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.

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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.

My Mid-Life Clothing Revelation

As I get older, like any woman in her fifties, I’m examining my life: what to discard, what to keep as I move towards another birthday.

On the cusp of 54 your priorities could change. The things you value could change.

I’ve been reading a book that is a revelation.

The book We Are All Fast Food Workers Now: The Global Uprising Against Poverty Wages is an eye-opener.

Around the globe people labor at McJobs. The definition of a McJob is one that is soul-crushing and leads nowhere for those individuals trapped working there.

Thus my reference in the title of the last blog entry to McFashion. This is what I call the shoddy fast fashion that garment workers sew in unsafe working conditions in countries where the government is in cahoots with U.S. transnational corporations.

Echoes of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire here were repeated in the Rana Plaza collapse where over 1,000 garment workers were killed a few years ago.

I don’t know what’s worse: that the governments in other countries allow these deplorable conditions at the hands of American business. Or whether U.S. companies should shoulder the blame totally.

A pair of Zara pants I bought were poorly constructed and didn’t ever fit right. As a rule, I don’t shop in fast fashion stores or go shopping every week as a hobby.

In two books the authors stated that the average person buys 63 items of clothing every year. How can that be?

I’m no fan of the nationalist fervor in the U.S. We must think of people living in other countries. How U.S. companies are ravaging their lands, harming people’s health, and polluting the earth.

I will always be a purveyor of fashion as therapy. Yet it’s a privilege that so few women living in other countries have: the right to parade down their streets in finery, free of violence and sexual abuse, able to exert their power in the face of oppression.

Garment workers paid barely $77 per month make a pair of Nike shoes that cost $150 here.

I’d like to offer alternatives to help redress the perils of runaway fashion.

Is it possible to “have your cape, and wear it too?”

There’s a better way. I’ll talk in coming blog entries about books that offer solutions. Plus I’ll give my own strategies.

I call this ethic Conscious Chic.

I have ideas for how to manage your wardrobe to help improve your health.

I’m all for making your life easier when you’re a woman going through “the change.”

 

McFashion Follies

In this blog last December I reported on a package that the USPS supposedly delivered that had gone missing.

While I waited on line to talk to a rep from the USPS about where the package was a recorded announcement told me that shipping holiday packages via USPS is a great way to send them.

In a curious twist five weeks ago a strange package I hadn’t ordered showed up on my doorstep.

The package was beat-up yet the contents were in perfect condition:

The Uniqlo sweater and two tee shirts that were supposed to have arrived via USPS in December 2017.

Was the package sitting in a warehouse all this time?

The moral of this story is that it’s too easy to keep buying clothes over and over.

Where exactly would I be able to store the sweater in a drawer bursting out to the dovetail joints?

I stuffed the sweater on top of a pile of sweaters on a shelf.

There’s a better way to go than “fast fashion.” We shouldn’t be complicit in fleecing others by buying and wearing a fleece jacket.

After the mysterious arrival of the package over a year later I decided: “Basta! Enough!”

I’m reading a great new book: We Are All Fast Food Workers Now: The Global Uprising Against Poverty Wages.

Reading this book has been shocking.

Pay Americans better wages and salaries and we could afford a $100 shirt created in a factory where garment workers toil in safe conditions with a livable wage, health insurance, and other perks.

The rise of globalization has benefited only U.S. transnational companies. The book I’m reading is a deep dive into the Truth.

I’m going to talk in coming blog entries more about the Fast Food Workers book.

After the arrival of the missing package I was forced to confront that I don’t need to buy a ton of clothes over and over.

There’s a better approach.

I stand in solidarity with the garment workers barely making minimum wage with hazardous conditions in Cambodia and elsewhere. I’m going to report on a sane tactic for managing your wardrobe.

While I couldn’t edit the contents of my closet and drawers down to 33 items like one blogger wrote about I’m convinced that having an endless parade of packages coming into your apartment isn’t the way to go either.

The blogger who edited her wardrobe to 33 items apparently did so to help herself manage her health better. She had a medical condition.

