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Fashion and the Older Woman

Age and Fashion – Who Makes Up the Crazy Rules

I’d like to meet the people who police our wardrobes telling us what we can and cannot wear, especially when women reach a ‘certain age’.

As for the certain age, I’ve noticed its changes like the weather; one minute 40 is the new 30, then 50 is the new 40 and so it goes on.  The other interesting discussion I was having recently, is the terminology used to describe older women, take for example the word mature, it’s also used to describe ‘cheese’, then there is ‘seasoned’, what’s with the food and cooking connotations?!

I know lots of women of varying ages, I find it amusing that an 18 year old wants to look and dress older, yet nothing is said; but heaven forbid an older women dresses to suit herself in a style that is considered for a youthful teen only, and she is considered to be ‘mutton dressed as lamb’.  Have you noticed how the phrases used to describe older women have some negative undertone attached to it?

So just to set the record straight, a woman in her 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s plus, these women, they know stuff, and some of us are still figuring things out; newsflash, that’s called Life, we are constantly figuring things out.  However, back to our wardrobes and what we can and cannot wear, lets start with the obvious, I know you’ll catch on:

  • If its too tight and you can’t get into it, guess what you can’t wear it, but hey that applies to all ages.
  • If its bright yellow and you don’t like bright yellow at all, what’s it doing in your wardrobe?
  • If its tired, bobbled, and faded in colour then do the garment a favour and lay it to rest.
  • If you are uncomfortable, wearing a dress or skirt that is too short for your taste then don’t wear it.  Trying to lengthen the hemline by constantly pulling it down is not going to change anything, except draw attention to the fact that you are constantly trying to pull down your dress or skirt, you will feel miserable in the process, as guess what you are uncomfortable!

Simple facts not rules.

I’m now going to hand you over to one of my favourite women in fashion, Iris Apfel who at 96 and has no intention of retiring her wardrobe anytime soon.

Wearing Undergarments that Fit and Compliment Your Figure

There was a time when ladies undergarments could weigh nearly 7lbs and take several hours to put into place.  We are talking being squeezed into a corset, petticoats, undershirt, camisole, stockings; if it was winter, additional layers of woolly garments would be required, already I am bursting into a sweat, what a work-out!

Now compare that to today, undergarments of matching bra sets, camisoles that are worn as tops, tights in their varying denier in weight, stockings and suspenders.  Corsets are still popular today, but thank goodness there’s no holding onto the bed-frame whilst being laced into it.

When gravity wants to defy and define us, well fitted underwear alludes to the appearance of a more slender, and toned physique, which in turn makes our outer garments fit better as opposed to over-fitted under garments; an example, if you are bulging out of your bra, running over at the top and the sides, its possible the cup size of your bra is too small.  Its noticeable in a fitted top, giving the appearance of several different sized balloons having a party underneath.

Over-fitted undergarments, just as with clothes that give the appearance of being too tight, not only look uncomfortable but are just that, restrictive and uncomfortable.  There’s many a button that looks on the verge of causing some serious damage if the wearer were to breathe out!  Women have two areas from which they can work, bra’s and panties (yes I prefer the more genteel description)!  Men on the other hand, it would be their boxers or underpants, I haven’t come across the male equivalent term to ‘VPL’ which translates as ‘visible pantie line’.  Do let me know if there is one.

What is visible pantie line?  Its where the panties being worn are tight and visible in trousers, skirts or dresses, why is that a problem?  It’s not a problem per se, its about the way in which the tightness in that area takes the eye away from the contours of your silhouette when wearing a garment. There’s a reason why people say ‘you should walk with your head held high’; when you create a happy union with your undergarments and your outer-garments, the clothes you wear not only look better on you, but can also make you look taller, elevating your confidence.

In the words of Marilyn Monroe: 

To learn more about style and fitting garments, have a look at my website featuring ready to wear one-of-a-kind dresses, or complete the contact form to talk about bespoke garments.

Curvey Women: Compliment Your Curves

21-Learning.

By Coral Turner, Couture Fashion Designer

Naturally, we all want to look beautiful, and too right!   As a couture designer, I work with clients who are of all shapes and sizes.  The myth of being ‘model’ thin to look beautiful in couture fashions is just that, a myth.  There are designs that need curves, in fact some styles cry out for curves.  Kim Kardashian is renown for being able to fill column inches in both media plus what she wears, and fair play to her.

Clothing size

So what helps and what hinders? Wearing clothes that are too large or small will result in you looking heavy.  Tight clothing clings to every fold and crease of your body, and baggy clothing hangs on you as though you are a lampshade. Clothes that fit you, however, make you look curvaceous and attractive.  I know I have talked about fit before but as a couture designer, it can make me a little cranky to see an ill-fitted garment on a woman, because it takes away from her beauty.

Colours

A patchwork quilt looks great with its mishmash of colours however it doesn’t translate so well when worn as clothing, not the look you are aiming for.  There is the ‘school of fashion thought’ that says  wearing the same colour from tip to toe is slimming.  Notice, I’m not saying to wear all black or beige!  You can easily wear colour-bright bold and beautiful colours. To inject an accent colour to contrast the outfit accessorise  your main outfit.

Stripes 

As a rule of thumb, wide horizontal stripes make you look wide, and thin horizontal stripes do not make you look either wide or slim. Vertical stripes can make you look tall and thin. However, use them sparingly, as they can be overwhelming especially if you are a petite woman.

Jeans

Well cut jeans, those that fit on the waist look great on all figure shapes, what you don’t want are jeans that you are constantly pulling up because the crotch is too short. Boot cut jeans are slenderising , they also make your legs look shapely.

Waistbands

Elastic waistbands are so comfortable I know, but they can also be your enemy.  If you want to create a slimmer look, have part elasticated and part flat fabric. Thick waistbands that sit just above your hips but not around your actual middle are beneficial.

Footwear 

Ankle boots suit the majority of women, however what you want to look at is whether it is too wide at the top of the boot drawing the eye away from the style of the boot and leaving the focus on the gap!  In addition, shoes and sandals with a broad ankle straps can be more complimentary than a thin ankle strap, which can often look as though it is cutting into your ankle as opposed to complimenting your ankle.  Long boots and peep-toe shoes with heels are also favourable.

Accessories 

Did you know that depending on your stature, carrying a small bag can make you appear larger?  Yes I was quite surprised at that, however when amply curvaceous, carrying a large bag will have the opposite effect. Additionally, the same applies with regard to belts and jewelry. Wearing a large belt and a big, long necklace creates the illusion of smaller. It is about ensuring that everything is proportional to your body-shape.

I celebrate curves, as I do a body-shape of straight up and down, they all have their own uniqueness when it comes to design.  That’s the beauty of bespoke and its not just for special occasions, when your clothes fit in all the right places, you smile, the clothes smile, and those looking at you smile!