2018 Fashion mantra: Accept Yourself (Long and navel-gazing)

On Lisa's recent year end review, Angie said: "Sometimes, our idea of style and wardrobe perfection isn’t suited to who we are - which makes it an unnatural fit and hard to achieve."

Truer words were never spoken! In fact, sometimes I think the only fashion lesson any of us really needs to learn -- and, alas, the hardest -- is to accept ourselves!

Oh, how we fight that!! In all areas of life. We want to be what we aren't. Or we want our conditions to be what they aren't. Or we want both -- a different self and different conditions. (Here we pause so the author can slink off in blushing embarrassment. Guilty as charged!!)   ;) 

This thought arose in connection with Lisa's comments about a certain pair of navy velvet metallic booties, one of her best purchases of 2017. The minute she wrote about them, I wanted those booties!! 

And, on the face of it, they seem like a reasonable purchase. After all, there's a big wardrobe hole in my closet for a navy bootie. I wore my last navy booties to the ground! Had them re-heeled, and wore them to the ground again. Only passed them along because the insides were starting to fail me. (Editorial note: Those Zara booties put the lie to the idea that Fast Fashion has to be cheap, poorly made or, indeed, "fast." They were one of the hardest wearing pieces in my closet for 4 years.) 

Yet, these booties look more delicate and fragile than the ones they would replace. And after my rash of "fun" and delicate bootie-buying last year (red suede, and silver, and white) -- I'm feeling a bit sheepish. Because despite their comfort, and the fact that they complete my outfits visually like nobody's business, I haven't worn any of those pretty but fragile booties more than a dozen times—apart from YLF selfies! So I am not sure how I could justify this purchase of a similar pair.
:(

The reality is, I'm a person who spends long hours indoors in winter. I don't wear outdoor footwear when I am indoors at home; there, warm, comfortable, and supportive slippers rule. When I go out, I go tromping around in the snow. This is not a garage-to-car-to-mall or shop life that I lead; it is a 10,000 steps a day in all weather conditions walking lifestyle. When I do go out, I tend to go to places where there is no option to remove outdoor footwear and put on indoor footwear, i.e. restaurants, classrooms (where I do not have an office or even a coat rack), meetings in small inadequate spaces rented by nonprofits, etc. So when, exactly, can I wear my booties? I wore the red ones to a party recently, where I was the only person so shod (everyone else was in socks and slippers), and nobody saw them because I was seated at a table most of the time. 

I have to admit, the more I listen to who I really am and where and how I really live, the fewer my wardrobe "fails." The ulta-expensive La Canadienne boots that might seem like a crazy indulgence to some are already up past 60 wears in 2.5 months. Even so, it will take some time to bring their CPW down to the cost of my frivolous fun booties (which were, after all, purchased on sale and did not take a huge chunk out of my budget.) But it's clear where my priorities should lie. 

Still, it's never easy. I really, really want to wear those pretty shoes! (Jeepers, you'd think I could just turn myself into a "bag lady" instead, right? But no...footwear is always where I want to splurge!)

How about you? Do you struggle to accept some aspect of your lifestyle   and how does it affect your style? Do you have advice?

P.S. My boxing day splurge? A new parka. After 7 years, I am bored beyond words with my grey puffer, which I wear day in, day out for months on end. At least it's justified by my conditions. ;) 

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55 Comments

  • Sterling replied 3 weeks ago

    Well ... I live in a warm-to-hot climate and dream of ski chalets in Colorado.  I think I got over that in 2017 though.  We shall see.  

  • lisa p replied 3 weeks ago

    Funny - I wanted to message you after your little spurt of interest in the metallic velvet boots and say NO.  I knew they weren't "you" , in that they aren't warm, they aren't particularly supportive and weather proof, and I knew they would end up with your collection of gorgeous fashion boots that you aren't getting much wear from. Phew. You saved me from being my mother for 5 minutes :)  

    The reverse holds true for me:  I don't need, nor could I justify, spending  $3, 4 or $500 for a pair of weather and waterproof winter boots.  I'd buy them because I think I should own such a thing, then wear them 3 times and be annoyed at them.  We could then switch our unworn footwear - if  only we wore the same size! 

    Anyways - YES - coming to terms with who we are, where we live, and what our day-to-day lives are like ....is our biggest challenge, yet can be our biggest reward .  Tell us about your new puffer - is this navy? And where is it from? Label?    And I'd be motivated to get out there and do 10,000 steps a day outside, but it's literally, bitterly -35C today. I'm still in my pyjamas and not going anywhere . 

  • kkards replied 3 weeks ago

    This.I have to admit, the more I listen to who I really am and where and how I really live, the fewer my wardrobe "fails." 

    now, I just have to make sure that i listen, really listen, to that little voice in my head....

