Ageless Style

Style, fashion and beauty articles for baby boomer women

Style or Fashion?

“Fashion is what you’re offered four times a year by designers. And style is what you choose”. ~ Lauren Hutton

I don’t consider myself a ‘fashionista’ and whilst I have some awareness of current trends, I am not an avid follower of fashion.  I’ve always felt that style is more important – taking into consideration factors such as your lifestyle, who you are on the inside and how you see yourself, your shape, skin and hair colouring, as well as how you wish (or don’t) wish to be perceived by others.

My first ‘fashion/style bible’ which I’ve had since 1985 (Dress For Your Lifestyle; author Kathryn Samuel) states “The secret of successful dressing is to keep fashion in perspective and to use it as a basis for your own personal style”.  Sound advice which is still very much relevant in 2017 and generally influences my clothes and accessories purchasing decisions.

I had the pleasure of being one of 6 women aged 40-plus invited to model the-Bias.Cut.com’s spring/summer 2017 collection.

As you can see, we are a diverse group of women in terms of our skin colouring, height, build/body shape.

ME – Marguerite flounce cuff blouse (blue plant print).  Parrots Crepe De Chine Blouse, Azur Sandal.

The new collection works so well with each of our own clothing – in this instance –  a pair of jeans.  Notice how different our jeans are – reflecting, our individual preferences/ personal style.

MICHELLE – Ivy Chunky Knit and Golden Rose of Banaras Velvet Ankle Boots. NICOLE- Marguerite Tiny Mosaic Blouse.

PREETA – Olive V Navy with Neon Accents Cashmere Sweater. Golden Star of Banaras Flat Loafers.

HILARY – Jacket Stripes Blue. Lilian of Banaras Flat Shoes. SUNETA – Brenna Fitted Jacquard Blazer. Louise Blue Glitter Pumps.

Which is more important to you? Style or fashion?

Photos taken by: Kate Frost

Makeup Artist: Nikola Valastekova

Spring/Summer 2017 Collection: the-Bias.Cut.com

Hope Fashion for Women Aged 40 Plus – SS17 with Real Models

London Fashion Week (LFW) kicked of this week, and a couple of days ago outside Store Studio, the Strand (home to LFW), a group of 5 professional models over the age of 40, carried placards campaigning for representation on the catwalk.  One placard read ‘Stop Ageism at London Fashion Week’, whilst another challenged LFW to ‘grow up’.  The campaign was organised by online UK fashion retailer JD Williams who led last year’s groundbreaking SS16 fashion shoot where everyone (from professional model to camera crew) was not only female but over the age of 50.  It really is admirable that JD Williams is trying to break the mould, along with the professional models, in advocating for fashion to be made accessible to those of us in our 40s, 50’s, 60’s and beyond.

Real models

But, we don’t all look like professional models such as Daphne Self, Yasmin Le Bon, Jilly Johnson or Yazzmeenah Rossi (to be fair, JD’s Brand Ambassador is the lovely TV presenter, Lorraine Kelly, who is not a professional model).   Standing at 5ft tall, and of curvy build, with grey peppered short natural hair, black skin tone and wearer of variofocal spectacles, I certainly don’t.

In a previous post I talked about the-Bias-Cut.com and their use of ‘real models’ –   women, just like you or I, who have no previous experience of modelling. Now, this to me is groundbreaking – the opportunity to visualise how a jacket, shirt, dress or pair of trousers might look like on us, from a more realistic representation of someone whose body shape, height or colouring might be closer to our own.  Hope Fashion which launched in 2015 (available online and via social selling/pop up boutiques) is also a staunch believer of using real women to model their collections.

Hope Fashion

The clothes are aimed at women aged 40 upwards.  Founder, Nanya McIntosh is inspirational in that she and her design team do not adhere to traditional sizing and instead design clothing to work on any body shape!  They say “our clothes are designed to enhance and to work with your height and proportions to create your best ever silhouette”.   The majority of their dresses and tops are in the following sizes:-

– Freesize: to fit sizes 8-20
– Dual Slim: to fit sizes 8-14
– Dual Curvy: to fit sizes 16-20

I love their philosophy and the items I have purchased to date, personally work for me, bar one dress which unfortunately (I felt) didn’t suit me (for my height and large bust), so is being passed onto one of my sisters who is taller than me.

