The great mutton debate……rules are made for breaking!

Not so long ago, teenagers dressed like Madonna, their mums channelled Joan Collins and their nans looked like, well, nans. There were clear lines of style demarcation. Everyone knew where they stood. Now when you survey the British style landscape you see grandmas in maxi dresses, mums in skinny jeans and daughters in both. The question is, once a woman is over forty, should she be careful of mutton mishaps or just jump head first into every trend? Read on…………..

When it comes to breaking style rules one lady springs to mind – Elle! The leggy 47 year old supermodel rocks minis, bikinis, leather trousers, jumpsuits, and extra-long hair. However a clue comes in the words ‘leggy’ and ‘supermodel’! They kind of give her a head start. What about mere mortals who still love fashion but aren’t quite yet ready for a flannel nightdress and a bubble perm? Do we really have to break out the elasticated waists?

If you have good legs like Julianne Moore then show them off. Wear good underwear that fits you well. If you get your pins out then keep your arms covered and keep the rest minimalist.

If your hair looks great long then keep it long! It looks amazing on Demi Moore, and can on you if you pay attention to cut and colour. If in doubt add some long layers and lighten the hair around your face – it is kind of like an instant facelift, without the wind tunnel effect. Always be careful of trends you wore last time around, like leggings or hotpants, but step out of your comfort zone and try skinny jeans if you have long legs. If you are more of an hourglass try new season nouveau flares. Avoid neon and slogan t-shirts. Some trends really are for the kids.

Cosmetic help? Well there are so many fors and againsts it’s a whole separate post……….but I say never say never and if in doubt, err on the side of caution. Too many fillers and Alvin won’t be the only Chipmunk in town.

Things to watch out for this Autumn/Winter – go easy on the preppy look, all those blazers and cords could leave you looking a little bit bumpkin. It is probably best to avoid all references to the dominatrix, unless you want to look like you run the reception of a dodgy massage parlour. As for the rest – mannish, 60’s, 70’s, faux fur, tailored trousers, midi-skirts, go for your life! It is best though to takes hints and references rather than adopt a whole look. Too much ladylike could leave you looking more Margaret Thatcher than Mad Men. Most of all, dress to suit your body shape, not your age.

Of course, there will always be those who push the envelope. A certain fiery Italian temptress on Strictly? Imagine her in a pussy-bow blouse? How boring would that be. I will leave the last words to Dolly Parton, whose mother always told her to wear a dress only suitable for church, to which the blonde goddess remarked, “Which is why I haven’t been in a darned church for forty years.”



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