The Women’s Room guide to dressing inappropriately

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Image from Fanny Karst's Old Ladies Rebellion range

The comments from Sue on our post about how to dress casually got us thinking about dressing age appropriately. Sue is a great example (sorry Sue to single you out) of ignoring the rules and creating your own individual style, irrespective of age. The catwalk editor of fashion forecasting website WGSN, Sue always looks fabulous in a combination of bright embroidered or printed dresses and contrasting bright tights or leggings, many of which are probably aimed at a much younger customer (were not giving Sue’s age away, but let’s just say she has a Freedom Pass). Ok, so she works in fashion and knows how to put colours and outfits together, but its her disregard for the confines of age, that make her an inspiration.

Reaching an age where you are no longer desperate to wear the latest trend is both liberating and a little scary. One goes through a transitional period of trying desperately to cling onto the past (remember the days when you didn’t have to try anything on, you just knew it would look good) and you still insist on buying into the seasons latest look. But there comes a point when you realise that you have actually worn than particular acid bright rave/animal skin/nautical look, not once, but maybe three times before and you really don’t want to end up resembling Eddie from Ad Fab.

Here’s where the challenge lies, do you give up, turn into your mum and go the ladies section of M & S (sorry M & S, but you do still have that reputation) or do you find you own individual style regardless of current fashion trends or what is considered appropriate for your age.

We love nothing more that an older woman who has found her own, maybe slightly eccentric style, based on what she personally loves. It could be stark and pared down Margaret Howell chic, or an eclectic jumble of colour, print and pattern. The important thing is, it is her own style and identifies her as an interesting individual. So here is the Women’s Room guide to dressing age innapropriately.

Try out a new hair colour or style, one can get stuck in a rut with hair. There is nothing worse that that Jo Wood aging rock chic, highlighted, long layered look. Go shorter or brighter, be brave.

Ditto with make up; if you have always worn pale lipstick, go bright and vice versa. Make up can become your signature look, as can hair.

Try bright colours, even if it’s just tights to start with. A neutral outfit can look instantly revived with a pair of bright red tights. Personally I love bright yellow, but that may be a step too far for most people!!

Mix print, pattern and texture together for a an eclectic look, think Marni.

Find a designer or label you love and buy one thing every season. Labels like Day Birger et Mikkelsen   Marni, Dries Van Noten, Comme des Garcon, Orla Keily or Vannessa Bruno may be expensive but each piece makes a statement and can be worn season after season.

Mix designer pieces with high street, this does require skill, but can be done to great effect. No point in buying an expensive tea dress if you know its a one season wonder. Buy one from Top Shop and add a cashmere cardigan and some Mui Mui sandals.

Buy vintage, there are some great Vintage Fairs and websites and shops. That way you are buying something truly original and the fit is often much better for older women.

Never buy cheap shoes, unless they are from a market in an exotic country. Its possible to get away with a lot when you’re older, but nasty shoes are not one of them.

Buy one off pieces when travelling (or on Ebay) Embroidered tunics, silk kimonos and the like, make fabulous unique style statements.

Work out what you love and create your own individual style. Above all, be brave and don’t be restricted by what you think you should be wearing.
We are not about to turn into the beige generation

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