  • Sveta replied 3 weeks ago

    Ah, Suz is wise as usual. I am also guilty as charged and slowly realizing that I need to marry my style preferences with my lifestyle, weather and (the worst) my physical body conditions.
    Actually 2017 was a year of rethinking my shopping habits and style. I have not been very frequent on YLF and while busy life was a contributing factor but these changes were the main one.
    After having fun with fashion for 6 years, approaching it as a hobby and craving a lot of change I am changing gears now. I think those 6 years 
    were my getting back to myself for not paying enough attention to style and dressing in my youth - so I had my "fashion fix" in my 40s. Now as I turned 50 this month I am reflecting on what I really need and enjoy from fashion (still ongoing process)
    Love your boxing day splurge! Cannot have too many great winter coats for Canada! Here is mine   - down vest from Columbia in a nice vibrant fuchsia color. I loved my packable puffer for travel so much and thing that vest would be also very handy - and color makes me happy!

  • Sveta replied 3 weeks ago

    LisaP, how do you manage not to need winter boots in Winnipeg?
    Unlike Suz I work at the office and drive there but still need to go through the snow o the parking lot and for walks  so winter boots are essential. I also find that I need warm boots while driving because otherwise my feet freeze even on a short 15 min ride to work. 

  • lisa p replied 3 weeks ago

    Hi Sveta - nice to see you again!  I do have real winter boots, don't worry ;)  I wear them to and from the gym, shovelling or sweeping snow off the steps and sidewalk etc.  For everyday wear - I am good with lined leather (and sometimes suede) shorter boots.  It hasn't been terribly cold here yet this year either - until yesterday of course. Merry Christmas!! 

  • Runcarla replied 3 weeks ago

    Everyone makes a style statement whether they follow trends or not. Whether they see their idea of style perfection when they look in the mirror is a more complicated matter and takes a lot of work and soul searching. Like you pointed out, we need to accept ourselves - our physical selves as well as the constraints and opportunities of our environments. Natural attributes (physique, colouring), budget, time (and time management), activities of daily life, natural environment, availability of resource etc. all factor in.

    Every time a YLFaber makes a style breakthrough and posts a consistent streak of winning outfits, it is after a lot of soul searching and analysis. Some crunch wardrobe numbers and CPW, others read articles and books on wardrobe management or colour theory to better understand aspects of themselves. Better, some craft their own garments.

    Personally, I haven't buckled down to do enough 'hard' style work. I've had a good fall/winter, but I'm feeling a style change coming on due to lifestyle changes. Though I do look to style icons for inspiration, my mantra for 2018 is 'ME, BUT BETTER'.

  • Suz replied 3 weeks ago

    Sveta, love your vest! Fuchsia!!!! :)   And it is so great to see you here. Even if fashion and style is not your biggest priority at the moment, it would be great to see you here more often and muse with you about your new direction!!

    Lisa, it's a never ending mystery to me how you manage without winter boots! But you do have an amazing collection of coats, so maybe the secret is keeping one's core warm?  I have Reynaud's and my feet and hands feel the cold first, so have to factor that in...

    And I am still tempted to buy those Matisse beauties, I have to say!! Haven't pulled the trigger yet and will try to listen to the voice of both our mothers telling me I'm being an idiot...  :)

    Kkards, yes, as you can see from the above...I can hear what the voice is saying but can't always do what it tells me...and then there are the wild cards that become workhorses that always sort of mess with the practical thinking...

    Sterling, you have done a brilliant job of learning to live in your real climate! 

    It is only (only!) - 10 here today, or -17 with the wind chill. But I'm heading out for my walk anyway. I find if I move, I warm up pretty well, but I do need the right footwear and mitts, for sure. 

    The (potential) new parka is by Quartz. https://www.altitude-sports.co.....-qtc-27110.  I have a membership so I got more off the price (-25%) and free returns. I've ordered quite a number of items from Altitude and had to return many due to fit. For instance, I really like the Nobis parkas but the fit is off for me; I am smack dab between sizes and nothing I can do about that. I have tried Quartz parkas in the regular and semi-fitted styles and these don't work for me, either. This is the first fitted style I'm trying -- we'll see if it works out. Here's how it looks on a young but short (5'2") blogger. I won't look quite as glamorous. ;) 

  • Suz replied 3 weeks ago

    Phew, Lisa, that clears things up a little!! 

    Actually, when I lived in Toronto as a young woman I never had proper snow boots either - -just decent leather boots -- which got completely ruined every year in the salt, of course, so I would simply purchase my one new pair every year...

    Carla, I love that mantra: Me, but better! 

  • lisa p replied 3 weeks ago

    Wow - what a gorgeous parka!!  I like that they source their down ethically.  I'm not familiar with this brand at all, and look forward to hearing what you think.  About the Matisse boots - they do fit on the smal size, and the store owner confirmed that. I bought a size bigger than usual and added in padded leather insoles. They aren't lined - you are getting what you pay for here ;)  

    Carla - "me, but better" = best mantra yet.

  • La Pedestrienne replied 3 weeks ago

    Suz, everything you've said here rings so true, and puts me in mind of this Leandra Medine classic:

    https://www.manrepeller.com/20.....dra-medine

    Style as a product of our constraints -- I've been turning this idea over in my mind a lot; the constraints always feel more pronounced this time of year.

