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A Michigan Girl's Look at Fashion, Aging, and Life in the Midwest

Updated: Feb 8, 2023

Looking at today’s newest fashion makes my heart skip a beat. The fun shapes, colors, and belly shirts of my glory days transport me back … to a time before wrinkles, hot flashes, and meno-belly.

Three nineties girls posing for photo in New York City
New York City road trip (Circa 1996). One of our few photos from that trip standing in front of a cigarette promo backdrop at a club in Manhattan... Because cell phones and selfies weren't a thing.

It seems like just yesterday I was strutting my stuff in leather pants and platform shoes without a care in the world. And when I see the newest styled hiphuggers in bright pink paired with a sassy crop top and ’80s rom-com-worthy head-turning jacket, I just want to yell, “TAKE MY MONEY!”


Then the wave of mourning sets in for the glory days. In my 20s, I wanted so bad to be the woman with it all. I mean, that is what we were promised with our Vogue magazine editorials and shoulder-pad wearing, big-haired strutting feminist role models, right? Now, in my 40s, I yearn for the lost comfort of sliding into a pair of tight jeans, pain free and feeling like a dancing queen.


Yes, yes, I know there are some women my age who look amazing and have been able to rock a hard body and defy time by prioritizing their fitness and health. And I know there are some women who would be thrilled to be smaller, and I realize I should be grateful for the health I do have. But I’ll be damned if those adorable bell bottoms don’t simultaneously take me back to my dewy’d skin youth and make me feel like diving into a Ben and Jerry’s coma while I wonder where the years have gone.


And therein lies our cultural crutch. The devil is in comparing ourselves to each other instead of celebrating our differences.


As I reminisce on a well-lived life and chuckle thinking of that one time (that no one found out about and will only be taken to the graves of my bestest of friends), I pause.


I have learned over time to recognize the ups and the downs—to feel them so I can move through them. And this mourning too shall pass.


So, I sit here today with excitement and anticipation for what the rest of life has in store for me. I have a filtered view, colored with wisdom that the extra pounds, the heartache, and the scars—both visual and hidden—have gifted me.


I am a proud product of Generation X. I am a realist and a dreamer. I am the laziest of go-getters, and I am a pragmatic artist.


My life didn’t turn out like I planned, I have yet to take the world by storm, to rule the boardroom, or to strut down wall street in stiletto heels.


But I am where I want to be. I’m a Midwestern girl who rarely wears makeup. I’m comfortable in my yoga-pant-wearing, dog-hair-covered skin. I have a small mortgage invested into my carefully curated stretchy pant short-girl wardrobe. And an enviable collection of sensible boat shoes, water shoes, sandals, flip flops, and boots. I have snow boots and ski boots and fall boots and rain boots and cowgirl boots. And not one single pair of stilettos.


I love my family, I love my dogs, I love my friends, and I love my home here in Michigan. I find peace just looking at the blue waters of summer, reflection in the changing colors of fall, childhood wonder at the first sparkly snow, and a rekindled spirit with the lily’s of spring.


I know I’m not alone. We are a tribe of women who don’t fit neatly in a box. We have adapted, and we have persevered.


As we seem to be melting into the shadows between skinny jeans and wrinkle creams, we need each other more than ever. This community is where we can rally around each other, practice appreciation, and forge ahead into the next chapters of our lives with a bit of support, a bit of humor, and a lot of love. These of course are just a few of MI Favorite Things.

 

Below are a few of the fashion finds that inspired my story above. Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links which means if you purchase an item we make a small commission.


These Cynthia Rowley beauties are Spice Girl sassy with a touch of Audrey Hepburn class. How can you not drool when looking at those adorable cargo pants with that sporty crop top. And how about the stunning colors and lines in that Bonded Capelet? Seriously... How do you not drool wine or cheddar-ale soup down that beautiful white canvas?

For the likes of me, and girls like me with more casual tastes, we love these fabulous finds from Amazon.

The high-waisted stretch cargo's are a sassy alternative to the usual yoga pant. Add a cute fitted tee and some flip flops or sneakers to these cargo style joggers to add a little swagger to errand day. These beauties earn bonus points with their satin fabric that's helpful for keeping dog hair at bay.

The classic silhouette of this half-sleeve scoop neck will brighten your spirits and add a pop of color to those cheeky cargo's or your trustee jeans.

For those in-person meeting days away from the comfort of your home office, the split sleeve cape blazer is a fun spring jacket alternative. Its sleek lines echo the sophistication of Cynthia Rowley, but add a bit more versatility (and a bit more protection from that bottom lip that sometimes get's a hole in it).

 

We would love to hear from you. Let us know your thoughts and share your story with us.



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