Now what are you going to do with your clothes?


One day in 2019, Lyn Slater looked at the racks and racks of beautiful clothes in her New York City apartment — and despaired.
Slater was 66, a former social worker turned social media star.
Her sleek gray bob, omnipresent shades and slouchy, twisted Yohji Yamamoto suits gave her a funky hauteur — and hordes of admirers.
For more Style stories, click here End of carouselIt’s a feeling that many women have experienced: the anxiety that comes with the realization that your clothes no longer serve you — or the person you’ve become.
“I see my clothes as materials that I use to convey a certain identity, to convey a certain role,” Slater said.
“Having what I wear be coherent with who I am makes me feel like a whole person,” she said.
When she began letting brands dictate the items she would put on her body, she no longer felt fully herself.
It’s part memoir, part guide to “living boldly” — and finding a sartorial style that will allow you to do so.
It is a privilege.”Reduce, reuse, repurpose“At first, the clothes that I wore — on my blog and on my Instagram — were very authentic to me,” Slater said.
Then, when they would go shopping — or go through their closet at home — they would have this list on hand.

2019 saw Lyn Slater looking at her endless racks of exquisite clothing in her New York City apartment and losing hope. Slater, 66, was a social media celebrity who had previously worked as a social worker. At 61 years old, she started blogging about her personal style on Accidental Icon. She had a funky hauteur that attracted a lot of admirers thanks to her sleek gray bob, ubiquitous shades, and slouchy, twisted Yohji Yamamoto suits. About 770,000 people follow her on Instagram (@iconaccidental). Her ticket to runway shows and fragrance launches in Paris and London was provided by the designers. Handbags, coats, and an endless number of dresses in every hue imaginable were bestowed upon her by brands. She starred in Kate Spade and Valentino advertisements.

Nevertheless, Slater was overcome with an intense urge to grab her sewing kit, pull out her seam ripper, and “take all those garments apart, piece by piece” at that precise moment. “.


Seventy-year-old Slater told The Washington Post, “I was lost.”.

Toggle between this and the previous paragraph. The Style section of The Washington Post provides in-depth reporting and a personal touch on events occurring in the fields of the arts, media, politics, social trends, and yes, fashion. End of carousel. Click here for more Style stories.

The anxiety that arises when you realize your clothes no longer fit you or the person you’ve become is a feeling that many women have felt.

“I consider the clothes I wear as tools that help me communicate a certain identity or role,” Slater remarked. Her ensembles express her ideas, her aspirations, and her very essence. “I feel like a whole person when what I wear is coherent with who I am,” the woman remarked. She stopped feeling like herself when she started letting brands decide what clothes she would wear.

Things have changed because of that. Reformed influencer is how Slater describes herself these days. She has downsized her wardrobe and relocated from Manhattan to an old house in Peekskill, New York. Y. — and exchanged her designer clunkers for vintage silk pajama tops and Gap overalls. It’s been two years since she last posted on Sponcon. She writes, chases her two small grandchildren, and gardens during the day.


Her debut book, “How to Be Old” (Penguin Random House, out on Tuesday), delves into the topics of identity, aging, creativity, and reinvention. It’s equal parts memoir and how-to manual for “living boldly” and identifying a look that will help you achieve that.

Readers should know that this is an exciting process rather than a somber one, according to Slater. “I can think of all the ages I’ve ever been to draw upon when deciding what to wear or even what to do at this age,” the woman remarked. “For this reason, I conclude that growing older is an additive process rather than the subtractive process that many people think it is. It isn’t a loss. That’s an honor. “.

Reuse, cut down, and repurpose.

“The clothes I wore on my blog and Instagram at first were very true to me,” Slater stated. “They belonged to me.”. They were in my closet. It was me who had picked them. Yet many of the outfits I started wearing as a [paid] influencer were things I could never really relate to on an emotional level. “.


Then, in 2020, the pandemic struck as Slater was attempting to determine what to do next. In order to be closer to Slater’s daughter and her young grandchildren, she and her partner, 66-year-old Calvin Lom, made the decision to move upstate. Meanwhile, Slater began working on her closet. Six clothes racks were with me when I moved. There are now just two of me. “.

In order to avoid making new purchases if she ever had the urge to shop, she sold some of her unwanted items on resale sites for store credit. She gave some of the others to a local woman who gives used clothing a second chance at life. And she gave five bundles to another neighbor who has twice-yearly designer fashion sales at prices comparable to thrift stores.

Transform yourself via your wardrobe.

Uprooting her life is nothing new to Slater. Her response was, “I have always been a reinventor.”. Change doesn’t bother or disorient me as much as it might for other people. “.


Slater was raised in Dobbs Ferry, New York’s Westchester County, in a working-class family. You Y. Her family moved around a lot when she was a child. She mentioned attending four elementary schools between the ages of 7 and 9.

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She said, “It made me realize that change is a normal part of life and that it’s not always something you can control.”. And that’s where your real power lies: in how you plan to react when it does.

For Slater, dressing is a means to express and even deal with change. Her ensembles were inspired by the wardrobes of fictional characters, including Little Women and The Secret Garden. “Fashion really has no bearing on how I feel about clothes,” she remarked. Actually, it’s more about dressing up as a costume with clothes. “.

Accept and value who you have become.

She wore conservative suits while working as a social worker and young mother, specializing in child welfare. Later, when she was a divorcee living in New York City, she dressed in overalls and sneakers. Later, when she was a college professor, she started dressing in stylish but unconventional black-and-white ensembles by Japanese avant-garde designers like Comme des Garçons and Yamamoto.


When she was sixty years old, she quit her job as a professor at Fordham University to take classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology. There, she learned how to use a seam ripper to examine and repurpose worn-out clothing, a skill that would help her, at least in theory, reevaluate every aspect of her life, including her personal belongings.

Her idol, the artist and former fashion designer Helmut Lang, is quoted as saying, “I don’t like to throw things away, but I also have the ability to end chapters of my life.”. “.

“I truly connect with that,” she said. “My first advice to people when I started Accidental Icon was to dress from the inside out. Understanding that our inner selves are incredibly malleable and that they evolve with time is a necessary component of that. “.

In three words, describe your style.

Slater was asked to style three women for the “Today” show recently. She usually declines such invitations, claiming that she is the only one who can style, but this time she agreed to assist these guests in discovering their own personal looks.


She remarked, “I told them about my inside-out approach to dressing.”. She asked the women to list three words that best summed up who they were at the time. Alternately, consider what they might want others to perceive of them and who they might want to be. This list would then be available to them when they went shopping or went through their closet at home. They had to ask themselves, “Does this say these three things about me?” before picking up any piece of clothing.

Slater characterized the experience as “just amazing.”. All of the women said, “I never had a style,” when they returned. Now that I know how to shop for clothes, I feel like I have a style. “.”.

In terms of the terms Slater currently uses to describe herself, they are writer, community worker, and grandmother. “I am all those people when I wear overalls and a denim shirt,” the woman remarked. And at seventy, as a writer, prepared to go out on her first book tour?

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