My pal Eileen’s decision to rid her closet of aging, nondescript clothes and complete her hey-I’m-40 style reassessment has boosted her swagger AND her sashay. During her efforts we’ve talked color palette and style loves (opulent, rugged, and boho). And we’ve talked body shape, body size, and (new) closet pairings. But what about post-transformation feeeeeelings?
Though my ability to capture Eileen’s style transformation took a severe nosedive as she racked up the outfit changes, I was determined to push on. For one thing, my Persnickety Bohemian side would never forgive me if I failed to post Ms E in all her boho diva glory:
Clearly it was time to check in on how she felt about her recent experiments.
Q: Despite your fondness for black crewneck Tshirts, I said earlier that I gave you credit for always mixing in color and pattern—something I’ve only recently started to do.
“Your new picks include plenty of solid neutrals; however, you weren’t shy about adding lots of bold prints that are getting you raves out in the real world. Do you feel like you’ve upgraded that element of your style?”
A:“I do. I was too stuck in REI land. I liked their low maintenance options, the detailed fabrics and colors. Maybe I thought more about the clothes and how much I liked them vs how they really made me look.”
Q: Before you shopped, you read my attempt to summarize stylist Bridgette Raes’ advice for choosing prints, including her rather wild suggestion to chose prints that mimic the way one’s facial features move. Helpful? Constricting?”
A: “Surprisingly helpful. I do think I gravitate to organic, flowing lines on my own (her tips seem to suggest that for me).
“The brown and blue, 70s-era striped tunic with the big sleeves is something I would have traditionally avoided trying on but actually it’s more ‘me’ than past choices. It’s also just as easy to wear and travel with as my old clothes. I’m glad it came home with me. I love it!”
Q: “I know it’s early days, but since I’ve been so slow to write this you’ve had about a month to road test your new duds. What’s the verdict?”
A: ”I’ve watched makeover shows, but I wasn’t expecting to feel such an improvement in how I feel about myself. I thought I felt more OK about my body! I think I’m hiding less. Apologizing for less.”
A: “On a practical note, my goal was to create outfits that would be worn weekly. I like how most of the pieces I got can be interchanged. Bringing everything new along when we went looking for more things worked!”
On a couldn’t help but notice note, I enjoyed how Eileen seemed a lot more comfortable playing up her Hourglass curves—aka inadvertently torturing straight-waisted, belt-envying companions such as myself—than she had in her “before” days.
Exhibit A: The dance-a-jig-worthy wrap dress she had the Mellow Glamazon whip up to fit her proportions:
Exhibit B: A simple cotton knit dress paired with utilitarian boots but cinched with her arresting belt:
Q: Have others responded to you differently?”
A: ”Yes; I’ve had strangers, co-workers, and acquaintances compliment the clothing and how it looks on me. (Not in a weird way.) The clothing is almost like an ice-breaker or conversation starter. It’s turning out to be a great way to meet new people.
“I also think that I get a little more attention, especially when wearing the items that seem a bit more tailored and refined and maybe express a bit of attitude.”
Q: “Should I intervene if your new motto becomes ‘Nobody puts Baby in the corner’ and you start using the word ‘fierce!’ to describe anything you like or do, from food to pillows to hikes? Because that could be pretty entertaining.”
A: “Now you’ve got me thinking….”
Q: Best part of all this?”
A: ”Lots of best parts. But I love buying goods directly from their creators, so getting a locally-made wrap dress and denim pencil skirt that were customized to fit *me* was up there.
“We already talked about fit issues and how I come from a family of women who were sewing geniuses. You would think I would sew (I don’t) or be big on alterations (I haven’t been).
I know if I don’t pay attention to the starting place I can look bad in custom or altered clothes, too. It’s a cliché but I’ve wasted so much time feeling bad about not fitting the clothing that was out there. (Too big in the waist, too small in the shoulders, too tight in other places. Depending on the style.)
“Now I’m heading back to my roots, when I watched clothing be fit to the woman.”
Q: “Good to hear. Thanks for being the center of attention for this interview. I know it doesn’t come naturally—or DIDN’T come naturally!”
Filed under: appearance, capsule wardrobe, color, officewear, self-improvement, starring select friends + invisipals, style over 40 | Tagged: body proportions, business casual, buying local, Casual Friday, closet analysis, color, starring: Ms Eileen, texture/pattern, wardrobe management | 3 Comments »