Did anyone else, probably Daily Mail readers, see the pictures of 50 year old Elle Macpherson hanging out in a bikini on a super yacht last summer? Did you see the ‘just stepped off a super yacht’ pictures of her shopping in Portfino, all white starchy cotton and more refreshing than a G&T at the end of the first week of school holidays?
I read an article in which she said she was never fearful of turning 50 because she had been planning for it for years. This has got me thinking. In fact, as a woman fast approaching 40 I have decided to make a stand. I hereby plan to stop chasing looking like a 28-year-old media buyer from London (which, incidentally, I have never been), when I now in fact live in rural Hampshire and I am a decade older. From now on I will focus on working towards a vague ‘40 something’, where I will stylistically remain until the end. Just like Margaret Thatcher. She looked the same at 45 as when she died at 87 years of age.
Some years ago I stayed at an Italian hotel where a family was celebrating what looked to be like a 50th wedding anniversary. ‘Mamma’, a matriarch straight out of a Fellini movie, was wearing the most fabulous long sleeved but short Pucci dress, had her white hair set in a sexy older women’s bob and make up done and she looked better than anyone else in the room. Age 70. Sensational. She felt great about her age, she felt great about her look (slightly thick in the middle, covered in sun spots, jowls with their own biography) and she radiated vivaciousness. The dress could have carried her from 35-70 and beyond. So when it comes to aging, should we just pick an age to work towards and just actually stay there, in fashion terms? Is this what French woman do as well? Elle’s crispy whites would look as great at 70 as they do at 50. She has long ago given up wearing stupid shoes in the daytime, so she looks comfortable.
Cindy Crawford is another one whose look for the last 10 years hasn’t much diverted from the path. Upon studying her form, it is all about great hair, pretty earrings, glowy makeup, flattering jeans with a decent belt, and generally looking comfortable. Liz Hurley is another glossy 50 year old whose style has remained unchanged. White jeans, fury gilets, good bras, décolletage on show, great hair. Doing it in reverse you have Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Squint your eyes and imagine her at 40 in the same outfits as she wears today. Super, right? As for the Le Bon women, Mother and daughter seemed to have merged to a mid age that has served them both well. Imagine the shared wardrobe!
Granted these women are all models, but analytically there is a synergy in their style that can guide the rest of us mere mortals. Look after your skin and hair. Buy good quality basics. Get some skin out – whatever is least war torn – arms, shoulders, neck, décolletage. Wear clothes that are simply comfortable and fit you. Illuminate your face with decent make-up. These women rarely wear anything weird or fashion forward. No tied dyed harem paints, leather shorts, apron dresses or sleeveless lab coats for them. The older ones, all mothers, have put on a little weight, but not much, just enough to make their skin look radiant. If you were to replace all of their model faces with pedestrian average person faces, they would still look great.
So, no more bought on a whim silky £29 Zara tops which are unsuitable for big breasts and require a £40 bra and £15 worth of dry cleaning to look good after the first wear (slim girls, these will all be for you). No more choosing between dislocating a shoulder or ripping the tiny Top Shop dress that looked great on a 25 year old TV presenter when I discover I am in fact actually trapped in a poly-cotton straight jacket due to an ill judged whim to go ‘festival’ this summer in an outfit that simply will never fit. From now on I shall try not to ‘snack’ my way through my fashion spend, but rather acquire clothes more strategically. Four ill-suited tops over three months equals one decent blazer or a really great pair of jeans.
Forty here we go. Forever.