Let me slip into something that will make you more comfortable… followed by… I have no reason to mope!

As I near my 36th birthday, and feel inside and out how much I’ve aged since I first took a step into my 30’s, I’ve become super aware of who I am and who I’m not; what I can do and what I can’t. Not in a “I’m not good at math” way but in a realistic “everyone has their talents” way.

I will never be tall.

I don’t swear unless I’m really sick. (Lately I’ve been swearing a lot.)

But really, my head keeps looping around to the fact that I will never be in my 20s again. This brings me to some trash internet reading I’ve been doing. Why you ask? I couldn’t help myself.

I’m not linking to the posts I’ve read that I’m referring to because I’m not going to propagate their garbage. These people argue that once you hit a certain age, in one case, 35, you should no longer be allowed to wear certain trends/looks/cuts, etc. Crop tops was one of them…and I just made a Pavlova wrap top that I showed you as a midriff baring top. I love it. And I know some of you thought it worked, too.

The list went on and the body bashing continued with recommendations that the reader go to the mirror and take a good look at themselves before trying to wear something meant for a younger age bracket.

Ok. So, for those of us who sew….

We can make whatever we want. Nobody is going to know and few are gonna say anything about it. Most people are too polite to raise even a friendly flag and say, hey your underwear is showing, so why would they tell you if they actually think you look a little off? It’s not gonna happen. Mostly, we can work in our bubbles and we can get someone to say something nice and that’s all that matters!

Who cares if I don’t like your style or your dress length preference? Who the hell cares? Ignore the trolls! Ignore the trolls! Ignore the trolls!

As I was writing this, I got a wonderful box in the mail. It was fabric! But not just any fabric. It’s fabric Gillian sent me. It was perfectly timed. All of a sudden, I just can’t care about what some random blogger or two or three or whatever think about what a woman my age can or can’t wear.

Gillian sent me one piece of fabric for my Inara Training House costume and the other piece is a double gauze! I can’t wait to play with those two fabrics.

And just like that, I’m feeling better. Thanks G!

What gets you out of a funk?

56 thoughts on “Let me slip into something that will make you more comfortable… followed by… I have no reason to mope!

  1. Brooke says:

    You can wear anything as long as you have the confidence. If you are feeling good about how you look, others will notice and automatically think what you’re wearing looks better than it might in reality. And when you sew, you learn that fit helps with looking good, and you are miles ahead of the people who are stuck with off-the-rack. =)

    You sound like me. I will never be tall and my husband knows I feel really bad when I start using more four letter words, hehe.

    I think I get in a funk when I haven’t worked a paying job with other people in a while, I have a migraine that lasts for days, my body isn’t behaving/healing fast enough, or I just get bored with the projects I have started. Twitter can help a lot with the boredom funks and I will always be glad I have so many online friends, including you.

    And one last thing – age is just a number.

    • Leila says:

      I regret thinking the shorty shorts weren’t for me cos now it’s stupidly stuck…tho knowing me I might do then anyway. My doubts are usually other people’s voices.

  2. Betsy says:

    Frequently what gets me out of a funk is reading something like your post. Something heartfelt that shows we share the same fears, anxieties and glories.

    I hope you feel better. I’m coming up on 66, so enjoy being your age! You are clever, creative, industrious and smart. Wear what makes you feel happy, it will be fine.


  3. cjgal says:

    Preach on girl! I am in my early thirties now and I find myself questioning some of my choices all the time now… why?!?! dang pop society rules, screw em! I love how you put outfits together and your fantastic costumes, it is so fun to read your stories and get inspiration for my own projects. Keep wearing and making what you like, my blog roll would be much more boring without it!

    • Leila says:

      isn’t it crazy?! Nobody wants to live by these silly ideas of who can wear what/when and yet they still get propagated. I just don’t get it.

      and thanks! you’re awesome!

  4. CGCouture says:

    I don’t really have a problem with people of any age wearing well-fitted clothing of any style. Emphasis on the well-fitted. Case in point? My mom is in her 40’s and even after 3 kids is tall, slim, and super-modell-y. If she were to wear a belly shirt, I might jokingly protest a bit because I’m her daughter, but honestly, she could totally rock it. It’s somewhere around 75% attitude and 25% embracing your body–flaws and all–to showcase it at it’s best.

    • Leila says:

      Well-fitting clothes make all the difference. If I had worn a skirt that was too tight in the waist with my middriff baring top, I’d feel a lot less confident than wearing what actually fits me. good point.

