Why Your Clothes Matter

I’m resharing a powerful post today because I think it needs to be said again.

Do clothes make the woman? Some would argue that what we wear is unimportant and our interest in discussing fashion is shallow. Attempting to trivialize the fashion struggles for women over 50 is not only uninformed, but it’s also naive because what we wear can make or break our confidence which makes it worthy of discussion.

Clothes can be a shield we use to get through challenging times but more importantly tells the world who we are. Whether we like it or not, we’re judged by our appearance and the clothes we wear, matter.

Look sloppy and people may decide you’re careless with little respect for details or yourself. Wear revealing clothes and you may be seen as desperate. Wear flamboyant colors and you may be seen as carefree or loud. The upshot is people treat us based on how we look so managing our image is important.

IF YOU DON'T FEEL CONFIDENT WEARING IT, DON;T WEAR IT.

Women over 50 frequently struggle with feeling invisible. How we dress is a powerful tool to combat that lack of visibility by restoring our feelings of power and control.

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Our generation has a challenge with fashion that earlier ones didn’t. My grandmother never struggled with what to put on in the morning. She wore her printed house dresses at home and dressed up to leave the house. There was no question about whether she should wear a T-shirt and jeans or a dress with stockings and sensible shoes. There were fewer options because there were unspoken rules.

Our generation doesn’t want to follow fashion rules. We want to make our own choices and dress to express ourselves. This freedom is welcome but it can also leave many women unsure about what’s appropriate. With so many options to choose from, she needs a clear vision of the message she wants her clothes to send.

An open discussion about fashion and image is helpful for many women over 50. Does that make us frivolous? No, it makes us curious, intelligent women. To imply these conversations are unnecessary is to belittle the struggle many women face each morning.

Have you ever felt invisible?

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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134 Comments

  1. Thanks for what you do for us Jennifer. You go girl. My mother, Natalie, until her passing at age 89, would get up every morning and put on her makeup, fix her hair and put on the cutest colorful outfits. She loved to go shopping (not always to buy} and the sales associates would always comment on how adorable she looked. And, she had the personality to go along with her colorful outfits. When I would see her (she was 5′ 100 lbs soaking wet) she would put her hand in her pocket, put her foot out and say “how do I look” which always cracked us up.

    So, as you see, fashion made my Mother happy to a wonderful age. Style/Fashion does matter.
    Thank you for your venue for all of us to share.

    Judy in Phoenix

    1. How fabulous Judy! Fashion is such a powerful tool and it sounds like your Mother wielded it well. Good for her. Thanks for sharing and being here. I really appreciate you.

  2. Sad that some people really aren’t concerned about how they look or enjoy the thrill of fashion & hitting your sweet spot. It makes life so much more fun. Yes, we all have different interests & life styles, but it doesn’t mean that just because we want to look our best in any situation it’s trivial. Thanks Jennifer, for defending your stance on hitting our sweet spot. When you look good you feel good & often pass that feeling on to others around you. That just helps to make this world a better place to live in… so go girls, keep looking good & pass the good feelings around. Life is too short not to hit your sweet spot. This is from a gal hitting 68 & having fun in the fashion world but still has time for fun things like grandkids, baseball games, gardening, baking dog biscuits, cooking, family gatherings, reading etc. etc. Love your blog everyday, Jennifer.

  3. Thank you for putting into words the feelings of many, including myself. Your post is spot on, and I’m sorry that someone was rude. I look forward to your post every day, and you have been very helpful. At 55 it is a challenge to style myself as I’d like to be seen by the world. I appreciate all the help I can get and the friendship that comes from your blog. Enjoy your day!

  4. It is simple. Those who do not like this blog don’t have to subscribe to it. Those of us who enjoy it are free to do so.

  5. Yes, we certainly are judged by everyone all the time. The art of looking good requires a combination of skills that we actually have to learn and practice. The resources are our mothers and millions of magazines that are selling us stuff. And as you said, the rules changed and we have many choices. It’s very overwhelming and confusing.

    Finding a blog like yours is a treasure. Your approach is the best I’ve ever come across. Your posts are relevant and real, sensible and fun. I’ve learned so much and gotten inspired.

    If we’d be French we would not be having this conversation!

  6. I am sorry someone trivialized your work here! I think it’s extremely important, for all the reasons you so articulately put forth. I look forward to your posts & find them very valuable. Thank you!

