No matter how many magazines you read or TV shows you watch, the best style guide is to look and learn from the people around you – no airbrushing, no trick camera angles, just real people. I could spend forever people watching, it’s one of my favourite hobbies. We are all so very different, even if people look similar their personalities can be quite different and, as a result, their choice of style will be completely different. One of the best pieces of advice I could give you is to ‘wear your clothes’. What this means is that a little of your personality should filter through in your choice of style! If you love quirky clothes but are quite shy and timid then something will always appear a little off. On the other hand if you are a gregarious soul and you live in a plain top and trousers then there will always be a part of you screaming to wear something with a little edge to it, something different, sensational even. Have enough faith in yourself to know the difference.
Some of us come from a different era, we were told to ‘sit down and stay quiet’, school was more disciplined and boosting confidence in kids was not a priority. Now we are seeing a generation of confident young people emerging and yes, it is a wonderful thing. They know what they want, know what they like and know what looks good on them. We could learn so much from them! Confidence is the secret to having good style at any age, even more so if you are over 50. Ageing is something that none of us can avoid, we try our best, but there is no eluding the changes to our bodies that come with growing older.
Do you feel the pressure? Are you becoming obsessed with trying to look younger because you are over 50? Feeling good about yourself will make you look better, younger even. Spending hours applying potions and lotions to help you look younger can be detrimental to your confidence, in other words, you are focusing on what is wrong with you and that is not a good thing. I know that clever marketing can have our heads in a spin about how we should look and what we need to do but are we rapidly approaching a time when no one will be able to tell mothers from daughters or fathers from sons because it will become the ‘norm’ for everyone to have work done! There is a sadness in that. Ageing is an honour, embrace every part of it, every change in your body and face and hold your head high because in those years that have caused physical changes, you will have learned what life is really all about. You will have realised that life is not about playing it safe…it’s about living!
Now you can understand why I believe that looking good over 50 has never been so easy. Starting from the top down; your hair will get a little drier, maybe even a little thinner (for some). Deal with it, find a conditioner that suits your hair and take a course of Head High (it does help to thicken up your hair). If you do choose to go grey, good for you, just know that you have to do a little more work with colour around your face. I always think that a little eyeliner on the top lid not only makes such a difference, it lifts you and it distracts from any bags under the eyes. In other words, looking good over 50 means that you become an illusionist, you work with the ‘good bits’ and that creates an illusion…no one sees the ‘not so good bits’! Holding your head up can cause a double chin to disappear and it also elongates your neck, ultimately pulling the skin so there are less saggy bits – it really is that simple. This type of confidence is not dependent on wealth, age or size – you just learn it, do it and never forget it! For good make up tricks – the Suzanne Jackson Contour Palette has changed my life. Great hair has you well over half way there so all you need are the ‘right’ clothes. Waisted jackets add a cute waist when Mother Nature steals it from you – always a great investment and you can never have enough of them. Elegance and comfort are top of the list but that does not mean frumpy. Every woman has to have a pencil skirt, fitted to your body type that hits mid-knee (veins can be covered with tights in the winter and tan in the summer). A crisp white shirt or three is a must-have. They scream glamour with anything that you might wear them with. A year-round leather jacket for those fun times is essential. Have the confidence to mix in ‘bargain bits’ with quality basics. Ageing might mean that you can no longer buy your entire wardrobe on the ‘high street’ but it does not mean that you can’t pick up bits and pieces there. Never match your handbag and your shoes – this is where you can be very daring, wild even. Following trends is a bit of a No-No when you hit a certain age. Learn to camouflage what you need to and really accentuate what you should.
You might need to work a little harder to find ‘you’ jeans…but girls, it is so very worth it. How lucky are we to be living in times where you can find a pair of jeans to lift your bum and tuck your tummy – forever grateful! Just avoid the ripped look, any embellishments or any embroidery. Keep the colour from mid blue to dark. Pocket size and placement can make a huge difference so take plenty of time checking out your bum in the mirror before you buy! No woman anywhere is allowed to leave the house in a pair of crocs, EVER. Also, tie-dye t-shirts are for the beach only. Cargo pants should be burned…with glee. Pants with elastic waists should be banned, I don’t care how comfortable that you are in them, they always sit funny and add pounds. Low-waisted jeans are obscene on anyone over 30, if you think that they look CUTE, you need your head examined. There are just some clothes that suit ‘young bodies’ and even if you are ‘forever young’ in your head, trust me, low-riding jeans are ‘not the way to go’.
Have several ‘little black dresses’ to wear so that you are always ready when that ‘invitation’ comes. Keep your eyes peeled year-round for that type of dress, and you all know that a little sleeve or half sleeve to cover the top of your arms is always a win-win. Cleavage is ok but not pouring out of your dress, and if you have good shoulders and your chest is not too big, then say ‘yes’ to strapless (but only if you are comfortable and will not be pulling at it all the time).
Always wear a belt with a sheath dress – it distracts the eyes from your tummy. Never get into the habit of buying by size, you should buy-to-fit. A professional bra fitting is one of the best presents that you could ever give yourself – do it. Never wear baggy clothes – they just add volume at a time in your life when you need structure. Stick to classic pieces and accessorise with some of the season’s trendiest bits. Do not let anyone talk you into wearing something that you don’t instantly feel good in. Have one outrageous piece in your wardrobe and wear it at least once a year. My style guru is Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, I don’t think that she has ever got it wrong. I do believe that Kate Midleton copies her a little. We all copy someone, don’t we? So who do you copy…Helen Mirren, Michelle Pfeiffer, Rene Russo, Diane Keaton, Kim Bassinger…or are you a Kim Catrall?