You can learn a lot about a woman by looking at her closet. Some closet spaces are tidy and arranged by color while others are in disarray with heaps of clothes that didn’t quite make it onto a hangar.
I think that the way we feel about our aging bodies has an impact on how we view the smallest room in the house. It might be small, and hidden but the emotions stored there are immense.
Once upon a time opening your closet was an exciting, self-esteem-building way to start your day. Now, approaching the same door in your comfy oversized robe is out of necessity and is not necessarily a joyful experience.
Facing our selection of clothes is a stark reminder of our age and the limited options that it brings. Long gone are the sleeveless frocks, skinny jeans, short skirts, and high heels. We stopped wearing anything sleeveless due to the combination of underarm wobble and skin as dry as the Sahara.
We can’t get the low-waist skinny jeans over the belly that has replaced our boobs. And the thought of exposing our road-mapped bare legs to the world is out of the question. Whatever happened to pantyhose? What a fabulous invention… cellulite remover, instant tan, and firmness sheath all in one.
Keeping the Dream Alive
Women of all ages have weight problems and poor body image. Some women fluctuate in weight so much that they have three different sizes of clothes at their disposal.
A great motivator/guilt enhancer is to have the smallest-sized group up front and center. Seeing your tiny-sized wardrobe from 1997 first thing can keep the dream alive that you will lose weight and fit in them again. Although it’s been 24 years, you WILL squeeze back into your ideal size and wardrobe.
Sexy Shoes No More
Another sign of our age is that the once sexy shoe collection has been replaced by a lovely assortment of orthopedic shoes and “going out to lunch” flats. You know you’re in trouble when your arches hurt in a pair of one-inch block heals.
We tell ourselves it’s okay since we no longer wear dresses and shorts so who needs leg- elongating shoes. Even younger women are wearing flats; the only difference is their ankles are still cute. We don’t ask for much, just shoes that are ankle minimizing, bunion covering and have steel support arches that can still pass for fashionable.
Thank Goodness for Accessories
Let’s not forget accessories. Have you noticed that older women take to wearing huge, bold jewelry? Regardless of the reason, the emphasis of the outfit has become the accessories. I think there are a couple of reasons for this. Unlike clothes, accessories are guaranteed to fit, and hopefully, they will draw attention away from the shapeless outfit with matching sensible shoes.
New Looks That Work
As the options of what actually looks good on us dissipate, we are left with some extreme choices. We can resort to high, elastic waist pants featuring wide legs that, above all, hide any lumps, or as the British say, “wobbly bits.”
And there are plenty of long-sleeved, high-necked tunics from the same “mature woman” department at your local mall. For resort and casual wear, a good old-fashioned moo moo or what they now refer to as a caftan will suffice.
I do have images of myself in a gorgeous, exotic print caftan looking both chic and effortless. The key to this look is that the fabric is nowhere near my body. Which eliminates the need for body smoothing, hip reducing, and anti-gravity lifting undergarment restraints.
Out With the Old
For many of us, it is time to face the reality of our age and our closet. I have put off doing this for far too long. It’s time to spend the better part of a weekend cleaning it out and in the process mourn the past.
Theoretically, purging clothes that no longer fit or are NOT age-appropriate should be an empowering experience. This is just another right of passage in an attempt to accept my age. I know I need to toss out the sleeveless section, donate the skinny jeans and have a ceremonial backyard burn for the short skirts that once turned heads.
And Finally, Acceptance
I would like to tell you that I feel better but to be honest, this process has been bittersweet. If I had gotten rid of half of my wardrobe 15 years ago, I would be excited at the prospect of going shopping and replacing them.
But instead, the thought of trying on clothes that don’t fit, are yet another size bigger and frankly make me look old… I think I can live with what I’ve got.
Have you faced your closet? Did you have trouble letting go of clothes and memories? Have you accepted what no longer looks good on you? Are you happy with how you look? Let’s have an honest discussion in the comments.