Playing with fashion as you age

I went into a well-known department store the other day to buy a hat. I thought it would be a

I went into a well-known department store the other day to buy a hat. I thought it would be a fairly simple process because walking my dog was involved. I needed something simple to wear with my walking clothes – a straightforward t-shirt and skirt. The exercise took a little longer than I had hoped because when I described what I wanted, the sales assistant looked at me with a face of, and I kid you not, complete horror!

Am I alone in feeling like a fish out of water when it comes to fashion shopping these days? Is everything meant for those who are young and slim and tall?

Feeling a bit miffed, I took the rare step of buying a whole bunch of fashion magazines. I wanted to see what I was not “getting”. It was a sobering experience…well it was until I spoke to a Perth fashion stylist anyway.

“What you see in those magazines is all about fantasy”, she said. “Few of us will ever buy clothes like that, let alone wear them. The models you are looking at are beautiful coat hangers”. She had made her point and it made sense too. But what she said next really surprised me.

“What we all need to do as we get older is to revisit the pleasure of playing with fashion. Spend a morning going around the shops with an actual purpose in mind – trying on a bunch of different stuff, just to see how it looks”.

I wonder how for many people, and for women in particular, we follow the process of entirely giving ourselves up to whatever stage of life we are going through and quite often it involves caring for others to the extent that we lose sight of our own sense of self. So, when it comes time to re-focus, say in our 60s after the kids have left home, we may be left with few personal resources and end up just not caring much or at best, making do when it comes to feeling and looking good. One of the things that I’ve heard many women say is that they want their appearance as older women to reflect the person they still are inside. And many feel this is not happening.

There is a way forward, one of many available to us and it does not involve mindless retail therapy! The idea is to try to learn to play again and to find out what you really like, or better still, love.

As most of us would be aware having dressed ourselves every day for a number of decades, it is important to look at and simply accept your body shape and to learn to be comfortable with it. Go to the shops, select some things you may not have even considered before and see how they look! The main aim is to create a simple and attractive silhouette. When it comes to colours try and work out what suits you best, what makes your face come alive and develop your wardrobe with those in mind.

So the message is that the power remains with each of us. If you don’t already do it, the time has come to invest some care in yourself, after all we have been caring for others all our lives!


How do you dress these days? Do you enjoy playing with fashion?