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Is it only skin deep?
The Skin Stylist of Take Cover Skin System talks about personal styling with a difference, by looking into the psychological aspects of how clothing is worn by those of us that have lived with a scarring skin condition for most of adult life, which has been challenged by the desire to have perfect skin, to wearing clothing that was missed out on wearing from the time we were old enough to flaunt our bodies with confidence.
If you are anything like me, having a skin condition has been the biggest challenge I have ever had to overcome when it came to what was in my wardrobe. I have two sides to my meagre wardrobe. One side consists of clothes that I would love and desire to wear, and on the other side, there are clothes that I wear to cover up my skin condition. It’s that simple.
So how do I get from wearing the clothing that covers my skin condition to the clothes I desire to wear? Years have gone by now, and the desirable wardrobe now looks like a relic of the latest teen magazine. Hardly fitting for a middle -aged woman, or is it?
After having read an article Forty Something ,I felt shamefully inclined to ditch my ripped jeans, and skinny jeans, even though I am continuously complimented by how good I look in them. Maybe this was a flattery to the imagination, but in the back of my head rings the words ‘age before a fool for beauty!!’. Admittedly wearing my true religion ‘ripped up’ jeans, and doing the walk of shame through the foyer of the Dorchester, to grab Dim Sum supper, is so not cool!! [Sigh!!! ] Although, Julia Robert’s, in Pretty Woman managed to grab a multi-millionnaire business man dressed how she was!!!
We all know that the 40’s are now the new 20’s, but how does it really sit with society? And when is the real cut off point for looking like a Grand Teen Ma??!!
Well I decided to research into celebrities the same age as myself and take a look at what they are wearing. I felt smugly reassured after watching a few clips of Courtney Cox in Cougar Town Series and Halle Berry in her cut down jeans that reveal far more than my ripped up True Religion’s do! I will now consider designing a tee shirt that reads, ‘Wear It Like You’re 20 Something!’ Now there’s a thought!!.
It was at this point that I knew it was time to take some keen advice from our Personal Stylist and Psychologist, Kate Nightingale, and challenged her with my dilemma in the hope to help myself and others that may experience the same problem with clothing choice.
So, Kate, what are your personal style thoughts on all of this?
Firstly, thank you Gerri , for asking me to help answer your questions for your blog.
I see that we are dealing here with 2 main subjects: dressing for women with a skin condition; dressing in your 40’s; the combination of the two.
Dressing for women with a skin condition
Skin conditions can have serious psychological effects such as depression, lack of self-confidence or even suicidal thoughts. It’s not very surprising as the main area of life that suffers from skin conditions are social interactions. In our society appearance plays a huge role. Therefore anything that is out of ordinary in your appearance might cause trouble in your interactions. However, this belief is not an absolute truth. If you do not allow the skin condition to put you down, your life can continue. The better your psychological state, the more likely you are to recover from your skin condition.
So what do we need to do to feel better about yourself, and raise your self confidence?
The most important thing is to feel comfortable, and not continuously think about your skin condition.
To achieve this you probably would like to cover the visible scarring or blemish. No problem with that, but remember not to use your husband’s old gym T-shirt! Rather wear a light long-sleeve blouse, with a pair of smart jeans or trousers. Want to wear a dress? Do it!! Wear a maxi dress with loose long sleeves or a short dress with a light cardigan. If your skin condition affected your legs as well, use colourful or patterned tights or leggings. There are no limits, only the one you apply to yourself!!!
Use your imagination to create the outfit that makes you comfortable and confident. Not sure how to do it? Use magazines and internet for inspiration but don’t allow yourself to get depressed over the retouched photos of 20 year olds! If you’re still not sure what to do, ask a stylist or even a friend for help. It’s really important that you feel good about yourself as this will allow you to fight your skin condition faster.
Dressing for women in their 40’s
Let’s look at style for women in their 40’s. It used to be unacceptable for middle age women to dress sexy and vibrant. However in this century a lot started to change. Women in their 40’s and 50’s are the one with money. As they have the spending power, they buy whatever they like. Also, series such as ‘Sex in the City’ and ‘Lipstick Jungle’ shows that type of strong woman, ” and man… she’s sexy!!!!”
Don’t be afraid to relive your lost 20’s. Most women in their 40’s and 50’s don’t even look like their age! Embrace the bodies you are in, and if you want to dress sexy, do it! If you want to be classy and elegant, do it! If you want to be a rock chic, go for it! There are some exceptions of course, but as long as you keep it natural and true to your inner style, don’t be afraid to look younger. Who said you have to look your age?! Wisdom comes in different packages, even in ripped jeans!
What if you’re in your 40’s or 50’s and you suffer from skin condition?
Stay true to your inner style; the style that makes you feel comfortable, sexy and confident! Do not hide like you’re not worthy to be seen by world! Live your life as you used to, or even better and bigger. Make a few small changes to your outfit to accommodate your skin condition and you’re good to go. Embrace your age and your body! Allow it to flourish in any outfit you’re wearing. Use colour a lot! It will not only improve your mood but will also project a vibrancy of your person to the outside world.
Don’t be afraid to live your life, skin condition or not, 40’s or not! Be yourself to your fullest potential and people will see only that, not your ripped jeans!
Well, thank you Kate, I feel so much better after hearing what you have to say regards to the psychology of style. Kate Knightingale is a personal stylist and qualified psychologist, so if your wardrobe is in need of help to obtain a new wardrobe that can suit you for all occasions then check out Kate Nightingale.