I consider their items to be a lovely blend of timeless fashion/style comprised of quality fabrics.  Also, almost 55% of their clothing is manufactured in the UK, and the rest in Italy.

Most of the clothes are neutral in colour.  You can add your own unique splashes of colour (i.e scarves, jewellery and shoes) to compliment or contrast.

The basis of Hope Fashion is their foundation range, which creates a smooth, shaping/sculpting silhouette from which you can then layer and build your outfit.  Here, Debs, models foundation wear in grey with SS17 bonded sweat top in grey marl on top.

New to the collection is this navy blue foundation scoop dress featuring 3/4 sleeves – as modelled by Helen.

I had the opportunity to be one of the Hope models for the spring and summer 2017 collection featured in this post, and here I am, wearing their foundation vest in white, with chalk coloured ankle grazers (comfy stretch cotton trousers) and – sheer navy blue chiffon cocoon top – which I really love and feel gives you some reassurance if you are feeling a bit conscious of exposing wobbly upper arms or post menopause tummy whilst wearing sleeveless or close fitting items underneath.

Trudy, models a silk pop on top with its gorgeous Jamaican sunset print over foundation wear.  You could also wear this over a vest top and jeans/trousers or shorts, or wear as a swimsuit/bikini cover up.

And finally, for this post, I wanted to show you the cashmere and cotton blend poncho (modelled by Angela).  The aqua colour is absolutely gorgeous isn’t it!

What do you feel about the concept of using ‘real model’s, are you for or against it?  And, what item of clothing from Hope’s collection would you wear and why (visit their website to see the full range)?  Would love to hear your views 🙂

Please note, this is not a collaborative post.  All opinions are my own.

Images – courtesy of Hope Fashion.

Ageism Is Never In Style – the-Bias-Cut.com

In my short e-guide ‘Embrace Your Older Body Image’, I mention that as we women get older, hormonal changes may present us with excess weight and perhaps a changed body shape.  Other transformations occur such as wrinkly skin, less pert body parts, greying hair and so forth.

BUT, does this mean that due to physical evidence of the ageing process, we have to dress ‘age appropriate’?  I personally think not and I know others do too.  In her book ‘A Guide to Looking and Feeling Fabulous Over Forty’ (publ: 2008), model and style icon Twiggy says “ageing doesn’t mean waving goodbye to style and individuality”.

No woman is invisible

Millennial, Jacynth Bassett, who has always had a passion for fashion, was saddened by her mother’s frustration, whilst shopping, at her ever-lasting love for style constantly being squashed by the range of dowdy, frumpy and unflattering designs now typically targeting her.  She claims it was a constant struggle to find beautiful, quality garments her mother would really love to wear and increasingly felt frustrated that women of a certain age were being made to feel invisible and irrelevant.

Jacynth became determined to do something about it!

Her mission is ‘Ageism is Never in Style’ which dictates the blog and movement Jacynth has founded under the umbrella of her company – the-Bias-Cut-com, which is “for women who know age shouldn’t limit style – offering style tips, inspiration, interviews with dynamic women, and discussion on age-prejudice within the Fashion Industry”.

In addition to the above, the-Bias-Cut.com curates limited collections featuring unique, styles but timeless, well cut, quality designs by talented UK contemporary labels and designers – online and through corporate events and ‘pop up’ parties, where those attending can relax, mingle and explore ideas about fashion and style over a glass of bubbly and delicious canapés.  At each party, Jacynth offers her expertise and inspiration on broadening ones style horizons.

I recently attended their Christmas Extravaganza and was able to admire the winter collection close up, feel the gorgeous fabrics and even bought myself a dress!  Professional Makeup Artist – Nikola Valestekova was also there giving mini makeovers.

Real women

Recently we have started to see some of the big names in the fashion industry feature well known older celebrities as models int their campaigns, which is really, really great, but what I like about the-Bias-Cut.com is that, on browsing through the designs on their website, you will see (as above), that the clothing is modelled by women over 40, who are just like you or I, of different shapes, sizes and ethnicity.

