Reaching the menopause doesn’t mean resigning yourself to twinsets and pearls. Rip up the rulebook on 'fashion for older women' and say hello to ageless style.
Think getting older means following strict rules such as covering your arms and avoiding black? Not so, according to fashion journalist Alyson Walsh, author of Style Forever. “I hate all those rules,” she says. “Style is an individual thing. You just have to figure out what works for you. Our body shape can change around the menopause – mine has – so you may need to adapt a bit but there’s no one-size-fits-all just because you’re older.”
So to help you find the right style for you, we asked Ms Walsh for her top tips for ageless chic.
“If you’ve got a bit of middle-aged spread you might find that looser shapes look better,” advises Ms Walsh. “A slightly loose cotton shirt is fantastic in the summer and I think most women can wear that.
“An A-line top with a slight neckline and tunic dresses are also good – anything that skims over things. You want to feel comfortable and relaxed so fit is really important,” she adds.
“When we’re young we’re more likely to wear things that are tight and uncomfortable and just suffer it but I think we’re less inclined to do that as we get older. You have more important things to worry about than whether your trousers are a little too snug.”
Master the art of layering
“Anything you can waft – or remove – is good for a hot flush,” says Ms Walsh. Start with a base such as a slightly long sleeveless tunic over some slim trousers or a straight maxi skirt and then layer a shorter crop top or a shirt over the top. It’s loose and comfortable but still very chic.
“Fabric is also important – go for natural fabrics such as cotton, linen, silk and cashmere, as they absorb moisture from the skin and help air to circulate around the body better. They’ll help you keep your cool during a flush and tend to hold their shape better,” she adds.
Look for instant updates
“As you get older you want to stay looking modern but without chasing all the trends because you have your own personal style. If you have some good quality basics, you can easily update your look by investing in a few new tops,” notes Ms Walsh.
Try an asymmetric top or off-the-shoulder top in neutral colours, taking elements from the high street for an instant update to your wardrobe.
Put your best foot forward
“I don’t think anyone looks glamorous when their feet hurt. Nearly every designer brand now has a range of trainers,” says Ms Walsh. “Not only are they comfortable but buying a new pair of snazzy trainers is another good way to look current and of the moment. I also really like loafers, brogues and flats, which are great if you need to look a bit smarter.”
Adding the final touches
“Don’t forget to accessorise to complete your outfit, but I wouldn’t necessarily wear a big statement necklace if you’re experiencing hot flushes,” advises Ms Walsh. “You want to feel free and uncluttered and a heavy necklace can make you feel clammy and sweaty. Go for a pair of chandelier earrings instead.”
Don’t stop at jewellery – why not wear a belt to add colour to your look and pull in looser tops. “They are also easy to remove so if you do start to feel uncomfortable you can just whip it off,” says Ms Walsh.
Ultimately, wear what makes you look and feel good through the menopause (and cope with the hot flushes it brings) – and if you can’t find it, get an expert’s opinion. “The thing to remember is that you’re not dressing for your age, you’re dressing for your body shape,” adds Walsh. “If you’re not sure what suits you anymore and need a little help, you can always use a personal shopper at one of the department stores. They are often free and have seen women of all shapes, sizes, ages.”
Style doesn’t rely on age and the menopause is a great time to experiment and get creative to figure out what works best for you.
The ‘me’ in menopause
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“It’s real silk,” said Shadi Halliwell of her black-and-blue Amanda Wakeley top from the designer’s spring collection. The group creative and marketing director of Harvey Nichols wasn’t talking from the shop floor, but from a grass paddock where she’d just dismounted her horse, Zebedee’s Son, and the top was made for racing.
A few minutes earlier, Halliwell and 11 other female amateur jockeys thundered down the Goodwood course in a five-and-a-half furlong race known as the Magnolia Cup, an annual charity event that takes place during Ladies’ Day at the Qatar Goodwood Festival.
The jockeys — whose day jobs range from banking to millinery — train hard all year ahead of the race, which takes place on the Goodwood estate in West Sussex, England.
The estate, which belongs to the Duke of Richmond’s family, has been hosting horse racing events since the 18th century, and the thoroughbred competitions it hosts at the end of July are a fixture on the British sporting calendar.
“Three days a week of riding and two at the gym. It’s nice to have something difficult to do outside work,” said Halliwell. “It makes work easier to manage.” Racing is has certainly put job stress into perspective. “Today, there were about 30,000 people watching — so stressful.”
Charlotte Hogg, who was decked in a white silk number with thin colored stripes by Me + Em, an online label and favorite of the Duchess of Cambridge, said she spent her spare time doing squats and toughening her core. “I ride, but have never raced before. It’s like learning to ride a bike all over again, with a different saddle and a different position,” said Hogg, who works for the Bank of England.
