Festive Fashion for The Over 40s.
…with fab tips for every age.
Lovely ladies, does Christmas fill you with dread for more reasons than just …
… it’s super dooper, extra busy…
… you can’t face another Boxing Day playing charades with Auntie Doris…
… the shops are packed with grumpy shoppers …
… family sized tins of chocolates are as addictive as Crack…
Maybe you’re also worried about party season? Festive fashion? The pressure to dress up? To look nice on Christmas Day? Everyone wants to look nifty for New Year’s Eve, right? But what IS festive fashion when you’re over 40?
I get it. I’m not a dressing up kinda gal. My hair has a way of it’s own. I wear my dog-hair friendly uniform of jeans and a jersey top even on Christmas Day. I have curves.
Plus I get the odd meno hot flush at 49, so layers are a sensible thing, but I can’t seem to pull off the layers look with any style.
So to help myself – and I figured I’m not alone – I have an exclusive interview with not one but TWO Style Coaches.
AND many of their festive fashion hints are helpful no matter how old you are! Squeeeeeee.
Style Coaches that specialize in working with REAL women. Like us. To give us some style tips to see us through the festive season, looking and feeling better.
Let me introduce to you sassy Sarah Morgan. And very lovely Lisa Newport.
Both have very different personal styles. Both work with women mainly, to discover the colours and styles that suit them and work for their preferences and lifestyles. There are BIOs at the end.
Let’s crack on with the burning style questions I put to them on festive fashion…
How do I avoid being “Mutton Dressed as Lamb” or dressing for “Frumport” this Christmas? (Lisa)
Once you truly know your style preferences and are not swayed by what’s in the shops or what you think you ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ wear because you are a certain age it can be liberating, empowering and confidence boosting.
If you develop your signature style and almost have your own basic ‘uniform’ this can be dressed up or down and adapted for different situations and events. Creating your own festive fashion.
I usually start with my FREE style personality quiz for all my clients as this helps them define the starting point for any work we do together.
It’s important not to veer to far from your preferred style as then you’ll end up feeling self conscious and uncomfortable. e.g. if you are usually a jeans, trainers and t shirt kind of girl you could trade up your faded denim for a pair of coloured jeans teamed with a jersey wrap top, add a nice belt, a bit of jewellery and a pair of sparkly ballet flats and you’re good to go. That’s your festive fashion.
This way you are still yourself but taking it up a level – much better than teetering around like a new born calf in heels and a frock if that’s just not your thing.
Any ideas for festive fashion for common pre/menopausal issues like muffin top, hot flushes, wobbly arms, thinner hair? (Sarah)
Like you Kathy, I’m a casual dresser, though with no instant access to dog hair, I add something even more special to achieve a look I call ‘relaxed glamour’!
At Christmas, I stick to my usual style, but with a little more ‘fire’ (and I don’t mean the hot flush sort…) by adding gorgeous touchy-feely fabrics, such as silk, cashmere, and this season’s on trend fabric, velvet. I’ll hazard that would work for you, too.
With the added bonus that they are natural fibres, and allow the body to breathe.
And if you’re thinking ‘Blimey – velvet; I’ll bake!’ there are plenty of boots, shoes and bags to choose from.
Style wise, my top advice for those menopausal issues is SKIM DON’T CLING.
Flabby arms? Look for a silky or sheer top with loose sleeves. Batwing and dolman are very ‘now’. If you have great boobs, add a fabulous necklace. If your pins are admirable, go for jacquard trousers or a sequin skirt to draw attention away from your arms.
Muffin Top is easily rectified by wearing a higher rise trouser. Wear with a longer, looser top that elongates your top half and slims down the problem area. Ditch the belts.
A dress that skims your middle is a great solution if your waistline has lost its way.
This one from Jigsaw is washable silk, perfect for ‘warm’ moments.
Also from Jigsaw is this gorgeous festive top with batwing sleeves.
If your hair is thinning, find a hairdresser who understands the problem. Shorter, blunter styles are usually most flattering.
Generally, if your hairdresser is stuck in a time-warp, go elsewhere. Out-dated hair, glasses and accessories will kill the most exciting outfit stone dead.
What do you wear when you’re the hostess so will be cooking, serving and pouring drinks? (Lisa)
As a hostess, I’d follow my own advice about wearing something that is a ‘partified’ version of my usual style so that I was comfortable and confident.
I would consider wearing an apron (a nice one of course) for the cooking element.
I’d think about sleeve length, preferably short or ¾ so I wouldn’t be dangling them in turkey fat or gravy.
The same with jewellery – no long pendants or beads to get caught up on things or people!
My other consideration would be to choose a patterned fabric or black so that if there were any splashes or spills they would not be as noticeable.
Natural fabrics are probably the best choice in case things get a bit warm in the kitchen or at least consider layers, you don’t want to end up looking hot in the wrong way.
Making sure there is a face powder compact to hand to minimize and over rosy glow would be an idea too – you wouldn’t want to end up with cheeks like Santa on all the photos would you?
This one from M&S is great.
Or Boots have a good mineral based one.
For me, flat shoes are essential unless I’m sitting – I save my heels for “car to bar” kind of situations.
I would probably buy a pair of ballet flats in velvet or with a bit of festive fashion sparkle or adapt a pair of plain shoes by adding temporary shoe clips to make a statement. You can get a wide range of shows clips from Amazon.
John Lewis have a lovely selection of flats.
How can I go from day to evening with style? (Sarah)
Start with a simple, well cut knee-length dress that is demure enough for the office and can be worn with smart jacket if necessary. It could be black, or any colour you love. Wear with opaques and brogues by day.
