Although it’s still cold, the feeling in the air is of spring. Having nearly frozen last year when I took my winter clothes to the basement following the first warm day, I’m transitioning out my warmer clothes and bringing out the cooler ones slowly. Yet, by taking my time, I’m noticing that some of my spring things aren’t making it past the box we keep for items that we no longer need, want, and wear. A new category has surfaced: clothes that I’m no longer comfortable wearing because they no longer feel relevant.
Maybe it’s because I moved from LA to rural West Texas not that long ago. Teaching at a university known for its ties to the LA entertainment and fashion industries I developed a preference for edgy fashion—something you don’t often see here, even in the big cities. But more is going on here than merely my change of venue. As I’ve moved out of my LA career and into the next chapter of my life, I have the urge to shift my image.
Like being in a play, as we leave one role and take on another we shift our image to fit the new role. This serves two purposes. In creating an appearance, we allow others to see who we are and what we are about. It also helps us assume the new role. The updated image gives us confidence. Our confidence speaks to others and, they come to have confidence in us.
The interesting thing is that I’m still the same person I was when I lived, worked, and dressed LA. But the power personal image is strong, and most people other than our family and closest friends don’t take the time to reason this through. They simply look at what we wear and make judgments. And I admit, I make the same judgment about myself. I feel better about who I am and my role as a blogger and speaker when I dress for the part. So, as I leave winter behind, my closet is leaner but far better aligned with who I am and what I am doing in this new phase of my life.
Coming to grips with our aging is a lot like my move from LA to Texas and my shift from professor to blogger. Forging new territory forces us into thinking differently about our image. I’m no fan of hard-and-fast rules of what women should and shouldn’t wear as they age. But I do know that as we get older we need to take stock of ourselves, much as I took stock of my spring clothes and culled out those that no longer served me. Let’s face it; what worked in the past in regard to fashion and beauty isn’t likely to work well now in the same way. In fact, it often works against us, making us look like what Alison Lurie called “sheep in lambs’ clothing.”
In upcoming weeks I’ll delve into this topic more. In the meantime, let me hear from you about your own metamorphose from sheep to lamb.