Article by Ceri Wheeldon
I thought it would be fun to have women over 50 who love clothes to share their style stories with Fab after Fifty readers.
I’m starting the series by sharing my own personal style. I don’t think I’ve ever interviewed myself before!!
I have always loved clothes – from a very young age – I didn’t really play with dolls as such as a child – but I did create outfits for them- making a lot of them myself out of scraps of fabric and wool left over from family members knitting. My grandfather was a tailor- as were many generations of the family before him – he never really played with us – but did explain how patterns were cut, buttonholes made, and how to ensure fabric was good quality. I suppose you could say that an interest in clothes was in my genes. Even now I’m in my 60s I still enjoy experimenting with different looks 🙂
How would you describe your style?
I think others would describe my style as ‘classic’ but I do try to add an edge with accessories. I love belts – and am rather partial to animal print which I tend to use as a neutral.
What are the favourite items in your wardrobe and why?
My all time favourite item in my wardrobe is a pink leather jacket – which I had had for about 20 years – the reasons for my loving it are too long to include in this interview – in fact I wrote a whole article about it a while ago!
Another favourite is an evening dress – which was probably bought around the same time. It just ‘spoke’ to me when I saw it. By coincidence the Countess of Wessex was in the same shop trying on evening dresses while I was there. I didn’t recognise her – we ended up chatting about dresses and she started asking my opinion of the dresses she was trying on. I think she could tell that I hadn’t a clue who she was so my opinion was honest! It wasn’t until my next visit that the shop assistant told me who it was I had been helping that day.
Which items do you wear the most?
In the autumn/winter I wear a lot of black leather look trousers and tops – with various jackets. Its almost a uniform!
What was your most recent purchase – why did you choose it?
My most recent purchase was a blue maxi shirt dress – I bought it because of the colour. To be honest I have bought very little in 2020 – I have been shopping primarily in my own wardrobe – one of the advantages of buying relatively classic clothes – and being the same size for decades. This hasn’t really been a normal year – I may well have bought more if it hadn’t been for lockdown!
Heels or flats?
I wear flats for getting around – but frequently take a pair of heels with me to change into when I arrive at a meeting/restaurant. I think it’s a habit I picked up when I lived in Canada and had to navigate getting around during the sub zero winters!
Have you had any recent style disasters?
Not that I can think of.
Do you mostly shop in store or online?
I prefer to buy from small independent stores where I can find some unusual items that will stand the test of time. I do pop into Zara to buy the occasional thing or two. When buying online it tends to be from brands where I am comfortable with their sizing and quality of fabric. I also buy ‘duplicates’ online of things already own such as trousers that fit well when they are in the sale.
What are your favourite brands/shops and why?
I tend to buy from small independent stores that stock a mix of brands – I’m not really loyal to one – although I love Pucci print tops to wear with white jeans in the summer and Fabienne Chapot has some great prints all year round.
How has your style changed since turning 50? (if it has! )
My style has probably become a little softer as I have changed from working in a very male dominated corporate environment to founding Fab after Fifty and the Midlife MOT. My clothes were far more formal – although I still wear many of my suit jackets with jeans and a t-shirt or white blouse.
Do you regularly ‘cull’ your wardrobe or are you a hoarder?
I am most definitely a hoarder – although I did recently try to have a major cull to prepare for a house move. Not sure I parted with too much – I tried everything on – so at least now I know exactly what I own and have fresh ideas for mixing and matching.
Who have been the biggest style influencers in your life?
I’m not sure I have any specific influencers – I think I am more influenced by an era – I love the styles of the 1950s!
Has your style changed as a result of lockdown?
It has definitely become more relaxed – I found myself wearing a lot more longer dresses. Also, although I spent lockdown on my own I still made the effort to wear some of my favourite dresses normally reserved for holidays. I think if you look good it helps to feel good.
Do you have any style icons?
Not really – although I originally spotted the pink jacket I mentioned earlier on Samantha in Sex and the City and tracked it down!!
What 3 style tips would you share with other women over 50?
Try wearing clothes you already have in your own wardrobe with items you wouldn’t normally wear it with. There is no harm in trying things on and looking in the mirror!! Although I would also say when trying on do so with hair blow dried and make up on – pretend you are on a shopping trip and have heels and flats to try on with.
Don’t listen to so called ‘rules’ about what you should and shouldn’t wear over 50. Wear what suits you and makes you feel good.
Invest in quality clothes that will last – think about colour , fit and quality.
I have some fabulous ladies lined up to share their style stories moving forward – but if you know somebody whose style inspires – do let me know if you think they should be included 🙂