Fashion Dilemmas

While in winter’s firm grip, my thoughts turn to what to wear in spring. With every passing year I ask myself: “Can I “still” wear this?” It started around my 42nd birthday when grey hair made its first appearance.

Do you wear the same kind of clothes now as when you were younger? Or for the younger readers for whom this question seems light years away (it’s not trust me), do you wear what really feels comfortable? By that I mean not just physically comfortable, but also emotionally. Do your clothes represent you, your values and aesthetics?

Mine sometimes do, but more often not, at least aesthetically. Dressing in the morning is a quick 5 minute affair largely determined by what’s clean and what’s available.  And last but not least, what is in “the pile”. Trust me, no self-help book has worked to organize “the pile”, a huge entangled heap of black clothing. It’s my wardrobe, without the physical structure to keep things from “spilling” into each other. Luckily color coordination is unnecessary… black stuff from “the pile” is my daily uniform.

Back to what to wear in spring. The top image is from Yamamoto’s 2012 collection. As usual it features lots of greys and blacks that can be worn year around. The dress on the left is something I would wear in a wink as opposed to the draped outfit on the right, which doesn’t seem to be wearable at my age or my surroundings. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but it wouldn’t be me.

Same here. The combination on the left would be very welcome in “the pile” while the one on the right looks more like something Helena Bonham Carter would wear on the Red Carpet.

I truly admire when women wear what they want and not give a damn. Just look at the shoes. By the way, the lady on the far left is Helena Bonham Carter’s mama. Is it possible there’s a gene for wearing eccentric outfits? Here’s what Helena says:

But fashion is all about having fun. I think fashion has been hijacked by the fashion industry creating rules on what one should wear and I feel like breaking the mold and seeing that the world won’t crumble.”

Right she is. But, if I’m really honest with myself, I’d love to live Bonham Carter’s attitude, but then I look at Binoche and….. well, she does look kind of good, doesn’t she?

Are you comfortable with what’s in your wardrobe and do you feel it reflects who you are?

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8 Responses to “Fashion Dilemmas”

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  1. Photo 2 I like, photo 3 I LOVE!
    I think our sorting system, or lack thereof, is identical. The pile…
    I especially notice just how black my wardrobe is, when I travel. I open my suitcase and everything is black, except an occasional sock. I am a big sock fan. Like paint is to a room, socks are to an outfit- the simplest, least expensive way to change a look.
    I love my clothes and would have to say they define my personality. (I make some, buy some.)
    So glad you are back to posting.

  2. oh katherin here you are speaking to my heart yet again. this one struck a painfull nerve. i have reached the strange point in my life where, at 55, i am still quite young at heart, but not so much in reality. i want to be be true to who i believe i am in what i wear, but not look ridiculous. it’s a fine line. i see women, even very fit ones wearing tight jeans or over the top clothing and think how truly silly they look and i don’t want to be that way. on the other hand, i don’t want to stop being “me” just because the “me” is older. i was a teenager in the 70s and knew exactly who i was and how i dressed. that 70s girl is still “me”, but finding the stylish way to dress her at 55 is most difficult. i think gilda radner had it right when she said she wore only that which did not itch….i want to be comfortable, but i want to climb out of the pile and be true to myself and stylish all at once. that’s why uniform dressing is so interesting to me….check out suz’s site well to do you, and see her 30 day challenge to wear the same dress 30 different ways….i think she might have something.

  3. Kate says:

    It’s a dilemma that’s very familiar to me. There is a part of me that yearns for simple and elegant sophistication but the other side tugs towards clothes that are more individual. I have my own pile (though it’s navy and charcoal.) And as I loathe both shopping for clothes and anything I wear being identifiable by brand it’s a difficult one to solve. Accessories I can do and it’s a way to include the vintage that I love. So, I feel I have a certain way of dressing that reflects who I am but I guess the problem comes down to deciding who I want to to be :)

  4. Maria says:

    Kathrin, as I become older, will be 47yrs old this year, I am leaning towards more and more simpler styles. I don’t particularly care for fuzzy anymore, even though what Helena and her mother wore, would have been just fine for me back in the day :-)…now a days, it is just too much.

    The simpler styles, earth tone fabrics, garments that hang well without all the tightness is really what makes you look classy and calm. After working in the fashion industry for over 20yrs, the less is more mentality is really what is thriving inside of me.

    Being true to myself – that is really the key here. Who are we trying to impress? I just don’t care anymore…I dress with what makes me feel pretty in my own eyes – and if it pleases others…well, that is just icing on the cake :-)


    Great post as always.


  5. Mary H says:

    I buy mostly thrifted clothes so in that way my clothes reflect my values. I am trying to get them to reflect my aesthetics more lately and have been inspired by Ari Seth Cohen’s Advanced Style blog. When I was younger I took a lot more risks with clothes but now I do like more practical stuff, but I still want to dress with style.

  6. Vicki says:

    Your writing always strikes such a strong chord with me! I’ve really been struggling with this lately. I used to be quite a clothing collector and prided myself on putting together layers of fun! I was in a band for a while and that was a great excuse to get some really interesting pieces (I miss my peacock-embroidered skirt!). My post-birthing body put the kabash on most of my best, but I haven’t had the heart to part with much of it. I have a small portable closet and 3 bins of clothes in my attic just waiting for… what? I don’t know. It seems like the older I get, the more I want to pare down everything! Simplify all the controllables so there is more energy left for the fun stuff and unexpecteds. Does that make any sense at all? The problem is, my wardrobe fell flat into Jeans-n-T-shirts after my kids were born and hasn’t really recovered. It’s simple, yes, but it’s also kind of depressing! I’ve never really thought of myself as a jeans and t’s person. *sigh* I do dress up for Sunday mornings and date nights, but just found myself actually considering buying a second pair of all-weather boots instead of the cute mary janes that I saw on line last week. ugh. I can’t sort it out! We all need to unite our piles and sort this out!

  7. Greta says:

    Ack, wardrobe….
    I was a super late bloomer, in that I didn’t really want to consider clothes until recently. I think this was a prolongued form of rebellion to my childhood in some ways. I couldn’t understand why so much effort had to be put in to outward appearances. The cumulative point was when my boss asked me, you’re wearing that? And I realised I had to change, thus began the long research into how to dress well. Now I enjoy clothes, but feel the restriction of my budget.
    In my earlier years, though I didn’t like to think about clothes, I was always uncomfortable in what I wore. Nothing I bought seemed to suit or fit me (except for one brief period that was assisted by good shopping opportunities and a better pay check).
    So the very long answer to your question is, at the age of, hah hah, let’s just say I was born in the ’70’s, I’m only just getting there now. And I am all for skirts and dresses, most of which I like to the knee. :)
    Oh yes, I was a uniform-wearing child, and consider that I strive to have such a minimalist wardrobe, with lots of scarves to jazz things up.

  8. strikkelise says:

    I think both Helena and her mother look fabulous, and so does Juliette. I myself could never pull off any of those styles. I like quirky but mostly in shoes and accessories. Strapless is definitely not for me :)

    Colours and patterns are my biggest challenge. The majority of my clothes are monochrome, mostly black.
    I, too, like one of the previous commenters hate wearing clothes that have their brand name showing or have a certain design element that is too identifyable. I wish I could sew well enough to make my own and alter thrifted stuff to suit me.

    What I do love is looking at the blog Advanced Style. Although I would never dress up as much as many of those older women do, they are my idols. I want to be a little like one of them when I grow up. What I try to take away from reading that blog is that with increasing age you have less need to follow trends and more confidence (I hope) to be yourself.

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