I refuse to dress like my grandmother just because I’m over 40. I might not have the body I had in my twenties, but I still have my pride.
But even though I want to stay fashionable, I don’t want to look like ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ either.
So what’s a girl to do?
Well I’ve come up with this great little list of ’young’ fashion high street shops in Australia that provide great casual wear for mature women too; for those amongst us who are not ready to swamp ourselves in pastel tents or kid ourselves that Sportscraft smock tops are actually flattering.
But aren’t the clothes in ‘young’ shops poor quality and a little bit ‘mutton’, I hear you ask?
Not necessarily. If you find the right items, they can be value for money and stylish.
Here are my reasons for not shopping in ‘wrinkly’ shops just yet:
Lavenders, peaches, pistachio green and florals that look like wallpaper do nothing for my skin tone
High, elasticated waistlines accentuate my post-natal baby baggage rather than concealing it
I want a visual experience when I shop, not rack upon rack of of ‘meh’
Sometimes, I still want to look sexy as well as stylish
And to be honest, I rarely buy my clothes from the high street retailers that are supposed to cater to my advancing years either. Mainly because they are just too damn expensive. I just can’t justify $250 dollars for a Cue dress, for example, no matter how much I orgasm over the designs of their cute little retro numbers. I might part with a week’s earnings for a special event, but not for everyday wear.
‘Witchery’ is another example. Love their look, but their focus on the colour ‘beige’ stumps me – that innocuous, fleshy colour palette may look sophisticated on younger or darker skin tones, but it washes me out completely.
So I’ve had to be resourceful and find shops that suit my lifestyle and budget, because even though I’m middle-aged I still want to look sophisticated and on trend.
So here are my top 5 ‘young’ fashion shops that are great for middle-aged women too:
There’s a lot of hype about Zara and justifiably so. Stylishly European and offering clothes with an affordable price tag, Zara caters for all your wardrobe needs. Shoes are often expensive in Australia and you can buy well-made, stylish leather shoes in Zara for half the price of other brands and the styles of their separates and dresses are so effortlessly chic, that even celebrities are happy to endorse them.
Bardot sell sexy, loose-fitting tops that are fantastic for a casual night out over jeans or leggings. I simply love the high rounded neckline tops in particular, such as the Shimmer Cami which is flattering and priced well at the $30 level. Most of the dresses are a bit too short for me but some of the looser styles can still be worn over leggings and boots.
I have a thing for sparkle and this season has been awesome in the bling department. Golds, sequins and studs are everywhere and Forever New has noticeably recently transformed its designs and the quality of its clothing. There is an assortment of great sparkly tops, vintage-style dresses and cardies, as well as shoes.
Nerd Child loves the vintage, layered look and Cotton On is a great shop for simple, lightweight, patterned cotton dresses (2 for $50 at the moment). I bought a couple for myself over the summer as well as a really useful ivory lightweight jacket for around $38 which looks great with a sparkly top over jeans, or even for work. Admittedly, there’s a lot of sh*te more suited to the younger kids but rake around and there are plenty of surprises.
Described on their website as ‘inner city festival edge’, Attiik is about colour and fun. It has a retro, hippy vibe and they offer beautifully patterned, loose fitting dresses and tops which look quirky over skinny jeans or leggings. Their colours are vibrant with a liberal use of the Indian palette such as vivid pinks, reds, mustards and turquoise but their designs are quite retro offering a sense of fun and individuality. I bought a great dress there that I have lived in over the summer, for $50.
BUT REMEMBER, there are still RULES with styling when you look to younger fashion for your wardrobe.
What to avoid:
Forget most of the skirts, because unless you want to look like you should be standing with Roxanne under her red light, in general the skirts are just way too short for the older woman, even if your pins are still fabulous. Ignore most of the accessories too, because at our age we just can’t get away with cheap and nasty bling or vinyl, poorly-made handbags. As for the ‘at the moment’ trends like gawdy floral jeans (probs not), faux leather jackets (not convinced), crop tops (NEVER, no matter how perfect your abs) and camouflage jackets and pants (ABSOLUTELY NO F*CKING WAY) – Walk away quickly!
I love buying new clothes and looking good and having some more expensive ‘basics’ in your wardrobe is vital. I spend my ‘serious’ money on shoes and dresses, but I also like to mix it up and wear new stuff, so sneaking a few cheaper tops and jackets into my wardrobe is how to keep it fresh. I’m not at all averse to the occasional op-shop either, as I mentioned here (You Don’t Have To Be Dita To Look Good In Vintage).
Don’t let the shops dictate what you should be wearing and how much you should be spending based on your age. After all, ‘age is just a number’.
Shopping Bags courtesy of richmondsquarephotos at http://www.flickr.com