  7. Jen – great post. I have frequently felt invisible – that is what our society does to women over 50. It is more important than ever for us to dress with flair and confidence. My style is much more casual than yours, but when I leave the house, I want to be neat, not sloppy, and wear clothes that project who I am. Another thing I notice is that women frequently walk with heads looking down. Poture is so important; stand up as straight as you can and look forward, not down!

  8. Jennifer,

    You nailed it ! Great post ! Good for you ! The struggle for us is real and we seriously appreciate your posts !

    Best to you,
    Diane

  9. Since fashion blogs began I’ve become much more interested in not my only fashion choices, but also those of other women. I like to imagine what intention a women had when she chose her outfit. I’ve learned from bloggers that there are no rules and I don’t judge another woman’s choice. I often compliment a piece of clothing. This morning at a coffee shop I complimented a woman’s top. She thanked me and mentioned she was on her way to work. I told her that as a retiree, I like putting a working person ahead of me in line. She was thrilled about that and we both started our day in such a positive way. And it all started from thinking about fashion choices.

  10. Hi Jennifer,
    You are absolutely correct about our concern with fashion and being invisible after the age of 50. Dressing well improves our visibility. I don’t think we should obsess over clothing, but when we make dressing well easy, this enables us to move on with confidence. There is a coffee shop near my home I refuse to patronize any longer after being ignored at the counter in favor of younger customers. And I tip well!

  11. I most certainly agree, Jennifer! If I put on a polished, stylish outfit for the day my confidence and self-esteem most definitely go up. Yes, it takes thought and a little extra time, but it is worth it!

    It gets more and more challenging to know what to wear and how to wear it, especially since I am nearing mid-fifties. (And, anything seems to go these days.)

    That is why I am so grateful that you take the time to share (and educate) what you consider stylish. I think the picture you posted sums it up well – what I wear and my own personal style is very important and says a lot about how I value myself. Thanks!

  12. Jennifer, so we’ll said. At 65, I feel the same as if I was in my 20s. I wear what I want. Granted, my tastes have changed, and I do a much better job choosing clothes that work for me. As you said, wear what you feel confident wearing.

  13. This is so true!! I was sick for a long time and didn’t dress well. I always felt very frumpy. Since joining several wardrobe groups I’ve again started to care hobo look. I finally, at 64,felt good about myself. In the last 5 days, an event has taken me back several steps again. I’d had a double mastectomy years ago and have had several reconstruction surgeries. While on a flight to Florida, where we were about to board a ship for a cruise, one of my implants ruptured and leaked. I now have to have another surgery, probably to remove both implants. Now I have to rework my wardrobe,again. No one can tell me that clothes should have nothing to do with how we feel about ourselves! For me it’s everything!!

    1. Oh Karen! I’m so sorry. That’s just a struggle you don’t need!! Good luck on your surgery and thank you for sharing, I’m pulling for you!!

  14. The one who tried to discount what we do is probably hurting herself. As I discovered, caring for your appearance inside and outside is empowering. It resulted in confidence in my career and joy as I enter each day with a confident smile on my face. I know your heart and that you are here to help women soar. We send messages with our clothing choices whether we like it or not. If we want to be considered strong and intelligent, then our cover should say that. This is anything but superficial…it is helping women to be their best and rise above the superficial standards. The person who commented is not thinking this through.

    1. Thanks Pam! The women who said this is actually an overly confident woman who was trying to hurt my feelings. She missed the mark because it angered me rather than silenced me. What we wear does matter and is a powerful tool in our arsenal.

  15. Very well said, Jennifer!I enjoy your posts and find them helpful and encouraging. I agree with what you said. Thank you.

  16. Yes, Yes, and Yes to everything you said! I recently attended my 40th high school class reunion and you better believe I thought carefully what I was going to wear. And as I dressed, it did feel a little bit as if I was putting on my “armor”.

  17. Your post is exactly what I have been feeling this week. As a single woman in her 50’s I too struggle with what to wear. I’ve been focused on being a mom and raising kids the past few years. Now my kids are older and I want to dress more like a feminine, single woman and less like a mom without looking desperate or inappropriate. So I enjoy your posts and getting different perspectives.

