Reaching the menopause doesn’t mean resigning yourself to twinsets and pearls. Rip up the rulebook on 'fashion for older women' and say hello to ageless style.
Think getting older means following strict rules such as covering your arms and avoiding black? Not so, according to fashion journalist Alyson Walsh, author of Style Forever. “I hate all those rules,” she says. “Style is an individual thing. You just have to figure out what works for you. Our body shape can change around the menopause – mine has – so you may need to adapt a bit but there’s no one-size-fits-all just because you’re older.”
So to help you find the right style for you, we asked Ms Walsh for her top tips for ageless chic.
“If you’ve got a bit of middle-aged spread you might find that looser shapes look better,” advises Ms Walsh. “A slightly loose cotton shirt is fantastic in the summer and I think most women can wear that.
“An A-line top with a slight neckline and tunic dresses are also good – anything that skims over things. You want to feel comfortable and relaxed so fit is really important,” she adds.
“When we’re young we’re more likely to wear things that are tight and uncomfortable and just suffer it but I think we’re less inclined to do that as we get older. You have more important things to worry about than whether your trousers are a little too snug.”
Master the art of layering
“Anything you can waft – or remove – is good for a hot flush,” says Ms Walsh. Start with a base such as a slightly long sleeveless tunic over some slim trousers or a straight maxi skirt and then layer a shorter crop top or a shirt over the top. It’s loose and comfortable but still very chic.
“Fabric is also important – go for natural fabrics such as cotton, linen, silk and cashmere, as they absorb moisture from the skin and help air to circulate around the body better. They’ll help you keep your cool during a flush and tend to hold their shape better,” she adds.
Look for instant updates
“As you get older you want to stay looking modern but without chasing all the trends because you have your own personal style. If you have some good quality basics, you can easily update your look by investing in a few new tops,” notes Ms Walsh.
Try an asymmetric top or off-the-shoulder top in neutral colours, taking elements from the high street for an instant update to your wardrobe.
Put your best foot forward
“I don’t think anyone looks glamorous when their feet hurt. Nearly every designer brand now has a range of trainers,” says Ms Walsh. “Not only are they comfortable but buying a new pair of snazzy trainers is another good way to look current and of the moment. I also really like loafers, brogues and flats, which are great if you need to look a bit smarter.”
Adding the final touches
“Don’t forget to accessorise to complete your outfit, but I wouldn’t necessarily wear a big statement necklace if you’re experiencing hot flushes,” advises Ms Walsh. “You want to feel free and uncluttered and a heavy necklace can make you feel clammy and sweaty. Go for a pair of chandelier earrings instead.”
Don’t stop at jewellery – why not wear a belt to add colour to your look and pull in looser tops. “They are also easy to remove so if you do start to feel uncomfortable you can just whip it off,” says Ms Walsh.
Ultimately, wear what makes you look and feel good through the menopause (and cope with the hot flushes it brings) – and if you can’t find it, get an expert’s opinion. “The thing to remember is that you’re not dressing for your age, you’re dressing for your body shape,” adds Walsh. “If you’re not sure what suits you anymore and need a little help, you can always use a personal shopper at one of the department stores. They are often free and have seen women of all shapes, sizes, ages.”
Style doesn’t rely on age and the menopause is a great time to experiment and get creative to figure out what works best for you.
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