A more colorful life; stepping out of old patterns

Coloring my world; some of my recent purchases!

Yesterday, my friend Maria and I were shopping (at my favorite store, Manchester Thrift Store), and I decided to just chose colorful, bright clothes. I tried on one top and laughed out loud (in the dressing room all by myself). I had to show Maria….it looked so silly. She didn’t laugh. She said, “I think it looks great. How much is it?” I told her it was $2. Then she said that if I didn’t buy it, she was going to buy it for me. She went on to tell me, in the nicest possible way, that my wardrobe was sorely lacking in feminine charm!

Over the years, my dress has become more conservative; less colorful, more coverage. It happened gradually, so I was not that aware of it. I have noticed that when shopping, I would pick up and admire bright, colorful, flowing, beaded, sequined things but I never bought them. On the rare occasion that I would try them on, I always felt I looked wrong or foolish. I’ve been buying clothes with an eye to how others would observe me, not how I felt in them.
It is time for a change. It started on my trip last week with my friend Maud, who, like Maria encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone. I am grateful for friends who do this; who encourage us to live larger, take more chances, push the edges of what we think we should or can do.

“As long as habit and routine dictate the pattern of living, new dimensions of the soul will not emerge”.
Henry Van Dyke

The song below is dedicated to all of my friends who help me to grow (including all of you reading this right now….thank you!)

Oh, and for all of you contest fans, this is the last day of Maria’s wonderful, colorful, potholder contest which you can enter at,


12 thoughts on “A more colorful life; stepping out of old patterns”

  1. My mother sent me to Catholic schools. We wore maroon plaid uniforms.
    Play clothes were jeans & plaid flannel shirts. I had 3 brothers & 3 sisters – jeans & flannel shirts made hand-me-downs easy on my mother.
    (Ooops read Jon Katz’s Blog this morning – don’t want to make this a “Poor Me- Struggle Story!) Relating to the idea of getting into the habit of dressing dreary.
    In fact, nuns wear black & white “Habits”. So I got into the habit of buying colors that could go with everything: black, white, tan, navy blue.

    I am happy to report that this year my summer wardrobe is more colorful: yellow, turquoise, coral. My new big Vera Bradley purse is a splash of multi-color flowers! It makes me happy to look at it. Have a happy, colorful day!!!

  2. As a thrift store den·i·zen, I highly recommend stepping out from the conservative dull mode of dress to a flashier color splashed threads. For one thing it is a mood lifter. Other benefits you can congratulate yourself on not spending a ton of money on your new look. Besides that, you deserve to treat yourself to something new and different.

  3. This reminds me of that wonderful poem by Jenny Joseph: “When I am an old woman I shall wear purple and a red hat that doesn’t go. . .”

    Go ahead: Hooray for non-conformity!

    1. Jean, this poem stayed on my refrigerator for years until it literally fell apart!

      When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple

      with a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.

      And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves

      and satin candles, and say we’ve no money for butter.

      I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired

      and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells

      and run my stick along the public railings

      and make up for the sobriety of my youth.

      I shall go out in my slippers in the rain

      and pick the flowers in other people’s gardens

      and learn to spit.

      You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat

      and eat three pounds of sausages at a go

      or only bread and pickles for a week

      and hoard pens and pencils and beer nuts and things in boxes.

      But now we must have clothes that keep us dry

      and pay our rent and not swear in the street

      and set a good example for the children.

      We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

      But maybe I ought to practice a little now?

      So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised

      When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

  4. All the clothes in Thailand are those colors- maybe I shall bring you something!! Glad to hear you are dressing in color, because I have always believed that bright colors brighten your day :))
    Thailand is hot and humid!

  5. Mary – we’re close to the same age and I’ve recently done the same thing with my earrings. I bought some fancier / flashier ones earlier this spring. The young women at work just loved it and it does make me look more fashionable. It’s now become quite the game with them to see what I’m wearing and them telling me how nice I look. Which I must admit, does encourage me to keep doing it even though I still prefer my stud earrings for comfort.


    1. I am going heading to the flashier earring dept. too Nancy! What fun!

  6. Wish I was skinny so I would feel comfortable wearing bright colors. I do have a very colorful purse, though! I guess someone might look at that and determine that there is a small part of me that’s a wild-woman. 🙂

  7. been missing your blog while I have been away…color my world..Thank you! .i feel that the color of my world is brighter after being away and spending several days on and in the water…

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