“Winchester Bag Lady” (Photo credit: Flicktone)
It’s f*cking freezing at the moment and in a perfect world I would be allowed to just hibernate for the next two months and left to exist on hot chocolates and Schnapps like I tried to in Thredbo.
Unfortunately, reality dictates that I have to work, shout at horrible teenagers and pretend to live life to the full.
Which means that in spite of the urge to simply alternate my two warmest and fugliest jumpers, (which is exactly what I also did in Thredbo), occasionally I have to look like a normal human being, rather than my preferred winter alter-ego of a middle-aged Bag Lady.
The whole winter style issue becomes further complicated by my predicament over who exactly I want to be in my late forties, in terms of style persona.
Do I aspire to be Sarah Jessica Parker or am I going to settle for Kathy Bates?
I’m still desperately trying to find that outfit that suits my middle-aged spread physique, and to be honest, it gets harder in the winter. I have tried ‘layering’, but it has to be done right in middle age, otherwise you just end up looking bigger. And in my experience, to layer successfully, you need to spend money.
The ‘need to be comfortable’ mindset is definitely edging out my old sense of style; although I’m not quite ready to roll over and die just yet. Deep down I would like to carry on enjoying fashion, but I need to stay warm too.
Age is definitely just a number; it doesn’t have to be an outlook too.
What I have found since resisting embracing my late forties by the balls is that the old man was quite right about one thing – ‘quality is far superior to quantity’ – at least when it comes to classic wardrobe essentials.
I have recently adopted several trial ‘looks’ that seem to work on my evolving pear shape during the cold winter months, and these are: classic dresses, skinny trousers with loose tops and shorter dresses with boots and jackets.
Although I am slowly veering towards more classic/Vintage-style pieces, I still like to have some fun with my style and offer the occasional Wow! factor (especially in the evening), so I’m not averse to pimping up my outfits where I can. I ‘sexy up’ plain classic dresses with colourful or sparkling accessories so that I still feel attractive and not dowdy.
So here are my five winter fashion must-haves for every middle-aged woman’s wardrobe:
Little Black Dress – There are some gorgeous classic-styled black dresses out there at the moment, and in my opinion you can never go wrong with an LBD; no matter what your age or size. I love the classic shift dress (which designers are thoughtfully designing in more ‘giving’ fabrics now, or the more vintage A-Line and Hepburn-esque shaped dresses with a belt or tie. I dress my LBDs ‘down’ for work with a contrasting belt, cardie and boots, or ‘up’ with some statement jewellery, heels, a metallic or animal-print belt and patterned tights for the evening. I love a black dress, black tights and contrasting shoes – the strappier the better.
Black Polo Neck Jumper – I have one of those chins that with time has sub-divided into about five levels and just about the only reason I like winter is that I can hide them with scarves or roll neck jumpers. I have always loved the loose-fitting, chunky-knit black roll neck jumper with either skinny jeans or a short skirt and boots (faux leather and metallic woven skirts are in at the moment and look super-hot with tights and boots).
Loose-fitting patterned dress – I admit that in previous posts I have said that women over forty shouldn’t be seen dead in short skirts or dresses, but I still really love a short, loose-fitting dress over leggings or skinny pants and boots. There are some great Vintage prints out there at the moment and colour energises aging skins – especially in winter when our skin tone becomes more corpse-like. I absolutely love the Stella range at the moment for Vintage prints, and their dresses are loose-fitting and reasonably priced too – find the range in Myer.
Cardigan – NOT (I repeat NOT!) Granny in style! I’m talking about the longer, more fitted style of cardigan that hangs mid-thigh and has some cotton in its mix. I have bought these in Country Road and Witchery in the past. Go as bright as possible if you wear them over your LBD – mustards, reds, olive green or electric blue or white all look divine.
Boots –My favourite are 70s-style vintage brown boots at the moment and I mix them with black all the time – something I never thought I’d do – I bought my pair in Witners. They don’t have to be high, but pick ones with some heel to lengthen your legs and make the look more slimming. Flat boots say ‘country’ to me – country style is about practicality not style.
Brands I head to for reasonably priced classics are Zara (www.zara.com.au) for jumpers and tops), Stella (www.stellamccartney.com for Vintage-print/smart loose dresses), Cue (www.cue.com.au – sale items only) and Portmans (www.portmans.com.au for classic dresses) and finally, Wish (www.wish.com.au for whatever else I can afford.
You don’t have to hide your body in winter, or run around like those crazy teenagers with barely anything on because Vodka Cruisers are obviously keeping their circulation going.
Embrace the winter cold with style, (and just wear your thermals and your grundies underneath).