When emulating the 50-plus fashion mavens it’s not just their style you should adopt, but their attitude too, says Carolyn Moore
WHEN CoverGirl announced in September that Canadian model Maye Musk was to front their new campaign, their choice of a silver-haired 69-year-old didn’t raise as many on fleek eyebrows as you might think.
That’s because their new face has become something of a style icon — and not just amongst the 60-plus set. Musk is also mum to Elon, the Tesla CEO and one of the most famous inventor-entrepreneur of his generation.
Always on trend without being a slave to fads, the scope of her Instagram following (75k and counting) reflects a growing acceptance that good style is ageless. And as designers like Simone Rocha and Joanne Hynes turn to models over 60 to showcase their wares, it shows our attitude to ageing is finally changing.
Nowhere is this more apparent than on the red carpet, where style mavens like Julianne Moore, Isabelle Huppert and Helen Mirren are refusing to age out of our fashion focus just because they’ve passed 50, 60 or 70. When it comes to emulating them, it’s not just their style you should adopt, but their attitude too.
Speaking to the Guardian recently about getting older, Julie Walters said, “I tend to think, ‘Oh frig it! Who cares? I remember reading in a magazine, ‘You should never wear silver after 50.’ “That just makes me want to wear only silver until I’m bloody 90,” she said defiantly.
And she’s right. Proving fashion rules are made to be broken, whoever dictated that piece of advice was wrong — metallics are tremendously flattering on the 50+ woman, acting like a built-in light diffuser. You should definitely add some to your festive arsenal.
In fact, if you’ve fallen into a fashion rut, party season is the perfect time to pull yourself out of it. If it feels overwhelming, consider enlisting the help of a personal shopper. Unimpeded by your preconceptions of what works for you, they’ll be able to assess your body shape and open you up to new cuts, colours and styles.
I’m not a fan of fashion ‘rules’, but certain guidelines can help us look our best, and dressing for our body shape first and fashion second is chief among them.
Over 50, tailoring is your friend, counteracting the rounded shoulders and softening of the body that comes with getting older. Good fabrics that hold their shape are essential, and this season’s opulent velvets and brocades have the added bonus of looking more expensive than they actually are.
Black can be draining on older skin, but velvet softens this effect, and an on-point velvet blazer will be your ‘throw over anything’ party season staple. While you shouldn’t avoid metallics or be fearful of colour, die-hard fans of black should look for textural details that soften it – sheer panels, lace or ribbon; or an ivory trim, collar or bib, which does wonders for the complexion.
As indeed does her shock of silver hair.
Older women are increasingly embracing their greys — it adds such a sense of drama that even young women are dying their hair silver for effect.
We used to demand that women chop their locks at 40, but we’re getting over such hang ups now, so as with your style choices, suit yourself in this department, knowing an edgy, glam short cut will show off the season’s de rigueur statement earrings perfectly. And fear not winter’s dark lip — with a good, moisturising base designed to nourish and comfort mature skin, a little drama in the lip department can really elevate your look.
As we move through into our 40s, we naturally become less reliant on throwaway trends and develop an eye for more classic, lasting pieces. We become more adept at playing up our assets and hiding what we don’t like. We learn how to look on trend without looking trendy. These priorities shouldn’t change at 50s and beyond. You can continue to enjoy fashion, with an emphasis on accentuating the positive.
Age is never a barrier to great style
“They say at a certain age you just stop caring. I wonder what age that is?” — Model and Instagram sensation Maye Musk proves there’s no age limit to great style.
1) Cinch the waist for instant style in this elegantly simple dress — just add dazzling statement earrings to make it evening-ready. €69.95, Zara.
2) A scattering of pearls elevates this simple, cosy knit - nail this season’s relaxed, easy style by teaming with a flowing skirt. €40, Next.
3) Elongate the silhouette with some mannish tailored trousers – dress them up with a feminine top, or down with a tucked in sweater. €65, Marks & Spencer.
4) The chic bracelet-length sleeve and layered effect of this Fee G laser-cut top, but it’s the soft tone-on-tone colour palette that will really flatter. €228, Kilkenny shop.
5) This Fee G skirt is a festive showstopper. Keep it simple on top with a shape that flatters you. €224, Kilkenny shop.
6) Add a new lease of life to a favourite outfit and give yourself the gift of a defined waist with this leather and silk obi belt, €155, Heidi Higgins.
7) Surprisingly flattering and fittingly festive, the pleated midi-skirt has become something of a wardrobe staple. €65, Marks & Spencer.
8) Draw the eye up and away from problem areas with pretty detailing around the face. Stasia velvet jacket, €155, Monsoon.
9) With slimming side panels that draw the eye in at the waist, this flattering V- neck style will give you va va voom curves. Now €138, Phase Eight, Debenhams.
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