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Monday, July 30, 2018

Help! “I Need a Wardrobe Change: Upcycling, or Repurposing, the Caregiver’s Wardrobe on a Budget

Dressing up is like therapy; I feel better in myself when I’ve made an effort. ~Paloma Faith

The wear and tear on my tires weren’t half as bad as the wear and tear on my feet this week. We had four doctors’ appointments, two of them over an hour away.

As I pushed Dad in his new-but-borrowed-super-light wheelchair and with Mom hanging onto the drawstring of my backpack, I saw our reflection in the hospital windows. Yikes, imagine my horror when I realized I had worn the same clothes twice—two outfits for four days. Though new clothes weren’t in my budget, I knew I needed a wardrobe change. What to do?

That night, after a little talk with Jesus it came to me. “Upcycle your old clothes,” I heard Him whisper. “I love to see you feel good about yourself."

Simplicity, it seemed, was the key. I was looking forward to locate stowed-away clothes.

Oh happy day when life feels brighter, when we’re a little more in control, when we’ve put on a happy face, and shunned the “My stars, I look awful but who cares,” attitude as we walk out the door.

There’s nothing better than when God returns that bounce in our step, and that prize-winning smile because we are looking good, my friend. And sometimes looking good is adding a little pizzazz to our wardrobes. Keep it simple I say, but get creative. Let’s have some fun; we deserve it.

According to Psalm 30:11, Jesus wants to turn our mourning into dancing; loosen our sackcloth and clothe us with gladness. I think we should let him.

First suggestion is to get out of those pajamas or raggedy, worn-out clothes. That alone will make you feel better. Give your nails a splash of color or a simple coat of clear fingernail polish. Don’t hesitate to treat yourself to a new haircut. It’s all about the hair, right? Make it a simple one, extremely manageable; one that compliments the shape of your face. Shop around in local newspapers for hair-cut deals in your neighborhood. Look for those coupons in the mail. If you’re lucky perhaps you have a friend who’s a hairstylist.

Wini rocking polka dot boots & that stylish cap
Wini G. who cared for her parents over 15 years says, “If you’re having a bad hair-day, just pull your hair up and cover with a beanie, hat, or stylish cap—works great for those quick trips to the grocery store.” 

I’m thinking a large beach hat would do the trick as well. Or how about a denim floppy hat you repurposed from a pair of old jeans? I even found a tutorial for that.

In any case, let’s dig into that wardrobe.

• Jeans and t-shirt kind of person? Roll up the pant legs and put on a pair of white sneakers or cute sandals. Dress a t-shirt with an infinity scarf—make one from an old t-shirt.  Use a pearl necklace (fake pearls allowed) as a bracelet. Oversized beach bags are way more interesting than a purse and has room for all those extras you need when driving to doctors’ appointments. I own a floral-design backpack. Travels with me wherever I go, but use whatever fits your personality.

• Leggings and all that fun stuff. Leggings are versatile. They go with almost everything. Follow this link for 20 suggestions.

• If you wear flip flops with your leggings spice them up with a little crochet magic. My board titles "Caregivers Wardrobe Hacks and More" on Pinterest has all sorts of tutorials for this and how to repurpose old clothes. You’ll have a new wardrobe in no time. A t-shirt dress goes well with leggings by the way. And you can’t lose with the sporty look.

• The point is you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a new wardrobe. Get creative with what you have. Mix and match, accessorize, don’t be afraid to add your own touches. And visit slightly-used thrift shops; the Salvation Army, or Goodwill.

• Check out my niece’s video below and see how good she looks with thrift shop buys. 

Care-giving is a rough journey, and it’s a long one. Sometimes we need an attitude adjustment, like I’ve written in previous posts, but sometimes all we need along this bumpy road is a wardrobe change. Don’t lose who you are. Add a little color and try something daring once in a while.

Wini and Julie with a jug of home-made apple cider
My good friend Julie, a former caregiver, had this to say: “Wearing a certain color helped perk up my washed-out com-plexion or lack of sleep appearance. For me a bright red was my go-to-color for adding a bit of color to my face. Yellow was another color I turned to as it added a bit of sunshine to overcast days and great for fending off mild depression.”

Julie recommends the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidyng Up by M.  Kondo. It has made a huge difference as she worked to declutter her closet: only wear clothes that bring you JOY.  The book is well worth the $10 investment.

Fun with Wini G.

Wini likes to have fun so once upon a daring time she decided to put on a pair of silly big slippers with her pajamas and went to the nursing home, the Alzheimer’s section—a good time for staff and patients alike. Needless to say she put a big smile on everyone’s faces.

Another time she set up a toll booth at the Home. When patients wheeled by in their walkers or wheelchairs she stopped them and asked for the toll. Cookies were the acceptable payment.

She also liked to get dressed up even if she only had one errand to run.

We need to take care of ourselves, body, mind, and soul. Be the whole you the best you can. Sometimes it just takes a wardrobe change.

A Caregiver’s Prayer

Dear Lord, thank you for good days. Thank you for fun days. Grant me patience, happiness, and a wonderful sense of creativity.

Beloved Caregiver

I clothed the fields with daffodils
A splash of green to paint the hills
The silver stars to glow at night
The moon so full reflect sunlight

But you mean more to me, my child
A fragrance sweet and gently mild
Your inner beauty pure and true
It never fades, uniquely you
(Copyright, 2018 by Deborah L. Alten)

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