Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Restored: Why Do Clothes Matter?

“Fitting in” isn’t everything. But it’s not nothing either. Clothing may even be more important as we get older and feel more aware of our need to be part of a human community—both to belong, and to participate.

I don't get up every morning aware of myself as a social animal with a simultaneous desire to connect and individuate. But I know that when I isolate myself from close connections with others, I don't care what I look like. When I care about other people, I'm more likely to care about how I put myself together visually.

In looking for style guidance for women over forty, the word "appropriate" comes up a lot. I find this rather icky. As if being over forty is inappropriate to a sense of aesthetics. I feel my old clothes have become, not so much "inappropriate" as inaccurate. They just don't fit who I am. I learned how to shop and choose clothes in junior high school! Surely it's time to reconsider my knee-jerk methods of deciding what to wear.

I like the idea of this period of life being a renaissance. The European Renaissance was about reinterpreting classical ideas...a "re" birth, not a completely new thing.

A lot of writers say in our middle life, we get the freedom to reclaim who we were before we had to, in a sense, put ourselves aside. We have an opportunity now to look inside and dress in a new way; to reinterpret the first notions we had about who we are with ourselves and in the world.

I like that. It's like excavating for who I used to be.

1 comment:

Imogen Lamport said...

My personality style has changed radically over the past 5 years (35 -40), I now shun the classic most of the time and am way more dramatic and creative in the way I dress.

My lifestyle has also changed, I'm no longer in the corporate world so don't need to wear suits anymore, instead I'm an image consultant and have to dress for my personality!