Age is an Attitude

Me circa 1984.

Me circa 1984.

This weekend I will turn the ripe old age of 35 – I’ll be firmly in my mid-thiries and I’m not bothered about it one little bit.

Now, I know that 35 is not old. I don’t feel old, I don’t look old (I hope!), but it does feel like a bit of a milestone. However, my biggest fear is not ageing – I know I’ll get wrinkles and grey hairs (already have quite a few) and my body will change (more on that in another blog post), and that’s fine. Its inevitable so there really is no point in worrying about it or going to extreme lengths to try and prevent it.

My biggest fear is acting ‘old’ and dressing ‘old’.

I often hear the phrase ‘Am I too old for this?’ from some of my clients, particularly those over 40, who think that being a particular age means they have to dress a certain way (or not, as the case may be). My answer is; if you feel great in it, then NO, you’re not too ‘old’ for it!

For me, age is an attitude; are you a ‘young’ 40/50/60 year old, or an ‘old’ 40/50/60 year old? Dress for your attitude, dress for your personality, dress for YOU! Don’t let age dictate anything with regards to your style; it should be fun and the minute we start to put constraints on what we can and can’t wear (whatever the reason) it isn’t fun. In my view, as long as we’re choosing fabrics, colours and styles that fit and flatter us, and (most importantly) make us feel fabulous, nothing else really matters.

As I get older I find myself dressing more for me and less for the approval of others. I’m becoming more daring, a little bolder and more experimental – it’s so liberating and fun and I can only see my ‘don’t give a damn’ attitude becoming more dominant as I get older. I want to have fun with my clothes, I want to feel good and I certainly don’t intend to slide into a wardrobe of bland colours, sensible shoes and modest hemlines as the years tick by.

As long as I feel great, and like the way I dress, I really don’t mind what others may think.

For many years I have looked to two people regularly for sartorial inspiration; Olivia Palermo and Iris Apfel. In the course of writing this post I started to think more about what I find so inspiriting and appealing about the way these two women dress. You may think the two of them couldn’t be more different, for starters they are separated in age by 65 years. However, when I took a step back, I realised their approach to dressing is actually very similar and in-keeping with my own sense of style.

They both…

  • Accessorise (have you ever seen either of them without a statement ring, earring, necklace or bag?)
  • Wear colour (and lots of it usually)
  • Mix patterns
  • Lead the pack, rather than follow it

Their dress sense may not be to everyone’s taste, but there is no denying they always exude an air of confidence and as a result, they always look amazing.

When I hear Olivia Palermo say things like “I always like to play a lot with colour. Colour is great.” I know we’re kindred spirits and as for Iris Apfel, well I’ll leave you with these wise words…

“There’s no road map to style. It’s about self expression and, above all, attitude.” ~ Iris Apfel

So ladies, go out and rock whatever outfit you choose to wear, whatever your age, whatever your dress size and whatever the occasion! I certainly will be this weekend and on every birthday celebration to follow!

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Making A Statement

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There are some items that, once you’ve seen them, you just know they’re coming home with you. This coat was one of those items.

I’d gone into Attic Womenswear for an entirely different reason, not knowing at the time that my wardrobe was missing an electric blue cocoon coat, but oh my it was!

The gorgeous vibrant blue colour winked out at me from the rails and I tried it on ‘just to see’, and…it was love at first site. I adore everything about this coat – the colour, the shape and the warmth it offers. It’s the perfect piece of outerwear to take me into Spring, but because it’s so cosy, with lots of room for layers, I can happily wear it now.

I have to admit, once I got it home I faltered slightly because it is bright and as someone who typically doesn’t like to stand out too much from the crowd, it was out of  my comfort zone. Having said that, it still felt very much in-keeping with my personal style and fitted with my style mantra* so even though I felt a little self-conscious the first time I wore it, I went for it, and I’m so glad I did. It really elevates my everyday wear; throwing it over a striped top, jeans and boots instantly makes me feel more dressed ‘up’ and polished. In the past I’ve always been one to opt for neutral outerwear that I then add pops to with accessories but I think I may be expanding my statement coat collection soon, I’m a convert!

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Make A Statement

My top tip if you fancy taking the plunge with a bright coat or jacket it to make sure it is in a colour from your palette as this will guarantee it’ll look good next to your skin. Make sure its one of your favourite shades so you don’t fall out of love with it a few months down the line (lots of people love to opt for a shade of red, which is a very powerful, passionate colour and one I’m liking for my next statement coat purchase).

