Wear what makes you happy …. you can shine at any age
Whilst tidying the kitchen I rediscovered a copy of You magazine published in the summer & featuring an article by Trinny Woodall suggesting that the fashion ‘rule book’ should be ripped up.
“I’ve been doing makeovers for 30 years, but I’m still surprised when I hear women tell me that they can’t wear certain styles, colours or fabrics after the age of 50. I ‘m here to tell you to rip up that old-fashioned rule book.
Fashion no longer has age limits – teenagers and their grandmothers wear the same pieces, from the same store, just styled in different ways. Today it’s about embracing ageless dressing: choosing clothes that flatter in sophisticated fabrics, knowing your body shape & what colours suit you best. It’s also about still daring to take risks. You dont have to look conservative just because you’re in your 60s, 70s and beyond and you can – and should! – still shine at any age.
For decades I was led by style rules, but more recently I’ve followed one mantra when it comes to clothes: ‘Does it make me happy? If you feel happy in what your’re wearing, you will radiate happiness to those around you and that’s what dressing should be about.’
Trinny we love you & but are light years ahead as this has always been our philosophy. I can remember being rather tersely told by a colour specialist a decade or so ago that the answer to wearing a colour that you loved but didn’t love you quite as much (ie black in my case) was not to wear more lippy but not to wear the colour at all. Yaboo sucks was my first reaction & more slap more second – although these days we do have some rather natty collar inserts which also solve that particular problem!
Where I part company slightly with Trinny is that teenagers, mothers & grandmothers can shop in the same place. Not every fifty/sixty/seventy something is 5’9″ & a ‘Zara’ size 10/12. As we have aged our middles have thickened & most of us require some kind of scaffolding to keep our boobs above sea level, neither of which is particularly good news when trying to buy in the same shop as our daughters & grand daughters on the High Street.
At Artichoke we always joke with customers that the garments with the least hanger appeal are the ones that look best with a body in them. This is because they are cut to flatter the spreading thighs, bottom or waist rather then pretend that they don’t exist.
Always passionate about staying on trend we do however have to remember that although sequin jackets may look fabulous whilst strutting along The Kings Road, a middle aged women wearing one on a cold December morning in the Swaffham Waitrose car park is (a) not very practical (b) will look very mad so we have to curb our aspirations accordingly.
Finally we have the question of quality. Unlike my dear friend James Lakeland I do not have an abhorrence of all High Street shops, put me on a plane to Spain & my girl friends will confirm my first port of call will be the local Zara to pick up items of loveliness that are simply not available in the UK however are recent experience taught me that he probably has a point.
We sell James Lakeland knitwear because it is beautifully made in Italy, seamless, cosy, warm & machine washable – it retails at between £75 & £100 so when my wearing at home/doing the garden/walking the dogs fairly revolting jumpers finally fell to bits I clearly did not want to downgrade one of these. Instead I went to Zara & H & M in Norwich & bought a sweatshirt & two thick jumpers each costing about £25 to £35. Upon washing for the first time the sweatshirt became as wide as it was long, two buttons fell off the one jumper the second time I wore it & the third became so badly pilled after two days I really cannot wear it for anything else than gardening, meaning that on a cost per wear basis these items were not cheap at all! Next time I will buy myself a James Lakeland jumper in the sale – if there are any left …….
We always love to finish on a high. Jill, one of our super models is 83 years young & doesn’t care who knows it. She never wears jeans but clearly should.