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Photography by Janet Rogers

I miss What Not To Wear. During the 10 years it appeared on American television, from 2003-2013, it was easily my favorite show to watch and, yet, the hardest for me to watch. While Stacy London and Clinton Kelly were giving women makeovers, I was struggling with the world of frumpy and in a deep funk as I turned 50. Most weeks I could’ve been the woman undergoing the torment and shopping hell on the show. It only took a few episodes for me to understand the wisdom of what they were saying…

What Not To Wear wasn’t about clothes. It was about confidence and the power and strength confidence can yield.

Some women still consider Stacy and Clinton cruel, shallow and agents of the evil world of fashion merchandising. Those women don’t understand that clothing, hair and makeup are only tools. I learned from Stacy and Clinton the importance of self-acceptance—who I am now—dressing the body I have now, no matter the size and understanding my age and not fighting it. Before I started this journey, my confidence was depleted, but as I cared and accepted myself more, I saw how taking care of myself inside and out was about self-respect and confidence.

Like me, many middle-aged women have found themselves at the bottom of their own priority list. Sometimes we lose direction and cease to care, however, I learned the importance of beginning the reinvention on the outside. As we see physical changes occur for the better, we’re encouraged to learn and practice good health, but it all comes together, beginning with clothing. Because what we wear sends a message to the rest of the world, it’s important to understand what we’re saying with our clothes.

I applied what I learned from the show, from studying style books, and from stylists. I changed my hair, eyewear, and makeup. With each change, my confidence grew. I donated my old, frumpy clothing and purchased clothing based on the message I wanted to send. Soon those messages permeated me on the inside and once again, I walked in confidence, strength, courage, and joy. This new me was able to face a gym for the first time and begin a career makeover at 60-years-old. Now, as a magazine editor, I can say re-fashioning my look has been empowering and life-changing.

I needed a slap in face to start over and get out of the pit where I dwelled. I’m grateful to everyone who helped me with my reinvention, and I’ve seen it work in others.

Was the messaging of What Not To Wear shallow? No. Are fashion bloggers shallow when they share clothing and styling advice with other women? The majority are not. They’re sharing tools that may open the door to a new world and hope.

In her book, The Truth About Style, Stacy London writes, “It is not an overstatement to say that style teaches me over and over how to live in my skin. It helps me to find courage and confidence and control, when I feel I have none. While I was drawn to the world of fashion as a little girl because of its sparkle, I love the world of style now because of its transformative power.”

I know this to be true. Your life can turn around with just the right clothing and style!

*Pamela Lutrell began her blog, over50feeling40, in July, 2010, to inspire women 50+ to look and feel their best. She believes all women matter and desires to see them walk in strength and dignity. In 2016, she became Editor-in-Chief of San Antonio Woman Magazine and 78209 Magazine. She is a member of the Fashion Group International San Antonio Chapter, a wife of 30 years, mother of three, and a grandmother.

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  1. Even when we’re stay-at-home writers/editors, it helps to dress every day to exude confidence . Nothing makes you feel lousier than being in your bathrobe to make calls to sources or edit a tough piece. We dress for ourselves–in the house and out. Thanks for the reinforcement.

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