Getting Out More: The Secret to Healthy Aging for You and Your Wardrobe

I have a friend who is currently participating in a longitudinal study on aging. Conducted by McMaster University, the study looks at various factors in our lives which affect how well we cope with aging. She’s mentioned the study to me a few times, and how it seems, among other things, to focus on the positive effects of social activity. Certainly, the experts seem to agree that social isolation has negative effects on our health. That maintaining a strong social network seems to be a factor in maintaining good health as we age. So… I guess we all need to get out more. 
And not to trivialize the issue of healthy aging. But it seems to me that “getting out more” is the secret to curating my closet too. I’m talking about the “aging” clothing items that need to earn their place in my closet. A couple of skirts, a jacket or two and a few tops that are no longer new… and which need to get out more, if they are to remain on the “keepers” list. 
Like this tan Elie Tahari safari jacket. I love this jacket, the huge pockets, the silk panels in the front, the fact that the buttons are snaps… but I don’t wear it enough. Last Friday, I wore it with these black Vince leggings, my black, silk Rag and Bone tank that I bought to take to France last spring, and my Stuart Weitzman loafers. I was checking out the half yearly sale at Nordstrom. I didn’t find anything that inspired me at the sale… but I felt like a million bucks in my old jacket.
This pleated silk and cotton skirt from Holt Renfrew Collection was a staple in my spring work-wear closet for years. But if I’m going to keep it, I need an outfit that changes up its look. Makes it a little less lady-like, a bit more edgy. I like my old skirt with this Theory white cotton shirt and my Stan Smith Adidas. 
Back in late February I included this shot from Matches in a post about the images that were inspiring me for spring. Sheesh… I wonder if I ever had a waistline that slim… but nevermind. 

That image made me think I might like my yellow, cotton sweater from Brooks Brothers with my old Burberry denim skirt. This denim skirt is one of my “investment pieces” from 2011. The stretch fabric never bags or wrinkles. And I love the details, especially the row of pewter buttons along the slit in the back. I wore this outfit to run errands on my birthday the other day. And I felt fierce. 

So these four pieces, a jacket, a sweater and a couple of skirts, that were in danger of falling off the “keeper” list, can now be placed into my regular rotation. They none of them are new… but they’re aging well because I take good care of their physical condition and I’m now making sure that they get out and about more. 
And speaking of aging. I had a major birthday the other day. I’m now officially in my sixties. Akkk. How the heck did that happen? Still, it’s just a number isn’t it? Mustn’t get too caught up in the number. Must think positive. 
And remember, according to the experts, the secret to healthy aging for us all, besides taking good physical care of ourselves, is maintaining strong social ties. Getting out more. I hear that wine helps as well. Although my friend who participates in the aging study says they’re finding out it’s the social contact that goes along with the wine that is most important. 
I’m good with that. Meeting the girls for a glass of wine and lots of laughs always makes me feel great. Younger. Not a day over…say… fifty-five.
If you’re so inclined, have a look at this article on about the so-called “Blue Zones,” areas in the world where people have much greater longevity than us. Experts are studying why that might be so. It’s pretty interesting.
When I talked to my friend this afternoon about the study she participates in, I told her I was writing a post on the idea of healthy aging. “Really?” she said, sounding impressed. “And I’m linking it to how I should get more wear of out of my ‘investment pieces,'” I continued. And she laughed. Not surprised. And she didn’t say…. shallowness thy name is Sue…. but I know she was thinking it. Albeit fondly. 
What can I say? I gotta be me.  
Any thoughts on aging, folks? Aging clothes, or aging bloggers, or aging blogger readers… or whatever?







