The Mid-Life Make-Over: Smart Style Swaps

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In an era when mid-life no longer means matronly, perceptions of ageing are evolving. Maturing doesn’t mean you have to abandon a love of style; however when you are more Madame than Mademoiselle, it’s time to refine your wardrobe to celebrate your older, better self. Be inspired by Coco Chanel’s advice: “At 40, women used to exchange youth for elegance, poise and mysterious allure, an evolution that left them undamaged.” 

In that vein focus on grace, elegance and ease and adopt these style swaps:

– Replace fashion trends with a personal signature style, the most attractive way to wear clothes. If you look authentic, comfortable and happy, you will radiate genuine confidence which is immensely appealing. Invest in beautiful, enduring clothes that suit your style and flatter your figure. Analyse what you wear the most and invest accordingly. 

– Dress to suit your body shape now, not your figure of years ago. Never wear clothes that are too small – it can make even expensive pieces look cheap. Conversely, opting to go up a size can make garments look more expensive – and you slimmer. Define your best assets.

– Avoid clothes that are too tight, too short or too gaudy. Channel sensuality rather than sexuality – a flash of toned flesh via bare ankles, shoulders or wrists is alluring and youthful. The subtler you are, the sexier you are.   

– Buy decent shoes you can move in – being hobbled by heels that hurt is no fun and can add years. Brogues, boots and Birkenstocks are chic and comfortable.

– Good underwear is vital, so retire the g-strings and plunge bras in favour of styles with an element of support. Get fitted professionally – the right bra can make you look taller, thinner and create the illusion of better posture which looks instantly younger. Opt for a seamless style to prevent lines. Ditto for knickers.

– Relinquish the dark side and embrace colour – while black can be slimming and chic, it can suck all the life out of older faces and is severe in winter. Add colour gradually if you are nervous – accessories can provide a gentle intro. Opt for colours that add warmth and vivacity: e.g. pinks, corals, oranges and reds.

– Mix it up – don’t always wear the same outfits. Also beware anything too “matchy matchy” – it can be ageing. Avoid labels/designers worn head to toe; it looks “set” and lacking in imagination. Inject your personality into your outfits – have a styling session regularly to create new outfits and play with proportions, colours and textures. Shopping your wardrobe can reveal fresh and surprising options.  

– Build your outfit around one really strong statement piece and use that to anchor the other elements. Opt for a less is more approach and focus on quality, cut and fabrication. Only ever buy what you love – investment pieces represent excellent value because you reap the wear per spend dividend.

– Replace generic glasses with a distinctive pair that compliment your face shape. Cat-eye frames are stylish and flattering while also adding a youthful attitude. Also invest in good sunglasses – they keep wrinkles at bay, cover tired eyes and add an air of allure.

– You can still wear jeans but might need to P45 the skinnies – a slim straight leg in a dark wash is universally flattering, classic and versatile.     

– Replace tracksuits with tailoring. Skillfuly tailored garments can sculpt a slim silhouette and are proverbial armour for later life. They also make you look capable, chic and confident.

– Opt for natual fibres over nasty synthetics – silk, cashmere, wool and organic cotton are breathable, biodegradeable and beautiful. Silk in particular is thermostatic so excellent for menopausal fluctuations.

– Realise you don’t have to have youth to have style. Celebrate your experience and self-confidence. Clothes are an empowering form of self-expression and joy. Remember great style can endure into mid and later life, so don’t restrict yourself or your wardrobe.

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