“Its a new era in fashion – there are no rules. Its all about the individual and personal style, wearing high-end, low -end, classic labels, and up-and-coming designers all together”. ~ Alexander McQueen
If you have been carrying out the exercises from parts 1 and 2 of my blueprint for embracing your older body image series, you really should be experiencing a shift in how you think and feel about yourself and your body.
Do you now find yourself looking through your wardrobe and assessing what you wear with new eyes?
image courtesy of winnond/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
As you do your assessment, keep these points in mind:-
Back to basics
Whilst it has become trendy in some circles to wear your underwear as outerwear my advice to you, is to see your underwear as being the foundation for your outerwear.
Did you know that lingerie brand Triumph International recently conducted a survey of 10,000 women which revealed that around 76% of us are wearing the wrong bra size! The right sized bra will not only be more comfortable and supportive, but will make your clothes fit and look better. Are you feeling guilty? Go and get yourself professionally fitted.
It really is ok to wear comfortable high waist knickers or shapewear that helps hold in body parts that you feel have become a bit too cuddly. But, if thongs or boy shorts are your thing, go for it!
Change is good for you
Know first who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly. ~ Epictetus
How you dressed 5 or 10 years ago may no longer suit your changed shape, current lifestyle or the woman you wish to become. Sometimes external support might be needed. Now, I’m not for any minute suggesting that this is a required step you need to take on your own journey to embracing your older body image – but, in 2009 I embarked upon a personal stylist/image consultant course mainly because I felt that, I who had always intuitively known what suited me, had lost my way with my own personal sense of styling following a year of 2 major surgeries (including full hysterectomy, with its resultant hormonal and body shape changes) and approaching the big 50.
If you are UK based, do you remember Trinny (Woodall) and Susannah (Constantine) and watching their ‘makeover’ reality show – What Not To Wear – back in the early noughties? The premise of the programme was that friends and family nominated someone they felt dressed rather badly and who was therefore in need of a wardrobe makeover. With expert guidance and support from Susannah and Trinny – it was fascinating to witness the positive and transformative powers of clothing and accessories in conjunction with complimentary make up and hairstyle – that suited the age, colouring, body shape and lifestyle of the participants. Another makeover expert, Nicky Hambleton-Jones, says that we all have the potential to look fantastic effortlessly, no matter what our size or shape.
In a later post, I will be asking expert stylist Helen Reynolds to share some of her top styling tips for looking fabulous in your 50s and beyond. In the meantime, for inspiration why not check out YouTube for past episodes of ‘What Not To Wear’, or make an appointment at your local department store to see one of their personal in-house stylists who can guide you on which clothes suit your lifestyle, colouring and body shape.
Cultivate your own personal signature style
It is [every woman’s] right to ignore the dictates of fashion and dress in a manner that is becoming to her own character and personality. ~ Lillie Langtry
At an inch short of 5ft and weighing a couple of stones more than you would like, do be mindful of the fact that what looks good on your 23 year old 6ft tall, willowy built daughter, might not look so hot on you. Likewise, just because your mother dressed you and your twin sister identically in frilly pink pastel dresses and matching hair bows when you were at primary school, doesn’t mean you and your sister should, at aged 52 still be dressing alike now, nor should either of you feel obliged to continue remaining loyal to everything pink for the rest of your lives.
This really is not about fashion. As Coco Chanel said “fashion fades, only style remains the same”. You are unique – go find and cultivate you own style. I know what my signature style is – classical with a bit of boho thrown in the mix. A good place for you to start is with ‘Who do you want to be today. Be inspired to dress differently’. Written by Trinny and Susannah and published in 2008. They claim “whether you are 16 and needing to find your individual look, or 60 and wanting to reinvent your persona, this is the book for you”.
Make up maketh the woman
Please don’t tell me that even though your eyelids are starting to droop a little and the skin looks a bit crepy, that you are still sporting the bright blue or lime green shimmery eyeshdadows and heavy black eyeliner look you favoured back when Saturday Night Fever was all the rage! As we age, a more natural softer look suits us better. Your skin tone can fade too (along with your greying and thinning hair), so some of the colours you previously wore and the techniques you used to apply your make up may make you look worn and tired and a lot older than you actually are.
Look out for a post in the coming weeks in which Mary Kay beauty consultant Jane Mott will provide you and I with some expert make up advice for looking fabulous in our 50s and beyond!
Baubles, bangles and beads
Baubles, bangles, hear how they jing, jingo-linga Baubles, bangles, all those bright, shiny beads Sparkles, spangles, your heart will sing, singa-linga Wearing’ baubles, bangles, and bead
There really is no age-limit to wearing accessories. For as long as I can remember, I have accessorised, mainly with scarves and jewellery. Depending on your style, colouring, shape and so forth, accessories can accentuate or flatter features, and even change the look of an outfit. Although, if you do go overboard with the bling, I hope your friends will care enough to let you know you look rather silly.
Continue the love affair
If you have mindfully committed yourself to embracing your older body image, you truly are having a love affair – with yourself. Believe that this love affair is no quick fling. Let it endure through your fabulous 50’s and well beyond. Let it be a full on, passionate love affair that encompasses mind, body and spirit.
If you arrived at Visualise and Bloom directly onto this page and haven’t yet read Parts 1 and 2, here are the links:
I would love to know how you are getting on with embracing your older body image and, if there is anything I’ve touched on that you would like me to cover in more depth in a separate blog post, let me know x