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An Unexpected Benefit Of Style Blogging, Or, Saturday Morning at 10:20am

It’s quite possible I will not add a single piece of clothing to my wardrobe this year.

I’m not making any promises; no vows or 365-day challenge. (Dani’s doing one if you want to follow.) But when people asked me what I wanted for Christmas all I could think was that I might need a new pair of sneakers. On further consideration, I allowed as how I might want a new  t-shirt from UNIQLO this summer, and that I’d quite likely need some new underwear.

But in truth, I’m closet-satisfied.

This doesn’t mean I’ve ceased to care, or that I suddenly lost my taste for luxury – more’s the pity. I did buy myself this Alexander McQueen sweatshirt in September or thereabouts. (I neglected to grow 5 inches, lose 30 pounds and dye my hair brown, but I still look OK in it if I say so myself.)

Patterned with tiny slightly fuzzy swallows. Was it ridiculously expensive? On the one hand, yes. On the other, I wear it 3-4 times/week, at home, to yoga, out and about. And I’ve gotten compliments on it from blue-haired pierced cashiers and parking lot society women alike. Love a good demographic reach. So, maybe not pricy over time.

And my brother, he of extraordinary taste and surpassing generosity, got me a black floral printed Comme des Garçons shirt for Christmas. A work of art, one that satisfies any need I might have for a new remarkable date-night piece.

But otherwise, all I might need is a pair of these blush sneakers, if the soles of my Vince slip-ons finally give way. Or, more reasonably, these Nikes.

And a t-shirt like this. Last year I got this one, pretty, and quite cheery.

I even, when I needed new glasses, avoided high-end boutiques in favor of Warby Parker where I ordered these.

$95 dollars for the frames and $200 for progressive lenses.

Are they as edgy as my old ones? Neepers. Will I want to wear lipstick more regularly, or turquoise earrings, to compensate for the additional gray on my 61-year face? Sure, maybe. But that seemed worth the $400 not spent on imagined perfection. (I wished they were pale blue.)

What has happened here? If you follow other style bloggers who have retired from their day jobs, you may see that we all evolve. Either in response to our new circumstances, or, maybe, simply over time. Leslie has started wearing more dresses. Sue tiptoes (and wonderfully so) ever more towards Hollywood.

Me, I think I’m finding the majority of my beauty and joy in private moments, rather than self-presentation. I didn’t say I wasn’t in the mood to buy anything – boy I’d like billowy curtains for the guest room. And I’m hoping to plant two big new trees in the back yard. But I’m the one seeing, not being looked at.

My style motivation was always first about social context.

Finally, I think this blog, and all the photos I took, benefited me in ways I couldn’t have predicted. Almost my clothes now seem to work with each other. For example, as I’ve said before, the aubergine tweed Étoile Isabel Marant jacket I bought 5+ years ago just happened to go with this newer Equipment butterfly shirt. Particularly when accompanied by brown Dickers, and the blue Céline bag. More affordably, my high-waisted Madewell jeans work with all kinds of shorter tees, for a modern proportion, and I’m still quite happy to add white patent leather Birkenstocks to almost anything.

Even the pieces in this post, if I think about it, I’d wear them all together with jeans. I love the color contrast of the blush sneakers and the mustard t-shirt graphic, which reminds me of these Gucci mules.

To any who are evolving your style right now, I highly recommend selfies. In all seriousness, seeing oneself in outfits over and over again can allow you to abstract out what makes some choices work and some choices not. The photos become your own silhouette library and color swatches, if you will, making it easier to pull yourself together quickly and happily.

If, of course, that’s what you want to do. I could never have known that breaking through my cultural barriers around “showing off,”  would lead to an interior comfort with how I move through the world. Reading that sentence, I kind of want to tell myself, “Duh.”

I wish you all a wonderful weekend.

No links in this post have been monetized.

40 Responses

  1. I love the idea of interior comfort. I expect that I will be buying some new clothing items in the next year, but very very judiciously.

  2. Lisa, I think you’ve done really well with distilling your style down to what suits you best, both inside and out. And yes!! to wardrobe cohesion. It’s the element that makes all the difference. (BTW, if I wore sweatshirts I’d be rushing out to find that McQueen version. Love. It.)

  3. I also love the expression “interior comfort”. At sixty-one it is what I am reaching for.

    I heard Gloria Steinem said that she had reached a point in her life where she no longer needed anything. She found lack of need quite comforting.
    I love this idea however, I am still acquiring occasional luxuries.


    1. @luci, I think no longer needing anything can be expanded to include occasional luxuries. If not before now, let’s make it so:).

  4. I can see you running around happily in that sweatshirt, those blush sneakers and that whimsical Uniqlo tee-shirt. I love the idea of “interior comfort” in what you wear. So interesting that we all seem to reach a point where we no longer need to acquire more things. We’re happy with less because we know what suits us best. Have a great weekend!

    1. @Jane, We are happy with less, yes, exactly because we know what suits us and the call of the new is therefore much quieter.

  5. It never occurred to me to do selfies of outfits but I am going to try it. I also checked out the blog you linked to – thank you of that. I wonder about trying the uniform idea…and the no shopping. Perhaps rather than no shopping limited shopping or 24/48 hour decision shopping…

    1. @Jb, You are welcome for the blog link! Dani is awesome. I think a 24/48 hour wait period is good, especially if you take a picture of what you are thinking of buying, and then check it against your outfit photos.

      The outfit photos can just be full-length mirror phone selfies – no need for anything fancy:).

