Both me and others were a bit saddened by a comment from Cheryl as a response to an outfit I posted on my Facebook page: “When you are slim like this lady you can wear what you like. I am feeling so down today and have lost my way with my wardrobe I’m feeling old, (at 48) fat and frumpy”.
I know that quite a few women feel this way.
Increasing weight, hormones, health issues and life in general can get us into a style rut and make us feel less than wonderful.
Of course these can sometimes lead to more serious issues like depression, but that is beyond the scope of this article. Today we will mainly focus on how to get out of your style rut. That in itself can make you feel better about yourself, as it really is true that looking good can make you feel good as well. (for those that feel that you are getting really depressed, I recommend this article by reader Lorraine on how to cope with depression).
How do you get into a style rut?
A style rut often happens when you feel that you don’t have the time or the desire to spend time on dressing and / or self grooming. You may be overwhelmed by or too busy with your children, not feel happy with your career or relationship or got frustrated by the increasing size of your body or health issues. You may feel that looking after yourself is not important or that there is no time for that.
The problem is that when you stop looking after yourself, you will look even worse and therefore FEEL even worse. It can become a downward spiral.
Before you know it, you may feel old, fat and frumpy as Cheryl expressed above.
What can you do to get out of your style rut?
First of all, you need to realise that you are in style rut and that you are doing this to yourself.
You have stopped caring at some point and stopped making an effort to look after yourself for any of the reasons mentioned above.
You will need to get rid of any excuses you have given yourself as reasons why you can’t look good.
Some of these can be:
- “I’m too old to look good”
- “I’m too fat”
- “I have no style”
- “I have no time for shopping”
- “I have no money to buy anything”
Let’s tackle these excuses one by one.
1. I’m too old to look good
I’m not sure how you can ever be too old to look good.
No matter what age, if you have developed your own sense of style, it really does not matter if you have a few more wrinkles or not. Everyone can achieve a young & hip look and there are so many ways to achieve that. Add some funky shoes to your outfit, wear a modern necklace and choose clothes that fit are just a few things you can do.
In fact, this whole website is about how to look young, hip and stylish after 40. Often it’s not even about how you dress specifically, but how you approach life in generally. Suzanne’s article on how to look young and youthful after 40 gives some great tips on how to achieve this.
A great example of someone who celebrates life and looks amazing after 70, is Judith. Check out her article on this site on how to look amazing in hats.
2. I’m too fat
Many women give their increased body size as the excuse for not being able to look good. I understand that it can be a challenge to dress for a changing body after 40. Many find that they need to adjust to a bigger tummy, the loss of waist, bigger hips etc.
When your body changes, you may need to learn a new set of guidelines on how to dress the new curves of your body. It may take some effort and it may involve a few trips to the shops, trial and error and some commitment from you. You can start by reading this article on determining your body type.
When you put in the effort and learn what works for your body type and your personality, you will soon discover that you can look good no matter what size you have.
One of the best examples of someone who looks superbly chic while being curvy is Georgette. Check out this article on how to dress for curves and be inspired by how fabulous she looks!
3. I have no style
When you have neglected yourself for a while and have paid no attention to what you like, what excites and delights you and put no effort whatsoever in finding clothes that suit your body type and personality, you may say to yourself that you have no style.
The truth is that you have neglected your style too much.
Everyone has style.
Everyone has a unique personality and their own preferences and likes. You just need to find or rediscover what they are.
The articles in the finding your style section of this site will help, but you may also want to make the investment in my style course: 10 Steps to a More Stylish You. This course will take you on a path of self discovery that lets you connect with your style personality, your body, your style preferences, the style your aspire to and the person you want to become. There will be no dictations on what to wear here. You will discover that all yourself.
4. I have no time for shopping
Another well-known excuse is that you will think that you have no time.
Fact is, everybody has the same amount of time each day. It’s up to you to decide on how to spend that time. What will get your priority?
