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The secrets to style later in life


Do you think your sense of style has changed over the years? If you’ve never had a keen interest in clothes, you might not have been that conscious of it, however, for those who love fashion, there’s no denying our tastes change over the years.

We spoke to four women who have changed their style over the years. Whether it’s because of a lifestyle change, or simply because their tastes are different, we asked these gorgeous women about how they keep feeling sartorially savvy, no matter their age.

Antoinette Stonham, Melanie Quirk and Chee Pearsall are all working in the fashion industry now, so it’s no surprise they’ve got style on their minds. Yet even for Sally Arnold, who isn’t necessarily working in a field that requires a love of fashion, she still has a strong sense of the clothing she loves to wear. And one thing is clear for all four women; their own parents played a huge part in how they’ve developed their stylish sensibilities.

Where does your love of fashion come from?

Antoinette: “I’m one of the lucky ones, my mother and father were both very stylish. My mother never leaves the house without her lippy; my dad always wore a collared shirt and shiny black shoes when we went out. I grew up with fashion and style.”

Sally: “A stylish family! Even though we were not wealthy, we had a new outfit for summer and winter. When I look at mum, she looked so beautiful. Mum is 91 now and still looks and dresses amazingly.”

Chee: “Definitely from my parents. Mum was a seamstress and my grandmother just loved dressing up her three daughters. My mum did the same with her kids, she would sew all our outfits.”

Melanie: “My mother was always super stylish and impeccably dressed. As a fashion editor and later as a bed linen designer, I have always been conscious of design and colour trends.”

Has your style changed over the years? Why do you think this is?

Antoinette: “Heels still dominate my wardrobe, but flats have crept in as I’m a grandmother to 1-year-old twins. Once a week we attend ‘baby gym’ together, so I need to be comfortable.”

Sally: “No change in style! And no ‘comfort wear’ for me!”

Chee: “The clothes I used to wear are no longer part of my lifestyle, I feel like it’s time to let go and move onto newer and better things. I try to find clothing that suits my body type, and stay away from structured, stiff and tight clothing.”

Melanie: “My style has changed in terms of being conscious of ageing gracefully. While I hope I will never look dowdy or frumpy, I also want to dress age-appropriately.”

What’s your favourite part of an outfit to decide on?

Antoinette: “For me, it’s all about the silhouette, the fit and the style of the garment. My accessories add a bit of individuality to my outfit.”

Sally: “I love jackets, as I believe a jacket can turn whatever is underneath into a new story every time.”

Chee: “Definitely accessories, as I feel these pull the outfit together. I feel naked if I don’t have a nice scarf or jewellery to complement the outfit!”

Melanie: “A simple silhouette is important o me. And while I like to add a bit of colour, I do tend to wear solid colours like black, white and grey. And shoes – it’s all about the shoes.”

Why do you think style is important to consider as you get older?

Antoinette: “Style is important at any age, as we become older, we want to be an example for our children and grandchildren. Style and confidence within yourself go hand-in-hand.”

Sally: “To me, style is a way of showing I care, just like eating or cooking amazing food. As I get older I want to learn and grow; I want to learn about how to look the best I can.”

Chee: “Unfortunately I’ve seen many women my age that have stopped loving their bodies. I know what that feels like, as I have been there, but when I entered my 50s I started to appreciate what my body has experienced – childbirth, joy, love and pain. I am going to love and respect this beautiful body that has gone through ups and downs. The biggest lesson I have learnt in my 50s is that I no longer dress for anyone but myself.”

Melanie: “We’re lucky enough to live in a time where getting older isn’t synonymous with blue rinses, elasticated pants and comfy shoes. While we can’t hold back the years, and grey hair, we can control what we wear and we can always carry ourselves with style and grace.”

Whether you can relate to these women’s love of style or not, one thing is clear – just because you’ve got a few more years on the younger generation, there’s no reason you shouldn’t celebrate your experience through the clothes you’re wearing! 

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