Factors Affecting My Fashion Choices

On the catwalk

michelle My Bijou Life , ,

I really didn’t give much thought to my fashion choices until after I retired. And even then, it wasn’t anything deliberate. I simply noticed that I had a lot of black in my closet and I didn’t really care for black. How did that happen? Had I ever liked black? If not, how did I come to have so much of it?

Oh, and I was buying a lot of orange. What?

This new awareness got me to thinking about how I had made my clothing choices all my life. The most compelling driver of clothing choices had been my work. First, I spent 15 years working as lab tech. While far from elegant, this job made getting dressed easy most days. Days off were jeans and a tee shirt.

Lab technologist

When I grew tired of the lab, I changed jobs and entered the business field. And this was the source of all my black clothing.

Business professional

Black clothing, the clothing of reserved professionalism; black clothing, the clothes that go with everything. Black, the color I thought I liked, but really didn’t. It only took a retirement closet full of orange, turquoise, and purple to realize it.

I got to wondering what else played into my choices. I know some people enjoy following the latest fashion trends.

Fashion trends

But that isn’t me. Standing all of 5’2”, most trendy clothes, created for 5’10” models, look like hell on me.

Nonetheless, for me, there is one more factor – chronic pain and fatigue.

chronic pain and fatigue

I was officially diagnosed with fibromyalgia / CSF in 2015. I am more fortunate than some, because I do have days without pain. There is some element of fatigue always present, but likewise I do not have debilitating fatigue everyday. I know that I am lucky. All of that said, this does affect my fashion choices. My jeans have been replaced by leggings, tunic tops, dresses, and soft bras with wide bands. All of them designed not to put too much uncomfortable pressure in any one spot. Nonetheless, it is quite easy to dress nicely within these clothing categories.

Bohemian fashion
Examples of Bohemian attire.

Bohemian fashion seems to be where I fall. I’m okay with that. Now, instead of letting my subconscious introduce my favorite colors and styles, I am actively embracing it. I am looking at each outfit and determining how best to accessorize it. What pieces of jewelry should I make for the outfit? Shall I crochet a shawl to go with it? Or maybe some decorative warmers? And I’m having lots of fun! Although there is nothing speedy about the process, given that handmade takes time.

So what did I miss? What affects your fashion choices?

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  1. My story is a little different from yours – I always enjoyed pretty clothes but the latest trends often didn’t fit my little body. I moved to Florida in my 20’s and had lots of t shirts and shorts with sandals for my weekends. Depending on my job, I ranged from slacks and a blouse to a suit for my work wardrobe. I am also retired and still living in Florida – I just now have a closet of t shirts and blouses, shorts, and slacks. Comfort rules my choices. It makes me happy. Love your Bohemian style – not quite me but I enjoy watching others wear it.

    1. I agree with you about comfort. It should definitely be first and foremost. For example, my fascination with heels as a young woman was short-lived. I don’t care how great they look if I’m in pain. Thanks for your comment, Carol!

  2. I’ve never been much for making clothing choices. I preferred jeans and T-shirts even when I was working as a public school educator/administrator. Now I only have one skirt and jacket, the rest are pants, Ts and shirts. Living mostly off-the-grid helps. There’s no one to see me other than my husband in a similar attire. When we do go to town, if I can’t wear jeans I don’t go. – Margy

    1. “If I can’t wear jeans I don’t go.” I love it. Even though, I’ve given up jeans for leggings, I totally appreciate this sentiment. Awesome that you’re living off the grid.

  3. I think our lifestyles change throughout the years as we change jobs, etc. and that all dictates our fashion choices. When I worked on Wall Street, my entire wardrobe was suits. Then I started working in schools which changed my clothing choices. Then I became a stay at home mom which caused another shift in my clothing. And now I am a fashion blogger so I get to wear whatever I want whenever I want at any level of comfort that I choose on any given day. But I do love a good bohemian look and I am sure you rock it. And it’s comfortable, so win! Thanks for linking up with me!

    1. Oh yes! I forgot to mention the year I worked as a financial advisor. The dress code was: “think Wall Street.” Very familiar with those suits! Thanks for commenting, Shelbee!

  4. Interesting post. I haven’t had much interest in fashion over the years as I was a nurse and wore a uniform. It was never stylish and the color was usually boring. Wishing you well.

    1. Agreed! Feeling self-acceptance, and the curiosity of self-exploration is one of the hidden pluses of aging. Lovely observation, Alicia!

  5. Michelle – when I retired 2 years ago, I gave away my formal suits and jackets with great joy. And all that pantyhose went in the trash. Yay! Today, my clothing choices are driven by the activity of the day, and the weather. Around the house I wear mostly yoga pants and leggings paired with nice t-shirts. Volunteering brings out jeans and blouses/sweaters. I do still like to dress up, especially when going to church or out with my hubby! I don’t mind black, but I like to add color with scarves or other accessories. Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday!

    1. That is so awesome Angie! Your blog is always such a joy to read because of your joy and enthusiasm about your life. I still like my black boots and jackets. Black really does go with everything.

  6. Since I have silver hair now, I’ve changed some of my colors. And I never wear black. But then again, I live in Florida! Lots of pretty pastels here and I have blue eyes so I wear all shades of blue. Love this post!

    1. My red hair has grown dull and has some silver, but so far it hasn’t changed enough to affect wardrobe decisions, but one day it might. I have been to Miami Beach and Key West, and briefly lived in Hollywood. All of this to say, I LOVE the color of Florida – in the way people dress and the buildings. Gorgeous!

    1. I typically admire those who like dressing up. So attractive. When I was younger, I attempted to emulate those who do, but it never lasted long. Thanks for stopping by, Jean!

  7. I love your bohemian choices! I too have fibro and have changed my wardrobe as well. I could have written this post myself! Thanks for sharing! Thanks for linking up with us at the GATHER OF FRIENDS LINK PARTY 9. Pinned

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