No 2 – Be well groomed
The expression ‘well groomed’ may seem somewhat old fashioned, and yet it is impossible to be stylish if your hair is unkempt, your nails are untidy and your footwear looks as if you’ve trudged through a muddy field!
I was standing behind a women on an up escalator last week and in most respects she looked good. Stylish outfit, good haircut and a general sense of having given some thought to what she was going to wear. Unfortunately this impression didn’t last long as I caught sight of the back of her shoes. They were scuffed and the heels worn down. Why do some women pay good women for their footwear (this women’s shoes were a very well known designer brand) and then fail to have them repaired or at the very least polished?
Being well groomed is essentially down to 5 simple steps:
- Well cut tidy clean hair
- Carefully applied make-up – even a slick of lip gloss can make a difference
- Well kept clothes – clean, no missing buttons, pressed etc.
- Footwear that is clean and in a good state of repair
- Manicured nails kept reasonably short (no talons please) and a clear nail polish if you don’t want to apply colour
The finishing touch
The above 5 steps do not require vast amounts of time. Tip 2 is a close relation to tip 1, in that being organised helps you to be well groomed. When women take the trouble to really care for themselves (the French could give us a master class here!) the result is always worth the extra trouble.
Tip No 1 – Be organised
If you start each day wondering what to wear and then discover you can’t find it then any decisions as to what to wear will flounder. You’ll end up putting on an outfit that may not work. It’s all too easy to assume that women who look stylish achieve this effortlessly. They don’t! They know where all their key pieces, accessories and basics are.
Too packed for comfort!
Although the storage space above may look perfectly acceptable it really isn’t from an easy access point of view. I know there are many women out there with lots of clothes (we’ll deal with that in a later post!) and you may be saying “well I’ve limited wardrobe/closet space so what do I do?” One tried and tested solution is to pack away in storage boxes clothes that are not in season. This is something I do and will be doing soon with regard to winter sweaters and scarves. Remember to put a list of contents on the top of the box or just inside the lid.
If you can’t see, almost at a glance, what’s in your wardrobe then you will waste time. If you have the space in your bedroom you can have a separate clothes rail and the night before decide what you are going to wear and have it ready.
If you want to leave the house feeling well dressed then preparation and planning are essential. A major part of this is being able to find all the pieces that make up your stylish wardrobe.
Great storage from Ikea!
Look out for tip number 2 later in the week, where we look at the importance of grooming. My mother would be proud. Yes, it’s an old fashioned word and yet being well groomed is essential if you want to look stylish.
I don’t know about you but it’s around this time of year when I get a little bored with winter clothes. I do love my knitwear and big scarves, to say nothing of a really lovely pair of leather gloves, yet I find myself yearning for something lighter and more chic.
Enter those elegant neutrals. I have a whole pin board devoted to them!
It’s a pity that neutrals often get relegated to summer or spring weddings when they really come into their own in these still dark days before spring. The above outfit is relaxed but very chic – and still capable of keeping you warm.
A neutral top with white jeans works well for most body shapes. If you have a less than perfect middle then wear a longer top which suits your body shape.
If you don’t want to go completely neutral then why not try a pale grey, or soft beige, knitted jacket and make the transition gradually. Check out Zara for some very stylish examples. Or, how about some neutral nail polish?
In a remarkably short period of time it will be spring (ever the optimist) and we will no longer be able to hide underneath layers of clothes, even if they are lovely and cosy and made from cashmere! The time for hiding will be over. Now is the time to take a good long look at your arms. Even thin women can have flabby arms. If you are post menopausal then the chances are your arms may need some attention. Until my fifties I had what I thought were ‘naturally’ well-toned arms. I’ve always exercised – sporadically sometimes – but I take my body seriously. I now have some ‘flab’ on my upper arms so I’m using 5 lb weights to re-dress the balance. I started 3 months ago and it is working. If you want to face the warmer weather feeling confident enough to expose your arms then some exercise will be needed. Obviously use your common sense and seek medical advice if you feel it is necessary.