After work, ditch the jacket and shoes in your desk drawer, and swap for something more glamorous. I favour suede ankle boots with a 2.5 inch heel – still comfortable, and more current than courts.
Add a statement necklace or chandelier earrings and a stronger lip colour with plenty of gloss. Take travel size hairspray to give roots a boost, and you’re done – with just a few items that would fit in your handbag.
NB I must be the only menopausal woman who is always cold, so I’d have worn my velvet coat to work, or a cashmere poncho. Freezing to death on the way to the venue is never a good start to the evening.
Can you ever justify a Christmas Jumper over 40? (Lisa)
Age is as irrelevant to Christmas jumpers, as it is to anything that you wear.
It’s all about what you feel comfortable and confident in at any age. I refer back to the knowing your style personality again.
There’s a version of a Christmas jumper that will be right for you, it’s about your interpretation …
For example a “Classic” style personality might be persuaded to wear a cream cashmere jumper with a very subtle hint of a shimmer and would see that as their version of a Christmas jumper. Or a red one with sheen like this one.
Whereas a “Romantic” type would veer towards the softest, fluffiest mohair jumper with a pretty little puppy in a Santa hat and the cutesy factor.
For me (“Dramatic” style personality with a rounded apple tummy and mahoosive boobs) it’s all about the colour and shape. I’d wear a Christmas jumper if that was the dress code, but it would still have to suit me.
A “Creative” style personality would plan their whole outfit around the jumper and spend a lot of time and energy to craft an ensemble that wouldn’t go unnoticed.
The “Natural” style personality would just go with the flow and buy one that was convenient, probably from the supermarket and not give the style or colour much thought.
And the “Urbanista” would pay over the odds for one from an upmarket brand to make them feel that it was ok to wear. Like this one.
Can everyone wear glittery and glitzy? (Sarah)
Yes, it’s just a case of how much and where.
Sparkle can be used to draw attention to our great bits – and away from those we’re not crazy about.
But it has to suit our style essence or personality too.
For example, my personal style is understated, so full-on ‘Shirley Bassey’ bling would feel shouty. I’m happier with subtle sparkle.
I have good legs so I’d wear shiny jacquard trousers, like these from Next, with a ‘quiet’ top that skims over my arms and tummy.
If you have heavy legs or thighs, keep glitz high – a sequin top or silky bomber jacket, worn with deeper coloured, matte trousers will draw attention up and away from the ‘problem’ area.
Remember that sequins and sparkle will make any area look bigger. If you’re feeling like the disco ball, wear a figure-skimming top or dress in a matte fabric, and use glitz elsewhere – sparkly shoes, an amazing cuff, or giant ring.
My personal favourite is a metallic gold cross-body bag that almost serves as jewellery – it adds glamour to jeans and a jumper and means I can keep my belongings close.
And FINALLY, what’s your BEST top tip for Festive Fashion Over 40? (BOTH)
Lisa said …
“my best top tip for festive fashion over 40 is to learn what suits you in terms of colour, shape and style and don’t buy anything that you will only wear once. Consider whether something can be dressed up or down and stick to styles that you know will make you look good and feel fabulous. If you are comfortable and confident in your clothes it shows in your demeanour and you’ll sparkle from within.”
Sarah said …
“my best tip for festive fashion is ‘have fun’, and for that I have to be comfortable, starting with my feet. Since I got older and wiser, the words ‘party shoes’ fill me with dread – how many evenings have I ruined, tottering around in torture? Never again.
Here’s some fabulous festive fashion footwear that ticks the comfort box.
Well, I learned LOTs and hope you found it really useful.
Thanks to these two super Style Coaches, I have more idea what to wear for the festivities. Not just the jeans and jersey top combo … although I always seem to end up with dog hair!
If you’d like to find out more about Sarah and Lisa and their services, their bios are underneath the blog.
Love, Kathy x
I’m Sarah Morgan Personal Stylist.
My midlife mantra is Buy Less, Buy Better. My own style is edited, edgy and comfortable.
I work with YOU to find YOUR personal style to suit your colouring, body shape and style essence. There’s usually much fun and enlightenment along the way.
I am based in beautiful Norfolk UK. If you would like to work with me go to www.sarah-morgan.co.uk or call 07919 608692.
Lisa graduated from Loughborough College of Art with a BA Hons in textiles and fashion. She then worked as a designer, creating printed fabric for the fashion industry and in the specialist area of the colour forecasting industry, predicting trends.
Her work was distributed in many High Street stores including Miss Selfridge, Oasis, Burtons, Dorothy Perkins, Marks & Spencer, BHS, Littlewoods, Monsoon and Next; as well as many American brands.
She moved on to teaching others how to design and gained a PGCE (teaching qualification) during her time as a college lecturer in Further and Higher Education. She is also a qualified make-up artist, features regularly on BBC Radio Nottingham, Radio Newark, Notts TV 6.30 show and is a published author for Henpicked.net.
Lisa brings together her exclusive skills, knowledge, and experience in her business – My Ruby Slippers Style Academy. She works as a Style Coach delivering presentations, workshops, online courses and one to one consultations. Her aim is to help people feel good using colour and clothes to build confidence; empowering women to experiment and develop their unique style.
Her mission is to help women look good and feel fabulous so they can then go conquer the world!
“You’ve always had the power…you just had to learn it for yourself” Glinda Wizard of Oz
07975 853 245
Find her FREE online style personality quiz right here >