To present a bit of my flip side perspective (that which aligns with the times when I'm not freaking out), I'm delightfully practical and, as I love to tell people, I have fab taste! Here's how I'm managing the great unknown to maximize chicness in the current state.
- I go shopping for new clothes. Sometimes it's hard to do this when one's shape is not what it was. I'm naturally nonplussed by RTW sizing labels but lately it's been sort of challenging. I'm surprised by my discomfort, having spent so many years telling other people not to care about such nonsense as tag numbers, and meaning it with every fibre of my being. So now I have the opportunity to treat myself with the same tough love (emphasis on love). I have found new places (COS, Kit and Ace) with very well-made clothing, having structural or relaxed silhouettes (made with beautiful fabrics) that are flattering for shapes that benefit from skim in the mid-section. I also spend money which, I recognize, is not within everyone's purview. Don't misunderstand, I have a budget, but I'm willing to buy fewer items (just what I need) at highter price points as long as the quality warrants. Needless to say, now is not the time to buy fast fashion and imagine that it isn't going to look cheap. I'm past that phase - not to mention that fast fashion rarely fits unless you're rather slim and entirely proportioned to its cookie-cutter dimensions.
- I go shopping for new bras. People - if there's one step you don't skip as you move through middle age, it's this one. Even if your breasts don't increase in size - and they probably will if only because your weight goes up while you're in the thick of it - they will eventually change in shape, in position, in density, in tone. The bras with lots of room in the upper cup may become empty. One's need for a firmer band or firmer wires may occur as breasts loose tone and gravity sets in. For sure, I have a real head start on this account: I know where to look. I know who to talk to. I understand the structural qualities of RTW bras (given that I've made my own). Here's what I can tell you about my boobs (do I ever shut up about them??): They could be doing a lot worse, particularly given that they have never been insubstantial. I've been wearing bras that truly fit, for most of the years I've been wearing bras, and, trust me, it makes a big difference in how breasts age.* I've got taut skin and an even, balanced breast shape. Gravity showed its stripes a bit, a couple of years ago, but things are holding steady. Current changes include slightly less upper cup fullness, slightly more fall, slightly more width - which means I need bras with wider wires and more height in the outer cup - and a bit more volume. FYI - I've just bought a bunch of new sets (Panache Floris in 2 colourways, Freya Minx - a great bra! - and Panache Olivia). Some I've received, others I'm waiting on but I've had a pretty good purchase moment and I'll get into that in other posts.
- I lawn toss / give away the clothes that no longer fit. I resell my gently used bras (in my annual bra sale). I realize that I may well fit again into many of the things that don't fit now - particularly bras, in my own personal experience - but it's really bad for my psyche to be surrounded by things that don't have purpose. I am not nostalgic. I do not like clutter. Culling may be hard in the moment but it's far less painful than being reminded of something I love that I can get no use from. For sure, my finer things go to friends, not on the lawn. But out of sight, out of mind. Every time I look at that dress I love that I can't sit down in any longer, I'm reminding myself that I'm not as I was before. Fact is, I am as I am now. That's all I've got and it's enough. I want to appreciate how I look in clothes and lingerie that fit my current dimensions as beautifully as the other garments fit my former dimensions.
- And (maybe best of all!), I sew. What better way to feel the impact of one's hobby than to have actual need for new things that one can self-construct? I legitimately require a new, fitted skirt that fits perfectly. I have the pattern (to be altered slightly) and I own some stretch woven that will fit the bill (note: perimen ladies - do not wear a woven without 15% stretch). I've purchased the Concord T pattern because it looks terrific on everyone and the waist skim is fantastic. I'm going to make the size 12 in a C/D cup size because that suits my bust dimensions best (sewing bust dimensions are diff than bra sizing) though I may have to modify the hips and waist because those dimensions are larger than mine. I've seen this pattern made gorgeously for people of all sizes, even those that are not quite in the range so I'm hopeful that it will look good on me too! I need a new T shirt pattern - my sloper is, frankly, a bit boring to me now and a bit more fitted in the silhouette than my current preference. I also want to make another pair of my Vogue wide-leg trousers. I get a ton of use from these and they're regularly complimented for being very flattering. I say, go with what works.