over50feeling40: Defining Authenticity
Fashion and Lifestyle Blog for women over 50 to help achieve strength, confidence, joy, inspiration, and, of course, head-turning personal style!

Oct 20, 2013

Defining Authenticity

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!!  In the past couple of weeks, I have read many conversation threads, mostly with bloggers, which boil down to one word…authenticity.  How do we define it?  Some of the questions which have jumped out of these threads for me personally have been:

Can I be an authentic person blogging about fashion and beauty…a world some view as completely FAKE?
Am I a fake at 60 years of age blogging under a name, over50feeling40?
Am I a fake at 60 working with many fashion and mommy bloggers much younger than I, or even working with midlife bloggers? 
Am I a fake coloring gray hair with brown?
Am I even a fake today, wearing garments from LANE BRYANT, a retailer targeting much younger women than me?
Finally, who decides authenticity for another person?

Reading many of the threads, I walked away questioning my own authenticity.  “How can that be?” I asked.  “I am beyond open with my life on my blog…more than many women would be comfortable with.” Why, am I allowing anyone to question my motives?  Am I a fake if I smile most of the time? Does aging over sixty mean I must always look serious and frown?  Am I trying a hopeless attempt to hang on to youth by blogging with younger women, coloring my hair, and shopping where I shop??  (seriously, all of this came from reading these conversations!)

 After much pondering, here is how I finally answered these questions:
I blog about fashion and beauty as some blog about art, food, theater…as an art form and as something which can empower and give confidence to women.  I learned ten years ago that when I take care of me and feel good about me, I enjoy life!  Outsides are often a reflection of what is happening inside.
I actually think with people living well over 100, that 60 is still middle age.  But, I also believe older women need to spend time with younger women sharing the good and bad, the lessons, and the experiences of life.  We learn and grow from one another.  This also keeps us (the seasoned ladies) mentally young.
I color my hair for now (I know the time is coming all too soon that I will stop fighting the battle), because when I look in the mirror I smile  I feel good about me and I see me, a strong, joyful woman.  Same thing for my garment selections.  I do not choose them because they come from a youthful retailer, I choose them because they meet my personal style guidelines. I rarely ask myself if something is age appropriate, but rather, is it communicating the messages I desire to communicate.
I, not a village, decide what is authentic for me.  I am striving to be the best, confident me at 60.  If others think that means I need to be gray or wear different clothes or look despondent, I am sorry, I am going to go with what works for me.  This blog name is about living and feeling our best.  It does not mean that I want to be 40….it means that I want to feel good about Pam right where she is.  It means that Pam is at the top of my priority list.  That gives me confidence, joy, and strength…right where I am today. 

So, am I just being blind?... how do you define authenticity?



Have a wonderful week ahead, everyone!  Breathe in the fresh air around you, and  go enjoy the other bloggers of VISIBLE MONDAY and MONDAY MINGLE!!  and VERIZON VOICES FASHIONISTA BLOG HOP!!

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32 comments:

  1. Being true to yourself is authenticity.

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  2. Pam, I have followed your blog now for about six months, and I think you are totally authentic. I am a 63 year old retired teacher who just finished a Master's in Education degree, along with many much younger colleagues. I was often asked why I was doing this degree when I was retired. It was because it was something I always wanted to do but couldn't while I was working full time. I can see that this blog and your personal journey are just as important to you, and I love the help you give me with my personal style. I too color my hair and try to dress on trend and in a way appropriate for my life. I am "over 50 and feeling 40" too!

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  3. Great question and I think the answers will vary as much as everyone's personalities do! My daughter and I (who blog together) were just talking about this when I posted this week. I was wearing a skirt with my sweater and we both decided I typically wouldn't pair them together, so we went all the way home and changed! We wanted to be authentic and have made a conscious decision to wear outfits we acutally wear when we go out - we sometimes have to take pics of outfits before we go out in them because of our schedules. And the outfit I took the photo in was the one I wore out because it was authentic. And yes, I'm going to keep dying my hair because that's what I do. So for us, authenticity is presenting what's real to US. Who we truly are! It's the best we can do :)
    And you're 60?? Never would have guessed!
    xo ~kim & chloe

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  4. Pam, you look great, you're always SO incredibly positive and completely authentic!!! To me authenticity means real life and true to themselves and that's how I try to blog. I really can't read the other kinds of blogs. Thank you ofr doing what you do!