  5. Cari Homemaker says:

    I swear those kind of lists are created by people who are afraid that women will be get to a place where they can feel comfortable with who they are and what they like to wear and that they won’t get a piece of her wallet. If they didn’t use scare tactics, how else would they be able to convince a 35-36 year-old woman to replace her entire wardrobe? and how else would they get her to do it again at age 40? and again? and again? These are the same people who would try to convince me that at 5′ 3″ and 50 lbs “overweight” I should only ever wear one-color sheath dresses to try to look taller/slimmer. Forget them; I will wear full skirts of whatever color I choose! Focus on wearing what you love while making sure it fits and you will always look fabulous, but you don’t need to hear that from me, your postings pretty much prove you have that figured out already.

    • Leila says:

      I, too, feel like a lot of the reason these lists are out there are to keep fast fashion going. If we didn’t doubt our clothes, then what need would we have to buy more?

      I get so annoyed when anyone is told to wear one thing over the other because it’s more “slimming”. *lion roar*

  6. twistedpoppydesignsHolly says:

    I’ll be 36 in a few days so I’m with you! The only time I say I’m too old to wear short skirts is when my man asks why I don’t 🙂 I say we wear what we want no matter our age and I only don’t wear short skirts because they aren’t my thing!

  7. Joost De Cock (@j__st) says:

    Haha, have you seen how these people dress? Surely they are not the ones to be telling you what you can and can not wear.

    I just can’t fathom the idea that my own body or age, and its perceived superiority in comparison to others would be what I’d proud myself on.
    And to be honest, I can’t imagine anybody who I deem a great person to do that either.

    You can be blessed with genes that give you a great body, or spend a lot of money on a good surgeon. You can buy yourself pretty outfits and the latest trends. But you can’t buy yourself happiness, let alone a personality.

    So I say screw you to these kids who think 35 is over the hill. I’m 36 now, and I would never ever want to be 26 again. Sure, my body looked better. but what a fucking moron I was back then.

    I’m confident that they’ll sound different when they are 36 🙂

  8. Sandra_stitch says:

    Do you what, age is all in the attitude. I think as sewists we are all looking for clothes that will fit our body and project our own personally style whatever that might be. Lets just be comfortable in our own skin and who we are. Live, love, life!

  9. sewbusylizzy says:

    So totally agree. I often find myself thinking “am I too old to wear this”. The better question to ask is “do I have the self confidence to wear it”. Age is just a number. Attitude is timeless.

      • sewbusylizzy says:

        I’ve always battled my body image because I’m thin. Then I realised I’m lucky in many ways and being confident is the most important thing. An ex-boyfriend once said (from my early 20s) that it wasn’t always about being ‘the most beautiful girl’ in the room, he said it was being intriguing and I was the girl everyone wanted to meet at a party because I had the X Factor, I was confident, sassy, smart & funny. I’m not sure that’s 100% true but it was an interesting observation from a young bloke!

  10. Katie says:

    It’s not that I like all clothing styles- I don’t , but I have no interest in dictating what others wear. I think I read the same article and all I could think about were the “artsy” people in my field. I sat behind one of the most prolific in a conference session once and she did not fit any conventional clothing rules- wraps, asymmetrical hems, harem pants, elf shoes, all in one outfit. And she looked awesome. A friend in the same area of the field was worrying that what she was packing for the same conference was too out there- she looked very tame compared to some of the established members of the field. I agree with others, it’s all about confidence when it comes to age v. clothing type.

    • Leila says:

      I had some elf shoes I loved and wore them into the ground.

      Interesting that the established members were more comfortable wearing what they liked. Totally agree about confidence.

  11. sewlittletime says:

    totally what joost says! i’m the same age as you (OK a little bit older *sob*) and there are things i wouldn’;t wear – like short shorts – as i wouldn’t feel comfortable. but that’s largely due to the size of my thighs rather than my age. so it’s altogether a different kind of hangup! if i was more confident as lizzy says i would wear them anyway! stop reading any bloggers that make you feel crap about yourself!

    • Leila says:

      the thing that bugs me the most about bloggers who send out messages that only a certain age/race/gender can wear x, y or z is not that I’ll feel crap but that someone else will listen to them. My parents raised me to go against the grain but what about someone with less self esteem than I have…that’s why this bothers me.

