I turned 50 last year and it makes you think about how to look good during difficult (menopausal) changes in your life. I’m always trying to avoid looking “frumpy” and still looking modern but without buying the latest trends. I want to keep to my style recipe and what suits me. It’s difficult! All your videos are great by the way and really helpful. The main things are, having to wear looser fitting tops to hide tummy but without them looking baggy. Not wearing heeled shoes and trying to find nice flat shoes/boots/sandals, finding knitwear with some styling – pullovers or cardigans and winter jackets that are warm but stylish and don’t make you look enormous! It was a good question and made me think hard
Menopause can be a tricky time of a woman’s life. Not only because there are physical changes happening (such as the hot flush), and the common weight gain around the waist, as estrogen levels drop, which has an effect of shifting weight from hips/bottom/thighs, up onto the torso. But also because there are emotional changes as well, it’s the end of your child-bearing life and an obvious sign that you are moving into a more mature phase of your life (sometimes I feel it’s like it’s yelling at me “you’re not 30 anymore”). Depression is quite common along with the physical changes you experience too, and it can be hard if you’re not getting a great night’s sleep and your body is changing and these changes are impacting on your body image, to feel great about your style – in fact you may need to rediscover your style for the new version of you.
1. Fashionable Not Fashion Victim
One of the things I’ve heard over and over from women of a certain age is that they don’t want to look like “mutton dressed as lamb“. How to avoid this?
Think fashionable, remaining current will do this for you. From the available fashion trends, choose the ones that flatter you, that suit your body, your colouring, your personality. Avoid anything that just isn’t you. That way, you’ll remain modern looking, but not go near fashion victim.
What can easily happen with age, is that what you own gets older and older (and so has the potential for making you look dated), as each year flies by so fast, you don’t realise just how old some of your clothes have gotten.
There are two easy ways of checking that what you’re still wearing is helping you look youthful – and in-touch with the times:
- Ask a younger person (teenager or early 20s) to tell you if your fashion is current- you’re wanting an honest opinion here!
- Go shopping and see if you could purchase something very very similar to what you’re wearing – making sure that you’re looking at the overall silhouette and garment construction (as well as fabrics and colours). Find out more about that here.
A fashion victim is too much of what is new without regards to whether not it actually suits you. Now as you age, others assume you’ve got a better idea about what works for your body – that you’re self-aware in that way (and I know this can be hard as your body may be changing too), and they don’t teach you this stuff at school (which is why I created my 7 Steps to Style program to teach you what the magazines and tv shows don’t about what really works for your unique self), so if you’re choosing to wear outfits that are the latest trend, but unrelated to you this is when you’ve fallen into fashion victim territory.
2. Skim not Cling but not Sloppy
Here is the trickiest bit, to find the clothes that skim, without clinging to your torso, but also without being sloppy (and that can end up right down frumpy town really easily). It’s time to think about fabrics that have good drape, not too stiff, but not too floppy, and in a size that skims past your torso, but isn’t so large it makes you look larger than you are.
When the trend is for oversized garments – make sure the size you’re choosing isn’t too large. I find that I always have to go down a size or two in an oversized garment, otherwise my regular size is way too large! Take a few different sizes into the change room with you.
Knitwear that may be looser, but comes back in at the waist can work wonders when hiding your tummy.
3. Remember the Principle of Volume
This is another thing to remember when dressing your new body.
One of the things I’ve noticed as that comfort becomes a bigger and bigger driver, so make sure you’re not ending up in too many voluminous garments at the same time which will start to swamp you (and this is another element that often happens when frump becomes a factor). Clothes can be comfortable and yet still be fitted and flatter your shape.
4. Layer for Comfort
And of course, hot flushes? How to deal with them? Think about layering your outfits so you can easily strip off and add as your body needs. You may find at this time that natural fibres are really important too as they can be much more comfortable at this time of your life.
Here are tips on layering and looking stylish.
5. Add Distractions
Look also for some built-in detail – maybe some texture or a pattern (and patterns can be super great at camouflaging too – if they are this kind of slimming print). And of course don’t forget to accessorise to draw attention up to your face (and away from what you don’t want people to notice), remember you’re a clothing magician!
6. Up Your Colour Contrast
And lastly, if you are experiencing hot flushes, and end up red in the face, up your colour contrast, wearing more colours will make any face flushing way less apparent as when you are wearing multiple colours, you don’t notice flushes that would be more obvious if you were wearing neutrals.