Karie: Really like what you posted above! So true! I think you've nailed it!

How about you? Do you struggle to accept some aspect of your lifestyle and how does it affect your style? Do you have advice?
Suz said.
YES, I do struggle. I struggle to accept my lifestyle is now "retired" woman. I don't work anymore. I can wake up anytime I want, do whatever I want all day, every day. It affects my style because I wonder how to dress today for "going to the grocery store"? lol, or going to church. And I can no longer wear any shoes except flats, because I have a bunion now from years of wearing beautiful heels. I also have arthritis in my left big toe joint, ouch. One of the pitfalls of being 60. Your body will change. I have had to realize this. I believe in dressing age appropriate and have always had a classic style I'd say. But now, I just dress more casual, in cashmere jogging pants, loafers, maybe a t under a sweater and jacket instead of wearing dresses and skirts. I've also had to realize it may be time to get rid of some of my faux fur coats I only wear once a year! being that I live in So. Cal. -- takes up too much room in my closet, if I want to be more organized in 2018! which I do. Moving forward it's stylish comfy and wearable for me. One of my neighbors today said, "you will notice as you get older, everything changes". That's OK. That's life.

Gaylene, you are brilliant!

Such a smart post and responses. Much appreciated.

I am working on this acceptance thing.

I've avoided buying for my pretend lifestyle this year, learned from my NAS 2016 purchases. Doesn't stop me from wanting a more interesting life, with more interesting activities.

I keep looking for more interesting basics, but I don't find them. Maybe I need to accept that it is the overall look, not every single item, that is crucial.

What a great thread! I have enjoyed reading each post and absorbing ( I hope) some of the wisdom. As Violette said, your body will change and aging brings its own problems and style challenges. It's ok. It's life, and a reason I don't dye my grey hair or try to fight the changes age brings. It is a losing battle.
I moved from a place where I was just finally realizing that hot summer was my dominate climate to a place where there is less or no hot weather ( or really really cold weather unless one spends lots of time in the mountains) and more transitional weather, although still 4 seasons. Changes to consider.

Joy, everything you say is so, so true. It doesn't make sense to fight with change. And your new climate must bring a whole new set of issues for you.

Barbara Diane -- I, too, have a tendency to find and buy "boring" essentials vs. ones with a bit of pizzazz. I do think knowing our own style really well allows us to splurge a bit on essentials-with-a-twist without worrying about whether they'll be worn -- but where to find these elusive "special" essentials? It's not always easy or quick. But I try to remember Angie's phrase -- building a wardrobe is a marathon. I knew I wanted a chunky silver statement ring, for instance -- knew it would fit perfectly with my style and make me happy, but it took me 3 years to find the one I wanted...

Violetti, I am also in my 50s and am beginning to know what you mean -- changes happen, like it or not, and we need to accommodate to our bodies. I've never had "fussy feet" but in the last few years have struggled with plantar fasciitis, and this affects the footwear I can or cannot tolerate. Footwear changes everything!

Gaylene, as usual, such wisdom! I'm thinking of my style icon, Annie Lennox, Money Can't Buy It -- "Let me tell you about it, let me am-pli-fy!"

That's a great mantra for those who know themselves really well. Grey hair? Spike it up and make it shine. Need specs? Make them statement. Love jackets? They should be a statement. Live in jeans? Make them the best fitting jeans (and as current a style as you can muster...or the exact cut you've been wearing for two decades.) Go for the gusto, in other words.

Suz, you have sparked another amazing discussion. This has caused me to really pause and reflect because some items that I 'think' will be work horses (practical and work for my climate) don't get worn and other items that I am not sure about, end up being the best items and are work horses. Getting the balance between what is practical for my lifestyle and what sparks joy is tricky. But when we get it right, we shine and it is well worth the effort.

A very interesting thread to be sure. I think your wisdom about booties is clear. I liked what Gaylene said

Maybe “good”, with the occasional foray into “better” is a more realistic goal? Maybe just a touch of that magic in my practical world—a pompom, as it were,

I think my wardrobe is "good" and realistic for my lifestyle. - but a few more touches of magic wouldn't hurt!