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34 thoughts on “Getting Out More: The Secret to Healthy Aging for You and Your Wardrobe”

  1. I'm not as methodical as you by a long stretch, but culling my wardrobe for a big downsize has shamed me by revealing some obvious shopping over-indulgence that never paid off (items that will never recoup the investment; I just bit the bullet, admitted the error, and sent them off to a thrift shop where they'll find someone who may find greater joy from a much smaller payout!). However, it's also drawn my attention to some pieces that I still loved but had somehow forgotten about or couldn't quite see how to include them in my retired lifestyle. Like you, I was pleased to find that it really didn't take too much to bring these back into rotation, and how satisfying was that!! Your "new" outfits all look so fresh — and I think you could claim you'd bought them at that Nordstrom sale and no one would doubt you — so much more fun, though, to be able to say, "Oh this? I've had it for years!"
    I like all the pointers you offer for healthy aging, although as a newbie 60, you're still a youngster 😉 (tbh, I found that number to have more effect than any other age frontier I've crossed. . . .but it's SO much better than the alternative!)

    1. It IS such a charge to be able to re-purpose older, but still loved, pieces in my wardrobe. Makes me feel that I was somehow so prescient in purchasing it:)
      Sixty is the first decade that has me rattled. That number carries so much connotation…being eligible for Canada Pension, seniors discounts…akkkk. I remember that Stu was thrilled when he could claim senior discounts… but then again, he does most of the grocery shopping and makes it a quest to beat the system and save money. So he did have an ulterior motive.

  2. I'm glad the four pieces made the cut! You found great ways to wear them! And you are seriously giving that model a run for her money in the yellow sweater & skirt!

    And, yes, to the importance of getting out. I often worry about my parents, who are in their 80s and have many health problems, because they get out too much (and they truly overdo it quite often…). But then I remember how important social connections are…

    Andrea’s Wellness Notes

  3. All the outfits look great Sue …oh to be tall, slim and have long legs!! In primary school I was the tallest girl in the class and my brothers told me how great it was to be a tall girl …they were tall themselves and tended to have tall girlfriends!, but then I stopped growing and suddenly wasn't a tall girl anymore! Now, what is it we say about good things in little packages!! 🙂
    Seriously though, I know you don't wear skirts very often (neither do I) but they both fit beautifully and once again I'm drawn to the word "versatile" which means you chose well! Great to find something you loved a few years ago can look so fresh and new…in style, not just condition.
    Thanks for the link to Longitudinal Study on Aging …looking forward to reading about it.
    Have a good weekend …lovely sunny day here with a warm breeze … Just perfect. Mind you my daughters in Paris at the moment and I'm so suffering a bout of envy (in a good way!) Shes really good at sending me lots of pics though …so I can imagine I'm there!

    1. Thanks, Rosie. I'm glad I found new ways to wear both of those skirts.. I love them still. Hope you have a good weekend… even if you're not in Paris.

  4. I like the outfits . So often bloggers over accessorise too much for me . That little yellow bracelet peeking under the sleeve is just right . Do some of us obsess too much about what we wear ? Probably . Soon I'll be packing for Italy & having a ' try on ' session , which I'm really looking forward to . I used to love cut-out dressing dolls when I was a girl too . It might sound shallow & there is far more to me than that, but it's such fun ! So I don't think we should feel guilty about it – there are worse vices .
    Hope you had a lovely birthday , ignore the numbers they are meaningless – especially in your case
    Wendy in York

    1. I'm with you Wendy. I've never been fond of a lot of accessories at once. I almost never wear a necklace, earrings and a bracelet together. And since my hair is now more curly…and therefore a bit more "busy"… I've found myself gravitating to smaller studs instead of my usual big hoop earrings. I loved paper dolls too. Used to wait for my Mum's McCalls magazine to get the Betsy McCall cut-outs. Have a fabulous time in Italy. Is this a sister trip or are you going with your husband? Stu and I are beginning to think of our next big trip…he wants South America…I want Italy. One of us will have to compromise:)

    2. It's a sister trip Sue , plus a friend is coming along with us this time . We've hired a villa in Piedmont , where the Asti comes from – the consumption in the area may rise whilst we are there ! South America sounds very exciting but I'm sure wherever you go we'll enjoy hearing about it .

