The A/W Season of LifeSep 12, 2022
I spent some time on the weekend going through fall fashion magazines. Autumn/Winter has been my favourite fashion season for as long as I can remember. Cashmere camel-coloured Max Mara Coats. Equestrian boots. Cranberry-coloured lipstick.
Fall fashion celebrates the cozy season when the air is crisp, and we can spend an evening reading by the fire with a cup of tea. It celebrates the holiday season, with beads and sequins and silk taffeta helping you feel more festive. Fabrics are comfortable and luxurious: thick cabled cashmere and velvet come to mind.
I've come to think of midlife as the Autumn/Winter of our life.
As a Gen X woman, my Spring/Summer years were those in my 20s and early 30s. It was Guess jeans and Sun-In and bustiers from The Limited. It was baby doll dresses with t-shirts and Docs. It was the beginning of fast fashion.
Pre-Fall was a blur with building careers and raising kids. Pre-Fall was a mix of austere suits and yoga pants. The goal was often to blend in and avoid dry-clean-only items. I don't think pre-Fall is anyone's favourite season.
The Resort season is still a distant thought. It throws off a Miami vibe: Pucci and Lily Pulitzer. It seems pleasant but still decades away.
Many Gen Xers are in Autumn/Winter. This is a season of investment dressing since we are building something that's meant to last. We have a little more money and little more time, so we can invest in quality. It's important to know who you are in this season. Are you Max Mara or Balenciaga or Rick Owens or Christian Lacroix? If you've forgotten who you are over the years, it's an opportunity to figure out who you are and what you value. This is not a time of fast fashion. It's also a time to have fun with your look.
For many of us Spring/Summer was a time for experimenting and building. Pre-Fall was a season of a lot of work and responsibility on many fronts. And the Resort season will be a time of earned relaxation. Autumn/Winter is a season that is part harvest, as we reap some of the rewards of work and parenting and part preparation for the next season. In the farming world, Autumn-Winter is a season where farmers do their crop planning, inventory counts, ordering, and pruning and that metaphor works for life. Midlife is the perfect time to plan, take stock, order what is needed, and prune away anything that no longer works.
You can live in any season you want. I know a lot of women who really love spring/summer and I commend them for embracing their favourite season all year round. These are the type with the eternal summer inside them and they are truly happiest in that season.
The women wedded to the pre-Fall years have it a little tougher. So much of pre-Fall depends on outside circumstances: our work, our partners, and our kids. It can be hard to stay attached to this season since outside circumstances change. The women I see in my coaching practice who are least happy are those who are clinging to this season my overworking, over-managing their almost adult children or living through a spouse.
I find that I'm happiest when I embrace each season as it unfolds. I love the midlife season: all of it. I love the deliberateness, the slower pace, and even less visibility as it allows me to pivot and change. I love having almost adult children who are their own people. I love being on my own in this season in a way I didn't enjoy in pre-Fall. In this season, it means I have no limitations. If my heart tells me it wants to move to Paris, that's open to me. The start of the school year has always felt like New Year’s Eve to me and Autumn/Winter holds out those same possibilities for me.
I created The Midlife Edit for this Autumn/Winter Season. I created a workbook to help you take stock, add to your happiness in a strategic and deliberate way, curate what works for you and prune away what doesn't. I have a free workbook that will help you make the most of this beautiful season. I've also designed a personality quiz to help you discover who you are and what you want.
This fall (or next fall for my southern hemisphere friends), as you think of all of the good things like apple picking, PSLs, fall fairs, and cozy sweaters, I'd encourage you to think of midlife in the same way. Fall only represents a loss if you over-value the summer. If you take each season as it comes, there are amazing things in every season.
Take a cue from the world of Vogue. Nobody ever cared how the April issue was made: the best was reserved for September.