  6. Am currently trying to get rid of things no longer deemed necessary. For clothes, I’m happy with what I have and try to just replace things rather than add more. This must be in part a lovely facet of aging, and for some, perhaps the relatively new fad of “minimalism “

  7. Selfies and showing off! I think they do work to show us what works.
    Now that we are “invisible” we can wear whatever we like…be it sequins, sneakers, jeans or a ball gown with a denim jacket…It’s a great time to hone our personal style.

    There is a sense of freedom in retirement dressing…I feel like I have discovered my style these past few years…oh and thank you for the mention.
    I did buy something today! A basic black dress…Italian made and half price!

  8. “Interior comfort” -precious state of body and soul,very comforting and a kind of luxury
    I agree with Gloria Steinem (thanks luci)too-very similar to your thoughts

  9. As always, such fascinating insight. Your last paragraph knocked me out. Never thought of that possibility, Yet the utter comfort, confidence, and lack of self-consciousness I see in my daughter surely comes in part from her ability to literally see herself in selfies and then style accordingly. It’s not narcissism but vantage.I think in addition to my New Year’s words, I need a question. Perhaps this year’s: What are you afraid of?

    1. @Mary, Thank you so much! And that question is killer. Exactly what we can ask ourselves at this age, especially if the answer when we were young was, “taking the risk for anything we really want.”

  10. Thank you for the mention Lisa.
    I love where you are with your style, you really inspire me. That sweatshirt! It is gorgeous, probably comfortable but so special, and with “demographic reach”!
    Very well said about the benefits that come with selfies, it’s not a silly exercise by any means, it’s very revealing.
    I now have a phrase for what I am aiming for: interior comfort. Thank you Lisa xx

    1. @DaniBP, You are so welcome! As you know, your color skills inspired me and do so to this day. The sweatshirt is super comfortable, almost bouncy it’s so lush:). xox.

  11. Yes to interior comfort and also yes to physical comfort ~ can no longer bear to be the least bit uncomfortable in my clothes. I wish I could wear flannel PJs outside.

    1. @KSL, I can’t stand physical discomfort either. If only someone would make cool flannel PJs I’d wear them in a flash.

  12. My progressives (obvs bought at the fancy boutique) cost 1200 bucks. And I still take off my glasses every time I need to read something. That’s a marketing journey I wish I hadn’t gone on. Mind you, the frames are gorgeous but I could have saved on the largely useless lenses. And you know I’m such a special snowflake when it comes to sensitivity that I’m cautious to go back to normal lenses since everyone says the eyes adapt to progressives in a way that makes reverting challenging.

    1. Could I respectfully suggest a trip to Costco? Even if you do not use their independent Doctor of Optometry, you will certainly not be spending that much money on glasses. If you don’t like them, they’ll take them back.

    2. @K-Line, Warby Parker and Costco both can give you glasses for far less. But, no point in going for less unless you can be satisfied it’s good enough, right?

  13. I like the expression “interior comfort”. Why is “showing off” such a bad thing. My mother seems to just want to disappear. I want blush sneakers too but I’ve reversed the retiring process and gone back to work. Progressive lenses cost so much and I (like K-line) take mine off to read. I’m uncomfortable with selfies but I should practise.

  14. I will miss your curated clothing pieces you post! I’ve been exposed to many new ideas because of your blog. I love that you only buy well thought out pieces and at many price points. I’m in the process of cleaning out my closet and just sticking to must haves.

    1. @Denise Capen, Thank you so much. Enjoy your closet cleanup! And I highly recommend ShopStyle – it’s an app/website and although I’ve been part of their affiliate link program, the search is available to everyone.

  15. Love how you summed this up Lisa.. “I could never have known that breaking through my cultural barriers around “showing off,” would lead to an interior comfort with how I move through the world.”

    Well said!
    …from the camera shy one across the way.

    Jeanne xx

  16. “…the one seeing, not being looked at.”
    Atta girl, I’m doing the same, also in new underwear ;)

    Billowy curtains and new trees? Yes please! Also in need of new headboards and some rose bushes.

  17. Feeling much the same these days, Lisa. My closet which was always well culled, is now well documented on my blog, which serves to remind me what I can do with what…thus necessitating even less shopping. I will say that I can get a bit bored with my “uniform” sometimes. But thank heavens for the changing seasons when getting out of winter boots and into my old Stuart Weitzman loafers or my almost four year old Stan Smith sneakers is often enough change to satiate me. Hope you have a wonderfully billowy new year:)

    1. @Sue Burpee, Thanks – a billowy new year, what a lovely and original thought! You made me think, I guess the task now is to narrow the extent of what needs to be new to update the uniform. I think I’m down to sneakers and tees. And possibly new silhouettes of jeans:).

  18. Love the concept of interior comfort! What I crave now is experiences rather than possessions..goig to Christmas production of the Nutcracker with my granddaughters…homemade Christmas ornaments by said granddaughters rather than a fancy new tree decoration…

  19. Getting lots of wear out of any piece of clothing is key. Even better if it makes you happy. Nothing is worse when an item is purchased and it sits in the closet. Been there, done that.

  20. Love this post and the wonderful examples you have given us how a wardrobe can be distilled into its essence in a way. I’ve been so much more conscientious and aware of what I actually wear, and what I want to wear, that my choices too have narrowed considerably. I am content with the wardrobe for the life I have been leading, and yet at the moment that life is changing, just a tiny bit, but I want to bring this newfound awareness into the new with me. Maybe it takes some maturity and wisdom to come to such a point. or I’m just a slow learner.

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