Be stylish at any age

Rediscovering your personal style and inner confidence

By Rebecca Sanderson, Personal Stylist

Elegance is the privilege of age according to French style guru Geneviève Antoine-Dariaux. With five or six decades of dressing yourselves under your belts, finding your own style should be easier now than ever. So why does it feel like it’s only getting harder?  Style has nothing to do with age and challenge the ridiculous and insulting notion that beyond midlife, women become invisible.

“I feel invisible because of my age,” is a leading thought in the minds of many women of a certain age. I did not say a specific age, nor did I say all women are faced with this dilemma. After all, these feelings depend on the woman. But I will say this, more women than not, as they age, feel invisible.

Style has nothing to do with age and challenge the ridiculous and insulting notion that beyond midlife, women become invisible.

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Fight invisibility with positivity and activity!

Visibility has everything to do with a woman’s positive and interesting lifestyle. I believe that 80 percent of a woman’s beauty is her inner beauty or inner confidence, not her age. When you are emotionally fulfilled and feel confident in yourself, you become a visible woman. You feel your step has a bounce and your laughter is contagious. You stand erect with great posture, with your head held high. You know you are respected by your family and your peers who see your relevancy.

Why people are increasingly treated as if they’re invisible as they age (more prevalent it seems, for women) is curious, though perhaps not surprising. We live in a youth-fixated culture where people are afraid to age and to be vulnerable to growing older; where ideals about “attractiveness” are oriented around those with young, healthy bodies.

Perhaps our self-image does not have to reflect what has for so long kept us in the shadows.

Isn’t it time we embraced our true selves?

As the show-and-tell culture of social media has demonstrated, you do not have to dress a certain way because you are a certain age.  Ageing today is bound up with mindset, lifestyle, and self-expression. The most beautiful and elegant Nigella Lawson turned 60 this year and says she’s not ready to stop getting her roots done. Now a columnist for the Sunday Times Style magazine as well as an eternal Domestic Goddess, Nigella recently wrote a brilliant piece on her landmark birthday. “Getting older is much easier than being young,’ Nigella said, ‘The two great enemies of happiness are self-consciousness and the pressure to conform and the older one gets, the easier it is to throw off those shackles.”  (Nigella Lawson on the joy of turning 60 | Style | The Sunday Times (thetimes.co.uk))

As we age, it can feel like we are being judged by society at every turn, especially about the way we present ourselves. But how do we look youthful and fabulous without feeling ridiculous? It’s a difficult, balancing act, but there are plenty of women doing it well and so can you!

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Getting older is much easier than being young. The two great enemies of happiness are self-consciousness and the pressure to conform and the older one gets, the easier it is to throw off those shackles. - NIGELLA LAWSON

Let’s disrupt ageing!

Clothing and style can lead to rebirth. Style as we age, should not be about trying to look desperately younger. It should be about bringing the person that we are on the inside into the world. No-one is going to criticize you for being yourself. So, go wild! The most important thing is to find clothes that make you feel amazing.

Your new shopping guide 

Here are my tips for making your next shopping trip a more rewarding one:

Edit your wardrobe

Find time to go through your wardrobe with a fresh eye and maybe a reliable friend (or contact me). Be realistic about what no longer fits you or flatters you. Include your shoes, boots and coats in this too. Sort your unwanted clothes into 2 categories: 1. Giveaway and 2. Good items for swapping.

Review your shopping habits

Think through how you normally buy clothes. Are you totally happy with your approach? If not, why not take a moment to think about what you’ve been doing wrong? Maybe you tend to leave shopping until the last minute, buy things on impulse without knowing exactly how they’ll work with the clothes you have or perhaps you don’t persevere by not finding exactly what you’re looking for and end up compromising.

Once you know what shapes, cuts, colours and textures make the best of your figure and your skin tone, it’s important that you not buy anything that doesn’t entirely flatter you. If it’s the right shape but the wrong colour – don’t buy it. If it’s the right colour but the texture is just too “thin” or clingy, don’t buy it. If it ‘s a great bargain but not quite the right colour, don’t buy it!

80:20 Rule

At this age, you should be dressing in clothes that are 80% Classical and 20% Individual/Funky/Contemporary in style.

Have fun!

Most importantly, give yourself enough time. Treat it as a gift to yourself and ENJOY!

Clothes became less of a tool for maintaining control and more of a way to express creativity, let’s call it tonic for your soul!  I like to refer to the phenomenon of using “style” to boost the mood as “Wear Your Happy”.  The positive links between style and good mental wellbeing has long been proven. An outfit should fit well, suit the person in terms of image, personality and lifestyle, and have the all-important feel-good factor. A winning combination that makes the wearer feel champion.

Try new things. Don’t be afraid. Step out of your comfort zone and soar! No more invisible.

Rebecca Sanderson is a Personal Stylist based in Cape Town
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Rebecca specialises in helping her clients of all ages to find a look that works for them, for their lifestyle, body shape, personality and budget.  Her aim is to help all her clients to feel happy and confident in a way that expresses their unique personality.

Having a Personal Stylist is no longer just for the rich and famous, it’s now an affordable luxury and a great pampering experience. However, unlike a great holiday or luxury spa day where the effects soon wear off, you are left with the power and knowledge you can keep and continue looking amazing day after day.  Contact her on sandersonrebecca30@gmail.com or 0727553652 to book your appointment.  Rebecca is also available for virtual appointments.