You’d be forgiven for thinking that fashion and style are all about your figure and your various body parts. This is the message we get from television, movies, magazines, and some style experts. We’re told to “get the illusion of slim hips” or to “look taller and leaner,” or “lengthen our necks.”
Please don’t get upset with me because I have a body shape that’s been culturally “in” for many decades: slim, with long arms and a modified hourglass figure. I don’t struggle to find clothes that fit me, and thrift shopping is easy at my size. That’s not the case for all of us over-40 women, though, and I want to shout out that whatever shape and size your parts are, you’re OK. You deserve to dress however you please and make your own style statement!
This is why I often chafe at style “rules” that tell us how to “balance” our figures. I am not a big fan of rules at any rate, when it comes to dressing ourselves. I especially don’t like being told to elongate my torso, slim my ankles, or do something equally impossible, when I could be drinking a latte or watching Peaky Blinders.
Our body shapes are changing as we age, our tastes are changing, and the view the fashion world offers us is changing. Our priorities, lifestyles and health all change throughout life, not to mention our tastes and desires. No rules can possibly cover all the adventures we’re going to experience. So what to do about looking our authentic best?
Play and experiment as you come up with pleasing looks for yourself. Don’t dwell on any body parts. Show your 50 year old arms any way you like – there is nothing wrong with aging arms, necks, legs or hands. This is who we are and no style book will ever change that.
Practice saying “My hands are fascinating – they have stories to tell.” “My knees have some character”, and “all the models in the magazines are photo-shopped out of knees, elbows and necklines”. Use words that are neutral, if you can’t muster up a sincere compliment to your feet or belly.
I think it’s a happier day when we just put on something we love, in our favorite color, and head out the door with joy. We can dress for our hearts rather than our other body parts.
Here’s some pieces that make me smile:
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