The shape of my coat isn’t designed to show off or flatter my figure, the cocoon shape is what I call a ‘current classic’ – the shape is very popular at the moment but will never go out of style completely, so its a safe bet to make an investment in. Before I decided to purchase I considered what I could wear this with and on what occasions it would be appropriate to wear it – always do your fashion maths (cost per wear) before taking the plunge as you don’t want something sitting in your wardrobe that never gets worn.

Finally, how does it make you feel? This coat puts a smile on my face when I wear it, I stand taller and feel fab in it. All your clothes should elicit positive feelings from you when you wear them. Accept nothing less!

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* a style mantra is a phrase or set of words that I give my clients to express their personal style (how they want to look and feel when they dress), it comes out of understanding what suits, flatters and fits you best and knowing what type of image you want to present to the world. To discover your own style mantra book in for a full image makeover or style consultation over at www.imagebyannaelizabeth.com

I’m wearing…

Coat – Samsone & Samsoe

Top – Great Plains

Jeans – Waven

Boots – Mint Velvet

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Changing shapes…

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As anyone who has children will know, they change everything – in ways that you could never possibly have imagined. Until you have children you can’t really comprehend it, and even now, almost five years after having my first child, I’m still adjusting to life as a Mum.

Another thing I’m still adjusting to is my new ‘figure’ (if you can all it that). I haven’t quite accepted that it will never be the same again, but despite regular exercise and healthy eating I’m still not back to my pre-baby body (or anywhere near it for that matter). Sometimes it bothers me that my once flat stomach now has a distinct roundness to it, other times I simply look at my two babies in amazement and feel blessed and grateful that my body was able to grow and birth them so efficiently. It’s pretty mind-blowing when you think about it.

However mind-blowing and amazing having children is, it doesn’t change the fact that I’m currently carrying a ‘muffin top’ and whilst I’m in the process of reducing it, I am having to dress cleverly to hide it in the meantime. As I see a lot of new Mums for style consultations who want help with dressing their new shape I thought I would share some of my top tips here so if you too are facing a similar ‘changing shape’ situation you can get a few tips on how to still look and feel your fabulous best, no matter what your shape, size or stage of weight loss journey you may be at!

1. Go High Rise

I was a slave to the low-cut skinny jean pre-baby but post-baby, oh my! NOT a good look. Not only are low-rise jeans less than ideal when you spend your day bending to pick up your baby or crawling on the floor to play with them, they also allow nowhere for a little weight gain to hide! Enter the high rise jean. I can’t tell you how comfortable high rise jeans are! They are also super-flattering as they smooth out all the lumps and bumps. I’m a complete convert. I urge you to give them a try, I doubt you’ll ever go back to any other rise afterwards.

I basically live in this pair these days.

waven jeans personal stylist anna mewes yorkshire leeds

2. Good Foundations

Now we’re not talking corsets here, but a good foundation layer goes a long, long way. I typically now always way a foundation layer underneath everything (I’m also always cold so this helps me keep toasty too!) I’m obsessed with the base layers from Hope Fashion and have their long sleeve scoop tops in every colour. They are comfortable, breathable, warm and just feel like they’re smoothing everything out beautifully. I also love their foundation skirts for an alternative look to jeans which is still super-comfy and practical (they come in two lengths so you can opt for whichever is best for you).

If you decide to invest in some items from Hope (and I highly recommend that you do!), enter code STYLE32 at checkout to receive 10% off your next order!

hope fashion anna mewes personal stylist leeds

 

3. Layers

At this time of year layering is an ideal and practical way of hiding any lumps and bumps (also perfect if you’re breastfeeding for easy, discreet access). A look I’ve been wearing a lot lately is a tee or vest with a denim shirt and chunky knit cardigan over the top. It keeps everything covered, its warm (you see a theme here, I like to be warm!) and I love the look of layering. My current fave denim shirt is this little number.

anna mewes personal stylist leeds blogger

4. Don’t Hide

Rather than swamping your frame in oversized clothes to try and hide your figure, think instead of drawing attention to the parts you DO like. Wear colour and patterns, accessories etc. on your top half if you’re conscious of your bottom half – that way when people look at you their eyes will be drawn upwards to where all the action is! Wear dark shades on your lower half but keep things fitted – wearing clothes that are too big for you or don’t fit properly will only make you look bigger than you are. Treat yourself to some properly fitting items, even if you only plan to wear them for a short time whilst you lose your baby weight, you deserve to look and feel fabulous whatever your current shape or size may be. Embrace it, enjoy it and rock it!