Guest Post – Why Does Style Change At 50?

Guest Post – Why Does Style Change At 50?

You would think that the woman pioneering a change in attitudes towards the way women dress in midlife has herself passed that milestone.  The reality, however, is that Jacynth Bassett, is a 24 year old Cambridge law graduate, who inspired by her mother's style frustrations has made it her mission to tackle ageist attitudes in the UK fashion industry.

The first step was a blog offering women top style tips and inspiration, as well as a forum for discussion on age-prejudice in fashion. Overwhelmed by the response from women all echoing the same frustrations at the typically dowdy designs targeting the older woman, the-Bias-Cut.com was born in March 2016. It is a multi-label online boutique of limited collections, featuring modern and stylish items from a range of contemporary labels and designers for the 40+woman. Jacynth has a discerning eye and all pieces are chosen for the quality of their craftsmanship and attention to detail.

At the heart of Jacynth's business is the ethos that "Ageism is Never in Style". It is her belief that there should not be any hard and fast rules on what women can wear over a certain age.  A passion for style and a desire to wear beautiful clothes and look good in them, transcends generations and is just as important in your midlife years as your teens.  The secret in Jacynth's opinon lies in reflecting the best version of yourself today and personally speaking I couldn't agree more.

I am far from being a fashionista, but I have always loved clothes.  As I have aged my attitude to buying clothes hasn't changed extensively, I know what I like and still get a thrill from finding that must have item, but it is less about being on trend and more about evolving my style. If I see something I love I will buy it based on whether it makes me look and feel good irrespective of my age, after all who doesn't want to continue to look fabulous? But it is natural for everyone to step back and question their style choices at some stage and as I passed that all important Fabulous Fifty marker earlier this year I asked Jacynth if she would share her thoughts on style at 50.

Jacynth Bassett, the-Bias-Cut.com

“How To Look Good At 50.”  “What Women Shouldn’t Wear Over 50.”  “Ageless Style At 50.”  We’ve all seen variations of these titles – which usually end up being click bate leading to some patronising, insulting or, at best, hilarious article dictating how to dress correctly (whatever that means) at 50.

Of course the underlying message of those articles is that there is a right and a wrong way to dress at 50. Now if you are dedicated to following the latest trends, granted there are looks that are in and looks that are out. If, however, you just want to look your stylishly best, then there is no strict formula to adhere to. Ultimately you can wear whatever  you want - the key is to make sure you feel good and are comfortable in it.

So why do all these articles exist? Well, if they are to be believed, when the clock strikes midnight on your 50th birthday, suddenly your fairy tale princess life ends and you’re left with – or even looking like - a pumpkin and with that it means you suddenly need to re-evaluate your style and fashion decisions.

Now I’m not a scientist, but I’m pretty sure when you turn 50 you don’t instantly end up with 20 more wrinkles, grey hairs, hot flushes and a bigger middle. You might become more aware of the signs of aging, but they haven’t just appeared overnight. The only real potential sudden shift is psychological: hitting the 50 mile stone might make you feel different, but you won’t look any different . Yes, with time your hormones are going to change, as is your body, your appearance and your lifestyle, but that will happen gradually.

So what these “Style At 50” articles all seem to be missing is that the reason a woman’s style may change at 50 is because of the emotional differences to a woman in her 40's. It’s all very well saying ‘you should now wear this and avoid that’, but it means nothing if there’s no sensitive rationale and understanding behind it. Ultimately clothes and style are just a reflection of who you are inside.

With that in mind, I’ve come up with my own guidelines (not rules) on style over 50.

1. If you feel now is the time to broaden your style horizons – do it!

A year ago a lady said to me “when I was in my late 30's, I lost my confidence; I had kids and started taking less care in my appearance. Now in my 50's I feel I need to get back to my real self.”