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  5. Pam I think your blog and you are so authentic. I think you look great in all your outfits because your personality and genuine goodness shows through in your smile. You post often and write about subjects women are interested in. Hair coloring is just part of the world of choices we can make if we want as mid aged women. I find this community of women empowering because of the acceptance of variety and general supportive comments. In my life I interact with women of all ages. Young women bring new ideas and help keep me thinking young which I value. I must say in my life it's my friends and family in my age group that think my blogging is a bit strange. The younger women just accept it as a natural part of today's world and think it's cool.

    blue hue wonderland

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  6. Pam I think your blog and you are so authentic. I think you look great in all your outfits because your personality and genuine goodness shows through in your smile. You post often and write about subjects women are interested in. Hair coloring is just part of the world of choices we can make if we want as mid aged women. I find this community of women empowering because of the acceptance of variety and general supportive comments. In my life I interact with women of all ages. Young women bring new ideas and help keep me thinking young which I value. I must say in my life it's my friends and family in my age group that think my blogging is a bit strange. The younger women just accept it as a natural part of today's world and think it's cool.

    blue hue wonderland

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  7. Hello, Pam. I'm relatively new to blogging and very new to your blog site. I haven't seen the threads so I'm missing the background. However, to me, fashion blogging authenticity means putting forth clothing/outfits that are actually worn in real life, doing real things, not just "modeling". Having said that, I do appreciate the beauty of artfully put together clothing presented in a stylized format. It's just not something that helps me put together an outfit I can wear to the grocery store, the luncheon date, or the theater.
    Now, to your outfit. A real woman, of the same age group as myself, wearing real clothing, smiling, looking happy and lovely -- that's something I can always appreciate. Love the animal print scarf at the neck, the button detail of the jacket, and the olive skirt.

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  8. I would never consider you "fake". I enjoy your blog because of the fact that you are real. When you have issues you state them and when you have joy you state that too. You and I appear to comr from a different social/economic "spheres" of life, but your blogs make me feel we are still the same at heart. Please dont let others who arent really listening to you get to you. But then thats why I like you Pam, you can be hurt by insecure people just like me. And for those who imply dying our hair is fake, they better be walking around with gray hair,hairy legs and naked! Otherwise, they are "fake" themselves. I will shut up now.

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  9. This is a great blog post Pam. One of the things that attracts me to your blog is that you are real, open and honest. I love that you dress for yourself, wearing what you know works and not being afraid to take a step out of your comfort zone from time to time to try something new. Age is but a number and I was thrilled to see how much we are on the same page! I also don't ask if something is age appropriate but rather does it say about me what I want to communicate about me. You keep blogging!!

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  10. I think our society has lost a lot over the years compared to times when mulit generations of women gathered together for something like quilting bees. I believe we as women should have a friend our own age, one younger and one older. If hair coloring is not authentic than most of us are guilty of that one, funny how no one would think to mention shaving our legs as inauthentic,,,LOL... I deal with so many suggesting I wear skirts that are too short cause they are slightly above my knee, not at it or below. I do it because visually it works best for my petite height and proportions.... I don't worry too much about what others think which I think comes as we age, to just be ourselves and let others take it how they choose...

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  11. Pam I thank goodness for your blog and your perspective. At age 61 I do not worry a bit about the things I do to feel confident, energetic, and as good as possible at my age! I feel I have a lot to bring to the table and to The Arts!

    Keep up the good work!

    xoxo
    Karena
    2013 Designer & Artists Series

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  12. Pam--you are one of the most authentic people out there!!! I love your blog!

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  13. A great leopard scarf, Pam. Can't believe this is still an item on my "to get" list. Enjoy your week. :)

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  14. Pam
    I think authenticity is about being transparent and honest.
    Coloring your hair is not fake, it is just enhancing what you already have...the same as wearing make-up
    As far as where you shop, I think it depends on what you buy. I have been known to shop at Forever 21, but I am not buying micro minis and crop tops. I am usually buying a less expensive version of something I saw at a high end store.
    As far as our age...I always say, just because you are as old as Aunt Bea, you don't have to dress like her!
    Have a great day
    Brett

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  15. Great post Pam! Intergenerational energy is a way to move in the world, learning and sharing, with the most positive of intentions. It helps me feel more alive. I agree that authenticity can only be defined by oneself. And you do a beautiful job of doing so.

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  16. New visitor here. I would say being authentic is being true to yourself. If that meanas coloring your hair because it makes you feel good, great! I'm sure I'll color my hair w/no apologies. Personally, I appreciate & value older women in my life. We absolutely need each other to impart wisdom to and receive from. Keep it up!

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  17. I had some good advice once from my teacher "what other people think of me is none of my business" It usually tells me more about them than me. I think authenticity is "what you see is what you get".

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  18. Pam, if we live to please others, we will never be happy plus there is no such a thing as pleasing others, someone will always be left unhappy, either us or them.. in my opinion better them than us! You are an inspiration to me, I don't want to put life at halt just because age is catching up. I do and wear what I like and my authenticity is no ones business. How can one judge or authenticate another just by what she wears on a blog? It is a person we are talking about, not just some faces on blog pages. You are fabulous and stay that way.. keep inspiring!

    Greetings from Dubai :)
    MRS JACK OF ALL TRADES
    http://mrsjackofalltradesdaily.blogspot.ae/2013/10/a-touch-of-rock-and-roll-with-lena.html?showComment=1382334548455#c4360610148039598997

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  19. Did poeple really ask you those questiosn? Unbelievable! You are as far from fake as a person can be. You are the new face of 60, showing young women what 60 looks like now. Your love of fashion, and knowledge comes through loud and clear and that, my dear, is very authentic. This was a great post. By the way, I'm 64 and still love fashion, read fashion blogs, dress the way that suits me (equestrian classic), ride my horse and generally try to be true to my self all day every day. As Mrs. C said---keep inspiring!