Just what I needed this morning Suz - thank you! Yes, knowing myself is really the key to understanding what I will wear and what I want to wear. I understand the temptation of the velvet blue booties - but a few pair of pretty booties add up pretty quickly to one sturdy weather proof pair. I have the fortune to have the opposite situation - not many serious weather constraints and so I make the calculation that a constantly evolving second hand shoe collection (also my weakness over bags) is more satisfying than one retail pair. On the other hand, one good pair of jeans is worth much more to me than lots of variety. For me the jeans ground the shoes, for you it may be exactly the opposite. Sorry for the tangent - wonderful discussion

Great article by the Man Repeller Ms. Le Pedestrianne Thank you~
Going forward, IMO, nothing looks worse than an older woman trying to look younger. It makes her look like a fool. I say embrace our age, with style, class and elegance. I can't wear beautiful heels anymore? So what! I CAN wear beautiful flats. I need to dress for warm weather? I can wear a beautiful pair of tailored linen trousers with a nice silky t and lovely leather sandals. If I lived in the snow like you lucky ones, I would love to shop for gorgeous fur lined boots, and beautiful parkas with fur trim~ I say buy what you love at all times, not just what you "need". You can always buy something you need, that practical item, that you love too~ No matter what I buy in 2018, it has to be something I love~ or it's simply not worth spending money on it otherwise. If you are shopping for a simple black t shirt, shop around until you find one you love! There are so many choices out there~

Suz: Oh I've had plantar fascitis too! It will go away~ As we age, our ailments sometimes come and go, like a rolling wave coming in from the sea then back out again. Have to go with the flow to be truly happy I'm finding out.

Suz, what a great reminder to buy for your climate, especially at this time of year. I was nodding along at your mention of La Canadienne--I bought a pair of LCs a few years ago, and I have worn them so many times that I stopped tracking wears on them sometime last year. Like you say, although they are terrifically expensive up front, they will be workhorses and get you around SAFELY and in style, and they will last almost forever. I have had to have the heels on mine replaced after less than two years' wear.

I am a sucker for footwear too. I aim to be sensible, but I always fall in love with something that has a higher, narrower heel than I would like, which means I can't wear it very frequently. And of course, most of the cute shoes are warm-weather shoes, which means I am always tempted to buy for that time of year and then don't have suitable footwear for the really cold months (November through April). I end up wearing the same three or four pairs of shoes in the really cold weather. I really think that fashionable true winter shoes is an untapped market.

I've been trying to remind myself to buy for the weather I have *now*, and that helps keep purchases of cute open-toed shoes in check, since I know that my tastes might change by the time I am actually able to wear said shoes. But yes, I admit that my closet is quite unbalanced, skewed toward cute warm-weather shoes, and having only a few pairs up to the task of dealing with an upper Midwestern winter.

Darling Suz, you simply bought booties ahead of time for your imminent West Coast lifestyle!

LOVE your new puffer, and you look smashing no matter what.

I subscribe to gaylene’s amplify observation. For me, it is about getting nicer versions of highly practical things.
I am a uniform dresser at heart so getting “the perfect xyz” item is actually really fun and worthwhile for me (if often fruitless and frustrating—that’s the downside, I guess).

(I also spend a lot on experiments, but you are not in this phase of your sartorial life.)

For the booties situation, I have decided they are an indoor winter item and I have my two pairs lined up under my desk. Can you switch to booties while indoors at the uni/college? Are there lockers you can put your true winter boots in?

If not, then I would build a capsule of waterproof boots for different winter conditions, and different moods.

I love your parka. Great colour!

