Stacy London by

For me, there is this sense of fashion being about privilege, and that privilege has to do           with wealth, youth and thinness….Those are the qualifications that you need in order to           participate in fashion. I’ve spent my life sort of arguing against those things.

So says Stacy London, longtime fashion guru, on-air consultant for television programs as diverse as Today and Rachael Ray, bestselling author (The Truth about Style), and host of reality shows What Not to Wear and, more recently, Love, Lust or Run.

I recently interviewed London for the Disrupt Yourself Podcast, and was struck by how her career journey through the fashion industry is an archetype for the rapidly changing, ephemeral nature of technology, education, work and life choices many of us face and are challenged by, again and again. Phrases like “seasonal fashion trend” and “fad” can feel like labels applied to us and our daily lives. We all know that “what’s trending now” is different than what will be trending tomorrow—even if it’s us. Relevance can yield to irrelevance faster than the styles of springtime are replaced on the rack by those intended for fall.

So I found London and her insights on aging in her industry to have universal application. All of us are aging and all of us are dealing with disruptive forces that unsettle. London’s hopeful message is that though sometimes painful, the transition from what we have been and presently are to what we will be can be accomplished with wisdom acquired and fresh relevance in the future.

 “I didn’t realize that I was not going to feel 47 when I turned 47, and the reality jolt, the shock, of being this age and feeling like, ‘Oh, I’m not in the game anymore the same way. And I don’t want to try; I want to find my self-worth in where I am right now. Not in who I used to be, or who I used to want to be. I want to play my own game.

“When people talk about women being older, you know, ‘She was in her forties….’  And I’m like, “That’s…what? You’re talking about me. I’m sitting right here. What do you mean, ‘older?’ I’m shocked by it.”

“I want to define my worth, my value, not by youth or my body type or my wealth. Or define it by having children or being a wife. I want to play my own game, and I want to define those terms …in a way that’s at least understandable to other women and allows them, gives them permission, to find their own set of terms.”

I want to play my own game, and I want to define those terms.–@stacylondon

This post originally published at Forbes