Visiting New York last week gave us the opportunity to take a close look at how our American sisters tackle the subject of style for older women. There’s a certain type of polished, groomed elegance that (admittedly wealthy) New Yorkers do rather well. It involves glossy hair, immaculately scrubbed and lightly made up skin, manicured fingernails, giant bug-like sunglasses and (absolutely essential) thinness. A look typified by 48 year old Nancy Shevell, Paul McCartney’s girlfriend.
Although New York Chic looks easy (save for the thin bit) it isn’t, as it requires breathtaking attention to grooming details administered by an army of professional dermatologists, cosmetic dentists, nail and hair technicians, beauticians and if you’re really rich, anti ageing physicians. New Yorkers take their grooming very seriously and rather take pity on us scruffy-around-the-edges and in-need-of-a-good-tidy-up Brits.
And the hard work does pay dividends, as Nancy demonstrates, in keeping the aging process under control. The advantages of this super-polishing routine is that you can layer on simple classic shapes such as a plain shift dress, crew neck cashmere sweater and jeans tucked into boots or nicely tailored coat and shoes and you look ‘finished’.
There is, however, no room for scruffiness and all the grooming disciplines extend to wardrobe maintenance too. They are particularly fussy about fit, which adds to the glamour and is something we should all be much pickier about . Everything is dry cleaned in order to preserve that 'new clothes' look.
The Women’s Room hasn’t got the dedication to be quite so grooming focussed as Nancy and her tribe, but we do admired the polish and after just one week exposed to them we’re definitely going to try harder. Perfect nails and a great hair cut are our basic minimums from now on.