Over 50 and Invisible?

In 2014 when women have so much more influence and consumer power than in any previous decade, it seems wrong that age 50 gives women a sense of invisibility and lack of relevance. But in many conversations with women, I hear over and over how hard it is to find clothes that not to young, feel great and are beautiful for more mature women. In fact, recent surveys are claiming that:

  •  Women’s confidence plummets when they have to wear glasses and color their gray hair
  • Two-thirds of women over 45 walk into a room and feel “completely unnoticed”
  • Only 15% of women over 45 could claim they have high self-confidence
  • Almost half of all women feel that what older women go through is not spoken or written about
  • Only 13% of women feel supported in the years leading up to menopause (the guardian.com, huffingtonpost.com, nytimes.com)

In an age where women are stronger, healthier and more in control of their careers, finances and families, we still find that our culture tends to view staying and looking young as the only possible way to enjoy life. Advertising, magazine, TV and movies show models under 30 (most under 20), and smoothed and photoshopped faces and bodies of anyone older. Often times as we age we catch ourselves noticing more the crow’s feet in the mirror, dryer skin, weight gain and the challenges of dressing that I come across so often in my work:

  • I’m not sure how to dress
  • I’m worried about looking too young or too old
  • I’m afraid to try something new
  • Where are all the nice clothes for women my age?

At this point, it’s possible to start thinking that life is almost over or how did I lose control over this aging thing, or why bother, and other not so positive thoughts. As accomplished as we are as a tribe, we, as women, do not encourage each other naturally. But at this point, it’s time to do so. Let’s slow down the negative thinking and view maturing as a time to embrace a new vision of ourselves? A time to reinvent and explore what we want. If you rushed through earlier decades of your life, maybe take some time to re-evaluate what makes you YOU. Find someone you know your age or a bit older that looks and feels terrific. Ask what they are doing? Look at your own habits and lifestyle and see if even a small change can happen. For example, let your straightened hair go curly if that is it’s natural inclination. Find just one exercise that you like to do, and then find someone to do it with. Look for an author that speaks to you and use her/him for inspiration to change. Find cultural icons who have embraced their aging well, and be inspired:

Kathleen blog post

 

And more than at any other time — have some fun with your wardrobe.

Here are a few ideas to try this Fall:

  • Try on a pair of leggings and put a tunic or open button-up shirt over it if that is something you have never worn. Get some great boots or heels and fun earrings and you have an outfit.
  • Find one color you have never worn but love (not black) and wear it. Hint: look at your eye colors.
    Take everything out of your closet that is just “so-so” or “ok” or “workable”. See what is leftover and then see if you can make an outfit with that by buying just one accessory that you LOVE.
  • Go to the fabric store and play – yes play – with the fabrics. Find the ones you would love to put on your body, and ask for a sample. When you shop, look for that fabric so that you know it will feel good against your skin.
  • Look in magazines or on Pinterest and find styles that you love. Put the photos up and look at them every day for about 3 weeks. After that you will know which ones you really love and which ones you don’t (P.S. if you need some inspiration check out my pinterest board “Fashion-Favorites”)
  • Celebrate your age — even if its’ not your birthday. Get a candle, place it in your next meal somewhere and light it. Decide today that you are grateful for how old you are, how far you have come, and what you have ahead of you.

celebrate your age

In 2014 it is entirely possible to look appropriate, authentic, stylish and beautiful, and remember that you are still a role model for the younger generation. And that ultimately you will determine how we and our children and grandchildren experience life in later years.

If you have any question or comment, please email me at Kathleen@YourAuthenticImage.com

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