  12. Tempest Devyne says:

    I’m 45. Not that this is an issue at all when it comes to dressing. The slightly bigger issue (and the reason I started making clothes for myself) is I’m a size 20-24 depending on the shop……and I was fed up to the back teeth of shops and magazines dictating to me that as a larger older woman I cover-up in ill-fitting neutrals and hide my “weaknesses”. My biggest bugbear was that clothes manufacturers somehow decided if you’re fat* and needing bigger clothes then you must have arms the length of an orangutans….Seriously Ann Harvey, Evans etc what was with that? That started me off, learning to take up sleeves made me think I could try more. I then in a mid-life crisis became a burlesque performer and adored the rockabilly and vintage clothes the slimmer girls were wearing. I wanted to be hip and cool again. I’d been hiding in over-sized sweatshirts and ill-fitting jeans for too long. So I learnt to sew and now have a style aesthetic that my daughters describe as “dressing like a 3 year old”. My clothes now are fun and colourful. To my amazement I discovered that if I fitted my clothes to show my curves I actually looked better than baggy things trying to hide them.

    LIFE IS TOO SHORT……do you seriously want to get to 72 and wish you didn’t wear a dress with pin-up cowgirls or foxes etc on it?! No, me either. Look…..one of my biggest regrets is I was a bible-bashing good girl waaaaaay into my twenties and didn’t get experiment dressing like a punk or a goth in the years when you can do this and people can put it down to my youth. I’m a late rebel but that’s better than being a rebel too late.

    I ADORE YOUR STYLE. You have so much fun with shoes and dresses. Please never ever stop. Those others……they’re going to look back with regret, you’re going to look back with smiles.

    (PS. when you find out how to get out of a funk…..let me know).

    *pps. fat is just a descriptive word, like tall, short, blonde, brunette, I’m claiming it back in the name of all fat people and declaring that people can’t use it to harm us anymore unless we let them.

    • Leila says:

      I love this! All of it. Yes, I hate the admonition that neutrals and all that will hide you and all that crap. I couldn’t agree more with not wanting to regret wearing fun clothes. I completely admire you!

  13. Theresa in Mérida says:

    If the clothes fit wear them! If I was forced to return to a younger age, I would want to be mid-thirties. Old enough to know myself and still young enough that I am willing to coach surf. LOL, wait, I still coach surf when I visit my family! To be honest, I always like whatever my current age is.

    I do think some clothes only look good on the very young, but that is more because those are often extreme styles, dare I say even ugly. I see some “refashions” that only look charming because the person wearing them is in the first flush of youth, not because the clothes are charming in themselves. Little girls look delightful in color in whimsical clothes that look are not practical for adults. But adult clothing is adult clothing, and more depends upon how you wear them. Look at Jane Fonda! She looks fabulous all the time.

    Looking good is a matter of having great style and fit, not a matter of age. Dowdy looks dowdy on everyone, and the line between sexy and trampy is a moral judgement. I wouldn’t wear something bare midriff baring when I go shopping downtown but I certainly would to a picnic! Someone else might feel perfectly comfortable baring her belly everywhere.

    I think you always look great, you have good style and your clothes fit well. You just aren’t feeling 100%, which I find always affects my mood. I like a bit of whimsy in my clothes.

    If you want to be tall, move to Merida! At 5’2″ I am as tall as the average man. It gives me a thrill to be able to say to a tiny lady.”permitame” and reach up over her head to the “high” shelves. Height is relative. Since I sew, I can have those same garments that tall women have, just made to my proportions!


    • Leila says:

      it’s so true that it’s all relative. I love your “permitame” story. And I hadn’t thought about how certain things are only appealing on the first flush of youth. It’s true. some outfits look adorable on my kids but would look rather ridiculous on myself or my husband.

  14. geebeew says:

    Hey doll! I hope that reading through these comments is making your day – it sure helped me with mine! I’m 31, so the age thing hasn’t kicked in about my looks yet… and my body has always been pudgy, so that’s nothing new! I did really freak myself out at my birthday last month that i hadn’t accomplished enough with my life. No house, no baby, no stable job… but dammit, I don’t regret any of the things that got me here, so I can’t regret what I’ve got!

    My own personal rabbithole is that when I’m tired, I tend to watch make-up videos (so soothing!) and then find myself convinced that there are magical products out there that will make me happy and beautiful! Which really is a waste of time and money, and terrible for the self esteem. I think when we’re tired, it’s too easy to start listening to the bizarre, judgmental voices of society. Good for you for blogging and moving past it!

    • Leila says:

      It’s amazing what blogging about something and then getting the response I have gotten can do. It’s solidified my understanding and made me aware that I’m not alone in my thinking. It’s so awesome! And yes, the comments are making my day!