Even if you haven’t felt like this, it’s quite likely you know someone who has. Whatever path your life has taken, there has probably been a point where you started to feel less confident in your appearance, but on turning 50, it’s a great point to evaluate your life so far, think about where you want it to go next, and take control. The same applies to your style. If you’re ready to change and prove that you aren’t invisible and can look gorgeous – go for it. If you want to try a particular style, do! Because it’s time to forget all that mutton dressed as lamb rubbish and remember that confidence is the true essence of style. So whatever you’re wearing, if you’re doing it with pride, then that’s the true beauty that will shine through.

2.Only give your wardrobe a total overhaul if your body is currently changing

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to buy a garment that’s too big or small and say you will eventually fit into it. It never works because we all put on and lose weight differently, so your body is unlikely to change in a way you expect. One of the most common things that happens with menopause is putting on weight around the middle. So you might go from a size 10 to a size 14 – but that doesn’t mean you’re slightly larger all over. Your boobs and middle might get bigger, whilst your hips and thighs stay the same.

This means you’ll need to start shopping for a different shape, not just general size. A new cut might suit you for the first time, whilst ones you used to always wear are no longer flattering. And you may need to find new shops too – because designers’ and high street brands’ lack of understanding and catering to different body shapes is still a huge issue. But don’t let this dampen your spirits: slowly there are more brands taking notice, and at the-Bias-Cut.com we even curate collections specifically with different bodies in mind.

3. Encourage yourself to step out of your safe zone

Having founded an online boutique where the majority of my customers are over 50, there is one comment I hear more than nearly anything else “I only wear navy as it makes me feel safe.”  Now I have nothing against the colour navy, I have a lot of it in my wardrobe and it is very flattering, even more so than black as we age because it doesn’t drain the skin as much. But if you’re wearing navy to feel safe – then there’s a problem. Yes, it’s important to feel comfortable in what you’re wearing, but as is feeling beautiful, gorgeous and sexy and dressing to feel safe is not that.

So, if next time you feel yourself drawn to navy (or any other colour that makes you feel safe), honestly consider whether you’re picking it for healthy reasons and if you’re not, then it’s time to give yourself a bit of love and care and tell yourself that you can wear something else.

It might take baby steps at first. For example, I often suggest to my most nervous customer to go for a piece that features a predominantly navy print, but also features other colours. This pushes them outside their comfort zone, without throwing them completely in at the deep end. Then when they start to receive compliments for how great they look and believe it too, they tend to come back ready to be a little more experimental.

4. If she can wear that then why can’t you?!

One of the other most common phrases I hear is “Well X can wear that but I couldn’t!”. Now that person may be a different shape, age, height or colouring to you – but that doesn’t’ mean you can only look one way to pull off an outfit. If you admire what someone else is wearing, give it a go yourself! You might need a slightly different cut or colour, but let it inspire you to try new things. Don’t shut yourself off before even giving it a go. If it doesn’t work – what’s the worst that can happen? You take it off and that’s that.

5. No trend or look is off limits – it’s all in the detail

On doing some research of articles that say ‘what not to wear after 50’ – one of the most common rules is: if you wore a look when it was trendy the first time round, then you shouldn’t wear it again.

Well, given ‘trends’ are being recycled more now than ever, that pretty much rules you out of a lot of styles. Goodbye ripped jeans, farewell pussy blouses and adios punk rock spikes.  So unless you’re willing to spend the rest of your life walking around in a sack (because that’s one look that will never be a trend), it’s time to put that rule firmly in the bin.

The trick to looking modern and current is through detail and styling. If you’re keen to wear a style that’s very ‘on-trend’, try to find a variation that includes subtle modern aspects, rather than one that could have come directly from the past. Or keep it subtle with a piece that nods to a trend, but isn’t a full out extreme version of it.

Alternatively, if you want to go full retro with one piece, make sure to pair it with accessories or clothes that are clean, crisp and clearly from a different era. In other words, don’t pair it with the same pieces that you did in the past. That way, rather than looking like you’ve just stepped out of a time machine, you look fresh, cool and effortless.

