Tuesday 28th June 2022

Appearance Matters. 2018.11.

Appearance Matters. 2018.11.

When I knew that Sue from Sizzling Towards Sixty and Leanne from Cresting the Hill were starting up a link up for the Over 50s I decided it might be just the place to be…for me!

I’ve been blogging for more than 8 years now and my blog has changed a lot in the past 2-3 years. It has become a personal space for me to connect and be in conversation with a range of readers who vary in age, interests and career status.

My audience till the past year or so has tended to be mothers of children who are at school or at the beginning of their school lives. I love that too because I am a parent of 2 adult children who have kids (our beloved grandkids) and I sometimes see the similarities of the life I had as a parent with what is happening now. The significant change though is SOCIAL MEDIA and PHONES. This is something for another time!

What do I mean by ‘appearance matters?’

In my case it has two meanings:

  1. that my appearance does matter to me
  2. that it matters that I take care of my appearance

But why should I?

In the past 2-3 years I have had to face mental challenges that came as a big shock to my system. They included selling a beloved family home, moving to a completely different area of NSW AND finally stopping the care of our grandchildren which had formed a part of my weekly routine for over 6 years. Oh yes, and I stopped my final professional role as an educator of pre-service teachers at University.

These events proved to be much bigger as a challenge to my feelings and mental well-being than I ever considered. I thought (yes, thinking is an intellectual move) that all the transitions we went through towards our longed-for retirement were well-reasoned and totally accepted by me.

But they actually were not well-received by my inner being.

My life spiralled down into a self-centred and sad one despite on the outside it seemed OK.

Here’s what transpired so that I did finally accept the changes emotionally and could move forward.

I got cancer.

What the??

I do not downplay this at all but my diagnosis of cancer in my upper gums came last May (read here if you would like to know more) after almost a year of troubles with my mouth and a bridge attached to my front teeth.

I literally had to step up and find emotional strengths and courage to manage myself as well as I could with such BIG news and a HUGE change in my life. And that of my husband’s. I was well-cared for by my psychologist who had already given me the tools to manage situations that were threatening to me and my then-new GP was also part of “support Denyse as she supports herself” team. I have since not needed the counselling and use my inner strengths and knowledge more over time with some top-up reminders from chats with my husband and GP.

Introducing Appearance Matters! 

I admit that when I was feeling down, even before cancer, I was not much into clothes. I was overweight for a LONG time in my life. Read my post where I confessed to my long-time weight issues. Yet, in 2015 and onwards something happened to me that has never happened before without diets and restrictions. I started losing weight (I did need to but it seemed too easy) and it became evident that my clothes were too big. I did see that and feel it too but as a decades long overweight person I thought it would all return. It did not and slowly I needed to give away the BIG sizes and down-size my wardrobe.

Me with my late Mum. I felt I could never measure up to her appearance-wise so I did not bother. Mum died in 2007. This pic well before that.

This was a chore. I had no interest in buying the clothes around late 2016 and into 2017 because I figured we could not afford new clothes for me (on a limited pension) and that I did not deserve new clothes. Again, my inner self was not a happy camper. I hung out in casual beach clothes and nothing which was tight nor showing off my shrinking body.

I had the cancer surgery in May. I could barely eat and that sure did prove to be a weight loss success that no-one thought I should be aiming for as I needed to become well via nutrition as well. I learned what I could deal with and what went down with virtually no teeth and a very restricted space in my mouth. I received on-going medical care for wounds and yes, loose beach pants and tops suited just fine.

Until they didn’t.

I made the choice to begin taking care of my daily appearance AND to add to my very limited wardrobe. I knew how to shop cannily and I began slowly as my physical body recovered to be able to shop and browse. I found to my delight I had missed this kind of self-care.

Now it was on.

Visits to the shops, finding my old jewellery stash which was packed, getting my wedding and engagement rings re-sized so they did not fall off me and finding some fun foot wear in the back of my wardrobe I had abandoned.