If the gym is not for you invest in some dumbbells and get those arms toned in the privacy of your own home. I can’t promise you’ll look like Ernest Shepherd, who by the way started exercising in her fifties having never done exercise before, but I promise you’ll feel better about that challenging area of the upper arms. Believe it or not Ernestine was born in 1936! No excuses now. Most of us don’t want to start body building but we do want to feel confident in our clothes.
The road to hell, we are told, is paved with good intentions. I’m sure the journey there involves a brush with technology in some guise or other. On the 6th of January I launched my blog. On the 29th of January my internet service provider decided to up grade the service – to make it quicker – resulting in no service! Hence no new posts. I’m sitting in my local Cafe Nero (who do understand the value of good customer service) posting this and hopefully more posts.
I should be sitting in my lovely office surrounded by inspiring paintings and my fabulous collection of style books. Still I’m nothing if not flexible. Normal service will, apparently, be resumed in 10 days. Yes – 10 days! So, I’ll keep you posted. No pun intended!
Although many wardrobes will boast a ton of separates and no one can argue that separates aren’t versatile, a dress can make your figure look splendid. Get the shape and the fit right and you can show off a good pair of legs, disguise a thick waist, hide a less than perfect tummy and highlight a neat derriere. A dress is also the last word in femininity.
Classic and Timeless
The above dress is ideal for larger busts a the v-neck draws the eye down. Also, notice the length. Just right.
Flattering and Chic
The ideal dress. That is the dress that is right for you is out there. Should it be black? I believe every women should have a LBD. It is timeless, capable of being worn with a cardigan, jacket, coat or a pashmina. What’s not to like. If you never wear black then choose a colour that suits you. Either a dark intense shade or a soft neutral.
Marine Blue Draped Shift
The dress above shows how the use of clever draping creates a waist and the deep blue colour will suit most skin tones. This style will not go out of date. No matter what style or colour you prefer, the dress, like the jacket, must be a good fit. This is particularly true with shift dresses. An ill-fitting shift dress looks dreadful. As with the jacket you may need to find a good tailor who can make some subtle alterations. I know a couple of decent tailors and have helped clients find a perfect fit. When you wear a dress that has been altered to fit your body, not the standard 12, 14 etc., then the difference it makes to how you look and feel is immense.
Amanda Wakely Draped Dress
If you prefer a less structured approach the above dress works well for both day and evening. The mink colour can take both neutral and bold colours so how you accessorize can change the look of this dress.
Boots with Orange Shift
Flattering and Informal
Perfection – then it is by Lanvin!
If you rarely wear a dress why not make 2016 the year you change your mind. Have fun choosing different accessories. A belt, brooch, necklace, lace gloves, patterned stockings – the list is endless. You can transform your dress from day to evening. The way you use accessories can individualize your look. Remember, style is how you put it all together.
Am I alone in thinking the expression ‘age appropriate’ is patronising and completely out of step with the reality of being an ‘older’ women? Who decides what is appropriate anyway? A few young fashion editors who promote some very strange ideas about what it means to be stylish? I for one, do not need or require anyone telling me I’m too old to wear that lovely sleeveless coat I’ve just seen in Zara. Actually, Zara is a case in point. When I want a quick style fix (and funds are low) I always head there. There are usually just as many older women shopping there are there are younger.
Being a baby boomer I’ve had a reasonably good education, a wide and varied career (I’ve changed careers 5 times!) and I’ve never relied on anyone else to support me financially. I look after my health and take regular exercise. Older women have more disposable income and take greater control of their lives. they are also working longer. They do not need to be told what is appropriate and what is not based solely on their age.
