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?

  1. I find I do my clothes shopping from Ezibuy catalogs. Their clothes are good quality, not over expensive and I can shop from my own home.Makes it a lot easier.Their exchange policy is also excellent so shopping is again a pleasure.

  2. Spend a fortune to get away from generic fashion – the older person isnt really catered at cheaper prices. No gorgeous colors or materials for the budget shopper unless second hand!

    • Millers clothes are about only clothes that fit. Some places i can be a 12 other places an 18

  3. Miller’s sizes all wrong !!
    The cut is not good either and their style leaves a lot to be desired..

    • I’ve had a couple of good things from Millers way back but gave up when quality fell off. When I walk past the store now I can’t help thinking how most of the stuff looks really ugly.

  4. I know – I have the same problem! Suddenly we don’t count? I spend the money, mix and match, take good care of what I wear, but sometimes I just want to get something on a whim, inexpensive, and in a local department store. My mom really has a hard time!

  5. I love treasure hunting as I call it. I am like Nell Smith-Hughes, I like to find bits and pieces that I can combine to create a more individual look. I need new Summer clothes this season and have been searching for affordable quality. Found some on sale in Myer and Harris Scarfe, though I really have to look in Harris Scarfe! Most of their clothes are not for me at all!
    Then decided to go op shopping. Far more interesting and I only buy new things!

  6. I am short and have hips on which the waistlines of most bought clothes sit also up at shoulder level most garments are also too long I used to sew abit and adjust patterns to be shorter in these two places knit jerseys also that did this if I want to buy however I am really limited in what I can choose and also on a small income before short and reg length trousers cameon te market I had to rehem any I bought bought tops arms are usually too long too its not cheap to see your own clothes these days our town has a limited supply of fabric too yet shops full of clothes made offshore locally made ones are more expensive due to better conditions for workers here than the countries the cheap clothes are imported from I quite often find better fitting clothes in second hand shops that have been home made or altered already back in my youth there was a model named twiggy anyone remember her? She was built like a pretzel stick and for those of us who were fashion followers but not pretzel shape it was an excruciating experience trying to look trendy somewhere along the way I gave up and just wore whatever and I still do

    • Pauline Myers and target carry a petite size which means the tops are shorter in the arms and other clothing is shorter in hemlines Danni Manogue has a range at target also for petite women

    • I am also short and wear a size 10. I would love to be able to buy something that doesn’t need taking up.

    • My problem was always opposite.. never a dress.. waistline round 3 rib.. n my boob size is bout 2 sizes bigger than my hip size.. so its slacks n tops.. some of the tops r short.. as the size progresses they go wider not longer.. how do the islanders cope. Now shoe sizes.. omg… need a second job to dress yourself

    • I used to have a figure like Twiggy. Now it is more like the tree trunk where the twig came from 🙂

    • Nola  

      I’m very short under 5ft. I have always made my own clothes since I was 16 but now I have a bad back and cant sit at the sewing machine any more. I’m running out of clothes. nothing fits from the shops. help.

  7. Well thank goodness I am a reasonably normal size! Sometimes I forget how easy I have it. I cant wear a ything much in terms of dresses with a waist these days. I am ok with this though.

  8. I still enjoy shopping and buying clothes, I find things I like without to much trouble; I am 64

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