“I think I just have this complete 100% acceptance with my imperfections and I often say I use clothes, performatively, to express my identity.” This quote, coming from the Accidental Icon, Lyn Slater in her conversation with Tally Abecassis and Kim France of “Everything is Fine,” a podcast for women over 40. Hear more from Lyn, who, in her early 60’s took on a second life as a world renown fashion icon and social media influencer. How she maneuvers the pitfalls of our youth obsessed, comparison culture. And her ability to stay visible and relevant in an industry that ages out women and trends, transitioning from one minute to the next.
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I was psyched to listen to the upcoming interview you’re about to hear with the one and only Accidental Icon. I’ve been following her on Instagram for about a year now and had an immediate connection with her style, confidence and fuck all attitude of self acceptance. Especially as she’s a social media influencer and in such a competitive environment like the fashion industry. Her drool worthy feed can get even the most style challenged of us to see ourselves in the latest haute couture walking down the runway during fashion week.
I haven’t always had a flair for the current trends and my daughter would argue...mom, you still don’t, but to that I say, that’s what I have you for. Thankfully, I gave birth to at least one style conscious member in our family. And as I’ve watched her practice (and yeah, staying current with the latest trends is definitely a practice) grow and evolve over the years, her confidence and self esteem has grown along with it. All those early fashion experiments and makeup mishaps, of which there were many, eventually gave way to someone that others now come to for help...including myself. And believe it or not, her dad and teenage brother. She’s become my biggest inspiration and motivated me to look and feel my best possible self. Hey, If she can do it, why not me... why not you? It’s also a reminder that starting and learning something new is going to be messy, it might even be a shitstorm. But just as her face was at one point a canvas of brightly mismatched colors, so is the beginning stage of any new endeavor. The trick is to love what you’re doing, enjoy the ride and keep going until something beautiful comes from the chaos.
A few years ago when I was at a real low point in my life, going through divorce, dealing with health issues, miserable in my job and just overall feeling lost, I did what any normal human being would do when looking for answers in a midlife crisis...I googled it. And what I found was a lot of really pessimistic and depressing stories about life after 40 from women over 40. One that I’ll never forget was an article I found on Oprah’s website written by a woman around my age ...thinking okay, maybe a little guiding light or ray of hope here. It’s Oprah right?! It’s gotta be empowering or something. But that’s not at all what it was. Instead it was a dismal account of what to expect as an aging woman. And that you might as well pack it in and give it up because it’s all downhill from here. Basically telling women to dig a grave and jump in as we already had one foot in the grave. I’m not exaggerating. I wish I was. And it’s unfortunate that it’s the kind of crap we’re fed and spew as truth in our culture. And even more “true” if we’re single. Don’t get me wrong. I love men. I mean, I LOVE men but I’m happier and more fulfilled than I ever was when younger and married.
We all carry around our own baggage but please don’t project yours on to others looking for support. This is exactly the reason I started this podcast. To dispel these dumbass myths that because we’re nearing or at the end of ovulation, we are somehow less relevant or viable but really, in many ways, we’re actually better than ever! That’s the conversation we should be having. Not some end of days dystopian vision of loss and despair as we throw out all our unused tampons and pads. And if you’re one that believes life is over after 40, then I’m sorry, but I’m gonna have to call bullshit on that!
And to the author of that hopefully long buried article, “We are fighting for our right to live. And we will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! -Bill Pullman, Independence day. Context could be a little off but I think I’m close.
I realized something over the summer when I took to the trails that run along my neighborhood. And it’s that what I wore had a direct impact on my physical reaction to the environment. Not something I paid attention to before. Like If I felt, you know, cute and put together I stood up tall with confidence, looking straight ahead and making eye contact with people. If I felt, mmm....let’s say, schleppy, then my posture was more hunched, almost drawn in and I might look down at the ground or away when someone came by. There was a noticeable difference in how I held myself based on my perception of how I looked.
And, because everything is connected and my latest neuroscientist obsession, Dr. Andrew Huberman will tell you, looking at things in the distance, helps relieve the stress and strain of our constantly dilated pupils from too much screen time. If you experience any dizziness or headaches while on your computer or phone, you might have what’s unofficially called a digital concussion. And it’s from overworking the eye muscle for too long in one position. It’s a physical change in the eye that causes a physiological response in the body. Doing something like taking a walk, riding your bike or running outside and viewing things from far away, can alleviate that strain and reduce stress. Just another reason to exercise and of course look your best...well as best you can when out to sweat!
Appearance does matter. I don’t always have the best outfits, shoes or handbags but taking care of myself and being “put together” when I walk out the door is important. It’s not always apparent or conscious but like I said, I do act and hold myself in a certain manner depending on how I feel about the way I look. And I’m not the only one. People treat me according to their perceptions of how I treat myself. And that reflects in the effort or lack thereof that I put into it. I get it, we’re not always feeling it and that’s okay but if at all possible, do it anyway. We never really feel like doing a lot of things. I don’t always feel like being a mom or going to work or brushing my teeth but I do it anyway. Because feelings come and go but they’re sure as hell not gonna stop me from showing up for myself.
To hear their entire conversation, tune in to the episode, “How to be Iconic at any age,” with Lyn Slater, Kim France and Tally Abecassis. Links to that and their social media are included in the show notes below.
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