culprit in ill health at mid-life and beyond.

I’m lucky that as a young kid I always detested cigarette smoking so didn’t take up this awful habit.

In my Flourish blog I’ve talked about how the food we eat can impact our mood.

Emotional distress can cause physical fatigue too according to a doctor.

At 50 and beyond–even starting at 40 and younger–it pays dividends to make your health a priority.

Living in health and harmony can enable you to live longer if you ask me.

I also think that making conscious choices at mid-life is the way to go. Instead of acting or reacting on autopilot not aware of what you’re thinking doing or saying.

At 50 and beyond there can be a lot of stress. Some of us might be acting as our parent’s caregiver.

It can also be quite a shock when we realize we need to make changes to sustain our health as we get older.

In the Flourish blog is where I will continue to talk in detail about fitness and nutrition.

In here I would like to talk about practical lifestyle changes.

The coming blog entry will be devoted to managing your wardrobe better to ameliorate your health.

Who really needs 100 sweaters?

On Individuality

As I roll into another birthday all of this resonates with me:

How repressing our Self leads to ill health.

How what makes us different makes us beautiful.

How daring to be vocal about what’s not right in the world is not only necessary it should be expected when we reach mid-life.

My literary agent is working with me on a book proposal project. She edited one sentence. She replaced the word Visionary that I used and changed it to radical.

What I write is radical at times. I write things and talk about things that no one else is writing or talking about.

I’m often the first one–and the only one–doing this.

As 54 beckons, and I look around and see what’s happening outside around me I can’t help but think that courage is warranted.

We need to have the guts to stand up and shout about it when something’s not right.

We need to have the courage to stand tall when other people refuse to treat their fellow human beings with dignity.

It’s sad that acting true to yourself is seen as courageous.

It should be expected and accepted that every one of has the right to be ourselves.

This struck me more so as an inviolable creed after riding a crowded city bus one night.

I came home and realized that the way to live is to have no fear.

So I would like to tell readers of this blog: Dare to be You.

God broke the mold after he made you. God doesn’t make junk. God doesn’t make mistakes.

Whether you are Christian or not and whether you practice some kind of actual religion or not I trust you can understand the underlying theme:

Basing how you live–even so far as deciding how to dress–on fear of what people think, on fear of standing out, on any kind of fear is not the way to live.

The older I get with my life getting shorter I think:

“You don’t have time to waste trying to impress people who are cowards.

You’re the only one who has to accept and be impressed by yourself.”

It’s a fool’s errand trying to conform to what other people tell you is the only way to live, act, be, and dress.

Viewing the World at 50

My newfound alarm at the hazardous conditions garment workers labor under has been part of a series of revelations I’ve come to post-50 years old.

Every week I log on to the Accidental Icon blog.

In one comment Lyn Slater wrote:

“Creativity can move one forward into doing what one really wants to do in life.”

Being resourceful. Veering off the beaten path. Deciding for your self how you want to live.

These things seem to have taken precedence in my life as I near another birthday.

When I turned 35 that was the start of realizing that living only for self-gain and making tons of money wasn’t such a great idea.

Fast-forward to 53: I don’t think anyone will get very far in life acting selfish and greedy and materialistic.

The point is that feeling good about ourselves and doing good is why we’re here on earth.

How old are you? If you’re not in your fifties yet what I’m writing will be a preview of the years to come.

At 53:

I’m done with the hate in the world.

I’m done with caring what people who sit in judgment of you think.

I’m done with fearing acting true to yourself because you worry people won’t approve of the Real You.

In your twenties and possibly going into your thirties you have different ideas about what’s important.

It’s later in life as the years roll along that I think:

Wasn’t it kind of entitled to be upset that your mother gave you a fluorescent green shirt as a Christmas present? (As recorded in my memoir.)

See what happens. You’ll turn 50 someday too. You hopefully won’t be the same person you were when you were 20. Or even when you were 40.

The famous boxer Muhammad Ali has a great quote I’ll end here with:

“A  man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.”

Women: this applies to us too.

Conscious Chic

Merriam-Webster online defines the noun Chic as:

Smart elegance and sophistication especially of dress or manner.

As I roll into my mid-fifties the goal is to be conscious not live life on auto-pilot.

Reading We Are All Fast-Food Workers Now has been a wake-up call.

This has awakened in me the urge to speak out as a Rebel/Feminist.

At this point in my life living on the cusp of getting older I think each person should decide for themselves how they want to be, live, act, dress, and think.

To be a Feminist in today’s world was beautifully expressed by Gaia Repossi, an Italian Creative Director living in Paris:

“Since I am a creative person, my style is my language, a way in which I speak.

I would encourage you to “speak” freely as yourself, to be guided by your instinct, to be faithful to your heart and mind, to say something…Contemporary elegance, to me, is rooted in an enlightened feminism, in equality of genders and sexualities, and in freedom from gender.”

To embrace and honor your individuality–of gender yet also of personality–and that of others is the goal.

My agenda in advancing the ethic of Conscious Chic is precisely to liberate ourselves from the old-school patriarchy that has caused the hazardous working conditions in garment factories around the globe.

Being chained to a treadmill of buying and spending isn’t the way to live the rest of your life after you turn 50.

I say: be Chic by being You.

Acting as a conscious consumer can be a great way to manage your mental and physical health at mid-life.

In coming blog entries I’ll talk about this in more detail via the concept of having a capsule wardrobe of 30 or so items.