Skip to Content

Clothes Speak Volumes! (5 Ways to Discover Personal Style)

The words “personal style” seem to evoke many different emotions in women.  For some, they connote high fashion…elitism…the self-absorbed…rule bound…not, for the average every-day woman.  I suppose I was once in that thought process, until I learned that we all have “personal style,” whether we want to or not.

style, personal style, fashion, fashion after 50, being stylish, midlife, midlife women

Bottom line, everyone communicates something in our choices for clothing, home décor, entertainment, arts, reading.  All of these things make up who we are and what we tell others through our selections.  For now, let’s just stick with the wardrobe.  In my twenties, I loved fashion.  I understood it was part of communicating success and confidence in the public relations world.  As I traveled from city to city, my souvenirs were found at the finest department stores.  I had a story behind every garment and where I deliciously picked it from.  I suppose I still do this same thing on my blog, now that I think about it!

Then came a new era…mommy land.  In between ages 31 to 50, I slowly slipped away. I lost confidence and began to place others way above me.  I did not understand if I took care of me, I would actually be in a better place to care for others.  But, for many reasons my confidence waned and I drifted. Thankfully, I woke up at 50!  Maybe a little late, yet nevertheless I came back.  In my search to discover my own personal style again, I could see during those dark years, my choices for clothing communicated a clear message: I DO NOT CARE ABOUT ME OR WHAT OTHERS THINK.  Now I understand why some women just begin a deep walk into rebellion… fear of acceptance.   I went a little crazy at first…yes, I was seen at one pool party in neon capris pants covered in martini glasses!  I confess to formerly owning the now trendy ugly Christmas sweaters…though I did not believe them to be ugly.  But, as I searched for Pamela, I decided to make a list of the words I wanted to communicate with my clothing.  This helped tremendously.

During this past year, I believe I have come the closest to finally dressing and being who I really am.  I am more comfortable in my style selections than ever before.  It does take time…some of us are slow learners…ok, yes, it has taken ten years!  It does take experimentation and that is why thrift shopping can be very beneficial….waste less.  Perhaps it took me longer, because I my journey took so many twists and turns.  Balancing the creative-Pam with the desire for chic- Pam has been a delicate one.

Here is what I recommend if you are in search of your “personal style:”

  1.  Select five adjectives you want to communicate with your clothing choices…write them down and carry them with you on a note page in your mobile device.  My messages I am going for are: Strong, Chic, Creative, Youthful, and fit (clothes which flatter my body). When I follow this I leave my house confident, strong, and dignified…with a smile for an accessory!
  2. Make sure your adjectives fit your lifestyle, but also compliment where you desire to go with your future.  I know I am sixty and will not face many, if any career changes…however, I dress more professional than most of my colleagues.  I look for more opportunity at every turn…so, I dress for the job I want and not for the job I have.  I also do not know at any given time who I might run into or meet. After blogging for only one year, a woman chased me at a parade downtown saying, “You are over50feeling40!”  It was the first time I knew I could be recognized as a blogger that helps me to remember not to leave the house in a sweatshirt. But, no paparazzi yet!
  3. Always take time to try garments on before purchase.  Spend time in the dressing room.  Ask if each garment meets those five adjectives and do not buy it if it does not.  I am returning less to stores now and no longer regretting what I buy like I so often did in the past.
  4. Stick to your adjectives before leaving the house for anything: doctor’s appointments, shopping, lunch with friends, work, anything.  Make sure always leave your house feeling confident!
  5. Create your own rules…not based on others.  Experiment with others, but make sure their rules fit your adjectives.  I know we are told many places to avoid black…but, black is a big component of my personal style…it is me.  I do wear color, but I do not avoid black.

If you will camp in these five areas for a time and be true to your adjectives, you will begin to discover your own “personal style.”  I love it when a reader sends me a garment picture and says, “thought you might life this, it is so you.” They get me…they know where I am going with Pam-style.  I feel better about where I am with my communications as I enter 2014.  Do you?

What are some of the words you would list when thinking what you want to communicate with your wardrobe?

You find more joy with confidence day to day.  Thanks for stopping by the Joy Boutique!  Have a great week!

midlife boulevard, columnist, midlife women, middle-age, midlife crisis

Pamela Lutrell

Pamela Lutrell began her blog, over50feeling40, July 2010 with a desire to encourage women over 50 to walk in strength, confidence and joy. Of course, head turning style makes each day fun!

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Claire - fsmum

Thursday 9th of January 2014

Great to have found you Pam. I am a 47 year old (soon to be 48) Irish Mum of a 6 year old boy and finding it hard to believe I am hurtling towards fifty! I really need to up my game and change my style from jeans and tops! I was always worrying other styles would make me look middle aged but hey, I've just realised that I AM middleaged! And I've realised being middleaged doesn't have to mean looking frumpy! Love the blog!


Wednesday 8th of January 2014

Fantastic post Pam! One of my goals for 2014 is to love me. One of the ways I plan to do this is to develop a wardrobe that compliments me. Thanks for the 5 rules for developing personal style. Going to use these to develop my style.

Maura Sweeney

Tuesday 7th of January 2014

Pam, what a fun and helpful blog. I love being inspired and now I'm going to give it a go on five adjectives I would choose to define my personal look: creative, thoughtful, timeless, chic and uncluttered.

Keep writing. There are plenty of women who appreciate a friendly bit of encouragement when they're over 50. The demo is growing every day and could certainly benefit by your clarion call with Over50Feeling40!


Tuesday 7th of January 2014

Great advice, Pam. I think it would be fun to start a OFOTD on Pinterest for our demographics. What do you say?

Patti @ NotDeadYet Style

Tuesday 7th of January 2014

Wonderful article Pam - and I love the name Joy Boutique. It makes me think of you!

Comments are closed.
Read previous post:
sandwich generation, elderly parents, multigeneration homes, living with elderly parents, marriage, midlife, midlife women
The Sandwich Generation

I was born on the cusp of the baby boom. What that has meant to my life is that I...