Beauty and style…through the eyes of one approaching the big 5-0

The first month of 2015 is nearly gone, and in this first month of a new year I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on things.

I’m not one of those who set resolutions each year, but rather I am one of those who do sit back and think about my life and where it’s heading.

As I age, I find that the things that once mattered to me are no longer on my radar. Sometimes, those things that mattered still do…but they morph into a different type of “things that matter.”

Take beauty and style, for example.

Back when I was in the spring of my youth, fitting in with society mattered almost as much to me as my next breath. I followed the trends, and seeing as this was the 1980s there were many wild and wacky ways to dress and make oneself up as never before. Yes, I had the massive hair and bright blue eyeliner. I also had the most clothes, purses, jewelry, and shoes a girl could collect.

It didn’t help that I worked at a major department store. That 20% off employee discount came in mighty handy.

I kept subscriptions to all the fashion mags, poring over them almost daily in search of the latest “in” item.

As I have moved through my 40s, my ideas of beauty and style have evolved into something a little more important than what’s found between the pages of fashion magazines. While I still subscribe to most of them, I now look at them for the enjoyment. It’s like appreciating art.

After all, fashion IS an art form.

Today, I find that I want to express myself more as an individual than as a member of a certain tribe or pack.

A few short years ago, I stumbled across an amazing blog by Ari Seth Cohen called Advanced Style. You can click the link here: advancedstyle.blogspot.com

In his blog, Ari photographs gorgeous and stylish women who range in age from 60-100+. This blog has inspired me and caused me to look at myself and my wardrobe in a new light.

Instead of trying to follow the current and sometimes impossible fashion trends for a woman my age, I now look at what I have in my closet and choose items based on my mood. It’s been great fun to “shop my closet” and paw through the garments I’ve collected.

My closet contains items as old as the long blazer I bought way back in 1998 and as new as the black V-neck t-shirt I bought this past summer. Many of the items I’ve got are classically styled and some are funky enough to mix it up a little and make for interesting outfits.

So often, it is so easy to fall into a style rut. You know what I mean…you run to the same pieces constantly and find yourself falling deep into a clothing comfort zone. It’s sometimes hard to break out of that. Grabbing for something a little different to wear can be a challenge, but it can also be a lot of fun.

I discover that even though it might be a bit intimidating, I’m even more comfortable shaking it up with my more interesting clothing.

As far as beauty goes, well, a woman inching closer to 50 years of age may be told she can’t wear this lipstick or that eyeshadow, but do you know what I say to this? Rubbish! Anyone at any age can look good in a deep lip color or a bright eyeshadow. It’s in the makeup application and the choice of outfit that make society’s beauty no-nos stand out and look amazing.

Who sets beauty and fashion rules, anyway? And why do we tend to follow them?

I think it’s because we haven’t given ourselves the permission to express ourselves as we know we are on the inside. It’s a bit frightening to expose oneself to a world full of judgment and condemnation.

Ari’s blog and the amazing women he photographs have lifted me into a place I didn’t know I missed…the place of free creativity and self-expression. It is a place I left back in 1990…a time where I decided to just be like everyone else. It is much easier to mesh with the throngs of fellow consumers and wear the same items and look exactly alike.

I’m tired of watching myself melt into the mainstream. It takes courage and creativity to express who you are on the inside through the use of clothes, cosmetics and accessories. I’m ready to do more of this.

The fabulous Debra Rapoport once said “more is never enough.” She’s right, and her expansive creative nature is one of my current style inspirations. Check out her website at vivelehat.com.

Following these Advanced Style women has also encouraged me to get back to my art, and this has been a fabulous and unexpected direction that my life has taken. I am now back to making jewelry, crocheting, knitting, and continuing my writing projects. My life is much happier now, all because Ari Seth Cohen founded his deliciously inspiring blog.

Who knows, but I might open a site on Etsy.com and try selling my goodies.

My hope is that when I reach 60 and retirement, I can be even more free to express the creative core of my being. I envision deep purple hair in my not-too-distant future…and maybe even a few more tattoos.

For now, I will take those baby steps necessary to get there.

Are you with me? Let’s GO!

Photo credit: advancedstyle.blogspot.com

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