  • deb replied 3 weeks ago

    Suz, you are always so wise. I have such a hard time accepting myself as a retiree. And I love the "me, but better" mantra, Carla. Now I just need to figure out the real me.

  • Suz replied 3 weeks ago

    LaPed, I love that piece!! Wow -- thank you!! That is food for another, later thread. 

    Leandra says:

    "Let your style happen to you. Let life begin to show on you, allow nature to take its course and then adjust, modify, accept what you are and make it the best. But there is an ingredient that I believe is often overlooked and seems to be at the crux of defining your style, and that is honesty. You can’t know your style until you know yourself."

    Deb, you're way too kind. But I hear what you are saying...it can be tough to switch gears and dress for a different lifestyle. 

  • jill58 replied 3 weeks ago

    Suz, I've run into a similar problem with a pair of brocade booties that were actually one of my favorite purchases of this year. I love them but have limited occasions to wear them. I live in N.Y. and the winters are a bit harsh for brocade. I considered returning them at one point but I like them too much! Even if I can just wear them occasionally I'll be happy --they weren't very expensive -- but I would be leery of buying anything similar.

  • April replied 3 weeks ago

    Hi Suz!  Wise words from you, naturally.

    For me, it's remembering that most dressy, dry-clean-only woven pieces do not really work for my life right now.   Dressy is ok as long as the piece is a comfy knit and/or washable, since I spend most of my time in the kitchen, laundry room, or among messy inks and adhesives.  

    A carpenter's-style apron could help, but even under an apron, I'd really rather not put an expensive, beloved piece within splashing distance of spaghetti sauce or glue.

  • lyn67 replied 3 weeks ago

    Great read& lots to relate me to. Acceptation may be  hard but is the key of success in style, too!

  • Dianna replied 3 weeks ago

    Suz, I learn so much from yours and Sterling's threads. You are so ahead of me about knowing and accepting yourself. I have not been able to purge my higher heels that I barely wear now. Still, my biggest challenge is trying to combine my need and preference for a business work wardrobe and my needs for the climate I live in. Sometimes it seems as if I have clothes for the most formal events such as meetings and conferences, and the most casual such as visits to the cruise terminal and very few for my everyday work wear. I have been learning a lot from ylf, but I still have a long way to go.

  • anchie replied 3 weeks ago

    Very wise. I am always trying to be practical and dress for my real life but sometimes being practical is not much fun. How can we merge this two successfully?

  • UmmLila replied 3 weeks ago

    I'm going to admit to the same things as you. I live in a winter climate. I work from home and do not wear shoes in the house. When I go out, a large percentage of the time it is to go to one of my various exercise classes. So, what do I wear most often? It is a pair of very beat up, black, shearling lined La Canadienne boots.

    Do I have: lovely dark red knee boots? pink suede booties? pale green mod booties? teal velvet booties? grey sock booties? (and many others.) Yes, I do. And I wish I could wear them more often. They are definitely "me," but I have to be careful that they are not "me falling on the ice".

    Maybe we just need to get La Canadienne to branch out. Just imagine the black boots in a green weatherproof suede? How perfect would that be?

  • Jenni NZ replied 3 weeks ago

    Thank you for this Suz. It is wise. It is also difficult to do. I agree with Carla about the soul-searching and I also agree with Anchie that it can take the fun out of it. I have felt that lack of fun several times this year with being more careful with my shopping. With my 2 shopping fasts and my being PPP ( patient picky and practical) there have been times I have really felt that when I ventured out with my lists. On the whole I have had a successful year. Need to muse more. I have no real answers.

  • gryffin replied 3 weeks ago

    Suz - this is brilliant.  So obvious but so hard to achieve.  How can  you love something so much and have it be wrong?  Because like art, you can love something as object d'art but it's not authentic, comfortable or practical.  These are my mistakes - loving something in the abstract but not enjoying it IRL.  If you can master that then you can really decrease your mistakes.  Kudos to you for knowing the difference!!

    La Ped - I love that article.  I had not seen it.  Thanks so much for sharing it.  I think that's like my, if I want to wear it immediately, not take it off, and sleep in it -  Then it's probably a big winner.  I only hope this year coming, 2018, I can find the insight to feel like that about all my purchases.  That's a worthy goal!!

  • Suz replied 3 weeks ago

    Jenni, Anchie -- you hit the nail on the head! That was going to be my next post. How to combine the fun with the practicality! Everybody deserves some fun, after all. For some reason, I feel more guilty about my "fun" footwear purchases than I might feel about a seldom worn jacket or about a dress that I rarely wear. I need to tease that out a bit. It's not a matter of cost. I got these booties on sale and they did not eat up a lot of my budget at all. Maybe it's because the dress lines up neatly in the closet in between others and does not scream for attention, where the footwear stares at me every time I open the closet doors? Maybe I think the dress will have more closet longevity? Hmm...

