reinvention after 50, fashion image after 50So often you hear women fretting over the pending empty nest. Do you know that the more you fret, the worse you make it?

Let’s just step back and take a deep breath, if even just for the moment. Allow your mind to wander to the land of cups-half-full. The land of what if’s…

What if I could reconnect with the old me…the ‘me’ before kids, marriage, mortgages and body-changes? What if I could reinvigorate the bravado of  ‘I think I can?’

Often times when I am standing with a client in the shadow of her closet, we talk about not only where she wants to be in the next phase, but just as importantly, where she was in her previous phases, before the mommy decade. Who she was, how she dressed, where she frequented, and even how she felt when she dressed a certain way.

Believe it or not, the closet is a wonderful starting place, to not only get ready for what’s next, but also to revisit what was. Women will often pull something out from a decade ago and tell a story about where they bought it, where they wore it, how they felt wearing it and even why they stopped wearing it.

I hear things like, “This was so expensive that once I had kids I didn’t feel right wearing it, I was worried it would get ruined.” But here we were decades later with an outdated brand new ‘old’ fabulous something that hadn’t seen the light of day in over 10 years – the shame of it is, that she was waiting to feel special…

I remember my fist car; I inherited it from my Aunt who was one of those quirky ladies who ‘saved’ everything, some things sensible like coins and stamps. Some things, not so much! Her chairs and couches had plastic covers, anyone remember those, they were about as popular as TV dinners. The 15-year old VW Beetle that I inherited from her was like brand new inside – the seats had never been touched by human hands. Was I excited to be driving around in a brand new ‘looking’ bug? Yes, of course. But I questioned for years why she didn’t enjoy the car, why she saved it.

As we share stories, we share history. As we share, we get comfortable. As my clients settle in, they will often share that they are struggling with the concept of the empty-nest because they are struggling with the concept of concentrating on themselves.

It’s almost a forgotten art – putting themselves first. They question where to begin. They have reached out to me for the magic makeover. You know the ones you see on Oprah and Good Morning America, where in 30-minutes they have completely transformed Dowdy Dorothy into Stunning Sophia (I even saw a whole new set of teeth popped in one morning!) But the problem with that is that when Stunning Sophia goes home and washes her face and puts on her jammies, Dowdy Dorothy is the last person she sees before closing her eyes. Pretty sure you can guess who rises from that bed in the morning.

That’s why the makeover, the transformation, needs to go deeper from the start. We need to talk about the before, the daydreams, the hopes, the stumbling blocks and the detours that turned their clothing into a less than stellar wardrobe that is wreaking havoc with their self-esteem. Their image becomes the excuse why they can’t embark on something new, anything new!

Here’s a news flash ladies! The wardrobe is fix-able. This stumbling block is not insurmountable. You can look fabulous at any price point. You just need to know what fits, flatters, what will serve you going forward into the next phase and what to let go of! Seriously, when you buy new groceries do you not throw away a few wilted items from the frig?

Your closet should be treated the same way. You don’t have room for something new if you never purge the old stuff! You’ll never get a new hairstyle if you keep going back to the same salon. Your complexion will never look young and dewy if your makeup is old and moldy. You will never look well appointed if your favorite necklace is made of macaroni shells. And you are never going to rock that black slim skirt if you wear it with white socks and clogs.

If you are going to embark on something new, you first have to get in touch with yourself and jump start your self-confidence.

When you sent your child off to college no doubt you said, “You can do it – I believe in you”. Well now it’s your turn – you can do it, you need to believe in you. And if it takes some steps to get you there, then put yourself on your own to do list and take those steps. But in order to get your engine revved up – you need to take care of your self-esteem and that starts with how you feel about your own image. When you see yourself in the mirror are you looking at who you were or who you want to be? Embrace this time as a wonderful opportunity to get to know you. Start your ‘ME’ to do list and pinpoint what you need to outsource. This is a wonderful time to discover new confidence and well being. And by all means if you are looking for something deeper than a magic makeover give me a call. We’ll share a cup of coffee in the shadow of your closet.

Here’s my favorite testimonial from one of my new-phase makeovers:

I feel so much more confident and continue to get a ton of compliments on a daily basis. I think the best thing about the whole experience of the closet edit, new haircut and make up, etc. is that it just “stuck” for me. I am a perfect spokesperson for the value of this experience because this self-care is so far removed from my typical lifestyle. For me to fully embrace new ideas about how I present myself is a huge transformation, both psychologically as well as physically. Speaking of physically, I’ve already lost three pounds and feel much more motivated because I feel like I look amazing in the process! Last night, another mom asked me what my secret was for “looking so good,” and I glibly replied, “Divorce.” But in reality, the secret was you. You helped me to jumpstart a new me! Thank you, thank you, thank you! 

Are you ready for your encore?

Doreen Dove will be leading an afternoon workshop at “She Did It/Boston” on March 24, 2014 at Babson College, Wellesley, MA entitled, “Does Your Image Match Your Next Phase?”  

Sign up for SHE DID IT/Boston now-– and bring a friend for only $50.

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