If you think that you have no time to look after yourself because your kids, husband, job or whatever else it is needs it more, you are doing both yourself and others a disservice.
You should always make sure that you look after yourself first.
Only when you are happy with yourself, both mentally and physically, will you be able to look after others and / or your job well. If there is no time to go to the hair dresser once a month or go to a shop, there is something wrong with your priorities.
Have another look at your schedule and make sure to plan some “YOU” time a month in advance if you must. It’s the best you can do both for yourself and for others as well.
5. I have no money
This is another popular excuse.
I know that not everyone has equal amounts of money and that times are tough for some, but most of us in the developed world have enough to live of.
You don’t need the latest designer clothes and bags to look good. If you know what you like and what suits you, you can buy fabulous clothes in thrift shops and fast fashion retailers as well.
When you are on a budget, you will need to be even smarter about your fashion choices.
You will need to know even better what suits you and what does not. You may want to create a few smart capsule wardrobes, so you can easily mix and match all your clothes and always have something unique to wear.
Have a look of how good Mongs looks. She buys all her clothes at thrift shops or makes them herself.
Regardless of our height, weight or physical limitations, feeling comfortable in our body is important at any age. When our clothes fit and feel comfortable they become an expression of who we are and cannot only be an enjoyable experience but uplifting as well. Many of us throw our hands up in the air as we sense our appearance changing and the clothes we once enjoyed no longer feel or look good on us. We just have to adjust! And, we can!
So go through this list of excuses and ask yourself honestly: “What is my excuse?”
Perhaps you have several.
Concentrate on the one that is your biggest excuse, and try applying some of the recommendation mentioned to counter them.
Start with one excuse at the time. Once you have overcome that issue, move to the next excuse you may use for yourself to stop looking good.
Take baby steps and slowly but surely start making some positive changes.
As an extra motivator, here are just some reasons why looking good is important
When you look great, you feel great
You may have heard the phrase before: When you look great you feel great. I believe this to be true. When you don’t put in the effort, you will know deep down that you don’t look your best and your face will show it.
You will look less confident and less approachable.
On the other hand when you have made an effort and can look in the mirror with a confident smile, you will show that to the world. You will look confident and happy and beautiful and others will notice that too.
I even believe that making an effort in terms of your clothing can actually reverse a bad mood, so it can be very therapeutic as well.
It shows that you care about yourself and others
Others DO really appreciate when you look after yourself. Not only are you entertaining and pleasing yourself with some creativity or color, others will be delighted as well. Although I believe that you should mainly dress up to delight yourself, there certainly is no harm in entertaining others as well!
You will be taken more seriously
Unfortunately, this one is a fact of life. If you look better, others will take you more seriously. In a study it was even shown that women that put on more makeup will have better promotion chances (for more info see my article makeup: is it essential for women).
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t agree with this, but I have experienced myself that you will be more appreciated when you look better.
I am hoping though, that you will take the first 2 reasons more to heart. I believe that making yourself look stylish and beautiful should always be done, because you yourself will feel and see the benefits and not because others expect it from you.
You will have more FUN
Fashion, styling and dressing up is fun. When you start seeing the potential of dressing again and how it makes you look and feel, it will become a fun activity and not something you dread.
You will take delight from websites like these and not feel threatened by thin models and the latest styles. You will know what suits you and what you can do this season to make YOU feel better.
You will know how to add perhaps one trend to your style this year and how you can play with color, prints and silhouettes. You will have fun with your style and that is exactly how it should be.
Some final words
I hope I have convinced those of you that are in a style rut to have more fun with clothes and discover your stylish you. Looking stylish doesn’t have to be a chore but can be a lot of fun.
I’m sure that the time (and perhaps a bit of money) invested will make you feel happier, more alive and will help you to enjoy your life after 40 even more!
I would love to hear your feedback! Have you ever been in a style rut? How did you get out of it? If you are in a style rut right now, what is your main issue and what will you do to beat the style rut?