    Lisa, you and I face the same problem. Yup, it would be great to get La Canadienne to branch out a bit. Actually, they do make some amazing "fashion" boots, too, but at $500 plus, I just can't justify them, even if they are (theoretically) weather worthy, because like you, I don't want to wind up with a broken back from slipping on the ice in my heels. But you also say something so true -- these shoes are "me" in a way that the snowboots are not...which is where it gets tricky, I guess. Maybe the mantra should be "accept your life" vs. "accept yourself," since we're having trouble accepting the weather rather than our own taste. 

    Dianna, maybe it would help to think in terms of capsules. It sounds like you are well on your way to that, with the categories you've just outlined. If you think in terms of the various activities you do and ask if you have a few suitable outfits that you're happy to wear for each activity, that can be a great start. You raise a good point, that sometimes it is easier to do that for the extremes on the dressy-casual continuum than for the in-between spots. 

    Thanks, lyn

    April, I know what you are saying. On cooking days or cleaning days around here, I don't like to wear my nice jackets, either. I'll wear a knit or a blouse if I can roll up the sleeves and put on an apron, but it can be a pain to have to change to do the day's tasks so often it's just easier to dress in something washable to begin with! 

    Jill, you absolutely get what I am saying. Those booties are gorgeous (in fact, I think I collected them the minute I saw them in Finds!) but but but...really they are clear fall day or indoor booties! They'll even be tricky in spring. Alas...

    Gryffin, thanks -- and yes, isn't that a great article!?! I loved it. I also like your "do I want to wear it right now and even sleep in it..." test. Certainly my biggest winners would usually pass that test. 

  • Karie replied 3 weeks ago

    Currently we have about 8 inches of snow and we're in the bizarro world of coldness (near zero). So I need winter boots but they can be purely functional, because I get to change when I get to work. Which, by the way, is in a classroom so hot that we have to open the windows no matter how frigid the outside temps are. I want my work conditions to be what they aren't, but it isn't going to change. So why spend $$$ on a blazer when it's going to hang on the back of my chair all day? Or on boots with heels that I'm going to want to change out of because they hurt my feet from standing/walking so much during the day? My wardrobe money needs to go to layers that I can pile on to get to and from work, and peel off once I am there. The bottom layer is the one that needs to be the prettiest and most functional. Anything else I have resolved to admire from afar.

  • Sterling replied 3 weeks ago

    Suz -- you reached down from the North and gently reminded me many times over to "remember my climate," "consider my climate," "buy for my climate."  I started doing just that in 2017.  It was hard.  I am eternally grateful for the caring wisdom.  

  • Staysfit replied 3 weeks ago

    Suz, this is so well stated!  Last year my goal to follow a budget would have benefited from careful consideration about the goodness of fit between past purchases and my life-style. I have several roles in addition to my profession which require different levels of dress, but the majority of my clothes fall into the smart casual category.  I prefer to look polished and put together even on weekends because my role as a professional intersects with my life in the community where I live.  My wardrobe needs include some formal wear, but not a lot.  I go to a few dressy functions each season. I wear a lot of dresses in the summer.  I think my biggest tendency to slip into fantasy purchasing would be when I buy things that are designed for someone younger and probably more sturdy.  Some examples would include slip dresses, crop tops and very flat shoes without arch support.   :-)

    Your observations about how the weather/climate effects style choices reminds me of the very large cashmere sweater collection sitting in my closet!  I am also fond of expensive practical water resistant footwear in the fall/winter. On weekdays I drive from my garage to a school parking lot that pitches below grade in one section. Melting snow or precipitation creates an annoying pond.  Invariably, I park there and imagine a ferry boat or life raft shuttling me to dry pavement, however, all I really have are my boots.  :-)

  • Style Fan replied 3 weeks ago

    Accept yourself.  So true Suz.  So much wisdom here.  I love the piece by Leandra.  I am so tempted by footwear.  I love booties.  But really what is the point?  One or two pairs are enough.  And I am definitely not a bag person.  

    I have tried to add a few new colours to my wardrobe.  I have always worn olive green, chocolate brown, rust, cognac, cream, denim, you get the picture.  Sometimes it is hard to find the right pieces in my colours and I get frustrated.  Sometimes I think I 'should' try something new.  Try purple.  Try teal.  Well, the purple and the teal sit there unworn.  Some of those pieces still have tags on them.  (hangs head in shame)

     

  • Suz replied 3 weeks ago

    Style Fan, you'd look great in teal, I'm sure, and probably eggplant, too -- but orange, brown, denim, cream, rust, cognac -- those are your signatures, just as black is Gryffin's. It's harder to find fabulous pieces in your true colours, yet somehow by keeping your eyes open, you manage it. I am in awe of your careful curation. 

    Staysfit, I tend to think we do this style thing in stages, and maybe, "Hang on, what is my actual lifestyle?" is a question that comes a bit after, "Do I have something to wear for all my activities." In the first push of style definition, we just want all the pretty things! And no wonder. But then we start to consider whether they actually work for us. We go from ultra practical-not-really-caring-enough-to-have-a-defined-style to frivolous and fun, back to some reasonable blend of the two, with our real bodies and real conditions in mind. And, I hear you about those slip dresses. I finally stopped buying them but my eye still goes to them now and again...

