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Vogue collageThis originally began as one of those “What not to wear” posts.

You know—one of those pieces where someone rails about how ridiculous high fashion is, and how no sane person would ever be caught dead wearing such things in real life.

I’d say something about how stupid it is to pay $2,950 for a pair of vintage Levi jeans when you could go to the men’s department of Goodwill and buy a pair for $6.99. Bring them home, cut a few holes in them, throw them in the washer and voila! You’re all haute couture.

What not to wear1BW copyOr how you could pop the collar on a well-made $17.99 men’s shirt you bought two summers ago at Marshalls and save yourself a cool $1,995 on a Balenciaga top. (Hey, don’t knock it. It’s Italian!)

If your husband is away on business, you could raid his closet for a black belt to cinch the waist on your baggy jeans and never have to ask for permission.

You could spot a pair of Sofft sandals on the clearance rack at T.J. Maxx in your size and think, “Hey, I could use a new pair of sandals for summer.”

What not to wear2Rob your closet of a brocade jacket, add it to the mix and you’ve recreated the whole photo shoot—minus the flat belly. (I didn’t think you’d want to see mine.)

Even if I wanted to, I can’t afford to be a high fashion girl, but I’ll tell you one thing about being over 50. I’m tired of being all buttoned up, and of being just what everyone expects me to be most of the time—of never defying expectations. Aren’t you? Isn’t everyone?

I don’t want to be married to all my fears and insecurities anymore. They bore me. And I’m tired of the way they’ve held me back.

Sometimes, it feels just wonderful to do or wear something completely unexpected.

Go out and do something unpredictable this weekend, will you? (Please don’t break any laws!)

Life is short. Wear the good stuff.

*Photo credit: style photos were borrowed from our print edition of the New York Times Style magazine.