My Formerly Hot Life

My Formerly Hot Life by Stephanie Dolgoff Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: My Formerly Hot Life by Stephanie Dolgoff Read Free Book Online
Authors: Stephanie Dolgoff
With black tights, a fitted blazer and flats, you’re good. Restraint says I can pretty much wear whatever I want, and no single item is off-limits. I just don’t want to look like I’m dressing up like a teenager for Halloween, and Restraint helps me make that determination. What’s more, too much of any single thing on your person at any given time—whether it’s leather, sequins,Lily Pulitzer prints, self-tanner or Swarovski crystals—is no good. This is true for anyone of any age or life stage, but becomes even more important when you get to be a Formerly and can no longer wear wrist loads of bracelets
and
big hoop earrings
and
lots of rings without looking like a fortune-teller.
    Restraint also guides me well when it comes to trends. She basically says to wink at a trend and maybe flirt a little, but no making out and certainly no full body contact. Whereas before, I might have embraced a trend—say, full-on vintage 1950s Doris Day—by donning a poofy, nip-waist cocktail dress, bright red lipstick, pointy pumps and a handbag made out of wicker, now I’ll stick with my own look and maybe wave hello to Doris across the party (I’ll get just the wicker handbag, or just the pumps, but not the whole getup).
    I see a parallel between the way I conducted my romantic life pre-Formerly and the way I shopped then. When I was single (which was until I was 34 and was on the verge of Formerlydom), I felt if a guy was nice or smart or interesting or came highly recommended, I should at least give him a chance. I was looking for love, and I didn’t know enough about myself to be sure of exactly what I needed in a partner, so I tried a lot of guys on, as it were. Over time, through trial and error and making the same mistake 12 or 30 times, I figured out what I needed, what I wanted and what I could live with. I also knew what I couldn’t tolerate, under any circumstances. This narrowed my field and eventually I foundthe “style” of guy that works for me. The one I eventually fell in love with and married fits in squarely with that style. Similarly, I tried a myriad of clothing styles and followed trends over the years until I developed a sense of what worked and what didn’t.
    (I’m oversimplifying, of course. I dated the guy equivalent of blister-producing, toe-crushing pointy masochist stilettos way longer than was wise, and rolled my eyes at some well-made classics that I probably should have tried when I had the chance. But you get the idea.)
    Knowing what works for you—in all aspects of your life, including relationships and fashion—is one of the fantastic things about being a Formerly. “You finally have some perspective on yourself,” says my friend Alex, a fashion writer and fabulous Formerly living in France (Paris, natch!). “You have seen yourself in photos for 20 years, with five or six different hair trends, living through the preppy era, the punk era, etc. In that time, you come to realize,
There’s a bigger me than all of these fleeting outfits and styles and moods and trends
. As you get older and become a Formerly, you have a sense of yourself as more permanent than any of those things. That makes you a bit less of a fashion victim.”
    I totally agree. When I pick up
Elle
or
Vogue
, and am enlightened as to what’s “in,” it’s a variation on something I’ve seen, and likely worn before. I know whether or not it works for me.
Oh, look! Blue-and-white-striped shirts and wide-leg pants—they’re dusting off the nautical theme. I could never pull off that whole cute first-mate bit. Peasant dresses and gauzy blouses?
Right. Boho chic. That I can work with
. Shopping is a much calmer, less compulsive experience. “The big jeans that I wore in the ’90s with the paper-bag waist—they didn’t look good on me,” says Alex. “They’ve come back around again, like everything does. Sure, this time they are in a lighter fabric, with a higher waist, but it’s the same thing. I’m like,

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