What is ‘appropriate’ is that we dress well and for the body we have, rather than the one we want or think we should have. To be stylish is in essence having a decent hair cut, knowing what cosmetics to use (and how to use them) and being able to put together items of clothing in ways that help us look our best. Any women, of whatever age, can look good. You don’t need a huge budget, although you will have to make an investment. Not just in terms of money but in yourself. Let’s redefine what it means to be a stylish older women!
The answer to this question is largely down to what you want to achieve. Perhaps you need a complete wardrobe ‘wake-up’. If you have so many clothes and accessories cluttering up your closets that you’ve actually forgotten what may be lurking in there, then the time may be right to take action. Or, you realise your clothes no longer suit your new lifestyle. There again you may simply be fed up with wearing the same thing day in day out and want a fresh pair of eyes to give you a fresh perspective. That’s where I come in. How do you know that my service is for you?
I offer a completely free 20 minutes style consultation either by phone or email. This will involve me asking you a few questions about your lifestyle and style preferences. This will give me a good idea about what will work well for you and how we can work together. This is also an excellent opportunity for you to ask me some questions. This service is entirely non-obligatory.
Contact me today.
A well-fitting Jacket
A classic style will have versatility
Do not cut corners when it comes to choosing a jacket. It must fit you well and suit your body shape. I am not a standard size so over the years I’ve used a decent tailor to make alterations. Sometimes by adjusting the length of the sleeves a jacket can be transformed. Single breasted styles suit most body shapes and do not have to be buttoned up.
A tailored jacket ‘lifts’ this casual outfit
Burberry scarf with white jacket
As your jacket is part of your 10 essential items keep to a neutral colour palette. This will ensure your jacket has longevity thereby giving you a good return on your investment. Colour can be introduced using accessories.
Statement Necklace for Daytime
Gold-braided Necklace Ideal for the Evening
The Classic Black Jacket
A Pop of Colour!
Although the above jacket is plain it is ideal for dressing up or down. A statement necklace, bright scarf or colourful bag will help to crate whatever look you want. Find a brand that works for you with regard to fit. A good rule of thumb, particularly if you are pear shaped, is to make sure the hem line does not end at the widest part of your hips. This will tend to draw attention to your hips and may have the effect of ‘cutting you in two’.
Vivienne Westwood Red Label Black Jacket
Vivienne Westwood knows how to design for women with curves and her jackets are a real investment. Yes, they are pricey, but you can, with some effort, find outlets where last years styles are available at discount prices. Another two good brands are Reiss and Hugo Boss as the quality, and therefore the longevity, are usually good.
Isabel De Pedro
If you prefer your jacket less structured then Isabel De Pedro, a fabulous Spanish label, is ideal. Her designs are very feminine yet have an ‘edgy’ quality. Take the time to choose this style essential. Find a brand that works for you and make sure the fit is as good as you can get. Happy shopping!
The Leather Jacket
There is nothing that makes a statement like a leather jacket. I’m talking chic and flattering not ‘distressed’. For older women nothing you wear should be distressed. If you have a pair of ripped distressed jeans please get rid of them. Yes, they make a statement but it has nothing do with looking stylish.
The key to wearing a leather jacket is to pair it with good quality jeans, a tailored skirt (very French), a feminine dress – the contrast looks stunning – and your white shirt of course.
No one could accuse Christine Lagarde of ever looking anything less than stylish.
A key benefit to the leather jacket is of course it’s longevity. This is one item in your ‘essentials’ where you do not want to cut corners. Buy quality and it will last. Quality does not always mean ruinously expensive. I bought a collar-less black leather jacket form Zara 8 years ago and I’m still wearing it! It actually looks better with age.
Pair with a feminine skirt
So if you think you are too old for leather think again. One thing to bear in mind is the fit. Always chose a close fit – you will rarely fasten your jacket – with slim sleeves and not too much embellishment. This will ensure your jacket has staying power. A leather jacket is possibly the most versatile item of clothing (apart from jeans) as it changes personality depending on what you wear it with.
Elegant in leather