I began seeing the purpose of the Outfits of The Day posts here on Styling You and a blogger called Jan (who blogs here, had me write a guest post ) had been posting pics of her daily outfits for a while and I decided it was time to

Make My Appearance Matter! 

I may not have anywhere in particular to go to anymore but I decided from 30 October 2017 and onwards that my day would have purpose and getting dressed in something flattering and appealing to me along with added accessories was important. I also added a daily outing, even if it is only for a coffee to my day. It has been amazing! I have written about it here and here.

I am delighted that it is helping my recovery from cancer too as I am far less focussed on what is wrong and more on what is right with me!

Does Your Appearance Matter to You?

Tell me more!


It’s the Midlife Share the Love Linky and is the direct link to the Link Up. 






  1. Great post, Denyse. I’m going through a serious fug where appearance is concerned at present. I’m way too overweight & just don’t care how I look. I’m in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne over the next few weeks for work so will have no choice but to make the effort again. Part of what I’m trying to get to this year in my heart project is pride.

    • Oh Jo, I understand. I know my weight literally dropped away because of anxiety, IBS and never really wanting to eat much after the move from Sydney.

      Prior to that I felt as you do write here: totally did not care BUT at the same time, and I cannot speak for you, I also wanted to eat and eat to ‘fill’ a void or the total fug as you describe.

      I was depressed about life stuff that was happening but not clinically. What I learned for myself and about myself that I was sad at the life events. So, again, whilst I cannot speak for you, I know that my eating was connected with self-soothing and comfort.

      I wish you well in reconnecting with yourself as ‘that will be key’ I reckon to self-care, compassion and love.

      I know I am sounding a bit OTT but I did a helluva lots of learning about the why and what via courses with Dr Kristin Neff, Brene Brown and of course talking with my psychologist and my husband.

      Oh, it’s got to start somewhere and liking who you are no matter what the size is the key and that takes a LOT of convincing, I know.

      Thank you so much for sharing. It is always good to know we are not alone isn’t it? Denyse x

      • It’s a weird one because I’m happier and more content than I’ve ever been. Contented cow syndrome perhaps? My weight all went on during those last 6 years in Sydney – self-medication for work stress, some family crap, blah blah blah. I was absolutely a gap eater. Now I think it’s a habit thing that needs to be broken.

        • I hear you. I think too that from the pics I see you are in a most wonderful environment to really enjoy such quality local produce. It does seem incredibly varied too what is on offer in the area up there.
          The only thing, if you are looking to change any habit, might be quantity but never the quality!

          I cannot do diets…but when I did reduce my eating because my gut told me it couldn’t handle the amounts I ate previously, I never felt I missed out as long as I got it in smaller quantities.

          THIS is something I will need to watch when I can eat everything/anything I want again! Denyse x

  2. I am so sorry you had to travel such a difficult road, Denyse, but what a journey! I’m glad you are doing well, both physically and emotionally. You are so right about the difference our appearance can make on our state of mind. It is so much more than vanity. It is self confidence and just simply feeling good about ourselves. It doesn’t mean we have to be “done up” all the time, but it does make a difference when we take the time to care for our appearance. Maybe that’s the key — we put time into what we value, so maybe we are reminding ourselves of our own value.

    • Thank YOU Wendy! Your comments are very welcome and I agree.

      I used to think caring about appearance was to do with vanity but I have learned via this now 3 months of doing so, that getting dressed gives me purpose and sets me up well for each day.

      I had no idea of how much I would like it actually! Each time I am out somewhere and see other older women who also seem to be taking this kind of care I am chuffed. It IS worth it to our very essence and esteem.

      I look forward to continuing to connect. I also blog each Monday with a link up called Life This Week and I have optional prompts for bloggers. Bloggers of all ages and interests link up and it is fun too!

