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True Confessions About Baby Boomer Visibility

It is not uncommon these days to read posts or hear midlife and Baby Boomer women crying out for visibility.

Some believe society has forgotten us and some believe we are hiding from a fear of aging.  There are morsels of truth to both beliefs.  However, how we respond to a desire to be visible is important.  Visibility is about confidence, and not so much about fashion.

However, there are those who surmise that in order to be visible a woman must ramp up her fashion-forward psyche.  This can often be a recipe for disaster!

How do I know?  Eleven years ago, this is exactly what I did.  My first attempts at a makeover included over the top decisions which in hindsight were not wise.

We should demand visibility through our confident, intelligent, powerful, strong, joyful voice and not from the loudest outfit in the room!  There is a fine line to walk here.  I dress in such a way as to communicate that I am confident, intelligent and strong…now, but that was not always the case.  For a while at age fifty,   I used over-the-top – fashion as a shield to hide behind, because I lost my confidence during my 30s and 40s.


This brings us back to Forever Chic by Tish Jett.

Tish Jett writes the confidence Frenchwomen project alone makes them irresistible and ageless.  “With conviction, perseverance, and practice, ANYONE can acquire confidence.  It’s true, discipline is required, but discipline soon morphs into habit, and the habit is addictive.”  Jett speaks of how the French polish their images daily.   She writes:

  1. Frenchwomen have defined their styles.  They understand what works for their figures and lifestyles and stick to it.
  2. Their wardrobes are well constructed and multifunctional.
  3. The pieces fall into place without hysteria.  (This made me think of my closet at the time I began changing my style.  It was crazy…screaming so much dysfunction and loud messages.  It was full of emotional decisions and not discipline.)
  4. They spend serious money on their hair…which they consider an essential investment.
  5. Nothing goes back into the closet with stains, wrinkles, rips, or a button missing.  DISCIPLINE!  She writes that the most important lesson personally learned from the French is this… “the smallest effort has major rewards, everything from setting a dining table with care – every day- to getting up, getting dressed, and getting out there to see what adventures the new day holds.”

I have learned that I am a work in progress.

If I remain teachable and understand that life is a process, then I can apply what I learn, turn things around, and not feel like an invisible middle aged woman.  At one time, my visibility was found in loud prints, over- done accessories, and tons of bling. I had to face the music and really decide if my fashion choices were to mask my lack of confidence in me. I confess I also wanted to mask my larger size as well. (Not the way to do it!) But, now I find strength in simple, chic fashion with an occasional “statement” piece…because my visibility comes from me and the smile I wear.  My inside and outside are now in sync.  I am no longer hiding…but not screaming either.

Do you agree with Tish Jett, can confidence be learned by anyone?  Have you learned lessons in your walk toward confidence you would like to share…please jump in at the Joy Boutique table!  This topic is a vital part of learning personal style!

Then have a great week…see you next Tuesday.

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!

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Teri speight

Sunday 17th of August 2014

I so agree with inner confidence. Finding that comfort zone of how you want to be perceived comes from inner confidence. It's a learned life enhancer.....


Thursday 14th of August 2014

Great post Pam!! Very few among us haven't made similiar fashion choices in an attempt to redefine ourselves and fine tune our personal style. I've made plenty of mistakes!! I find a small touch of trend keeps us looking visible and current. More than that is a recipe for disaster at our age. I'm not sure confidence can be "learned" but it can certainly be developed.

Suzanne Fluhr

Tuesday 12th of August 2014

I keep coming back to Laertes' advice to Polonius--"To thine own self be true". (Even the archaic pronouns). No, skip the archaic pronouns unless they're authentic for you. I've been happy to see women of a certain age stick to capris and not go chasing after short shorts.


Tuesday 12th of August 2014

Confidence is truly the only timeless element as far as wardrobe essentials go! No matter how expensive the outfit, if you can't carry it well and with 'conviction', it's all bound to fail. But as with any outfit or embellishment, you can't overdo confidence as well, without being off-putting. As always, authenticity and balance are key. Thanks for the inspiring post!


Tuesday 12th of August 2014

I completely agree that life is a process and we continue to learn every day! Thank you for a really interesting post.

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