The Line In The Sand – Which Side Are You On?

In San Antonio, Texas we understand that the phrase “a line in the sand” means tough choices must be made. After all, this is the home of the Alamo where Lt. Col. William B. Travis is said to have drawn a line in the sand and given his men a choice to die in the battle or leave. They all stayed. The tough choices I want to write about today are not that dramatic…no one will die on the other side of the line, but I do hope there are some of you who might be freed.

It is obvious throughout the blogs there are many ladies struggling with style and clothing decisions. There have been recent posts and comments which just broke my heart….women who do not know where to turn for help…you can since the despair in their words. I know that despair…I have been there. So, I hope by taking you through some of the thought processes which have helped me, it might help someone else.

There was a time when I would walk into my closet and just see craziness on display. In fact, if Stacy and Clinton had ever visited they would have called me schizophrenic! I obviously had no direction or style goals. I would just look at the mess hanging there and wonder…Why? I can remember when the answer came to me…one night…when I was thinking about the direction I wanted to go with my makeover. Suddenly, the girls at my school came to mind and I thought about what I saw them doing most of the time they were out of uniform…the majority of them dress for approval and attention from boys and even other girls. It was a lightning bolt moment when I realized that women spend most of their time trying to figure out what other people will accept on them rather than what they personally feel great in.

I believe I started at age 12 when I mimicked the Beatles’ girlfriends, so that I would have the right look whenever Paul McCartney showed up to sweep me away. My entire life had been dressing for the approval of others…even to the point of shopping just so I looked like other women I worked with in advertising or so that I looked like the “ladies who lunch” crowd of moms from my daughter’s classmates. As I began to really like fashion in my 20s, I thought the crazier I looked the more fashionable I was….and let me tell you, some of those outfits were crazy.

Types of shirt jackets I used to wear a lot.
Not for me any longer!  It’s personal!

Then there was the dressing for the approval of men stage when I was single…those looks could go from very feminine to sex kitten in a heartbeat! If I read that a man liked something…I would try it.

It should not be any surprise that while I was seeking approval of others with clothes…not finding it…gaining weight with pregnancies…and looking worse…that a type of despair and I GIVE UP mentality followed. That was the wall I hit at age 50!

I was ready for change…a new me…a new direction…and FUN! So, the line in the sand is the first decision to discovering your own personal style. If you are like I was, and mostly dressing for the approval of others, then step across the line! Once you begin to dress for yourself (and only yourself), then I submit to you, you will be more attractive in professional and personal relationships. The main reason why you will be more attractive is when you dress for yourself, you walk in Confidence and Joy…you feel good…you smile more…your care more…and all of that, ladies, is attractive.

The next step is what I now call THE FOUNDATION FIVE. Look for it this week!

Does this story sound familiar to anyone???

“Don’t rely on someone else for your happiness and self-worth. Only you can be responsible for that. If you can’t love and respect yourself – no one else will be able to make that happen. Accept who you are – completely; the good and the bad – and make changes as YOU see fit – not because you think someone else wants you to be different.”

Stacey Charter, cancer survivor


  1. My line in the sand was to accept my body as it is now….curvy, rounded, somewhat overweight. I have accepted that is where I am right now and to purchase items that fit THIS body. I am going to wear what makes me feel pretty, and not what makes me look thin (impossible!). I still like A-lines, wrap styles ala Diane VonFurstenberg, and capris. I love my accessories like necklaces and earrings, shoes and purses. The line is feeling comfortable in one's own skin.

  2. Great post! When I was young and skinny I tried to dress to be different (b/c I was the only redhead in town). i still like to have my own style and something a LIITLE out of the norm. My mom always said I was unique and I want to continue in that. I totally agree – self confidence makes anyone look good!

  3. Thank you for sharing your process. At this point in my life I find dressing for myself to be healing and an expression of my process. A daily meditation that feeds me!

  4. Great post, Pam. I enjoy reading about your journey, as we are almost exactly the same age. I have learned to respect my style as my own, and not try to copy the youth-oriented magazines. It is so much easier this way, and more fun too.

  5. Thank you for sharing sweet Pam. I love the quote too. I have never been one to dress for anyone else… That being said I do try and wear things my husband likes on me though. It's always nice to hear you look great in that from him. Biggest ugs and I adore you just the way you are♥

  6. Beautiful post, Pam, and I'm sure this will resonate with so many. I think many women our age are blazing new trails when it comes to personal style and expression.

    I'm looking forward to reading the next installment in your journey.

  7. absolutely……and posture ………whatever you wear, what ever your size you can't put a price on good posture…..something I'm desperately trying to cultivate before it gets any later ……….

  8. We are all influenced by others. It deprnds on how we carry this forward and how we make it our oww. Day br day I see the change in me. Have I crossed the line. I would like to think so. I know I enjoy how I dress as I am more confident in my skin.
    Reflective post

  9. Pam~Thanks for sharing your story, Pam, and I also have heard similar stories from women who are frustrated and intimidated by clothes. I am sure you can help many women out there with your positive attitude! Can't wait to see it~Love, Paula

  10. Oh Pam! What a wonderful post and something I've struggled with for so many years. Sometimes you wake up and think, "WHO AM I?!?!?!" Because so much of life is lived to please others. I'm definitely on the side of Dress for yourself! Hugs! ~Serene

  11. Pam, you are such a great writer. I myself have been in despair a few times of the body I have now. It is hard not to compare oneself to others whom you admire. There are so many lovely over 50 bloggers who have amazing style and look great in their clothing.
    Your words have helped me more than you know. I think my wall was my retirement. Prior to retiring I was very unhappy and very stressed. I have to say I am happy now and smile a lot more. I now need to work on loving the being I am now.

  12. If all your joy in life comes from looking in the mirror, that is fine. My mother dresses for herself and has confidence and smiles and humilates her children again and again. We have photograpic evicence from every wedding that she doesn't care what anyone else thinks about her clothes. Our in-laws have the same photographs. Our children would rather we not invite her to their weddings. Even with advanced degrees, the only job she could keep was sorting mail at the post office. And funerals are made even more of a nightmare. My line in the sand is straddled – when what I like is not appropriate, I will wear something I don't like. (Would love to leave my name, but wouldn't want to embarrass her.)

  13. After reading the last comment, I would like to add first…my joy does not come from my outsides, it comes from my insides…a deeper place and realtionship. I want my outsides to reflect that joy and confidence…but as in all things there needs to be a BALANCE…appropriateness for age and occasions is important…wearing something we know our husband likes blesses them occasionally…learning the balance of how to dress for the workplace is important. You can dress for yourself and keep the balance in mind. We should not be embarrassing our family members!!

  14. I'm new to your blog but you have a wining style of writing about things.I like your reflactive mood and the conclusions you came up.

  15. This is a wonderful post. We all understand reading it that your (and our) happiness does not come from just outside. As you said Balance is a key. When I dress I want to be creative and playful, but at the same time respectful of others and my own body. I too in the past dressed to hide myself (frankly, I still do it often, my blog is my attempt to help myself to be me). The Mother in Anonymous' comment is certainly NOT what you're talking about. A person who humiliates anyone especially her own children has way more serious issues to work on than her fashion choices.
    Great post, Pam!

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