Day 30: Starting Over with a New Wardrobe

 

31 Days of Starting Over

 

Two of my favorite quotes about fashion are:

  1. “A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous,” and
  2. “Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.”

Both are by Coco Chanel and both describe what my ultimate goal is for my wardrobe. However, for the last several years I’ve felt more frumpy than fabulous. I’m short, overweight and suffering from a complexity syndrome. I think I make things more difficult than they really are.

I’ve read Style Yourself Over 40, 50 and Beyond, French Chic, How To Never Look Fat Again, and Looking Great, by Linda Dano. Linda Dano was one of the very first women that caught my fashion eye. I read her book in 1998 and began attempting to imitate her style.

Looking Great by Linda Dano
Looking Great by Linda Dano

I watched “What Not to Wear”, followed Jackie O while she was living to get an idea of classy style; read articles about Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and Princess Diana. Yet, with all my education, I am rarely confident in my clothing choices. I’ve always wanted a makeover and dreamed of going to New York to consult with Stacy, Clinton and Carmindy.

Well, I will be having the next best thing and I am so excited. My friend, Linda (not Dano) is one of those ladies that always looks like she stepped out of a magazine. She has loved and rocked fashion in such a dynamic way, that one of her daughters is studying fashion design and dreams of having her own line someday.

Every time we get together, we talk about fashion because we both love it so much. Years ago, when our kids were little, we would shop together and I always felt like a million bucks in the outfits she helped pick out.

Well, I’m hoping to have her as a regular “fashion contributor” here on Cozinest. And as we get that going, she is going to be helping me get my own wardrobe in tip top shape. We have dedicated an afternoon to going through my closet and we plan to put several outfits together, and purchase a few things to round out my needs. Tops, pants, scarves, heels, boots and jewelry… oh my!

My friend, Linda, with her two daughters.
My friend, Linda, with her two daughters. (Photo borrowed from her Facebook page.)

Be on the lookout in the future for Fashion Fridays. We are hoping to showcase outfits for our age group that are simple, classy, fabulous and sometimes elegant, but always age appropriate.

If you have wardrobe questions, dilemmas or funny malfunctions, let us know and hopefully we can have some fun with this.

Day 15: Starting Over with Less

31 Days of Starting OverThree years ago, my husband was offered a job that would move us 4 1/2 hours from where we called home. Both of our families live there and our daughter is attending college there. Knowing that there is no way to know where our children will choose to spend their lives when they finish their education, we couldn’t stand the thought of moving away during our last few years of having our daughter at home.

Our movers.
Our movers.

We decided to downsize to a condo where she could live, attend school and we would have a place to stay when either family needed us. We bought a garden home in our new “hometown” and a condo in our old hometown.

After settling into our garden home, we began the overwhelming task of cleaning out our 3,500 square foot home and moving into a 1,600 square foot condo. I started with closets and cleaned out every single one with 3 garbage cans sitting outside the doors.  I used one can for donations, one for consigning and one for trash.  I got rid of gadgets, clothing, furnishings, linens and everything that seemed in excess.  I thought of it as purging and made the decision to keep only the things we needed or that held extreme sentimental value.

We discarded so much stuff that if we had had had one more box or bag of donations, they would have needed to bring a second truck to take away our donations. And as I look back over the list of excess that jammed my closets, garage and cabinets, the only thing I wish I had not gotten rid of is my baby bed. My reasoning was that when I have grandchildren I would likely want a new bed for him/her.  But now, as I think about it sometimes, I grieve over that loss. The bed was where my son and daughter started their lives, smiled at me when they awoke and and played with their New York Bear or Baby “Huwwins”. I would now love to have it back so that I could tell my future grand-babies that their parent slept here.

Donations
Donations

As I’ve grown older, I am realizing more and more that material things only make my life heavier, more complicated and causes endless hours of fussiness over cleaning, maintaining and keeping up with all the things I’ve collected.

While we maintain two homes now, it is the simplicity of owning fewer things, knowing that it is easier to live smaller and more rewarding to live focused on others; that makes the word “minimalist” so attractive to us. Others may embrace minimalism because of “carbon footprints” and living more “green”, but our goal is a bit different.

 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ ” (Matt. 25:21)

As our parents age, nieces and nephews receive degrees, marry and start their families, we will be thankful for our little space back home.  Paring down has created empty drawers, but hearts full of love for family and friends and a new appreciation for time spent with them.