    Sterling, what a sweet thing to say. From one extreme climate to another, it's hard to dress for the weather we have!

    Karie, what sensible words. You are leaps and bounds ahead of me if you have figured this one out. And why do they keep schools as hot as furnaces or freezing cold? It is true for me, too!! I'm about to teach next semester in a room without windows, on the third floor of a very overheated building...thinking of how I can get the students out on multiple field trips instead...luckily, they are all adults so we could arrange it! 

  • SarahD8 replied 3 weeks ago

    Suz, GREAT post. Everybody keeps being self-deprecating about navel gazing but I find these sorts of posts endlessly fascinating and also useful.

    So much in here that is so well articulated about shopping for one's particular climate and lifestyle.

    And this: "and then there are the wild cards that become workhorses that always sort of mess with the practical thinking..." YES! I so relate to that! I keep feeling like it should be possible to analyze what makes these things work but maybe in fact that would take some of the joy out of them. Sprezzatura, right?

    Thanks for taking the time to write your initial post AND also to facilitate the ongoing discussion.

  • Gaylene replied 3 weeks ago

    Ah, know yourself, and accept yourself. Wise words, Suz, but why then the hope I could “be myself, but better”? Which do I to listen to when I’m looking to buy a pair of boots or a new coat—the knowing, practical voice on my right shoulder or the hopeful, lively voice on my left coaxing me to spread my wings and “just try it”?

    Maybe the key IS to know myself—that, for psychological and practical reasons, my personal style can’t be just about my longings and desires. Trying for “best” all time can be time consuming and costly—and, to be frank, my lifestyle doesn’t really require it. Maybe “good”, with the occasional foray into “better” is a more realistic goal? Maybe just a touch of that magic in my practical world—a pompom, as it were, on a practical pair of snow boots which let me walk in the snow and slush of a Canadian winter without fear of falling, yet still let me feel happy when I see it dancing and bobbing along with every step.

    I’ll never be an actual pompom wearer, but, when I saw Angie sporting her orange pompom, I started to think about what could constitute the pompom part of my personal style—at least for this season. I decided my pompom this winter would be juxtaposing texture—choosing an olive water-resistant jacket with black leather accents instead of a regular trench when replacing my old coat, finding a fanciful embroidered brocade gilet to wear over my cashmere sweaters for casual dressing up, and opting for new crinkled black pants to be worn with my suede boots and smooth silk bomber jacket for dressy events . Nothing too far out from my normal pants, boots, and jacket uniform, but with just enough amplification to keep me content for the next few months.

    Come spring, I’ll be on a mission to find my new pompom with the help of that lively little voice on my left shoulder. Amplification instead of fantasy is my new mantra.

  • Violettt replied 3 weeks ago

    Karie: Really like what you posted above!  So true!  I think you've nailed it!

    How about you? Do you struggle to accept some aspect of your lifestyle and how does it affect your style? Do you have advice?
     Suz said.
    YES, I do struggle. I struggle to accept my lifestyle is now "retired" woman.  I don't work anymore.  I can wake up anytime I want, do whatever I want all day, every day.  It affects my style because I wonder how to dress today for "going to the grocery store"? lol, or going to church.  And I can no longer wear any shoes except flats, because I have a bunion now from years of wearing beautiful heels.  I also have arthritis in my left big toe joint, ouch. One of the pitfalls of being 60.  Your body will change.  I have had to realize this. I believe in dressing age appropriate and have always had a classic style I'd say. But now, I just dress more casual, in cashmere jogging pants, loafers, maybe a t under a sweater and jacket instead of wearing dresses and skirts. I've also had to realize it may be time to get rid of some of my faux fur coats I only wear once a year! being that I live in So. Cal. -- takes up too much room in my closet, if I want to be more organized in 2018! which I do. Moving forward it's stylish comfy and wearable for me.  One of my neighbors today said, "you will notice as you get older, everything changes".  That's OK. That's life. 

  • Runcarla replied 3 weeks ago

    Gaylene, you are brilliant!

  • Barbara Diane replied 3 weeks ago

    Such a smart post and responses. Much appreciated. 

    I am working on this acceptance thing. 

    I've avoided buying for my pretend lifestyle this year, learned from my NAS 2016 purchases. Doesn't stop me from wanting a more interesting life, with more interesting activities.

    I keep looking for more interesting basics, but I don't find them. Maybe I need to accept that it is the overall look, not every single item, that is crucial.

  • Joy replied 3 weeks ago

    What a great thread! I have enjoyed reading each post and absorbing ( I hope) some of the wisdom. As Violette said, your body will change and aging brings its own problems and style challenges. It's ok. It's life, and a reason I don't dye my grey hair or try to fight the changes age brings. It is a losing battle.
    I moved from a place where I was just finally realizing that hot summer was my dominate climate to a place where there is less or no hot weather ( or really really cold weather unless one spends lots of time in the mountains) and more transitional weather, although still 4 seasons. Changes to consider.