  15. loranc says:

    I turn 53 in a couple of weeks and long ago learned to wear what 1) fit me and 2) made me happy. There are LOTS of “lists” out there designed to make us feel the way someone wants us to feel/spend money on their product. Watch older episodes of “What not to Wear” and their shameless promotion of pointy toed shoes How often do they try to shove someone’s feet into them these days? Not very : ) Fad, not fashion. My grandmother tried to teach me about classics but died when I was 14 so I never learned everything she had to teach. I think she had lots of regrets, lived by “rules’ that in the end didn’t make her happy. I don’t want to live my life that way so yes, I’ve made mistakes but I move on.

    The biggest mistakes I’ve ever made have come about when I’m trying to make “someone” else happy and my own brain is screaming “WTH!”. Wearing shiny lycra pants to a disco in 1979 – “WTH!. Wearing blouses I’ve made from a pattern from 1940 in cottons that make me smile – Yes! You have a good inner voice, don’t let anyone question it or you : )

  16. kotukucreek says:

    What! Ignore the ‘Abdul ha..’..whatever. That was the computer making up stuff and changing the things I wanted to say…it also did not attach the photo I tried to send!

    Sent from my iPad

  17. sewexhausted says:

    Well said! Banish the TROLLS!! I have 10 years on you Leila and recently found myself affected by a lot of that same bashing. Momentarily I questioned everything I had in my closet and everything I wanted to make. Then decided if I feel good then it’s all good. I think people forget that we should be supportive and sadly there are actually a lot of “catty” women out there. I always wanted to write a book about “sisterhood…” Frankly when we see a lady with her zipper down, as a “sister” we should let her know! And there is ALWAYS something to be complimented about every single person out there- whether it’s their earrings, shoes, blouse… yep- we should be more supportive. Oooops- I kept typing and jumped up on a soap box… Your are beautiful… you make fantastic clothes and have a great talent! And that’s just gonna get better! Take care and Happy Birthday Lady! ~Laurie

  18. Nicola says:

    It’s my 49th birthday on Monday…We recently celebrated my daughters 16th in Egypt and when I looked at the photos of me in my turquoise maxi I cringed.. Think shapeless sack..my second thoughts were time to take it in. It’ll never be a great shape for me but I can make it better.. That’s the beauty of sewing for yourself.
    Wear what you like, what you feel good in, Life is to short to worry about other people’s hang ups and their motivations.

    Been pondering a lot on where do I go from here with my birthday coming, seems as good a time as any for a life review. Plenty of things I haven’t done, plenty of things I have, now for what do I want to do…feels like a big question might just be better to plunge in and give things a try!

  19. jagodas says:

    Leila, you are awesome, midriff bared or covered! As per those people who make such useless recommendations on age and fashion, they are putting themselves in boxes of limitations. They need those boundaries because otherwise their tiny heads would explode with possibilities. Once they hit 35, they will change their tune, guaranteed! So put on whatever makes you feel good, and rock it, just like you do it every day. Happy birthday!

  20. Kat says:

    Thank you for this post! I too am entering my 37th year of existence soon, and can totally relate. My thirties have truly been one of the best decades of my life for knowing who I am and flipping the bird to whoever doesn’t like it. I read a great blog post (can’t find it now!!!) about the top regrets of old folks and one of them was “I wish I would have just allowed myself to be happy”. That one hit me hard. So, allow yourself to be happy – with who you are and what you wear. Dressing is a supremely enjoyable thing – and life is too short to do anything BUT enjoy it. HUGS!

      • Kat says:

        Yeah, good one eh? Reminds us that we’re the only ones that can and do give ourselves permission to feel happy…or anything, for that matter I suppose! Here’s to FEMALE POWER!!!

      • Leila says:

        We really are. I try to tell my kids that all the time but it’s hard for adults, let alone kids who follow our lead.

      • Kat says:

        Oh totally hard…still trying to grasp that one. I don’t always succeed (more often than not I don’t!), but I remember that I always have a choice and each choice makes the next one a bit easier and comes a step closer to a more healthy habit…but it takes time…lots of time and patience. Ah well, that’s life!!

  21. Gjeometry says:

    Well, age really is just a number, Except that once you pass a ‘certain’ number, you realize how ridiculous people really are at that ‘number’ that they say that age is just a number, even if they don’ t really mean to be. Enough said.

    • Gjeometry says:

      I read that again and realized, I’m the only person that understood it, lol. What I mean is, now at 36, if you think you are a ‘certain age’ and cannot do certain things or wear certain things or feel old, etc, then at 46, you will look back and think “how did I ever think such things?” and etc. etc. It’s similar to body image, now that I’ve had so many surgeries to remove lumps on my cheek and lip, I have scars and may be permanently disfigured although am having plastic surgeries to try to repair the damage, but when I look in the mirror now, I regret ever wasting my time, criticizing how I looked.

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