Posted on August 09 2022
During the month of August we are focusing on inclusivity in all facets. The first topic we are covering is the stigma behind 'ageism.' We are so happy to be speaking with Tania Sterl, Founder of Sterl on Style about turning 50 and how she is ready to embrace her fifties.
ALLY Shoes: Why do you think it's important for people to embrace their new age/ new decade?
Tania: As we age, we evolve. Most of us are not the same at 20 as we are at 30, 40, 50, and beyond. We learn more about ourselves. We hurt, we heal. We grow physically and metaphysically. A mark of a new decade is like a new chapter in our life. It’s important to pause and reflect on the previous decade, be grateful for all we created in our lives, acknowledge our choices and decisions, and observe what we’ve learned from and accomplished. Step into that new decade with a more fully expressed version of yourself. Aging is natural. We all age. It is a part of life. It’s unfortunate there is so much agism, and negative ideals and expectations about what 50 or 60 or 70 is supposed to “look like.” Really, it is up to each individual and society together, to embrace aging with grace, and to respect and honor ourselves and each other as we get older. So embrace your age. Embrace who you are today. Accept all the changes with grace. I believe we become more and more valuable as we age, with all that experience. Your life is yours to create. So create the life you desire as you step into that new decade with acceptance, curiosity, zest, and confidence!
ALLY Shoes: What did 50 mean to you and how are you channeling a feel-good energy into this new decade?
Tania: 2-years leading up to my turning 50, was during the height of the pandemic and lock-down. (Yup, I even had to cancel my 48th birthday karaoke party in March of 2020.) And WOW! Those 2-years were a deeply profound time of my life. So challenging on so many levels, as it was for many. So during that profound time of change, as I pivoted my work as a personal stylist, I also used that time to personally heal, purge, reflect, re-invent,regroup, re-emerge, dream, plan and thrive again. During that 2-years leading up to 50, I spent a lot of time on my own self-development, working with coaches and healers, to really redesign my life when I am 50. What does 50-55 look like? What is my definition of my quality of life? What have I not experienced yet that I want to experience? What is my version of work/life balance?
So it’s not like I woke up, turned 50 and *poof* it was all figured out, or that I magically became a new, confident person overnight. Turning 50 has been years in the making.
So how I am channeling a feel-good energy into this new decade is by accepting all of me, flaws and all, embracing the valuable aspects of myself, making a commitment to stay healthy and vibrant, and, as one woman I met on my birthday vacay in St. Thomas “you stop giving a sh*t about what others think!”
It’s like, this is me, all of me, like it or not. I am truly the most clear and confident I’ve ever been in my life at 50, and it feels fabulous!
ALLY Shoes: If you could give advice to your younger self what would that be?
Tania: Oh gosh, I was a bundle of nervous energy, worry, self-critical, a “perfectionist” in my 20s as I left my home in the midwest to finish college and begin my career in New York City as a fashion designer. Slowly over the years of experience, I got more confident every year. Now at 50, I would say to my younger self:
“Your sensitivity and creativity is a super-power. Trust yourself, your intuition is always right. Take more risks, you will always be safe and protected, as that’s how you grow and learn. Don’t keep searching for answers, just live life, go on adventures, and the answers will reveal themselves. Don’t play it safe, don’t dull yourself down for others. Find time to be still and go inward, as you will emerge with more clarity. Envision what your desire is, and live life in your unique truth!”
ALLY Shoes: How can fashion play a role in how we see ourselves as we age?
Tania: As we age, we are constantly changing. Our bodies change, our self-image changes, our careers change, our relationships change. So, I like to say that you should use your style as the 3 pillars: self-care, self-expression, and self-confidence. Birds have feathers, animals have fur, how lucky we are that we get to choose our “covering,” our clothing. Clothing is our second skin, after all, we can’t leave home naked! (thank goodness for clothing!)
Ask yourself: How do you want to feel today? What makes you unique? What do you want convey to the world that is valuable about yourself? The role of fashion is to embody and express who you are today, and who you are evolving into next.
- Style as Self-Care: As we age, our bodies change too. So use fashion to show you care about yourself, pamper yourself, and adorn yourself. Use fashion to create the comfort and support your body needs as it shifts and changes.
- Style as Self-Expression: Use fashion to dress to express yourself in a way that is uniquely you. Celebrate yourself with style!
- Style as Self-Confidence: Use fashion to create confidence on a day you may feel shaky, before you step into that room, stage, interview, resignation, date, or that party, use fashion to dress as the leading lady of your life and say “here I am, this is who I am” today.
ALLY Shoes: What style tips do you want to give women who are approaching their 50's? And any advice in general for someone approaching their 50's?
Tania: Style is so individual, there really are no general styling tips I can give in terms of…“wear sexy high heels or wear fun sneakers or stop wearing mini-skirts.” Style is so individual, after all!
I do recommend investing in high quality pieces, like a beautiful leather handbag, genuine gold jewelry, precious stones, genuine leather shoes, and natural fibers like silk, cotton, rayon, cashmere and wool blends (if they don’t itch you) as they will last longer.
I also recommend treating yourself for a big-0 birthday with a fabulous piece of statement jewelry to mark your new big-O birthday. I bought myself a solid gold ring to wear on my right hand as a symbol of accomplishment, and making it to 50!
At 50 or any age, your style is your own unique expression. Style is yours to define for yourself. We are living in a time where individuality is more embraced than ever. So experiment, dabble, and play with your style. For some, they choose to be more understated in neutrals and classic elegance and want their experience and presence to speak for itself, and their style to be a more subtle statement. For others, a more bold style statement is better, more color, more jewelry, more is more.
This is why when I meet and style a new client, I ensure I am telling her unique story through her personal style. So instead of styling tips, think of style as both a practical and fun tool to express who you are, inside and out. And don’t get confused by any “rules” about what “they say” women should wear at 50 or at any age, my Dear. Just do YOU!