Other riders wore silks by designers and labels including Liberty, Jasmine Guinness,Bella Freud and Vivienne Westwood. Harrods, meanwhile, sponsored a horse named Conry, which it rebaptized Harrods Hot Hooves for the day.
The Magnolia Cup winner, Isabelle Taylor, wore a Guinness design emblazoned with the number 90 and a crown, in honor of Queen Elizabeth’s birthday year.
This year is the second in a 10-year sponsorship deal by Qatar, and the sixth year of the Magnolia Cup, which has raised upward of 1 million pounds, or $1.3 million, for charity.
On Thursday, Charles Gordon Lennox, the 10th Duke of Richmond, who lives on the estate, was on site handing out awards alongside the retired English ballerina Darcey Bussell.
Beulah, the London dress label founded and designed by Lavinia Brennan and Lady Natasha Rufus Isaacs, created one of the silks, which was covered in a hydrangea hand-block print.
“It’s from our spring collection and reflects the story of the brand and the charity we support,” said Brennan. The prints were made by the women who benefit from the Beulah Trust, a charitable foundation that supports projects that create livelihoods for victims of human trafficking.
While there may have been only one winner of the cup, all 12 jockeys got lucky on Thursday. Soon after their race ended, the skies opened up. The show went on, however, with horses battling their way through a curtain of rain, sadly, not so unusual for an English summer.Read more at:formal dresses 2016
High heels can cause many woes for women. Cracked heels, pinched toes and redness all round is a lot of ache for one person to deal with. To dismiss it as sore feet doesn’t do the pain justice. Worse still, there’s no cure – aside from boycotting high heels altogether, taking extreme surgical measures or injecting your feet with Botox. Don’t scoff – some women resort to these procedures. It’s a problem we have had to suffer for many years. But things are taking a positive turn, with the fashion industry’s latest fixation on heels that are more comfortable and wearable.
Take the cult shoe of the moment: the Chanel slingback. Its neither too-pointed nor too-rounded toe, small block heel and slingback strap celebrate a new era in fashion – one that doesn’t include foot torture. Sadly, the Dh2,800 shoe is sold out in most Chanel stores across the globe – even in its latest grey-and-black colourway, to my dismay. If you have neither the savings nor energy to hunt around personal shoppers’ Instagram pages for coveted Chanels, don’t despair, because the high street has caught on to the trend.
Sock-style heels are another type of comfort-over-looks shoe currently on the market. Niche New York-based shoe designer Maryam Nassir Zadeh pioneered the rise of this trend. Her retro renditions, which cost Dh1,000 to Dh2,000, also gained recognition when luxury leather label Mansur Gavriel was accused of copying her shoe designs (particularly the colourful mules) when it launched a footwear line.
The autumn/winter stock slowly trickling into Zara takes a lot of inspiration from high-end designers, shoes included. Lace-up ballet styles, à la Miu Miu, are in the collection, as are cap-toe, block-heeled renditions of the Chanel slingback.
Sock-style heels, meanwhile, can be found in neutral shades of suede at H&M. Online retailer Asos also has some great offerings, in printed, plain and backless options. Speaking of backless, mules are another example of wearable heels that have resurfaced, though I much prefer the sleek, black options to the wooden clog styles that some brands (such as Gucci and Alexander McQueen) have tried to repopularise. Gucci, however, did bring a clever shoe style to the market this season when it introduced loafers with leather back panels that fold in, turning them into mules. For all of us who resort to sticking plasters onto the backs of our heels so shoes don’t cause blisters or worse, this new style is quite a genius solution, as is the decision to go with square toes. For women such as me, who are cursed with wide feet, ultra-narrow pointed styles are tortuous to fit all five toes in, let alone walk around in for five minutes.
A sign of the working, professional woman used to be an enviably high-heeled shoe – often with the signature Louboutin red sole. But with varying definitions of feminism influencing trends, and man-repelling becoming an increasingly popular style statement, traditional notions of feminine footwear are changing, too. Slowly but surely, women in the workplace are shedding the sexist connotations that place them in tight suits and uber-high heels. We have kicked off our uncomfy pumps, replacing them with lace-up ballerinas, flat-form sandals, relaxed espadrilles and, if your office is super-lenient, sporty trainers. As I type this in our office, which abides by quite a professional dress-code, my feet sit happily inside my latest shoe splurge from All Saints. They’re black, open-back, bow-adorned canvas flats that are somewhat reminiscent of house-slippers. Office appropriate? I will let you decide.Read more at:formal dresses australia | evening dresses online