So remember: if you start to listen to your feelings and your body, rather than those stupid articles, then you will find the right style for you and continue to be the best version of yourself today. Your style will change over the next 10 years, but it should only do so when the time is right for you.

Jacynth's approach to fashion and championing style at every age is inspirational and refreshing and she truly does practice what she preaches, featuring real life "non-models" of various shapes, ages and sizes (including her mum) to show off her carefully curated clothing ranges which can all be seen at https://the-bias-cut.com/.

But it's not just about curating beautiful collections, it is fundamentally about changing attitudes and Jacynth has many strings to her bow. She regularly speaks on panels and podcasts, is a contributor to the Huffington Post and most recently she has been appointed as Fashion Advisor for one of the UK's largest women's forums, the Menopause Room https://www.facebook.com/themenopauseroom/.

Blazing a trail through the heart of the UK fashion industry, Jacynth is unquestionably a young woman on a mission and something tells me that we will be hearing a lot more about her in the future.

Did you find Jacynth's guidelines useful? What is your approach to fashion?  I would love to hear your views.

 

 

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50 Comments

  1. April 6, 2017 / 5:37 am

    oh it all looks wonderful and some great advice too!
    Thanks for linking to #ablogginggoodtime

    • April 6, 2017 / 4:23 pm

      Thanks for reading and commenting Katie. #ablogginggoodtime

  2. April 3, 2017 / 7:32 am

    Yes I did find it really useful. I definitely try and stay on trend (in my 40’s) but would agree that I have changed as I used to have all the latest looks now my bank balance and my ‘mum’ and ‘teaching’ role doesn’t allow for that anymore. One thing I haven’t given up on is shoes – I love my shoes. I really like Jacynth’s philosophy and will check out the site. #TweensTeensBeyond
    Catie: An Imperfect Mum recently posted…Autism Awareness Month: Challenge the StereotypesMy Profile

    • April 3, 2017 / 1:59 pm

      Oh Catie you are a woman after my own heart, I love shoe too. A fab shoe can really make a difference to an outfit. Do take a look Jacynth has some great items, as you would expect. Thanks for joining us. #TweensTeensBeyond

    • April 3, 2017 / 1:57 pm

      No problem. Thanks for popping back. #TweensTeensBeyond

  3. April 3, 2017 / 5:37 am

    This is brilliant – I found so much to identify with here! Changing body shape is such an issue, from post-baby body onwards really, including ill health and age-related waist thickening! It’s so easy to ‘hide’ under baggy clothes for all of these reasons, but with careful guidance and encouragement such as this, I think I can feel and look good again!

    • April 3, 2017 / 1:57 pm

      Oh good I am glad it made you feel upbeat and inspired! As you say changing body shape is the main thing as we age and I have definitely noticed it around my waist but there are solutions. Thanks for your lovely comment. #TweensTeensBeyond

  4. March 31, 2017 / 11:32 am

    Excellent post! I’m 28 but find myself wondering if I’m ‘too old’ for things. I’m always telling my Mum off for saying things like ‘Do I look silly in this, am I too old?’ so frustrating! #ablogginggoodtime
    Megan recently posted…Pursuing PeaceMy Profile

    • March 31, 2017 / 1:02 pm

      Oh I am glad you liked it Megan and that you are being so reassuring to your mum. That is fantastic. Thanks for commenting. #ablogginggoodtime

  5. March 31, 2017 / 2:36 am

    What a fantastic read. I think for me I let my style go a little when I started having kids, it wasn’t that i was unhappy with my body, I think I just focussed all my attention on dressing my children beautifully and left my own style in the dust. A few years ago I decided to start shopping again for me and wow I felt so much better. This article is a great reminder that we need to take care of ourselves and embrace our own style. #mg PS Love those boots!
    Mackenzie Glanville recently posted…Quick fixes when someone’s popping in 15 minutesMy Profile

