Defining your personal style after 40

No. Don’t.

Oprah isn’t here for your makeovers anymore. You’re over 40 now and should figure this shit out for yourself.

Honestly, in the age of Pinterest and YouTube how anyone can still walk around looking like a reject from Jersey Shore is beyond me. Snooki may be a lot of things, but a style inspiration she is not, nor should she be.

THIS was in the line at the bank the other day. How do you leave the house looking like Barbie? This is a grown woman!

I’ve said it before and will say it again and again ad nauseum: I’m not perfect. I have bad hair days. But I do know a thing or two about what suits me and what doesn’t.

**Please know that what follows is what worked for me. I am NOT a stylist, have some idea of what is stylish but will not presume to tell you what will work for you. Ohkaay? Moving on….

I’ve used Pinterest to create vision boards of things I like. When I see something I think I like, I pin it. After a month or so of avid pinning, I saw what defined my personal style: classic with a minimalist twist.

From my personal Pinterest board. I told y’all I’m a Francophile!

I follow the style of Olivia Palermo, Victoria Beckham and Kerry Washington very closely. It embodies the effortlessness I’m trying to find.

My style inspiration

But of course these ladies have very different body types to mine. I cannot copy what they wear exactly without looking utterly ridiculous. So I look at elements of what they wear.

Olivia Palermo mixes designer and high street in a way that always looks fresh.

Victoria Beckham updates the classics for the modern minimalist.

Kerry Washington is everything. She wears the clothes and not the other way round. You always notice her and then what she’s wearing. That kind of confidence is empowering and inspiring.

But even the biggest stylists will admit that having inspiration and adapting it to suit your own style is harder than it seems.

Here are some lessons I had to learn:

The first thing I had to learn was my body type. I’m an hourglass, albeit with a round belly. This basically means my waist is well defined and there is little difference in measurement between my top and bottom half- maybe a centimeter or two.

Forgive the laundry in the back!

The next thing I needed to learn was which colours suited me. I’ve a yellow undertone and autumn colours look good. However,  I do prefer “clean”  neutral colours like black, white, grey and navy.

The rest of my education came down to fit, proportion and optics. 

If an item doesn’t fit well, I don’t wear it. I can’t abide walking around in a skirt that rides up, or a blouse that pulls across my chest, or a pair of trousers that are too long. A good tailor on speed dial is essential. In the UAE there are many who will even copy an outfit to your specifications. Amazing!

Learning to balance proportion is fairly easy. If something’s fitted on the bottom, I’d wear a looser top, and vice versa. If the skirt is short, cover the “girls” and the other way round. Letting it all hang out is a bit too Pretty Woman, pre – makeover!

Proportion in action: fitted on the bottom, floaty on top.

Optics are the subtle ways we use to deceive the eye. For example: vertical stripes lead the eye up and down, as opposed to side to side- giving the impression of length. The same idea applies to nude shoes. They visually lengthen your legs. Just find one in the right shade for you.

Nude shoes make your legs look hella long!

Learning about fabric, cut and detail is what makes your style really pop.

Cashmere is a personal favourite

I know I prefer natural fabrics with a bit of texture like silk and cotton, bias cut skirts and dresses because they flow a certain way around my body, and minimal details that could detract from the purity of the design. Detail could also mean pattern. I’m not a fan of any pattern except stripes, either vertical or horizontal.

One more lesson, and IMO, the most important one of them all is function. The job of clothing is to fit into your life, to suit your needs. When all the other things become more important than this you get scenarios like this happening.

You don’t have to buy Chanel to make an impact with your accessories, but it does help!😌

Accessories are not the icing but the sprinkles on the cake. I tend to go one of two ways: minimalist with one thin gold chain, diamond stud earrings and a simple gold menswear watch; or full on statement necklace, big cocktail ring and an armful of bangles. However, I always remember the optics.

Once you hit the big 4-0, trends disappear and style becomes everything! You know what you like, what you want and what makes you look and, more importantly, feel good. Don’t compromise that for anything.

However if you’re still not sure, the Internet is there for all your requirements. Here’s a list of some the helpful sites I used when starting out on my personal style journey. I hope this helps you, too!

  1. Identifying your personal style ( quiz)
  2. Finding inspiration
  3. Knowing your body type
  4. Fit
  5. Proportion
  6. Optics
  7. Fabrics
  8. Cut
  9. Details
  10. Functionality
  11. Accessories

If that fails, you could always call on me. I’m glad to help.😊

Until next I blog, 



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s