These women have little or no prior experience of modelling (including Jacynth’s mother Marilyn, below – who is the inspiration for the business), which surely provides a more realistic interpretation of how a piece of clothing might look on us!

We women want to look good at 40, 50, 60, 70 and beyond don’t we?  We want to discover or refresh our own authentic personal sense of style which reflects who we are at the age we are (most of us don’t want to look like mutton dressed as lamb, nor do we want to look frumpy and dowdy).  We want to embrace and be proud of our age!

Need support or inspiration on your journey?  Visit the-Bias-Cut.com (links below) and join the community.

Facebook

Instagram: @the_bias_cutcom

Pinterest

YouTube

Forum page

Forum group

Hashtag:  #NoWomanIsInvisible

Disclaimer:  This post is not sponsored.

Colour: Personal Style Board (Collage)

A few years back when I realised I seemed to be wearing a lot of black, I created the following simple collage using cuttings from my magazine stash, to help inspire me to inject more colour into my wardrobe.

If the same seems to have happened for you, why not create your own board too?

If you have a selection of magazines, go through them and cut out images of outfits, garments and/or accessories in colours that appeal to you and pin or glue to a board or in a scrapbook.

OR if cutting out and glueing to boards is not your thing, use Pinterest and create boards to help you curate, define or refine your colour style.

Check out my board: Personal Styling for Baby Boomer and Generation X Women, for ideas on putting your board together or just for colour and style inspiration.

Colour: Purple

“Be eccentric now.  Don’t wait for old age to wear purple”. ~ Regina Brett

Visualise and Bloom/Chi Chi GemmesPurple, associated with the crown chakra, is known as a cool colour (mix of red and blue).  I think its quite timeless and can classy or boho.   It contrasts well with black, grey, aqua blue, lime or olive green as well as yellow and even red.  It is said to be one of the colours that suits all skin tones.

img_0155

Positive associations - spiritual awareness, luxury, royalty, regal, truth, self-knowledge, sophistication, calmness. 


Negative associations - decadence, inferiority, depression, confusion, flaunting of power, fanatical.

Some purple gemstones/crystals - amethyst, garnet, fluorite, opal.

Colour: Pink

“I don’t think I will ever get tired of wearing pink” ~ Emma Bunton

Associated with the heart chakra – pink is said to be the colour of universal love.  Colour authority – Pantone, named Rose Quartz  (a lovely pastel pink) one of its colours for 2016.  Therefore, pink has been a hot favourite this year on the catwalk – from light pastels to strikingly strong fuchsia or raspberry shades.

Did you know – Kitten Kay Sera (known as the Pink Lady of Hollywood), aged 52,  has worn nothing but pink for the past 35 years and lives in a pink themed house.  Even her pet dog is dyed (with vet approved beetroot juice dyes) pink  (source:  Alison Lynch, Metro.co.uk, Jul 2016).

Good to know then, that pink is not just for little girls.  I (at aged 56)  can wear pink and you too can wear pink.

Visualise and BloomBUT….it’s about knowing which shades of pink suit ones skin tone.

Pink goes well with blue, green, cream, brown, grey, black, silver, metallic gold and even orange.

Positive associations: soothing, nurturing, feminine, comforting, romantic, frivolity, imagination, girly.

Negative associations: inhibition, emasculation, physical weakness.

Some pink gemstones/crystals:  rose quartz, rhodonite, rhodochrosite, morganite.

Pink has also become associated with breast cancer awareness – via the international symbol of a pink ribbon.

Colour (Clothes and Accessories): Black

“Women who wear black, lead colourful lives” ~ Neiman Marcus

In 1954 Christian Dior said of the colour black  “The most popular and the most convenient and the most elegant of all colours. And I say colour on purpose, because black may be sometimes just as striking as a colour. You can wear black at any time. You can wear it at any age. You may wear it for almost any occasion.”

What I love about black, is that it works well with so many other colours, white for example or warm colours such as red, violet, pink, yellow and green.  Also black doesn’t date does it?  I mean, the fashion industry brings out new shades for each season, but if you buy a black dress this week  – you could still be wearing it 5 years later (depending on the style of it of course).  Coco Chanel creator of the little black dress (LBD) dressed mainly in black and is quoted as having said “women think of all colours except the absence of colour. I have said that black has it all. White too. Their beauty is absolute. It is the perfect harmony”.

