Your wardrobe may be focused around classic styles and truly functional clothing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t change things up to invigorate your outlook.
Back in my reckless youth, I once borrowed a canoe for a pulse-pounding trip down the Potomac River during a midwinter flood stage. It ended badly. I lost my friend's canoe and suffered what was probably a mild case of hypothermia along with bruises and scratches. I no longer make such rash decisions because I no longer feel that sense of immortality that for many of us was a feature of our young adulthood. Having gotten some of that reckless bent out of my system, my risk-taking is clearly more muted today. Tackling a slippery hillside on our daily walk is about as risky as it gets. I’ve also grown more comfortable with routines as I’ve aged.
Routine is undoubtedly useful and helps us function in our daily lives. At least some of the time. It can be a powerful tool for imposing discipline, but routine run amok can also mute our curiosity and natural appetite for exploration. Looking at my own life, this business of living with routine versus exploring new things is a bit paradoxical. I have daily practices that vary not a whit from one day to the next. (My partner laughs at the unvarying components of my breakfast.) But I can also still surprise myself with spontaneity and the willingness to expose myself to new situations and to the risks those gambits can seem to entail.
Surprise yourself by accessorizing in new and different ways. (Organic cotton indigo/turquoise shibori scarf)
Traveling solo overseas was a big one for me. Going overseas as a solo woman in places like India was both exhilarating and, at times, stressful. (As I write this, I’m thinking of an impossibly crowded train ride in Mumbai punctuated by surreptitious prods and pokes.) But almost invariably, after tossing myself into challenging situations, I’ve pretty much always emerged intact, a little wiser for the experience and feeling good about my willingness to expose myself to new experiences.
As we age, I think it becomes even more incumbent that we explore new situations, foods, ways of seeing things. In the same way that our bodies can respond positively to things like yoga, tai chi, and Pilates, engaging with new experiences can help keep our minds and spirit more supple, more resilient. Staying flexible and mobile is worth doing on every level in my book.
One of the best aspects of aging is a clearer sense of ourselves that’s founded in life experience. For many of us, the anxieties and insecurities of our youth are now distant memories. We no longer worry so much about fitting in or feeling peer pressure. We’re more confident in knowing who we are, and that confidence can extend to how we dress. I’ve advocated in the past that developing one’s own signature style can be liberating. But I also think that changing things up from time to time is a good idea too.
Even with a more minimalist capsule wardrobe, I think it’s fun sometimes to color outside the lines, experimenting with new color combinations and silhouettes, even those you perhaps ruled out in the past. And, if you’re like me and are yet to truly pare things down to a lean-and-mean capsule wardrobe, there are bound to be a couple of items lurking in the back of your closet you haven’t worn in ages but that are just begging to be worn again in new and different contexts.
How do you keep things fresh and interesting? Let me know in the comments below.