  • Suz replied 3 weeks ago

    Joy, everything you say is so, so true. It doesn't make sense to fight with change. And your new climate must bring a whole new set of issues for you. 

    Barbara Diane -- I, too, have a tendency to find and buy "boring" essentials vs. ones with a bit of pizzazz. I do think knowing our own style really well allows us to splurge a bit on essentials-with-a-twist without worrying about whether they'll be worn -- but where to find these elusive "special" essentials? It's not always easy or quick. But I try to remember Angie's phrase -- building a wardrobe is a marathon. I knew I wanted a chunky silver statement ring, for instance -- knew it would fit perfectly with my style and make me happy, but it took me 3 years to find the one I wanted...

    Violetti, I am also in my 50s and am beginning to know what you mean -- changes happen, like it or not, and we need to accommodate to our bodies. I've never had "fussy feet" but in the last few years have struggled with plantar fasciitis, and this affects the footwear I can or cannot tolerate. Footwear changes everything! 

    Gaylene, as usual, such wisdom! I'm thinking of my style icon, Annie Lennox, Money Can't Buy It --  "Let me tell you about it, let me am-pli-fy!" 

    That's a great mantra for those who know themselves really well. Grey hair? Spike it up and make it shine. Need specs? Make them statement. Love jackets? They should be a statement. Live in jeans? Make them the best fitting jeans (and as current a style as you can muster...or the exact cut you've been wearing for two decades.) Go for the gusto, in other words. :)  

  • Bijou replied 3 weeks ago

    Suz, you have sparked another amazing discussion. This has caused me to really pause and reflect because some items that I 'think' will be work horses (practical and work for my climate) don't get worn and other items that I am not sure about, end up being the best items and are work horses. Getting the balance between what is practical for my lifestyle and what sparks joy is tricky. But when we get it right, we shine and it is well worth the effort. 

  • anne replied 3 weeks ago

    A very interesting thread to be sure. I think your wisdom about booties is clear. I liked what Gaylene said

    Maybe “good”, with the occasional foray into “better” is a more realistic goal? Maybe just a touch of that magic in my practical world—a pompom, as it were,

    I think my wardrobe is "good" and realistic for my lifestyle. - but a few more touches of magic wouldn't hurt!

  • shevia replied 3 weeks ago

    Just what I needed this morning Suz - thank you! Yes, knowing myself is really the key to understanding what I will wear and what I want to wear. I understand the temptation of the velvet blue booties - but a few pair of pretty booties add up pretty quickly to one sturdy weather proof pair. I have the fortune to have the opposite situation - not many serious weather constraints and so I make the calculation that a constantly evolving second hand shoe collection (also my weakness over bags) is more satisfying than one retail pair. On the other hand, one good pair of jeans is worth much more to me than lots of variety. For me the jeans ground the shoes, for you it may be exactly the opposite. Sorry for the tangent - wonderful discussion

  • Violettt replied 3 weeks ago

    Great article by the Man Repeller Ms. Le Pedestrianne  Thank you~
    Going forward, IMO, nothing looks worse than an older woman trying to look younger.  It makes her look like a fool.  I say embrace our age, with style, class and elegance.  I can't wear beautiful heels anymore? So what! I CAN wear beautiful flats.  I need to dress for warm weather? I can wear a beautiful pair of tailored linen trousers with a nice silky t and lovely leather sandals.  If I lived in the snow like you lucky ones, I would love to shop for gorgeous fur lined boots, and beautiful parkas with fur trim~  I say buy what you love at all times, not just what you "need".  You can always buy something you need, that practical item, that you love too~ No matter what I buy in 2018, it has to  be something I love~ or it's simply not worth spending money on it otherwise. If you are shopping for a simple black t shirt, shop around until you find one you love! There are so many choices out there~

    Suz: Oh I've had plantar fascitis too! It will go away~  As we age, our ailments sometimes come and go, like a rolling wave coming in from the sea then back out again.  Have to go with the flow to be truly happy I'm finding out.  

  • Gigi replied 3 weeks ago

    Suz, what a great reminder to buy for your climate, especially at this time of year. I was nodding along at your mention of La Canadienne--I bought a pair of LCs a few years ago, and I have worn them so many times that I stopped tracking wears on them sometime last year. Like you say, although they are terrifically expensive up front, they will be workhorses and get you around SAFELY and in style, and they will last almost forever. I have had to have the heels on mine replaced after less than two years' wear.

    I am a sucker for footwear too. I aim to be sensible, but I always fall in love with something that has a higher, narrower heel than I would like, which means I can't wear it very frequently. And of course, most of the cute shoes are warm-weather shoes, which means I am always tempted to buy for that time of year and then don't have suitable footwear for the really cold months (November through April). I end up wearing the same three or four pairs of shoes in the really cold weather. I really think that fashionable true winter shoes is an untapped market.