Smittie, when I'm at school, I'm there sometimes as a student, and sometimes as a professor. As a student, I have nowhere to put anything -- coat/ boots, etc. And I have to walk to campus. So I try for my La Canadienne boots (vs. the Ugg snowboots) but sometimes have to default to the Uggs. In certain classrooms those have to be left at the door in a huge tangle with everyone else's, and I go sock feet. (Shudder). But there's not much option unless I carry yet another bag (I'm already carrying a tote or backpack with a computer.) There are no lockers, no places to leave things...

As a prof, it may be better, or not -- depending. This year I'm teaching at our west campus. I have a walk of over a mile to get there in the snow. Again, no locker, etc. but there may be a coat rack/ boot tray inside the room at the back - I'm hoping. If so, I think I will bring indoor footwear because the class is 3 hours long.

Angie, you're hilarious! Yes, hopefully those booties will get more wear out west. As long as they don't fall out of style before I get there. But alas -- what about that serious parka I have on order? I probably don't need it out there! Crazy time to buy, I know. I actually tried to get one for the last 3 years but couldn't find a good fit...if this one works I am tempted to keep it for this year alone, because I'm so tired of the old grey one and this one is so pretty!

Gigi, it's great to hear I'm not alone in my La Canadienne love. They really are remarkable boots and you feel insane shelling out that kind of money at first -- but later, they do pay off. Also, thanks for commiserating re cute shoes!!

Violetti, I hope you are right that the plantar fasciitis will wane! You're certainly right that we might as well embrace the changes...

Shevia, you are an expert and amazing thrifter, whose finds make it all worthwhile -- it's a real avocation.

Anne, those touches of magic are key to feeling happy, I think, with the closet.

Bijou, exactly! What is the elusive balance between practical and sparks joy?!

The real me versus the better me. Every day, around the house I wear jeans, a long sleeve charcoal tee, fleece of some kind, and slippers. When I go out in public, the better me doesn't want to change everything, but puts on nice boots and coat, and maybe a scarf. So no wonder the better me has lots of boots and nice jackets and coats. I have to thank Angie and YLF for improving my look out in public.

My climate is usually very cold and dry in winter. Booties work perfectly. Last year we had record breaking precipitation, but this year is looking like another drought year. My booties are mostly ordinary, but I have two pairs of waterproof ones. I bought Blondos at NAS, and wore them three days straight at Christmas. They were very comfy. I didn't need waterproof boots at all, but I can wear hiking socks with them. I'm usually cold at Christmas, but not this year.

As to the parka, yours looks really fab. My husband gave me a long blue parka from Eddie Bauer for Christmas. I'm sure it's not as nice as yours, but it looks pretty good on me, and will be a good replacement for the "sleeping bag" coat I've been using. I plan to donate the old one to a homeless shelter.

Suz, you NEED that parka now. Don't worry about it. You should have at least three for your Winters anyway. And we had snow this year...

I think your post here encapsulates a lot of what I've learned here in the past few months. Thank you for writing it all out!

You're right, Angie. I need it for this year alone. Crossing fingers it fits. And even when we move, we'll make trips back east, possibly even in winter, and to the interior...and yes, it does snow out west sometimes, too. The coat is temperature rated 0 to -25 celsius. But let's hope it fits. As I said, I've had troubles finding the right coat.

Thanks Christina!

Janet, it's so easy to default to jeans and a tee at home, right? That's essentially what I am wearing now, though the "tee" is a fun pink cashmere version and I am wearing a leopard print belt. Exact outfit below. "Fashion" it is not but at least the colour makes me happy.

Suz, what a wonderful post and so interesting to read all the different responses.

I would say that I am quite content with how my wardrobe choices correspond with my lifestyle, climate and activities. I do not mean to sound smug, but I am lucky having a job, where I can dress in the clothes I really like. I live in a four season climate, which provides the possibility of variations, I do not have to commute to work or struggle in extreme weather conditions etc. To dress for my “current” body and not the body I “have always had”, however, is a whole different challenge.

What Smittie has said is really interesting. It has occurred to me that I am also a “uniform dresser at heart”. I think it is really fun to look for the next stylish and beautifully made version of my practical items, It probably also explains my love for reversible items. I have just not reflected over it yet (beginner at YLF).
So many thanks for such great reading!