    • March 31, 2017 / 8:35 am

      Oh Mac I so know what you mean. I was exactly the same and I am sure many mums just put their needs second in those early years. When you are looking after children 24/7 looking fabulous is not really an option. I too went through a real lull and am now beginning to enjoy it all over again. Nothing beats a good shop! I agree about the boots. She ships internationally so maybe treat yourself! #mg

  6. March 30, 2017 / 8:06 pm

    I loved this post! Jacynth is dead on with her assessments about fashion & ageism. It’s great to hear from someone in their 20’s clocking this & doing something about it. Am going to share this with my mom & my aunts who are all stylish in their 60’s! Thanks for sharing Jacynth’s words & her website!
    #tweensteensbeyond

    • March 30, 2017 / 10:29 pm

      Oh Alisa I am so glad you enjoyed it and more importantly that you want to share Jacynth’s thoughts. She has definitely identified a gap in the fashion and is working really hard to turn opinions around. Thanks for commenting. #TweensTeensBeyond

    • March 30, 2017 / 7:16 pm

      A like minded spirit is always good to find. Glad you enjoyed it. #ablogginggoodtime

  7. March 30, 2017 / 1:16 pm

    Oh this looks fab! Some of the fashion aimed at my age group is beyond depressing. I hate beige and elasticated waists!
    Tubbs recently posted…The Weekend Starts HereMy Profile

    • March 30, 2017 / 7:15 pm

      That is exactly why Jacynth started out. Check out her site, it really does have some gorgeous pieces. Glad you found it useful.

  8. March 30, 2017 / 12:58 pm

    If this is dressing at 50 then quite frankly I’m excited for it – bring it on! Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub lovely xoxo

    • March 30, 2017 / 7:14 pm

      Yah! 50 not’s so bad and really this guidelines are good at any age. Thanks for commenting. #coolmumclub

  9. March 30, 2017 / 8:54 am

    This was a great re-enforcement of how I feel. If anything, I’m getting more radical in the way I dress because I am more confident and in how I look. My teen daughters do groan a bit but I don’t take any notice. I am apparently turning into a hippy! I think you work out what suits you as you get older and stop following trends. Brilliant post Jo. #TweensTeensBeyond
    Sharon Parry recently posted…Help with buying gifts for teen girls – Qwerkity reviewMy Profile

    • March 30, 2017 / 9:28 am

      That is great Sharon and I love that you ignore your daughters too and just get on with it. It is funny how teens like to comment on the way we look, I wonder if it is a payback for all those years we decided on how to dress them. Glad you liked the post, I think Jacynth makes some very valid points. #TweensTeensBeyond

  10. Nige
    March 29, 2017 / 8:23 pm

    Absolutely there should be no restrictions just because you are 50 years old madness whatever your age wear what you like fab post #thanks for hosting #tweensteensandbeyond

    • March 29, 2017 / 10:30 pm

      Yah! Thanks for your support Nigel, knew I could rely on you. #TweensTeensBeyond

  11. March 29, 2017 / 4:41 pm

    I love the attitude. Yeah no one suddenly gets old at fifty. In fact this is the time women need to stop worrying about other people as also fashion trends and go for what they want. I find myself stepping out of my comfit zone though a very small step at a time.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…Plan, prepare, performMy Profile

    • March 29, 2017 / 10:31 pm

      We are only here once so we should make the most of it and glad to hear you are pushing those boundaries. Thanks for your comment. #TweensTeensBeyond

  12. March 29, 2017 / 2:53 pm

    It plain to see that these are wise words. I do like the encouraging paragraph on how shape changes. It does help a lot to be able to accept something as normal and get on with dressing for it, instead of railing about how it should change. Marvellous attitude throughout #TeensTweensBeyond
    JanetT recently posted…How to Find Meaning Within Mothering SundayMy Profile