      Denyse x

  3. Hi Denys, I just found you at the new midlife linky. I, too, used to work with preservice teachers. We sold our home and moved to a new city. My struggles were a bit similar to yours- who was I going to be now? I spent a couple of years caring for my Dad, who died from cancer. I started blogging and started a new business supporting beginning teachers on-line. The biggest work I needed to do was in my head- changing my mindset and shifting my thoughts. That is what I often write about at Life Redesign 101.

    I am so happy you decided that you deserve new clothes that fit you. Of course you do! I hope your cancer is gone and that you get to enjoy life.

    • Oh wow, we have walked some similar paths and as I said to another commenter, Jo above “it’s always good to know we are not alone”.

      When I was still teaching the pre-service teachers I made one of my blogs directed towards new and beginning teachers but the traffic just didn’t come so I closed it. However, I will always be a teacher at heart and now ‘support’ teachers and pre-service teachers via twitter chats etc.

      I will definitely pop over to your website!

      Thanks so much for your kind comments. I must admit I really am enjoying the delights of wearing clothes I feel good in (and yes, I will say look good in as well) and it has helped my emotional health recover very well indeed.

      I look forward to continuing to connect. I also blog each Monday with a link up called Life This Week and I have optional prompts for bloggers. Bloggers of all ages and interests link up and it is fun too!

      Denyse x

  4. I decided about two years ago that I would start wearing my favourite clothes on a daily basis, rather than hanging out in daggy tshirts and yoga pants, even when I had nowhere to go.

    And then last winter, I found myself constantly in my trakkie pants because I had put on weight and felt uncomfortable in anything else. And then I began seeing your #everydaystyle posts, not really paying much attention to them, but with time, I realised that I needed to start caring about how I looked again.

    Luckily I have more summer clothes that fit, than winter ones, so this was relatively easy. I also bought some larger clothes that still look surprisingly good on me. Even shorts!

    My biggest achievement each day is actually getting up, showered and dressed, and if I put some nice flattering clothes on, it’s a bonus.

    Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Dorothy, I have read this comment twice it was so pleasing! Thank you for the shout-out too.
      I admit that it took me quite a long time (years!) to come to my realisation I too could care for myself more and in a better way.
      I am just so glad you too are finding it can make a difference to you too.
      Warm wishes, Denyse x

  5. Well you know that I totally agree that appearance matters, it is one of the self loving actions to take care of how one looks. No need for botox or Dior, just clean, tidy clothes and shoes topped off with some jewellery and lippie and it feels good.

    • Yes of course I do. But the big step is always that first one and the one we (I) need to do by ourselves. We are social beings and we do need to connect so I am pleased we did and have and that your influence contributed to me getting a start here! Denyse x

  6. Denyse I LOVED this post – you are such an inspiration to me with all that you’ve gone through with reinventing yourself – you handle your battles with such grace and I am so happy that you’re celebrating yourself and your appearance – another silver lining for you. This post was an absolute joy to read and I thank you so much for linking it up to our very first #MLSTL party – you are going to be such an asset to our linky xx I’ve shared this to my social media too x

    • Leanne that is incredibly kind. I have many moments (days, weeks) where the way I lived my life was sad and angry and it did take something VERY significant, along with my continued self-education, like cancer for me to be forced to take steps. Each time I did take those steps, I grew in self-worth and confidence. Things that challenge us which are met end up being those by which we grow. Thanks for your kind words. Denyse x

  7. I love you Denyse! I have followed your journey over the last year and you have shown such strength and courage from which I draw inspiration. Cancer runs in my family. I lost my Mum, Dad and Brother and my sister has had lung cancer. I’m the only one who hasn’t been touched yet! I also love that you have taken on the attitude of looking after your appearance. To me, yes I slouch around some days but really when I make a little effort I feel so much more confident and motivated. Good for you and I’m so pleased to have you as part of our link party. You certainly do fit in! Have a great week. #MSTL #midlifesharethelove

    • Oh Sue, that is so sweet. I hear you in writing about your family. I sense that you would be ‘living with the fear of cancer’ and yet, it can skip people and generations. As my surgical team has told me I had no risk factors nor familial ones so my cancer was one of very bad luck. As humans we want surety and answers and I have had to learn the hard way that is not always possible.