Visualise and Bloom (Valerie Lewis)

Black looks good on most skin tones, although, too much black near to the face may not suit your complexion.  If you are pale skinned it might make you look washed out, tired or older.  As for the debate as to whether or not black is slimming….I personally think it is – especially if the outfit is well cut and suits your shape/figure.

Positive associations:  power, protection, glamour, formal, mystery, strong, sophistication, sexy.

Negative associations:  cold, aloof, depressing, mourning.

Some black gemstones/crystals: tourmaline, jet, onyx, obsidian.

Colour

In my late 30’s I undertook an introductory interior design course – the principles and psychology of colour was an important component.

beauty rich brunette woman in luxury interior near empty frames, wearing fashion clothes, lifestyle pretty real people concept

But, I have always been fascinated by colour – from the colours in the fabric or wool used by my mother in her sewing, crocheting or knitting, to the colours of the interior wallpaper and paintwork in our family home, painted and decorated by my father.   Oh, and I remember ‘seasonal colour analysis’ by Colour Me Beautiful (Carole Jackson), which was popular back in the early 80’s, do you?  It was based on the seasons and depending on your skin tone, eye and hair colour, you were classified….. either Autumn, Winter, Spring or Summer.  This analysis helped you choose clothing and makeup in colours that flattered you.  Naturally over time the system has become more sophisticated with further classifications and sub-divisions, plus other companies have developed their own versions.

Colour came up again as I discovered complimentary therapies in my early 40’s.

A background of hydrangea flowers, in a colour palette with complimentary colour swatches

As author and Feng Shui expert Mary Lambert says ” colour permeates the world, and all cultures are influenced by it.  We see it all around us in nature – in the blue of the sky, the yellow of the sun, the green of the grass.  We take in colour from the rays of the sun, absorbing the entire spectrum of colours through our eyes, our breath, and our skin.  The colour’s health-giving vibrations help our bodies to function normally.  Colour also works deep inside us, on our mind and emotions, changing the balance of our moods and feelings of wellbeing – even our spiritual psyche” (The Colour Compass, 2001).

 

 

 

 

 

See Out 2015 in Strictly Come Dancing Style

You have been invited to a New Year’s Eve Party and have decided to see out the old year and welcome in 2016 with pizzaz!  Following the consumption of a couple of glasses of prosecco or more, you intend to hit that dance floor and get into the groove.

But what exactly are you going to wear you ask yourself as you survey your wardrobe?

For inspiration, look no further than what used to be your favourite Saturday night show, Strictly Come Dancing.  Regardless of whether you have visions of partnering your dearly beloved for a sexy samba or channelling your inner 1980’s Madonna through some solo voguing, you should be aiming for a look that oozes glitz and glamour.

one caucasian elegant couple dancers dancing in studio silhouette isolated on white background

Your outfit needs to allow for movement and suit your shape, height and colouring.  Forget your LBD.  Choose something in a vibrant standout colour (think Carol Kirkwood in royal blue, or Kirsty Gallacher’s cerise pink dress).

Your style can be:  ballroom chic, 50’s retro jive; 1920’s flapper or flirty mambo diva inspired.

  • Make up: go bold and don’t forget false eyelashes and red lipstick.
  • Body: use a body oil containing shimmer and depending on your skin colouring – fake tan.
  • Hair: sleek bun, chic finger wave  or flamboyant curls.
  • Jewellery: crystal and/or pearl dangly earrings or large studs, bangles and a cluster drop necklace.

If you are so inclined and depending on your choice of outfit, how about a tiara or fancy rhinestone hair clip?

To complete your look, all you need now is a pair of shoes.

Online retailer of contemporary women’s clothes, shoes and accessories JD Williams, have a very handy style guide on their website:

Put on your Strictly Come Dancing shoes this Christmas

And, even though Christmas is now past, this guide will provide you with inspiration and a nice variety of shoes to choose from, order and get delivered in time, to enable your dancing feet to waltz, cha cha cha or boogie woogie on into 2016!

Happy New Year x

This post is in collaboration with JD Williams.  Views are entirely my own.

Image: bigstock