I guess it is hard to look fashionable when you have to wear clothes and footwear like this. Know yourself, accept yourself is something that is taught in high school in Australia...no surprises in your banter.

Well stated Suz! I have more to say about knowing oneself and being honest with oneself. Our defenses in the form of dysfunctional fantasies, can get in the way and when we remove them, we leave ourselves exposed and vulnerable but also perhaps better equipped to experience the world In work, play and love. It’s clearly like that with style/wardrobe too.

I briefly glimpsed LisaP’s comment about your new down parka having ethical down and snickered! How can down be ethical? Does that mean the chickens are raised ethically? Whatever happens in the end, they still donate their feathers!

Before I ruffle anyone’s feathers, I did some research about ethical down. There is an entire organization dedicated to standards for producing ethical down. Who knew? Here is the link: http://responsibledown.org/

So, now we can all rest easy, or not, as the case may be!

Ethical down is a big deal in the industry - and being able to tag coats as such is important .

Yes, Staysfit -- ethical down is a "thing." Of course it is all relative. A vegan would not consider it ethical because it is sourced from birds who are used in the food industry and because vegans don't like to make use of any animal products whatsoever. (We have a vegan in our family.) To be honest, I share some of my step-daughter's concerns about our society's treatment of animals and in particular about factory farming. While I'm not vegan, we eat vegan or vegetarian several days per week and limit our meat to what we know is locally raised, and there are some animal products I would not wear or use (while others, like honey and wool, seem less objectionable to me.) I debated about down, to be honest, as about the fur on this coat. But with temperatures like ours, it just plain makes sense. It does make me feel slightly better to know that I am not wearing feathers from a bird that has been force fed.

The company that manufactures my parka also makes parkas filled with milkweed. This is a really interesting development. The idea is that by growing milkweed, we support the Monarch butterfly population. Using the "down" as coat insulation also keeps us warm. I'm not sure how they treat it for allergies, etc. but it is a really interesting initiative.

Suz, I had exactly the same reaction to Lisa's metallic velvet boots--looked them up, pondered them for a few minutes, then took control of my wayward brain and realized that they were simply not me in any way, and that I already own a pair of ink blue haircalf booties (Zara, and yes, a good value) that fill the same niche very well for me. So what drew me? In my case it was not so much a craving for pretty footwear as Lisa's enthusiasm, which proved infectious. I couldn't help wondering whether metallic velvet boots would solve MY wardrobe problems, too! You are so right that accepting ourselves as we are must be the basis of personal style--and right to recognize the difficulty of doing so. I think you do a great job of it, by the way, as does Lisa P!

It can be immensely challenging to live within your constraints on the one hand; and to harness enough of your ideal or fantasy self to still feel like yourself, and not somebody else, on the other. People who have foot issues or disabilities can probably relate.

I, too, am negotiating a very similar bootie dilemma to yours, and am equivocating between cost-per-wear and love-per-wear options, neither of which has much bearing on my decision of what to put on my feet when I need to pop out for a local errand. I’ve been able to decisively buy quotidian items that I need and like — but don’t love — in the absence of time and choice, but it’s the ‘precious’ items that leave me crippled with indecision. To some extent, my wardrobe reflects that—the garments and shoes that make me happiest are not the ones worn most frequently, or the ones best suited for a casual, SAH/WFH lifestyle. That said, I’m not sure ridding my wardrobe of them would reveal my most authentic self or ultimately make me happier, even if I’d welcome the free space.

ETA: Just packed up said booties. Your post helped me over the hurdle.

Yay, Gradfashionista! That is fabulous news. And thank you for commiserating.

Thank you, tulle --you are always so wise!

I'm intrigued to learn of milkweed "down" used as filler for parkas! The few milkweed plants I planted in my yard for monarchs each produce far more down--and seeds--than I could ever use. What an interesting idea!