Journal / Phenomenal Women

Finding joy, play and identity in your wardrobe

14 Dec, 2020

"It’s time we had fun with fashion. It’s time we showed up for life. Society may expect us to be silent as we age. But this is when we have the most to say." 

14 Dec, 2020

This week we hosted the last Expert Series session for 2020. And what a way to mark the end of the year, when colour and vibrancy has been, at times, almost impossible to find. Karen Arthur, founder of Wear Your Happy and REDDSKIN, burst onto our screens and, through sharing her own journey, encouraged and cajoled us into ripping up the rules on what midlife’ looks like’, to return to the joy and stories that are woven into clothes.

"It’s time we had fun with fashion. It’s time we showed up for life. Society may expect us to be silent as we age. But this is when we have the most to say."
Karen Arthur, founder of Wear Your Happy.

As women, we are restrained by so many rules around what we are ‘allowed’ to wear. From the age it is no longer appropriate to wear something above the knee, to what our body shape demands. And then, as we enter menopause, we’re hit with the sense that society no longer really wants us to be visible anyway. The brands we shopped with before, feel closed to us. We can’t see - in media, in the streets - enough women rocking ageing with style. So, we shift to safe. And, with that, we fade a little.

Karen’s philosophy is simple and powerful. Clothes have the ability to lift our moods. They carry stories. And dressing should be about dressing for those moods and for our own personal pleasure. This isn’t about buying new stuff. But about shopping in our wardrobe. Finding the items that lift us. Rethinking what we put together. Choosing items because they bring joy. And injecting play back into how we show up to the world!

Karen Arthur

So, if you’re stuck in a rut, why not make this weekend about rediscovering you in the way you dress. The Wear Your Happy philosophy encourages you to explore what you choose using 8 filters.

Start by thinking what colours generate an emotional response in you. Which hues make you smile? Which feel soothing?

What stories do you associate with key items in your wardrobe? What times in your life do they reflect? What events? If you have items you don’t wear, but you can’t bear to throw away, ask yourself why you keep them? And why you can’t rethink how you use them.

Don’t focus on the clothes you’re cycling through regularly (most of us only use a small fraction of what we own). Instead look to the edges of the wardrobe and the back of the drawers. Why are there items there that you ignore? What prompted you to buy them in the first place?

Karen believes that repurposing vintage clothing allows us to place new memories on top of pre-owned for an extra special experience.

Online shopping means we increasingly discount how stuff feels on our skin in our purchase process. Return to texture. Think about how different materials make you feel. Think about the sound they make too. How they move.

Don’t discount the bottom of your body! What will bring you joy when you look down. What feels comfortable? What makes you want to stand tall? Think about how the shoes you own make you feel. Think about sound here too. Is there a way of incorporating more play and joy into your footwear?

If you can, get yourself properly measured so that you’re wearing the right bra for now. So many of us don’t. Then, rationalise your knicker drawer. Anything that doesn’t fit, doesn’t feel good, has greyed in the wash, has no place. Again, this isn’t about buying more - but most of us have weeks' worth of pants in our drawers! And if you do decide to buy some more, think about the material you want closest to your skin. Think about what colours you’d like to wear (not what is sensible to wear). Here is an opportunity to have real fun - just for you. Dressed in corporate attire, only you will know if you’re wearing a bright canary yellow matching set! And just that fact can lift your day.

Finally, think about how you dress your head. Karen is a lover of head wraps and hats. You can play with how you style your hair too. Adorning your head with colour and playing with shape and accessories brings a regality. We all stand taller.

To find out more about Karen, her design work, her workshops and her 1:1 consultations, head over here. And, for daily pops of joy, find her on instagram on @thekarenarthur.

With love, the MPowder Team.

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