You may be surprised to hear that at 31, I am already starting to feel old. However, this is mainly due to the fact that my younger sister is constantly reminding me that I am eight years ahead of her. The fact that she is still borrowing my clothes, tells me that I must be doing something right.
Getting older has always been a much bigger deal for women than for men. When men get grey hair, they are considered distinguished but when we get them, we flock to the nearest hairdressers to get them covered up. To make matters worse, we are constantly bombarded with advertisements telling us about the latest age-defying cream or gel, which are usually fronted by a gorgeous model, film star or singer. Then there is the interesting world of plastic surgery which I will not get into as that is a whole article in itself.
In terms of fashion, there are no hard and fast rules to growing old stylishly but there are things that you should embrace and avoid equally. The first rule is acceptance. Ageing is a fact of life and until someone discovers the fountain of eternal youth, we will continue to age…gravity can only be held back for so long. How many times have you seen a mature lady wearing something that would be more suited to an 18-year-old? There is no harm in trying to looking younger but those denim Miss Sixty mini skirts really don’t suit anyone over the age of 15.
What you should be aiming for is the capsule wardrobe. These are key pieces such as the little black dress, black tailored trousers, and a white shirt but to name a few. They are timeless and interchangeable. If you can get this right, then you can add in other pieces that can be worn with your capsule wardrobe or on their own. Whatever you do, do not be tempted to rush out and buy the latest ‘must-have’ item unless you know for a fact they will suit you and you have other items (minimum three) in your wardrobe that they can be worn with.
Another rule is learning to be comfortable in your own skin. As I get older, I become more confident in the choices I make, especially when it comes to my wardrobe. As a result of this, I now have a much greater sense of my own style compared to 10 years ago. Okay, so I am a fashion stylist but that does not mean that I have not made mistakes in the past. Over the years I have trained myself to be able to look at something in a shop and know instantly whether it will suit me before I even take it off the hanger to inspect the stitching (no I am not weird, I just like to know what I am getting for my money). The saying that some of us are born with style is not based in fact. There are those of us who have a better sense of it than others, but the basic knowledge of being stylish can be learnt provided you are willing to invest the time…remember Rome was not built in a day and neither is the perfect wardrobe!!!
Another factor is money. Your capacity to earn greater amounts increases as you get older which means you will have more disposable income. You can afford to buy better quality clothing, although this should not stop you from entering the realms of Primark and Peacocks.
Avoid shops like Morgan and Kookai. They are great shops but they really are not suited to anyone who isn’t in their teens or very early 20s. Aim for shops like Debenhams, which houses many different designers under one roof and has something for every age group. Other stores like Wallis, Dorothy Perkins and Marks & Spencer. If you want to spend that bit more, then Emma Somerset is especially great for evening-wear, House of Fraser have some excellent lines and Aquascutum is perfect for the quintessential English look (which is making somewhat of a comeback for Autumn/Winter 06 in the form of tweeds, tailoring and lady-like elegance). Also have a look in Principles, Hobbs and LK Bennett.
Getting older does not have to be doom and gloom and nowhere is this more visible than in the fashion world. So forget about the greys and get your glad rags on!