There is very definitely a lot of ‘talk’ about what the recent shopping surveys have revealed regarding ‘who’ is spending and ‘how much’ they are spending. Believe it or not, women in the over 50s category in the UK spend £2.7 billion a year on clothes and accessories, accounting for 41 per cent of total sales. So it won’t surprise you that there is a bit of a revolution taking place on the High Street. Like any other sector, the fashion industry is driven by quick profit and now the money is in ‘elegant clothes for grown-ups’ rather than ‘styles for youthful fashion victims’.
The shops are now pulling out all the stops for a slice of the profit. They have finally realised that women over 50 are more likely to walk into a shop and ‘feel’ the fabric and quality with their fingers, try them on in the dressing rooms, rather than blindly buying online and subsequently returning them — which is a huge pain in the rear end for retailers! In other words, any woman over 50 is now ‘the most desirable customer’, isn’t that a wonderful thing?
Now, more than ever before, we are seeing the faces of Emma Thompson, 55, and Annie Lennox, 59, as leading models for M&S and the result was an amazing 66 per cent increase in sales! Julia Twigg, author of Fashion and Age, claims that ‘women over 75 are now shopping as frequently as those in their teens and 20s were in the Sixties. Now the lives of those in their 60s are not immensely different from those in their 40s’. Long gone are the days when a frumpy dress was adequate attire for the more ‘mature’ woman, now fashion for this genre has to be every bit as stylish, active and alive as their daughters, also bearing in mind that these women have far more disposable income than many other younger women. Teenagers and the 20-somethings are either buying online or counting their pennies, retailers now are very aware that it is the over 50s that ‘are’ actually carrying the shopping bags!
You must have noticed the change yourself, even if you are just window shopping, you will see a lot more sleeves on dresses, a move toward a more flattering cut that is looser at the waist and a flurry of colour mix that flatters grey hair.
Even if you never gain a pound all through your adult life, it is virtually impossible to wear the same clothes or type of clothes in your 50s that you wore in your 30s. It all boils down to a redistribution of body fat, cellulite, and the rest I’m not going to harp on about because it does not need to be the primary focus. Our bodies are beautiful no matter what, with age comes the greatest gift of all — wisdom — and I’d rather have that any day over a flat stomach. There are wonderful little tools, secrets and disguises available to disguise all of the above. What I mean is that contemporary fashion can be adapted for a more mature figure — more forgiving waists on well-tailored skirts and trousers, also ingenious hidden elastic or drawstring flexibility. Don’t feel even a tad uncomfortable about looking for secret support on jeans or shaping panels on dresses and lower bust darts to lift the bust because I can tell you that women half your age are also looking for the same details. Ruching on the waist is a definite plus and a slightly longer hemline adds class while the addition of sleeves really finishes off a perfect ensemble.
While Lycra is wonderful, it can have a devastating effect on a body that is ‘not-so-toned’ anymore so look for fabrics that are less clingy and flimsy so that they skim the body rather than ‘stick’ to it. Black is always a wonderful safe colour but beware, it highlights wrinkles, so use colourful accessories to break it up if it is your favourite and most comfortable colour. Vibrant colours flatter the skin while neutrals can also work very well with certain skin tones, be confident about what suits you…in other words, if you are standing in a shop dressing room for 30 minutes still wondering if the colour works for you, you need to realise that it very obviously doesn’t. Familiarise yourself with that instant glow that you see reflected in the mirror when you wear a colour that makes you look ‘alive’. Don’t grieve the changes in your body, accept them and work with them, there is absolutely no reason why you cannot look every bit as good as you did 10 years ago, in fact I have noticed that a lot of women ‘come into their own’ in their 50s or far beyond that and look better than they ever did before. You know that I’m talking about you, don’t you?
There’s nothing that a really great outfit and a good haircut can’t do to make you feel and look absolutely fantastic. When you step over a certain age, you wonder what upgrades to make to your image so that you could look decent, respectable, fairly youthful and not outdated. Your hairstyle can be key to either ageing you or not. We all know that grey hair is an inevitable part of ageing so it’s completely up to you whether you decide to go with or to cover it. ‘Going with it’ does not mean giving up on yourself though, grey hair cut in a style that softens and flatters the face can look amazing. The only thing that you have to be mindful of is to make sure that you wear lots of bright colours, strong purple and vibrant pink are just two of the many colours that blend exquisitely with grey hair. Also, of course you know that grey hair tends to be more dry and frizzy, all you need to do is to buy one of the many frizz-ease products on the market — you will be spoiled for choice.
When you are over 50, there is no golden rule that states that you must choose some specific styles and stop doing something that you liked before. A woman is still a woman, no matter how old she is, so your favourite bob, pixie or a graded cut can still be the most flattering cut for you because they are timeless styles. Chat to your hairdresser, get lots of advice, cut pictures out of magazines if you must because your hair is your crowning glory and most often is your best fashion accessory!
When we reach our 40s and 50s, everything changes when it comes to underwear. The older we get, the more our underwear is about us — who we are, what we want to be and how we can feel fabulous. It is at this stage that we all have (or should have) an innate sense of style that has been developed over the years, hopefully leaving us all self-assured, confident and completely comfortable in our own skin. It is at this stage that we can become truly liberated about the types of underwear we can choose. We know what works and we know what doesn’t and we can have a fab time trying out new fashions and styles in different colours, shapes and materials. Research has shown that the market for lingerie sales for women between 50 and 60 has grown by 20 per cent in recent years because we are becoming increasingly more sophisticated, understanding the boost to our confidence as a result of wearing great underwear. Have you bought some new underwear recently? If you haven’t, get off you’re a** and go give yourself an underwear boost and don’t shy away from any of the bright or strong colours, they look amazing on!
Life is all about change; it’s the one thing that we can be certain of. Ageing is a very natural part of life and it should be embraced with open arms. So your body changes, it gets a bit softer, a bit more round, has a tendency to wobble — so what! So what if there is a little more to cuddle, it also means that there is a little more to love! Hold your head up high, you look amazing, you always did and you always will.