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Advice & More April 2018

Let the Joy of Spring into Your Closet and Spirit!

By Lynn Walker Gendusa

 Some women wear dowdy because someone somewhere told them they needed to dress according to their age. Some women believe they can wear cut-off blue jeans and a bikini top at 90. Some women need a brain and glasses.

While gazing into my closet full of black, beige, and gray, I realize how drab everything appears. The tulips out my window are regal in bright red, purple, and yellow adorning the earth with color. I should move them to my closet full of dull!

Yes, it is spring! Time to shoo the winter out of our minds and out of our closets! Spring is the time to breathe fresh air and experience renewal.

When I witness the dogwoods blossoming and azaleas turning pink, I often wonder why we can't rebloom in spring. Why am I getting older with each passing season instead of starting over with new hair and skin every April? Doesn't that seem a bit unfair?

Even though I am a mature woman doesn't mean my clothes need to reflect my age. Drab old blah needs to transform into colorful joy! The old oak tree whose branches spread over part of my window will soon turn gray dormancy into bold new green depicting vibrancy and youth. Yep, that tree is talking to me!

Could my black dress be cute for spring if I accompany it with a bright yellow sweater? Could I pair my jeans with a coral linen shirt? Perhaps I could update my beige slacks by adding a cute top with sassy jewelry to turn boring into spectacular! Should I splurge and buy a new pink outfit to wake up my youthfulness, buried under the snow spirit?”

I love when women and men evoke who they are through the clothes they wear. What we wear should be an extension of our actual personalities. Our clothes need to reflect our innate sense of comfort with ourselves making us more confident, to stand a bit taller, and our smiles brighter.

In our neighborhood are some extraordinary women who exemplify great style any time of the year. Their clothes are an extension of their ageless vibrant personalities. They continuously strive to stay young at heart.

Balancing the idea of youthful style with maturity is akin to walking a thin wire without a net over teeming alligators. Some women wear dowdy because someone somewhere told them they needed to dress according to their age. Some women believe they can wear cut-off blue jeans and a bikini top at 90. Some women need a brain and glasses.

However, let me introduce you to the perfect balance through four beautiful examples.

I telephoned four women friends and asked, “Will you do me a favor? I need you to go to your closet and find a spring outfit. Be sure you select one that reflects who you are. Do not buy anything. You have two days before we take your picture!”

Because they are all good pals and put up with my bossiness, they agreed.

I laughed as they came through the door – all clad in clothes that precisely echoed who they were. Their selection of what they chose to wear was no surprise at all.

Meet Ricki, age 72, a retired school counselor with a slew of grandchildren. I call her Miss Preppy with sass. Donning wedge shoes, ankle jeans, and a coral linen top with a matching
scarf. She is joyful, classy, beautiful and a friend to all. She tries to improve her life every day with a new idea, a renewed attitude or a lesson she has learned from the many books she reads.

Judy is the youngest at 66 and newly retired. She has faced some hardships in life including cancer, but you would never know by the broad smile she carries through her daily life. I believe she must wake up every day looking exactly as she did at the party the night before. Judy is always dressed in perfect style, with not a hair out of place while spreading an
abundance of cheer.

The pearls around Geri's neck are the perfect accessory for a gem of a lady. She is 74 and wears elegance as comfortably as I wear a pair of jeans. She, like Judy, is a cancer survivor, a pure Southern belle, and steel magnolia. Strong, vital and assured that age is just a state of mind. She learned such a pearl of wisdom from her 101-year-old, stylish, smart mother, Nadine, who lives a few miles away.

Deborah is 67, and I know her so well I could predict with accuracy what she would wear to our little photo shoot. Her tall frame can pull off a bold black and white check dress with ballet flats. The bright yellow sweater is precisely the color of her happy attitude. Family, kindness, and faith keep this beauty grounded in the belief that ones' clothes are an extension of our souls.

Beautiful clothes in vibrant colors will not cover a drab spirit. If we are fearful and consumed with our age, then we need to stay in the gray of winter and close the closet door.

This spring why not throw drab away, lift your youthful spirit and proudly let it show! Just like the oak tree, remember you are never too old to renew.

 

Lynn Walker Gendusa is a weekly columnist for a Georgia newspaper. She can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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