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  20. Your post generated some excellent responses. First, let me say you are one of the most authentic people I know. Hair color or clothes selection has nothing to do with authenticity. You are true to yourself and do what is best for your own physical, mental and spiritual well-being. At sixty-six I find that I don't care as much what others think of me.

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  21. Good Morning, Pam!
    Beauty.....is in the eye of the beholder
    Age........is a state of mind
    Opinion.....does not disappear with age
    Color....is not "fake" it is just color
    Lane Bryant.....is for everybody ( as older women we have the luxury of shopping where ever we like)
    Pam, let your genuine light shine!! I love your blog and the voice and wisdom that comes with your wonderful age Younger women need to know that life does not end at 40!
    Have a wonderful and blessed Day.
    Judith Presgrove

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  22. I'm 58 years old and one of the younger in my family. My older sister retired, sold her practice in San Diego and moved to Portugal to try a new life style. The Portugal home is now up for sale and when it sells, she's moving on to France. My older brother retired, moved to a "senior citizen community" and sits around all day. Guess who my role model is???

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  23. Pam - a very thoughtful piece. I am 57 and have reflected for the last year of two on what authentic femininity means to me. I have examined my core values to determine if I am being true to them. I regulary reflect on the question "Am I rich in the things God values?" I have been making changes in the area of my material needs. I love to shop and have too much stuff. I am sharing more and accumulating less. I think that when you write as you do in a public forum you will meet people who are critical. Examine the feedback and adjust what you think you need to and throw aside the rest. It is great that we have the capability to change and grow to become our best selves -the person God intends us to be. Keep up your very fine efforts.

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  24. Great post.

    I grapple with the idea of authenticity in blogging almost daily. Sometimes the whole idea of fashion blogging or style blogging carries with it a certain amount of shallowness that I am striving to eliminate
    from my life.

    More than anything I want blogging to be honest and meaningful. Not just a way to sell more clothes for companies that are already stressing Mother Nature with the vastness of overconsumption. Blogging should be about communicating and connecting with other people. Not just marketing.

    I think only you can know how authentic you are on your blog. Colouring your hair, wearing what you like to me is just external devices to make ourselves happy. There is nothing wrong with striving for happiness.

    If you haven't watched Fabulous FAshionistas yet I would highly recommend it. They are all vintage ladies that have figured out not to be bothered with what other people think and just to do their own thing.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  25. I, too, find myself thinking along these lines... at 57 I started my own business - http://dalitika.com offering thrift finds to women our age, and constantly trying to find the balance between the love of fashion, keeping it real, and not succumb to superficiality... thank you for bringing these subtle issues to light!

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  26. Pam! You are authentic!! And you have a radiant smile! Loving your scarf...it makes me think fondly of the chocolate chip cookies you just wrote about! Have a wonderful day!

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  27. "I learned ten years ago that when I take care of me and feel good about me, I enjoy life! Outsides are often a reflection of what is happening inside."
    THIS truth is something I only started to grasp about 3 years ago at age 45. My entire life was wrapped up in everyone "else". I do not regret one moment of those years as far as I KNOW it was a seasons and people, like my four kids and hubby of nearly 25 years, needed me.
    What I do have some....not exactly "regrets"...but I am not sure what word would apply ??? I think I would have transitioned to this approaching empty nest with a little less drama and fear if I had allowed myself to take more interest IN myself during those years.
    That's why I LOVE your blog and blogs like it. YOU make to approaching "other" half of my life look like something to embrace! Something full of different kinds of wonders and experiences that surely were not possible with four kids 7 and under in tow!
    I hope I can some day be a testament to others that the next half is not something to dread, but something to embrace :)!
    THANKS for your complete authenticity! Age should have nothing to do with what you wear, how you behave, where you go, etc. Just LIVE life to it's FULLEST and people with either be encouraged...or envious :0)!

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  28. Blog away GF and let the chips fall where they may! You should look at the vlog that Forest City Fashionista posted about ladies some years young that look FABULOUS!!!

    Popped by from Vis Monday

    thriftshopcommando.blogspot.com

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  29. My Darling friend you are authentic in every sense of the word. You blog about what you love. You dress and share clothes that fit your style and energy. I think you are a rock star! xo

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  30. You wear animal print so well! You always look so put together. Thanks for all that you share with us.

    Have a great Tuesday.
    Susan

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  31. I have been following your blog for awhile. I think it is one of the best out there for women our age. I know you are authentic! You remind me of myself-I'm 56 and you inspire me to keep up paying attention to my hair,make up and dress. Love the navy with the animal print! I would never have tried it-now I am going to wear my leopard print scraf with my navy dress! hanks for the inspiration!

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  32. I think the fact that you're raising this question shows your authenticity!

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Thanks so much for joining in our conversation today! I appreciate your time and love hearing from you!