    I've been trying to remind myself to buy for the weather I have *now*, and that helps keep purchases of cute open-toed shoes in check, since I know that my tastes might change by the time I am actually able to wear said shoes. But yes, I admit that my closet is quite unbalanced, skewed toward cute warm-weather shoes, and having only a few pairs up to the task of dealing with an upper Midwestern winter.

  • Angie replied 3 weeks ago

    Darling Suz, you simply bought booties ahead of time for your imminent West Coast lifestyle! 

    LOVE your new puffer, and you look smashing no matter what. 

  • smittie replied 3 weeks ago

    I subscribe to gaylene’s amplify observation. For me, it is about getting nicer versions of highly practical things.
    I am a uniform dresser at heart so getting “the perfect xyz” item is actually really fun and worthwhile for me (if often fruitless and frustrating—that’s the downside, I guess).

    (I also spend a lot on experiments, but you are not in this phase of your sartorial life.)

    For the booties situation, I have decided they are an indoor winter item and I have my two pairs lined up under my desk. Can you switch to booties while indoors at the uni/college? Are there lockers you can put your true winter boots in?

    If not, then I would build a capsule of waterproof boots for different winter conditions, and different moods.

    I love your parka. Great colour!

  • Suz replied 3 weeks ago

    Smittie, when I'm at school, I'm there sometimes as a student, and sometimes as a professor. As a student, I have nowhere to put anything -- coat/ boots, etc. And I have to walk to campus. So I try for my La Canadienne boots (vs. the Ugg snowboots) but sometimes have to default to the Uggs. In certain classrooms those have to be left at the door in a huge tangle with everyone else's, and I go sock feet. (Shudder). But there's not much option unless I carry yet another bag (I'm already carrying a tote or backpack with a computer.) There are no lockers, no places to leave things...

    As a prof, it may be better, or not -- depending. This year I'm teaching at our west campus. I have a walk of over a mile to get there in the snow. Again, no locker, etc. but there may be a coat rack/ boot tray inside the room at the back - I'm hoping. If so, I think I will bring indoor footwear because the class is 3 hours long. 

    Angie, you're hilarious! Yes, hopefully those booties will get more wear out west. As long as they don't fall out of style before I get there. But alas -- what about that serious parka I have on order? I probably don't need it out there! Crazy time to buy, I know. I actually tried to get one for the last 3 years but couldn't find a good fit...if this one works I am tempted to keep it for this year alone, because I'm so tired of the old grey one and this one is so pretty! 

    Gigi, it's great to hear I'm not alone in my La Canadienne love. They really are remarkable boots and you feel insane shelling out that kind of money at first -- but later, they do pay off. Also, thanks for commiserating re cute shoes!! 

    Violetti, I hope you are right that the plantar fasciitis will wane! You're certainly right that we might as well embrace the changes...

    Shevia, you are an expert and amazing thrifter, whose finds make it all worthwhile -- it's a real avocation. 

    Anne, those touches of magic are key to feeling happy, I think, with the closet. 

    Bijou, exactly! What is the elusive balance between practical and sparks joy?! 

  • JAileen replied 3 weeks ago

    The real me versus the better me. Every day, around the house I wear jeans, a long sleeve charcoal tee, fleece of some kind, and slippers. When I go out in public, the better me doesn't want to change everything, but puts on nice boots and coat, and maybe a scarf. So no wonder the better me has lots of boots and nice jackets and coats. I have to thank Angie and YLF for improving my look out in public.

    My climate is usually very cold and dry in winter. Booties work perfectly. Last year we had record breaking precipitation, but this year is looking like another drought year. My booties are mostly ordinary, but I have two pairs of waterproof ones. I bought Blondos at NAS, and wore them three days straight at Christmas. They were very comfy. I didn't need waterproof boots at all, but I can wear hiking socks with them. I'm usually cold at Christmas, but not this year.

    As to the parka, yours looks really fab. My husband gave me a long blue parka from Eddie Bauer for Christmas. I'm sure it's not as nice as yours, but it looks pretty good on me, and will be a good replacement for the "sleeping bag" coat I've been using. I plan to donate the old one to a homeless shelter.

  • Angie replied 3 weeks ago

    Suz, you NEED that parka now. Don't worry about it. You should have at least three for your Winters anyway. And we had snow this year...

  • Christina F. replied 3 weeks ago

    I think your post here encapsulates a lot of what I've learned here in the past few months. Thank you for writing it all out!

  • Suz replied 3 weeks ago

    You're right, Angie. I need it for this year alone. Crossing fingers it fits. And even when we move, we'll make trips back east, possibly even in winter, and to the interior...and yes, it does snow out west sometimes, too. The coat is temperature rated 0 to -25 celsius. But let's hope it fits. As I said, I've had troubles finding the right coat. 

    Thanks Christina!

    Janet, it's so easy to default to jeans and a tee at home, right? That's essentially what I am wearing now, though the "tee" is a fun pink cashmere version and I am wearing a leopard print belt. Exact outfit below. "Fashion" it is not but at least the colour makes me happy. :)

  • Katerina replied 3 weeks ago

    Suz, what a wonderful post and so interesting to read all the different responses.

