We often read advice to push ourselves beyond our comfort zones, to do that thing we’re afraid of doing, either because it leads to something we want, or to prove to ourselves that we can and gain confidence and a sense of achievement. We worry that we’re getting stuck in a rut or allowing our fears to hold us back. And in some cases, that’s true. Maybe we’re stuck in a place we don’t want to be out of fear of failure or judgement. In that case, crashing those mental barriers can free us to become another step closer to our best selves.
But I’ve also come to believe that our comfort zones, if they are truly aligned with our selves and don’t constrain us or hurt ourselves or anyone else, are also part of who we are. And sometimes finding that balance between keeping ourselves challenged and growing, and staying true to our likes/dislikes, beliefs and values is hard.
This is as true for our personal style as anything else. Not only is the fashion industry always pushing us to try “the next new thing” but I think our culture in general reveres the new and shiny. (I do believe this there’s a part of our brain that’s hardwired to crave novelty, otherwise we’d all still be wearing some iteration of a toga). It used to be that les femmes d’un certain âge were pushed to set aside certain styles and adopt an inconspicuous mien. Now it feels at times like almost the opposite is true. We’re urged to avoid invisibility, and gorgeously flamboyant dressers have become our torch bearers. I adore those artistic souls and their fearless style, and how they’re kicking down the fences around that “age appropriate” pasture. My moto boots and I thank you.
But it’s sometimes hard not to let what we admire become just another “should.” My own style comfort zone is less colorful and exuberant, and after a few years of back-and-forthing and trying to be more “fun” with my style, I’m fine with that. I prefer my style fun in small doses, like an oversized rhinestone necklace or a pair of leopard boots. And then there’s the sleeves thing. I’ve always been on the modest side. I have no problem with women of any age showing their arms (or legs or décolleté), but going sleeveless is something I’ve never been comfortable with, and that’s not going to change now.
Sometimes honoring our comfort zones is affirming that it’s OK to be who we are.
How about you? Are you comfortable with your comfort zones? Do you feel the need to break out of your style comfort zone from time to time, and if so did any of the changes “take”?
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To see a wonderful kaleidoscope of styles and comfort zones, go check out Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style!