Lifestyle Kuel Category Expert: Nina Anders
In my last post here on Kuel Life, I shared my midlife fashion crisis – How I discovered I might be a middle-aged woman, and how I began wondering whether I needed to completely overhaul my wardrobe to better reflect what a woman of a certain age might wear.
Complete Style Overhaul:
Not one to jump in with both feet, I decided to do a little probing before doing a complete style overhaul. I was only just realizing I wanted to change a few things here and there, and besides, I was just newly divorced. I really didn’t have any idea what direction I was going. Nor what I really wanted in my life.
“I have known several women who restyled themselves during times of upheaval, with terrible results.”
I have known several women who restyled themselves during times of upheaval, with terrible results. Like the friend who went for the Marilyn Monroe look after a bad breakup. Only to have seriously damaged her hair which looked horrible for almost a year. And the friend who hired a complete stranger to create a new wardrobe while she was going through a divorce. Instead of dressing like the open-hearted yogini she was, the stylist decided a more “traditional” look was in order.
Much Less A Reflection:
When I first saw my friend post styling, I didn’t even recognize her. Luckily, she realized the new look wasn’t her and decided to work on her style herself.
My friend’s new look had nothing to do with her lifestyle, much less a reflection of who she really is as a woman. At the time, she wasn’t sure of either. That’s why she hired someone to help. While working with a stylist can be very helpful, hoping that someone can accurately capture your essence when you aren’t sure of it yourself may not be the best play. Unless, of course, part of the stylist’s services includes some self-reflection.
As I continued to consider my style options, following the age-old fashion rules was out of the question as well. This strategy seemed to lead to a frumpy, cookie-cutter style I knew I didn’t want either. I had just realized I was 55 and “possibly” middle age. I simply was not and am not ready to dress in shapeless pastels, oversized muumuus, or elastic-waisted peddle pushers. A popular look among the older set here in Florida. By the way, our inner being has no concept of age. Aging is something the body does, I think this is important to note.
Dressing Trying To Impress A Man:
While the life changes I had gone through were sudden, I knew that sorting it all out might take some time. And I was right. To really figure out my style, I needed to figure out my life and where I wanted to go next.
I was recently divorced which meant I didn’t have to dress for my husband. Who liked a very “Housewives of Orange County” type look. Tight pants and sexy tops and flashy jewelry (see the outfit above). I realized I didn’t want to attract the kind of man that liked that look. I wanted a man who would be interested in me as a person.
So it was super important that I dress the way I felt most attractive rather than dressing to try to impress a man. There is a place for dressing for the men in our lives, but I wanted to be strong in being myself.
Freshened My Outlook:
“To start my transformation, I knew a closet clear-out was in order.”
Business-wise, things were changing too. As I looked at my peers, I noticed that most people were dressing much more casually than I had been. Which meant the high heels, pencil skirts, and suits were no longer needed.
Updating my work look was more appropriate for the times, but it also freshened my outlook. The pic above is the more relaxed business look I wear now. Classic and strong, yet approachable. Shed the blazer and heels, and I can comfortably work from home. Which I do most of the time now anyway.
To start my transformation, I knew a closet clear-out was in order. I hit the low-hanging fruit first, things that didn’t fit, things in need of repair, and things I hadn’t worn in a year or more. I donated several suits to a woman’s shelter since I knew I no longer had a need to wear them. I kept a few blazers because I knew I’d still wear them with jeans.
What Do I Need That I Don’t Have?
I let go of the Housewives of Orange County look. The skimpy tops, push-up bras, and flashy jewelry too. I simply wasn’t that woman anymore. I no longer had to dress for a husband who was never happy with being in a relationship with me. And I was no longer a woman who believed she wasn’t “enough” without all the extra padding and bling.
With a reduced closet, I put more attention toward finding myself as I curated my wardrobe. Lifestyle—what I was actually wearing day to day, and taking note of what looked and felt like me became the priority. As I began to fill in what was missing, I asked myself: “What do I need that I don’t have?” I began to curate a look that felt more confident and more “me”.
It’s no secret that our wardrobe reflects who we are. It also gives others clues as to how we are willing to be treated. As my wardrobe changed, so to did the people in my life. I was no longer willing to be marginalized or objectified. And people who were inclined to treat me in that manner seemed to drift away.
“It’s no secret that our wardrobe reflects who we are.”
Clothing Really Reflects “You”:
I often recommend that people take photos of their favorite outfits, front and back. In fact I suggested this in my last post, so you can really see how you look in your favorite clothing. Not just from a physical fit standpoint, but whether your clothing really reflects “you”.
One of the things that surprised me in taking photos of my outfits was that my style essence was actually there all along. And it got stronger as time went on. I could see which colors, necklines, and shapes worked best. I also took note of how the clothing felt as well. I could also see a metamorphosis taking place. Both in the clothing, I choose for myself and in the woman I am becoming.
My Fashion Wear Then And Now:
Check out the pictures below. The one on the left was taken in 2014, just months before my divorce was finalized. I was 55 years old, and the outfit was from Victoria’s Secret, back when they sold clothes. The picture on the right is me now. At 62, wearing Veronica Beard- a great American design house that does a beautiful job of designing modern classics for ageless women.
Asking questions has proven so beneficial in my journey – not just in choosing clothing, but in finding myself as a women in her middle years, I’d love to share some of the questions I ask myself before shopping. You can get a free copy here: http://bit.ly/Fashionq
About the Author:
As the dust from the divorce settled, Nina embarked on finding herself, reconnecting spiritually and mapping out a new future for herself. Seeing there was no real guidance for women in their fifties and beyond, Nina decided to start her award winning blog, Sharing A Journey, a life/style blog for women over 50. The blog covers fashion, beauty, and lifestyle topics for women looking to live their best lives during their middle years.
To follow along, or join in, you can follow Nina’s blog here www.sharingajourney.com, on Instagram @sharing_a_journey, Pinterest, Facebook and YouTube at sharingajourney. Sign on to the Sharing A Journey weekly newsletter and get Nina’s shopping tips here: http://bit.ly/Fashionq