Coping with getting older series: loving your wardrobe
Lucienne Gage from Next Chapter Styling is an image consultant and personal stylist. From the style of clothing to the colours we choose, what we wear has a huge impact on how we feel.
By Helen Bowman
You’re a different person today than you were 10, 15, 20 years ago. You have so many more wonderful life experiences than you did back then, so allow yourself to fall in love with you again. Feel wonderful about the clothes you wear today and recapture the feelings you used to have about your wardrobe.
Sharpening up your wardrobe
Our bodies are always changing. There’s no getting away from that fact, but we don’t always notice the subtle changes that happen throughout the years. That is until we go looking for new clothes. That’s when the frustration sets in – we’re trying to find something nice to wear – for the office, for a special occasion, or just because we’d like something new – but not succeeding.
Many of us feel lost when it comes to shopping. What should we take into the fitting room? Where should we start? Why do we have these problems when we have so many shops, designers, styles and ranges to choose from? Maybe this plethora of choice is actually part of the problem?
What’s your starting point?
Are you trying to dress the person you are today or a past version of yourself? The first thing to do is to reconnect with the positive memories of your wardrobe and those of your favourite clothes too.
We all have a special place in our hearts for an item of clothing that we used to love wearing when we were younger. It made us feel special, exclusive, individual, unique, beautiful. You might now look back at that piece of clothing and wonder why you loved it so much. Ask yourself, was it the colour? How the material felt? Was it the style that you loved?
If it was the colour of the piece that you loved, try combining that colour with others to make it work for your current style. Consider what it looks like with your skin tone and hair colour – these things will have changed subtly over time, even if you don’t dye your hair now. The colours you choose should complement each other and work together. It’s always worth revisiting a colour that you’ve always loved to wear.
If it was the style you loved, look at how to adapt this to your current body shape. It’s surprisingly easy to do this, with just a few tweaks. Let’s look at trousers or leggings for example. If you previously wore skinny jeans or leggings, go for tapered or straight leg trousers or jeans. If you wore straight legs previously, go wider or for bootleg trousers. Moving to a slightly wider leg will give a more flattering fit as your body shape changes. These tweaks will enable you to change your style in a subtle way that will help you to feel more comfortable in your clothes without making huge changes.
The feel of your clothes
The fabric your clothes are made from and how they feel on your skin and drape on your frame is also important. Alternatively, you might have preferences for easy care or no-iron materials – whatever suits your lifestyle. There’s so much choice in fabrics these days that anyone’s particular preferences can be fulfilled quite easily. My advice for this is to shop with your sense of touch first, then try each garment on to see how the fabric hangs.
Some clever tips for flattering clothes
Search for clothes with ruching rather than a gathering of fabric – gathering adds bulk to fabrics and clothes, most often in the tummy or waistband areas or on the tops of our arms. These are generally the areas we are more self-conscious of. Ruching is a series of soft pleats, often added vertically, to help disguise areas we’re uncomfortable with.
If you’re used to wearing clothes with plunging V-neck, choose items with a softer neckline.
If you’ve always worn a heel, try lowering your heel height, just by a centimetre or two.
These will all make a difference to your posture and confidence, whilst maintaining the style that makes you feel great.
Everyone’s style and requirements from their clothes change over the years. It’s easy to feel lost and disconnected from the clothes that live in your wardrobe but getting them right will make a world of difference to your mental health, your confidence and your general wellbeing.
Lucienne offers free 15-minute consultations over the phone or online style consultations by the hour. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.