Monday, 2 January 2012

Fashion For Mature Ladies

There's one easy way to make sure you are never out of fashion, says Felicity Green – develop your own sense of style.

The invitation read thus: will you please write on fashion for mature ladies – say over 60 or so. I am now a great deal over 60 or so, and I have a reputation in the fashion world for being "fashionable" – which I am not now and never have been, despite having spent 60 years in fashion journalism, taking in stints along the way in the worlds of television, advertising, PR and women's magazines.

What I am passionate about is style. So different from and so much more important than fashion, especially for a mature woman. Yes, I follow fashion, but from a very respectful distance, and I advise everyone over 60 to do the same. Look at everything available, but learn to cherry pick from the bewildering choices now offered. How to do this cherry picking? This is the tricky part – but this is how I made it work for me. I started out by looking for a personality who typified how I'd like to look, someone who dressed like I'd like to dress, who kept it simple and defied all crazy contemporary trends. My personal style icon was, and is, the late Audrey Hepburn. Fatter than she was, shorter than she was, poorer than she was, I did my best then and I've been doing it ever since, practising her restrained approach to contemporary fashion. Fashions go out of fashion. Style stays with you.

Start by keeping a watch – even a scrapbook – on images of today's mature personalities whose overall looks you notice and admire: actresses, so-called celebrities, authors, artists, a very few politicians, politician's spouses, smart socialites, women in the news and so on. Watch out for consistency – shape, hem length, skirts vs trousers, colour combinations, strong silhouettes – cut out pictures, identify personalities, but please don't ever buy anything in a hurry – the clues are there, and if you spend a little time on this exercise you should soon be able to identify your own style image.

Does this suggest you ignore altogether the kaleidoscopic world of current fashion? No. Instead be amused (but not tempted) by the emphasis on youth. Yes, it's crazy; yes, it's wild – but it adds colour and gaiety to the street scene. Don't be a fashion crosspatch, denouncing girls in shorts so short they look more like underwear than items of outdoor clothing. Be positive – look out every season for the fashion touches that can liven up the most conservative wardrobe; spot the current way to tie a scarf, buy one thing in the latest colour craze, shorten a skirt, wear a belt on a coat, patronise the best charity shops for a signature handbag or exciting shoes that won't cripple you. Try something new. And always go for the larger size. Experiment, but if in doubt leave it out. And remember, if you're exploring new ideas you'll need to try on a whole lot of dross before you find your style gold.


Sunday, 1 January 2012

How To Wear Warm Weather Wardrobe in Winter

Exciting as it may be to usher snuggly scarves, collegiate-cool boots and bedhead-masking beanies back into your regular rotation as the temperature drops, it can also be hard to let go of warm weather favorites. Luckily, it's pretty simple to make certain lightweight basics work during the chillier months—the secret's in the styling. Our tips for seamlessly integrating July staples into December outfits:

Crop Tops
Can't let go of your favorite crop top? A little layering can make this piece winter-ready. Try throwing one on over a classic bias-cut slipdress in a complementary color. Crop tops also look smart worn over a buttoned-all-the-way-up oxford shirt and paired with a high-waisted skirt.  

Hopelessly devoted to last spring's flatforms? As long as they're not aggressively "beachy"—i.e. espadrilles or an ankle-wrapped canvas style—most stacked platforms can be winterized with black opaque tights. Just be sure to swap out your flatforms for sturdier boots once the snow hits.  

Monochromatic Neutrals
Shades of beige, tan and ivory were all over last spring's runways. Even slinkier pieces with daring hemlines can still work during the colder months, since neutrals look especially great when layered. Try a chunky cream cardigan over a taupe silk shirtdress, a brown leather moto jacket over a nude-colored knit tankdress or a mocha-toned shearling vest over a beige maxidress.  

Pajama Dressing
Last season, we learned that PJs can easily be worn outside the bedroom. But during this time of year, simply wearing a silky patterned button-up will leave you shivering. For an easy solution, add a fitted wool blaze. It'll keep you warm and add structure to an otherwise soft and draped silhouette. A fur (real or faux) cropped coat or chubby adds an instant dash of Old Hollywood boudoir-chic.

Wide-leg Denim
Last season, we saw denim silhouettes loosen up considerably as a 70s-inspired shape emerged. Those same uber-flared jeans you wore with silk tanks all through June are easy to style during the winter months, too. Try them with a shrunken knit in an equally Love Story-esque hue like mustard or camel. To keep your outfit's focus on the flared leg, avoid longer sweaters or anything oversized—stick to slightly cropped knitwear that hits above the hip.
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