BRAVE NEW LOOK

Have you fallen out of love with how you look? If you’re playing ‘small and safe’ in your fashion tastes, wearing the same colour range or styles because you’re convinced you can’t ‘get away’ with anything different, this can be a sign of feeling stuck in other ways in life. How we feel about ourselves often gets expressed through how we dress.

As we get older we get stuck in the same clothes, like a mindset. Without realising it that look we reach for every morning has become boring, unfashionable or even too young for us in unflattering ways. It’s good to give yourself and your wardrobe a bit of a shake up every now and then; good for the mind, self esteem and motivation. A new you expressed through what you wear can be the catalyst to changing other things in your life and give you the confidence to go for it”. Here’s how to update your look and your mindset.

WORK WITH A PERSONAL SHOPPER
Go to one of the big stores and get their personal shopper to do the leg work for you, or go to your favourite boutique where the staff may know you and be happy to help you put together looks without your usual parameters – and for free! You should first have a chat about your lifestyle and any figure concerns and then just try loads of stuff on. Keep an open mind. It’s amazing how a different perspective will allow you to put looks together that you wouldn’t dream of!

If you have the means you could also try a wardrobe consultant who will come to your home, appraise your wardrobe and then come back with a whole raft of clothes to try on in your own home. Expect to pay up to £500 for a two-day consultation. And don’t rule out particular colours just because you’ve been told they don’t work for you. The only way to see how different you can look is to try things on – no rules. ”More often than not the big successes are when someone else has persuaded us to give it a go”.

AVOID THE CLASSIC ‘SAFE’ MISTAKES
Most of us have amassed our wardrobe based on rules and habits we have picked up over the years and this is why you may find yourself wearing the same look day in and day out. And possibly not making the best of what you’ve got.
If you are a bigger size, have a muffin top or have big hips and bum, lots of floaty shapeless layers will make you look bigger. Semi tailored clothes will always look better as you need a strong shoulder line and a suggestion of a waist to give you shape. A well tailored jacket or a shirt dress will instantly make you look slimmer. Always look for better quality fabrics too, as thin, cheap materials do not have structure…..even a more expensive pair of jeans will hold their shape better, making you feel and look slimmer.
As we age those fail-safe dark colours are no longer a great idea as our skin naturally loses its youthful bloom and our hair usually gets lighter. Navy blue or charcoal grey are better options and when worn with a flash of white or cream – especially around the face- they can look much more flattering.
If you have bigger boobs go for silk shirts, V neck sweaters or looser silky tees as high necks can make you look matronly.
If you’re fed up of playing ‘safe’ experiment with colour and print.
And remember as much as it is about hiding our flaws it is also important to highlight our greatest features so if you have great legs then wear those skinny jeans but just teamed with a silky shirt and a blazer if you want to hide your middle. If you have a shapely waist a linen shirt dress belted over leggings will look great, while hiding bum and thighs.

A COOL CAPSULE WARDROBE FOR THE OVER 40’S:
a couple of tailored jackets – one smarter and one more casual. Why not go for an animal print jacket, which will look great with a simple sweater and jeans. One statement piece is enough in any outfit.
a leather jacket (go for a biker one but without loads of studs and zips)
a great coat (here’s where you can try a new colour – red, pink or baby blue!)
well fitting jeans – 1 black, 1 grey, 1 classic blue and why not go for a coloured pair too? Avoid too many rips or overly dyed and ‘whiskered’ styles.
silky shirts – 1 cream and why not try a baby pink or blue to add a touch of colour to jeans and a sweater?
a jumpsuit – which has become the new addition to any fashionable wardrobe. Avoid flimsy cheap fabric and look for a more fitted shape with a defined waist. No dungarees!
tailored trousers…. the new culotte shape suits everyone and looks fab with a simple sweater and boots in Winter.
A couple of go-anywhere dresses – here’s where an all -ver print really works, like the florals that are all over the High street this Autumn.

BE NEITHER MUMSY NOR MUTTON
My daughter always tells me if I attempt to leave the house in something that’s really not right. She says it without judgement and I trust her opinion. A good friend or fashion conscious husband can also help!
One really important aspect to looking cool as we age is a great hairstyle. If grey looks good on you then go for it – nothing is cooler than grey hair at the moment. Just make sure it’s a good cut, something sharp like a blunt bob or a pixie cut works best. And I don’t like to make rules but there aren’t many women who look great with very long hair – if it’s touching your bum then it’s time to visit your hairdresser.

And secondly – a great pair of specs! The coolest women wear their frames big and bold and it really works. Get inspiration from Instagram – so many cool older women with great eyewear.
And thirdly remember: less is more. A lace top, studded jeans and biker boots can all look fab worn separately but together? A big no! Just remember a statement piece like a pair of studded jeans only works with a boyfriend-style cashmere sweater and simple ballet flats. Always dress your statement pieces down, or you’ll look like a Christmas tree.

Words: Julie Dickson