3 simple ways to reverse your slide to invisibility
Staying visible as we get older can seem like an upward climb on a downward escalator. Society puts so much store on staying young and holding back time, that when inevitable physical changes happen, we can lose confidence. We become wistful or even resentful with every new wrinkle.
My own wobble came a couple of years before I hit 50. I was spray polishing the living room on a Saturday morning, when I overheard a male sports presenter question why women in their 40s bothered getting out of bed in the morning. When I’d finished shouting at the TV, I sat down on the edge of the coffee table with my duster and had a good cry. He’d managed to score a direct hit on a hidden, but very sensitive, spot - much as I’d rather like to have done to him at the time.
Having previously been a glass half-full sort of person, I had got to a point where what once worked for me no longer seemed to cut it. Stuck and struggling to feel positive about losing my bottom, my lip line and my old shape, this was also playing out alongside other changes in my life: career, children moving on and ageing parents. It left me feeling less sure of myself and smaller inside and out!
Over the next few days I starting sharing my story with friends and quickly realised I wasn’t alone:
a) None of us were ready to fade away just yet
b) We were all much harder on ourselves than we would be on anyone else in our lives – including those we weren’t particularly fond of and
c) Who else was going to do something about it, if not us?
If our reactions strike a chord, and you’re nowhere near ready to do your own vanishing act, here are 3 simple steps you might consider for your own road back to visibility…
1) Understand what works for you now. Trying to hold back time only works for so long – it’s simple physics. So, park the past and look at what’s right for your body now. And this doesn’t mean worrying about what’s ‘age appropriate’ – don’t you hate that term? It means:
- Wearing clothes that fit properly, in the right shapes for your current geometry
- Knowing which your best colours are now and how to wear them effectively. I love using my neutrals but need to mix in richer colours to avoid ‘death by beige’
- Dressing your best bit - If you dress to hide bits of yourself, it stands to reason you’re making yourself vanish, one body part at a time!
- Making room in your wardrobe - The has-beens and once-was’s you open your wardrobe door to every morning only weigh you down. So get rid. If you can’t face the task alone, get some help with a wardrobe review
- Re-thinking your make-up – over time your skin will change. Your brows, lips and eyes will have less definition, so use products and techniques to subtly put it back. My face is blank without my lippie - I was never particularly blessed in the lip department - and it completely wakes up my face
2) Invest in you again – don’t feel guilty about spending time or money on yourself. This can be tricky if you’re used to putting everyone else first. (We probably spend more time tending to our cars/pets/gardens than to ourselves). It really isn’t about indulgence, it just means:
- Upping the quality of your clothes and not just ‘making do’
- Looking after yourself – nails, feet, hair. When did you last update your hair with a cut that suits your face shape? Regular treatments will also put back the shine and bounce that are lost over time
- Understanding that comfortable doesn’t have to mean frumpy
- Staying visible from the floor up - many messages come from our feet – what are yours saying about you? If, like me, you’re addicted to flats, then make sure they have some detail. I’m always on the lookout for on-trend shapes that will make my whole outfit feel more current without looking like I’ve tried to hard
3) Be free to be you – when you dress purely for the roles you play you can lose who you are. We all have our own inner style icon and when you find it and understand how to dress it, it’s like coming home:
- Don’t hide your style behind the roles you need to dress for – hiding = removing yourself from sight (you know where I’m going with this one...)
- Understand how to dress your personality and own it. I was so much happier once I’d given up channelling Grace Kelly and embraced my inner Boho
- Keep Evolving – have courage to keep trying something new to avoid going stale - even just one thing you can build your outfit around
And finally, because sometimes it’s good to hear about the bumps in the road, here are 3 common mistakes to avoid:
i) Saving things for best – think of the effort you go to when going to a big event. If you think of every day as a special occasion and invest most in where you spend your time, you will feel as great as this on a daily basis
ii) More is More – Using more of what’s worked in the past in greater volume to try and maintain the status quo – heavier make-up, too much hairspray, bleach, head to toe fashion fads, or just simply just being too overdone
iii) Copying other people – this only leads to disappointment when the same things don’t work on us. Confidence comes from being happy in our own skin - it took me a while to figure this one out!
We all have bits that we don't like but you really don't have to be under 40 to look wonderful. So if you also count yourself amongst the Reluctantly Invisible, don’t let it happen.
Join me in giving up on giving up. I finally realised, after a sketchy few years, that fading into the background is not inevitable – and so I’m still choosing not to choose it.
I’ll let you know how I get on...
Guest blog by Fyona Bassett stylist for Macclesfield/Bramhall/Congleton - 07771 971 584 - visit Fyona's web page for more information
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