So first things first…what does it mean to ‘Wear Well’ and why is it in the title of a blog about midlife fashion, beauty and wellbeing? A good definition of wearing well is looking and feeling your very best as you grow older. And here’s where I have to ‘fess up. Despite spending more than 30 years as a journalist and editor on women’s magazines and websites with all the access to fashion, beauty, health and wellbeing experts that brings, I don’t posses a one-size-fits-all miracle checklist that tells people in their 40s, 50s and beyond How To Wear Well. What I do have is hard-won knowledge of the three essentials, forged in the sometimes cruel fires of experience, that we need to enjoy an amazing midlife.
1. Curiosity – otherwise known as being nosy (and easily distracted)
Learning something new, whether that’s mastering a fresh way of styling your shirt, exploring the latest HRT developments, trying a new form of yoga or researching career opportunities around your passion, is what keeps life interesting and full of possibilities. Without flitting about, gathering information and inspiration like butterflies gorging on nectar, we get stuck and set in our ways, less interested in others and less interesting to be with. After all, we have no choice but to treat wearing well as a journey, not a destination. I hope to be considering the latest winter coat trends when I am very, very old.
2. Courage – otherwise known as being bloody-minded
Most of us who reach somewhere around the mid points in our lives will have faced hardship and heartbreak of at least one kind or another. Picking ourselves up and trying again, or just keeping going, can feel like an insurmountable challenge. Finding ways of being resilient takes courage, as does asking for help, taking steps to improve our lives, refusing to be limited by the views of others and demanding the best for ourselves whatever our age. Also, wearing a pleather skirt. It flies in the face of all good advice, but might just work. Judge whether it did for me when the ‘5 unexpected things I tried and loved’ blog goes up.
3. Humility – otherwise known as being able to laugh at yourself
We put a huge amount of pressure on ourselves to GET THINGS RIGHT. To look the right way. To say the right thing. To be perfect partners and parents. ALL THE BLOODY TIME. It’s exhausting and just not possible, especially if we base our expectations on unrealistic images on social media (guilty and owning it). Accepting that being perfect is not as important as being happy, we all mess it up quite a lot of the time, most of the things we worry about are just not that important and it’s a good idea to leave our ego at the door, is liberating. After all, you can never have too many laughs…or red cross-body bags…or black and white tops to pair with pale jeans…or…(see ‘easily distracted’ above).
These three essentials are far from the traditional ‘invest in botox’, ‘go dairy-free’ and ‘have your colours done’ variety of midlife-busting methods (in my case, never say never, almost-but-not-quite and intrigued but sceptical). I’m a former nurse and fitness instructor with a keen interest in mental health, so I’m fascinated by the psychological and spiritual ways we can wear well. In fact, I cover them almost as often as I write about subjects like cosmetic treatments, exclusion diets and fashion choices.
And while I’m most certainly not holding myself up as even a passable example of How to Wear Well (far from it, as you’ll know if you follow me on Instagram), I do feel passionately that if we can get the foundations right, these middle years can be the most fulfilling of our lives in every way possible.
Have a read of my About post to discover more.