    I would say that I am quite content with how my wardrobe choices correspond with my lifestyle, climate and activities. I do not mean to sound smug, but I am lucky having a job, where I can dress in the clothes I really like. I live in a four season climate, which provides the possibility of variations, I do not have to commute to work or struggle in extreme weather conditions etc. To dress for my “current” body and not the body I “have always had”, however, is a whole different challenge.

    What Smittie has said is really interesting. It has occurred to me that I am also a “uniform dresser at heart”. I think it is really fun to look for the next stylish and beautifully made version of my practical items, It probably also explains my love for reversible items. I have just not reflected over it yet (beginner at YLF).
    So many thanks for such great reading!

  • Deb replied 2 weeks ago

    I guess it is hard to look fashionable when you have to wear clothes and footwear like this. Know yourself, accept yourself is something that is taught in high school in Australia...no surprises in your banter.

  • Staysfit replied 2 weeks ago

    Well stated Suz! I have more to say about knowing oneself and being honest with oneself. Our defenses in the form of dysfunctional fantasies, can get in the way and when we remove them, we leave ourselves exposed and vulnerable but also perhaps better equipped to experience the world In work, play and love. It’s clearly like that with style/wardrobe too.

    I briefly glimpsed LisaP’s comment about your new down parka having ethical down and snickered! How can down be ethical? Does that mean the chickens are raised ethically? Whatever happens in the end, they still donate their feathers!

    Before I ruffle anyone’s feathers, I did some research about ethical down. There is an entire organization dedicated to standards for producing ethical down. Who knew? Here is the link: http://responsibledown.org/

    So, now we can all rest easy, or not, as the case may be!

  • lisa p replied 2 weeks ago

    Ethical down is a big deal in the industry - and being able to tag coats as such is important .

  • Suz replied 2 weeks ago

    Yes, Staysfit -- ethical down is a "thing." Of course it is all relative. A vegan would not consider it ethical because it is sourced from birds who are used in the food industry and because vegans don't like to make use of any animal products whatsoever. (We have a vegan in our family.) To be honest, I share some of my step-daughter's concerns about our society's treatment of animals and in particular about factory farming. While I'm not vegan, we eat vegan or vegetarian several days per week and limit our meat to what we know is locally raised, and there are some animal products I would not wear or use (while others, like honey and wool, seem less objectionable to me.)  I debated about down, to be honest, as about the fur on this coat. But with temperatures like ours, it just plain makes sense. It does make me feel slightly better to know that I am not wearing feathers from a bird that has been force fed. 

    The company that manufactures my parka also makes parkas filled with milkweed. This is a really interesting development. The idea is that by growing milkweed, we support the Monarch butterfly population. Using the "down" as coat insulation also keeps us warm. I'm not sure how they treat it for allergies, etc. but it is a really interesting initiative. 

  • tulle replied 2 weeks ago

    Suz, I had exactly the same reaction to Lisa's metallic velvet boots--looked them up, pondered them for a few minutes, then took control of my wayward brain and realized that they were simply not me in any way, and that I already own a pair of ink blue haircalf booties (Zara, and yes, a good value)  that fill the same niche very well for me.  So what drew me?  In my case it was not so much a craving for pretty footwear as  Lisa's enthusiasm, which proved infectious.  I couldn't help wondering whether metallic velvet boots would solve MY wardrobe problems, too!  You are so right that accepting ourselves as we are must be the basis of personal style--and right to recognize the difficulty of doing so.  I think you do a great job of it, by the way, as does Lisa P!

  • gradfashionista replied 2 weeks ago

    It can be immensely challenging to live within your constraints on the one hand; and to harness enough of your ideal or fantasy self to still feel like yourself, and not somebody else, on the other. People who have foot issues or disabilities can probably relate.

    I, too, am negotiating a very similar bootie dilemma to yours, and am equivocating between cost-per-wear and love-per-wear options, neither of which has much bearing on my decision of what to put on my feet when I need to pop out for a local errand. I’ve been able to decisively buy quotidian items that I need and like — but don’t love — in the absence of time and choice, but it’s the ‘precious’ items that leave me crippled with indecision. To some extent, my wardrobe reflects that—the garments and shoes that make me happiest are not the ones worn most frequently, or the ones best suited for a casual, SAH/WFH lifestyle. That said, I’m not sure ridding my wardrobe of them would reveal my most authentic self or ultimately make me happier, even if I’d welcome the free space.

    ETA: Just packed up said booties. Your post helped me over the hurdle.

  • Suz replied 2 weeks ago

    Yay, Gradfashionista! That is fabulous news. And thank you for commiserating. 

    Thank you, tulle --you are always so wise! 

  • Windchime replied 2 weeks ago

    I'm intrigued to learn of milkweed "down" used as filler for parkas! The few milkweed plants I planted in my yard for monarchs each produce far more down--and seeds--than I could ever use. What an interesting idea!

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