    • March 29, 2017 / 10:33 pm

      Wise words are good. I have found the biggest thing for me is accepting the change in my shape. That is tough. But now that I am there I am trying very hard as Jacynth recommends to just go with it. Thanks for your comment. #TweensTeensBeyond

  13. March 29, 2017 / 1:39 pm

    I was treated to a shopping trip years ago, after I’d had my first child and returned with a whole heap of clothing that swamped me – I think I was trying to hide. I have to confess to having very little time or energy for shopping – my teenage daughters have strong opinions about what suits me. They try and steer me away from navy, grey and teal which seem to be my go to colours. #TweensTeensBeyond
    Lynne recently posted…Do words matter?My Profile

    • March 29, 2017 / 10:35 pm

      Those are my go to colours too. It must be tough with older teenage daughters, mine is young enough to know not to get involved, whereas my 18 yr old son is very specific with his views. #TweensTeensBeyond

  14. March 29, 2017 / 12:35 am

    Well, I don’t think my style (if it really deserves to be called that) changed at 50, but it has since, if only because fashion has changed. I don’t see why age should limit what we wear though – I’m still happy to shop at my usual clothes retailers and expect to do so for quite a while.
    Mary Mayfield recently posted…Betrayal at Derby TheatreMy Profile

    • March 29, 2017 / 10:38 am

      Mary it seems your thinking is on the same lines as Jacynth’s guidelines – age is just a number and should not be the driving force that makes us change our style choices. Thanks for your comment. #TweensTeensBeyond

  15. March 28, 2017 / 10:27 pm

    This is a great idea and brilliant that a younger girl is styling older women. And why should any trend be off limits whatever your age? If it makes you feel good then go for it. I agree with the view that you shouldn’t buy something you’ll fit into it at a later stage – I am very guilty of this – keeping clothes which I haven’t been able to wear for years, with that hope that I’ll get into them again. My body shape has definitely changed and I think I have to accept that. I love a lot of the latest trends and covet my ripped jeans – my mum still struggles with them -it’s a rerun of 30 years ago which I kind of like! #tweensteensbeyond
    Susie / S.H.I.T. recently posted…Telling Signs That I’m Officially All Grown up…And Middle AgedMy Profile

    • March 29, 2017 / 10:42 am

      Oh Susie, I have a wardrobe in my son’s room full of clothes I can’t fit into but just can’t bring myself to throw away. Definitely at the beginning I thought I will diet more, exercise more and I will wear it again now I am resigned to the fact that my body is just different now. It’s great that you are rocking those ripped jeans – you and Nicky actually. I am still in my skinny’s! Does that make me old fashioned? #TweensTeensBeyond

  16. March 28, 2017 / 8:40 pm

    Since turning 50 and caring less what others think of my choices I think I’ve broadened my style choices. I do think ‘make sure it fits’ is a good rule, not to buy too small or too big, otherwise yeah, just enjoy clothes. #TweensTeensBeyond

    • March 29, 2017 / 11:02 am

      That is ironic that you feel more liberated in your style choices now that you have turned 50 and love your simple rule of making sure it fits – always a good one to remember and one I hope to pass onto my teens too. #TweensTeensBeyond

  17. March 28, 2017 / 7:56 pm

    When you age you don’t have to go beige! That’s what I think.
    What was Victoria Wood’s definition of old age? Walking past a shoe shop and spotting a pair of Scholl sandals and thinking ‘Hmmm. They look comfy!’

    If I start coveting Scholls or wandering towards a row of beige quilted coats in Bon Marche (or if I go into Bon Marche at all, come to think of it)….Shoot me… Or point me in Jacynth’s direction for some reprogramming!

