Opinion piece: Fabulous at 50(+)
I have a good few years before I hit 50, but I am pretty sure that the best thing about getting older is that it becomes easier to be true to who you are and what you are. Am I right?
A recent BBC Radio 4, Women’s Hour program covered questions around the relationship that women over 50 have with fashion. What I loved about the guests on the program, was that they made it very clear that having their own personal style (and making the most of it) was much more important than trend watching or adopting the style choices of others.
This is probably why the most stylish women I know are all over 50.
These women have tried most things over the years and come out the other side, knowing what suits them and what doesn’t. This doesn’t mean that they ignore new fashion trends; they just pick and choose from the best of what’s out there and incorporate it into their perfectly honed personal style. These women have also accepted their body shapes, have stopped trying to change themselves with faddy diets and surgery and have instead decided to work with the bodies they have and choose their fashion pieces accordingly – that could be opting for sleeves on a dress, a bias cut, a longer length skirt or a funky scarf to bring out the colour in their eyes – whatever works.
Thanks to them, when it comes to maintaining and evolving my personal style, I am optimistic about hitting the big 50 and beyond. In fact, I think that 50+ could be the most stylish time in a woman’s life.
There are a myriad of stores like Mary Portas, Jaeger and Marks & Spencers who are with me on this one. They design for the older woman and champion the idea that a women’s interest in looking her best doesn’t stop at 50 – why else would their lines feature so many bold designs, colour combinations and lush material choices?
In fact, stores for older women appear to think much more about their customer’s needs than the average high st store. They understand completely that their customers are discerning women. They know that as a woman ages her body tends to change, they act on this knowledge and design their clothing with this in mind. When did Top Shop ever consider my large thighs? Or Zara really think about how my chunky upper arms would look in their new sleeveless red dress? Not all younger shoppers are perfectly proportioned, super confident, gals about town who never worry about wearing a skirt that is too short or a dress that shows off that podgy bit at the top of their arms (if this person is you, revel in it love!)
So if being over 50 and shopping in 50+ stores means that my body shape is thought about and designed for…well, it sounds pretty fab to me.
Yes, there are many 50+ women who shop in a range of stores, other than those for the older woman. However, I don’t know of a single one who is happy with the variety (or lack of) available in stores that don’t think about them very much or at all. Essentially, what a lot of 50+ woman are looking for is the exact same thing that I am in my 30s. Affordable, good quality clothing, designed to flatter rather than display, skim rather than cling and accentuate the good whilst disguising the less good.
You would be surprised at how hard that is to find.