  18. I agree whole-heartedly. Although I am retired, I feel that the image that I present each day whether it be to grocery shop, volunteer or have lunch with friends, determines to a certain extent how I will be perceived by strangers. Like it or not, we are judged by our appearances. I don’t like to be invisible. In a busy world, others do not have time to “get to know us” so we are quickly classified and dealt with accordingly. I enjoy taking time to curate a wardrobe to present myself in as attractive and contemporary manner as possible.
    My thought about blogs is that if you’re not interested in the topic, don’t read it and as Leslie/ Bungalow Hostess always says “be kind.”

  19. First, Jennifer, thank you for sharing your thoughts and expertise in your blog, which I always enjoy reading. With regard to whether discussing fashion for women over 50 is frivolous, I have found that your blog, and a couple of others, have helped me to focus my wardrobe shopping on clothing that makes me feel confident and comfortable. As a result, I have been able to pare back to the wardrobe basics that I really wear and enjoy, and to change my accessories to suit the occasion. Thanks for what you do; wishing you a wonderful day!

  20. Over the past couple of years, I discovered your blog and several others (Pam Lutrell, for one). They have been so helpful in helping me rediscover my style as an over-50 woman. I think it’s important for us to feel and look our best because it does make us confident and positive. What you do is NOT trivial at all! Thanks so much, Jennifer!

  21. It’s easy to say, don’t let the naysayer(s) get to you. I guess I understand the point they’re trying to make. There are big problems in our world, and perhaps deciding what to wear is isn’t high on their list. On the other hand, in addition to reading about fashion for over-50s (or whatever age), I also like to see photos of, and read about food. So I guess there are those who say, we should only eat to live, and the rest is frivolity. But I like to cook, try different cuisines, and enjoy trying new recipes. And, I view this as one of many creative outlets I have. The same goes for clothing, photography, travel, and the arts. Some might argue all of these are “unimportant” and therefore, interest in them, is shallow. But I believe all of these areas (and more) help make our cultures and also make life worth living. Carry on, Jennifer!

  22. I agree that this is an important discussion. Clothes and how we choose them is a fascinating topic. I see clothing as a form of communication as well as creative self-expression. If clothing were not important to humans, we’d all be wearing a uniform, or maybe nothing at all. I never believe anyone who says he/she doesn’t care about how he/she looks… Admit it or not, we all care about our hair style, the look and comfort of our shoes, the style of our eyeglasses, what to wear to a special event, and so on. Thank you for an interesting discussion.

    1. Thanks for this post! Yes, clothes are important- they can convey confidence or defiance, youthful outlook or established mantras. I’ve recently begun revamping my wardrobe to reflect who I am now – a vibrant woman ready for a new beginning. I maybe 60 but I still have something to share!

  23. What I hate is when I realized that younger people – say around ages 20 – 30 – start treating older women like everyone is their grandmother! And, then of course, is when you realize that you have become invisible to men, all men, no matter the age.

  24. Could not agree with you more on this, and i don’t always agree with you????
    What we women of a certain age wear, and i might argue that it applies to all women of any age, definitely impacts the way we are viewed and treated. It is not frivolous. It is part of the struggle we face every day in a world that is increasingly misogynistic. We need all the conversation we can get from all sources to help us through these times.
    Keep doing what you do. It matters

  25. Agreed on all counts! What we wear is an extension of ourselves and I don’t believe it is a frivolous and shallow obsession. I am fortunate that in my personal and professional life I am not viewed as invisible but, at 58, I have started to feel that in public due to my age. It is more obvious on the days I don’t put the effort into my appearance. I won’t dictate to others and I ask the same in return. My appearance is a source of pride and confidence and I will continue to make that a priority – and follow your blog. Thanks!

      1. Dear Jennifer,
        I read a quote on Facebook yesterday, which I think is relevant here. It went something like this: “Unkind comments from rude people say more about them than they do about you”. What about the mantra: “If you haven’t got something nice to say, then don’t say it?” We all don’t mind nicely phrased constructive criticism because we all like to see different points of view and even learn from them. Anyway, I am digressing! I always admire and respect ladies who put thought into what they are wearing and it certainly boosts my confidence if I am happy with what I am wearing so that I can get the best out of my day! Just carry on with what you are doing because it’s great and we all enjoy reading it! Thank you Jennifer!

      2. Thanks Sarah. I do like constructive discussion of style and you’re so right, it’s nice to get other women’s take on an outfit. That said, some mighty unhappy people feel compelled to spread their unhappiness and I want no part of it. Thank you for reading.

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