    #TweensTeensBeyond
    Jane Taylor recently posted…Vlog: Unboxing my Approved Food Haul. (Plus half-price delivery code).My Profile

    • March 29, 2017 / 10:46 am

      Oh Jane I love that and it did remind me of a pair of sandals I bought last year and whilst describing them to a girlfriend I used the words “they are so comfortable!” and she roared with laughter and said “shoes and comfortable are two words I never expected to come out of your mouth at the same time”. They are not Scholls but I will look at them now with story in mind. Thanks for sharing that. #TweensTeensBeyond

  18. March 28, 2017 / 6:41 pm

    I’m 51, a size 12 and have great legs (from years of ballet). Therefore I LOVE short skirts and dresses paired with thick black tights and boots. I will be showing off my legs until they let me down, and as I walk regularly I hopefully don’t see that happening any time soon. Sometimes I think your hairstyle can be more ageing than your clothes…I’m currently thinking of a new style for my straw lol! I refuse to read any blogs that tell me what I should or shouldn’t be wearing now I’m over 50, so this is a refreshing post which I very much enjoyed. 🙂
    Midlife Dramas in Pyjamas recently posted…It’s in the jeans…My Profile

    • March 29, 2017 / 10:50 am

      Wow I love that image of you! If you have got it, flaunt it for sure! What to wear at a certain age is definitely a mindset that has been created by the fashion industry and media alike and it is great that as well as people like you, Jacynth is doing her bit to influence an attitude change too. So glad you enjoyed the post. #TweensTeensBeyond

  19. March 28, 2017 / 3:09 pm

    This is a really interesting read and sometimes I think I should get more interested in style and fashion! I’m 43 and a size 8 and I dress like a teenage boy at all times – jeans, hoodies and trainers. They’re comfortable, you can do anything and they wash well. It’s not a look that is to everyone’s tastes, but it works for me! What more could want?
    Sarah MumofThree World recently posted…New Parkrun PB – at last!My Profile

    • March 29, 2017 / 10:52 am

      Sarah you are tiny! It must be all that running. You sound like a woman completely comfortable in her own skin and quite frankly that is half the battle so well done you. If it works why change it. Thanks for commenting and linking up. #TweensTeensBeyond

  20. March 28, 2017 / 2:16 pm

    Although I’m in my mid 30s this post resonated with me too. I’ve lost my style, my groove, I very rarely buy new clothes and I’m noticing more wrinkles and grey hairs every day! There’s some great advice here for women of all ages who are looking to find their own style again ❤ #TweensTeensBeyond
    Em Linthorpe recently posted…Teenage Poetry – or “Where My Head Was At 20 Years Ago”My Profile

    • March 29, 2017 / 11:04 am

      Actually Em you are right, these guidelines could be used for any age. I am sure we all review our style decisions on a regular basis throughout our lives and the same principles apply. Glad you enjoyed the post. #TweensTeensBeyond

  21. March 28, 2017 / 7:07 am

    Jacynth has done a fabulous job for us more mature women. A lovely lady and I recommend her Facebook page hugely xx

    • March 29, 2017 / 10:53 am

      She is certainly on a mission to make a difference and it seems she is. I love her approach, it is unique and refreshing.x

  22. March 27, 2017 / 5:44 pm

    Hear, Hear! I love that Jacynth is a younger woman styling us older girls. I totally agree with all that has been said. I’m not ready to change up my style even though I’ll be banging on No 50 soon. I see it as a beginning rather than an end. My heart is still in the High Street and not in the supplements that drop out of the Sunday Papers. On the subject of ripped jeans, I wore mine yesterday and was told by an older relative that I would look back in horror at myself in twenty years time. I won’t! Lovely read Jo and Jacynth. Nicky #TweensTeensBeyond
    Nicky Kentisbeer recently posted…Has Mary Berry Lost Her Cherry?My Profile

    • March 29, 2017 / 11:00 am

      You and Susie are clearly the trend setters as there is definitely a ripped jean theme going on! I love that your older relative felt it appropriate to comment on your clothing – that is such a generational thing. Sounds like you know what you like Nicky and that confidence in your own skin is one of “many” benefits of ageing I have found. #TweensTeensBeyond