      And just to keep this appearance thing real, once I have been out for whatever reason and am home again, I am back in my summer casual shorts and top! I do not stay dressed in my outfit all day!

      Thanks for yours and Leanne’s initiative and I will do my best to link each week and visit to comment too. Denyse x

  8. Hi Denyse, I think you are an inspiration and you know I’ve been cheering on from the sidelines for a while, but I’ll say so again! You are an inspiration and I admire your courage as well as your organisation! All those outfit photos and posts – you put me to shame. Keep up the good work … and don’t forget you are looking incredibly trim and attractively attired.

    • Thanks so much Jo! That is most kind. Today I “think” I have stopped shopping. I have really enjoyed the experience of seeking the specials because I literally have not paid full price for anything.

      My late Mum was always good at co-ordinating and she loved colours too so even though I find it hard to admit, I think I may be more like Mum than I realised!!

      Very pleased that I have been able to turn what was a pretty rotten experience finding out about cancer into something positive for me.

      Denyse x

  9. Good post, Denyse. I too am a cancer survivor (>20 years) and lost a lot of weight. Sadly, it has returned and I need to do something definite about it. Nevertheless, I don’t like looking untidy. I do take care of my appearance although I like to dress casually. Answers to Questions I wouldn’t have Thought to Ask~#SYW

    • Thank you Shirley! I recall reading your cancer story some time ago. Wow. 20+ years. That is awesome. As for ‘weight’ I think it will be something I too will need to watch again once I can eat from a wide range of foods.

      Doing the photo a day in an outfit and making myself go somewhere each day for a coffee has liberated me. I could have always done this of course but my crippling anxiety pre-cancer diagnosis held me at home.

      No more! I am living and loving life. I will check out your latest post too!

      Denyse x

  10. Thank you for sharing your personal experience with us, Denyse. I believe appearance does matter for the very reasons you point out. Our insides and outsides are closely connected. Our physical appearance reflects what we are feeling on the inside, and caring for our outward appearance often improves how we feel on the inside. I wish you much happiness and health!

    • Thank you so much for your kind and insightful comments! Yes, so true about the inside and the outside being connected but until I re-gained my inner strength and confidence (thanks Cancer!) then it was a challenge.

      Denyse x

  11. Great post, Denyse! You’ve been through so much and have turned your difficulties into something positive for yourself, as well as encouraging others who may read your blog or know you in person. Appearance matters to me in the sense that I’m taking care of myself so I can be my best, plus some of the basics such as regular hair and dental care are actually essential to our health.

    • Oh yes, I too am still taking care of my (8) teeth with a visit to my dentist late last year for cleaning. I have regular hair appointments too. Self-care is an attitude too I believe and whilst I did cover the basics when I was feeling much less confident and unwell, adding the outer appearance via clothes and accessories has helped me greatly.

      Thank you! Denyse x

  12. I’m so sorry that you have been facing such challenges! Clearly, you have amazing strength and resilience! Appearance does matter! And it doesn’t really cost more to buy clothes that flatter and fit. It just takes more looking in the shops or online. Hair and makeup are so important too as they can make or break your look! When you look good, you feel good and, I believe you attract good things and people to you when you are self confident in your appearance. Nice post!

    • Thank you for you kind words and commenting Linda! Yes it doesn’t take much to have some pride and effort in appearance but first, for me, the mind did have to change. Fortunately it did. Denyse x

  13. Nice to hear that you are focusing on what is right with you and not what is wrong. I think that is probably half the battle of things. Stay positive!

    • Thank you Cherie, yes that does seem to help make a difference for me and others too. I continue to look for the positives these days rather than the negative which was my -go-to’. Denyse x

  14. I really enjoyed reading your post about your return to self care, buying clothes that fit and believing that you deserve it. I look forward to reading more of your posts. It was lovely visiting your blog.