  5. Happy Birthday kid! Socialization and connection is important throughout life, but especially as we age. Make new friends, but keep the old as they saying goes – works for our closets too. I think you have a good grip on it all.

    1. Thanks. Lately I've been making old-new friends… getting to know a couple of women I worked with for years as friends out of work…. now that we're retired. That's been fun.

  6. A belated Happy Birthday, Sue. You look fantastic in all these outfits. I just love your style: it's youthful but never trying-too-hard. Though your clothing is higher-end than I can afford, it never looks pretentious. I have a lightweight taupe safari jacket that must be 10 years old but I still wear it 5 or 6 times a year. It is a classic, plus the safari look with cinched waist is sure to be revived in a big way within the next few years. Your slim denim skirt reminds me to dig out mine, even though my 60 year-old-knees are not quite as svelte as yours. My friends mostly think of fashion as frivolous so–regrettably–socializing does not provide an excuse for wearing stylish clothes. Rather, I cross my fingers hoping that they won't think I made an effort 🙂

    1. Thanks for the birthday wishes. Safari jackets always come back. don't they? And when you've had one for years you can never be called frivolous… just do what Mater says above…say "Oh this? I've had it for years."

  7. That jacket looks wonderful on you! Now that I've said goodbye to the "day job" I'm going to be assessing my wardrobe over the next few months and determining what direction my new life will take my style. Not having to consider whether something is "office appropriate" opens up more possibilities! And yes, getting out more! I'm already working on setting up some lunch dates for the coming weeks.

    1. Thanks, Sue. I can't believe the way jeans have multiplied in my closet since I retired… replacing dress pants altogether. But now I can indulge in many different styles, and colours since I don't just wear them on the weekends.

  8. Those outfits looks wonderful on you, how great to "re-discover" them! Thank you for the link to the blue zone article. And as always thank you for another great post.

    1. Thanks, Suz. I think it's pretty interesting what they are discovering about aging… and how to do it well. Or maybe just how to do it the best we can… given our genes.

  9. My Mother, who died four years ago, had dementia. She was diagnosed with it about five years before she died, was ok for a few years, and the last year was a mess. Yes, you can indeed actually die of dementia (very different from Alzheimers) A complete, total mess. But..she was also totally isolated. She had been for years; she distrusted most people; she did not want to make any friends at all; she wouldn't even let most caregivers in her house. So yes, the social isolation was a major issue for her and for her children who were trying to care for her. The isolation led to depression and the circle went round and round. So people….stay connected! I live in a community of mostly retirees and I've never had so many friends in my life.

    1. Your mother's story is very sad, Libby. That must have been so hard for you and your family! I have a friend for whom that circle also went round and round. Really hard to watch.

  10. Belated Happy Birthday, Susan! I am seven years ahead of you and can promise that it gets better! I have also been retired from high school teaching for 6 years. Attending college graduations and weddings has been a hoot! Keep a little black dress handy!
    Thank you for sharing your transitions in retirement and for giving me food for thought!
    Charlene H.

  11. I adore those looks you pulled together. You're getting use from your Stan Smiths too. A future investment item. I truly believe in the power of wine and friends. I am a real convert to that philosophy.

  12. Really great post! I absolutely agree that clothes need their time in the social limelight to feel young and fresh and healthy again. Not shallow at all, Sue. Not at all. (You can check out my post Vanity or Sanity? where I discuss fashion as therapy.) I also just drafted a post for this week that compares minding our words to how we present ourselves physically (in our clothing) to the world. So again, it's just not shallow. It's necessary! I love all of your older pieces that you highlight here. I really love those loafers and the safari jacket and that floral skirt! They don't look a day older than current and neither do you. Happy Birthday!


    1. Thanks, Shelbee. Love the analogy that our vocabulary choice and our fashion choices are related. Although sometimes I prefer mine to be a contrast…nice dress and the occasional profane utterance.

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