In a future blog entry I’m going to list my own solutions for over-consumption.

There’s no room at my inn for another item of clothing. My goal is to not buy any clothes for at least two years.

Making myself richer instead of million-dollar companies in the process.

Changing Yourself to Change the World

As I roll along in my fifties (with a birthday coming up) I would like to focus in this blog on hot topics that affect women going through “the change.”

I’ll be 54 soon. The Accidental Icon blogger Lyn Slater inspires me to no end. She’s easily 10 or 15 years older than me. She is a professor with a social work background who reinvented herself as a Fashionista later in life.

There’s something to be said about having the guts to act true to yourself without apologizing or having to justify or explain your choices.

This might be a luxury that only those of us in a well-off country like America have. Which is why in coming blog entries I also want to offer solutions that benefit the planet and other people living on it.

There has not ever been a better time to be an artist and act altruistic.

If you ask me dressing well is an art form. It does give us the power to reach for our dreams.

Yet we must keep in mind that other people don’t have it so easy.

Helping others lift themselves up is always in fashion.

As Michael Jackson sang in “Man in the Mirror” changing the world happens when you first change yourself.

54 is fast on my heels. I’m  a woman looking in the mirror. Do I like what I see?

I’ve become disenchanted with running on a treadmill of spending and consuming.

The arrival of a mysterious package on my doorstep prompted me to re-examine my buying habits.

Where did the package come from? Up next the moral of this postal story.

Clothes-Minded

I’ve been logging on to the Accidental Icon blog every week now.

Lyn Slater the blogger posted a response to one of her comments stating that how you dress impacts what you think and how you perform.

I was curious so Googled these research studies and here’s what I came up with:

Subjects dressed in formal business clothing as opposed to casual clothing had increased abstract thinking, a cognitive hallmark of creativity and long-term strategizing.

Subjects who wore a white lab coat clearly announced as being a doctor’s coat focused better and made half as many mistakes on an attention-demanding task.

In a twist, women who were told the expensive sunglasses they wore were counterfeit cheated more often on lab experiments with cash payouts. This behavior was thought to occur because wearing the counterfeit glasses made wearers feel less authentic.

An interview years ago in a magazine with Judith Hill a singer poised for stardom sums this all up in a down-to-earth way:

“I believe that playing the part on the outside affects how you feel on the inside…So even when I’m not feeling my best, I put on clothes that make me look confident.”

There’s something to be said for dressing the way you want to feel when you’re not feeling up to par.

I know that when I dress up I feel better.

Soon I turn 54. The focus of this blog in the coming months will be on what it’s like living through “the change.”

I would like to talk about the dual nature of fashion: the fashion a person wears and how she fashions her life as she gets older.

Lyn Slater has been a true inspiration to me.

I’m confident when I say that turning 50 heralds the advent of the best years of our lives.

Creating a Look Book

look book

I’ve figured out that creating a Look Book can help you figure out what pocketbook to choose and use with a particular outfit.

The photo album above holds 200 photos. I’ve also begun shooting photos of clothing items. You can use Pinterest on your cell phone or a device like an iPad instead if you’d like to create a Look Book.

I’m on the cusp of 54. A lot of woman at mid-life decide we want to do something new or at least change an aspect of our lives that we don’t like.

In this regard as I’m starting to reach the middle of my fifties I find that doing the things that give you joy can transform your confidence and give you self-esteem.

The point of creating a Look Book is that it can be fun to choose and use items in your wardrobe to make whatever statement you want to make on a particular day.

I would go so far as to say that style is the language of your soul transmitted sartorially.

Dressing well can spark joy in mid-life or at any time in your life.

Now that I’m leaving 50 in the dust and heading upward I can tell readers that you need all the help you can get when others in society–men and fashion editors alike–insinuate that a woman has an expiration date.

The goal is not to look like you’re 20 when you’re 50 or 60 or older.

The goal is to use your wardrobe to transmit to others that you like yourself and think you’re hot by your own standards.

Not by any other person’s view of what you look like.

I will end here by stating that creating a Look Book is therapist-approved. No kidding.