Tuesday, 6 January 2009

I got to thinking...is Shane Watson right?

Just when you think you've got your wardrobe sussed (even with no funds) along comes an article to turn it upside down again!

Now I'm not predisposed to walking the streets in high heels and towelling shorts but I'm not a grown up gal. I definitely have a younger than I am dress sense so when Shane Watson (one of my favourite columnists) made a few pronouncements I didn't know what to think - is she right?
You can read the whole article here but below is the dos and don'ts!

- Glitter make-up
- High-street jewellery
- Plaits
- Dungarees
- Tiered skirts
- Hairbands and bandanas
- Ankle bracelets
- Rock-band T-shirts
- Tattoos
- Leggings
Grooming Now it’s not so much grooming as survival: a single stray hair on your lower leg will look like decay.
Waxing your moustache Unless it really is a downy bit of blonde, for God’s sake do it. Bleaching only advertises the lady tache.
Pedicures Even if you are hairy as a bear under your clothes, a pedicure suggests that all is shipshape and tidy.
Proper specs Boots’ £3 jobs make everyone look like Great Uncle Bulgaria.
Big sunglasses These should be worn whenever possible. Not only do they do wonders for disguising fine lines, but in a pair of Oliver Peoples, you, too, can be an A-list star hunted by paparazzi.
Colour You can’t get away with a plain white T-shirt any more.
Feminine Even the poster girls for utility dressing soften up in their mid-thirties and add a bit of detail — you could start with some earrings.
Make-up Go easy, but the days of getting an eyelash tint and leaving it at that are numbered.
Ironing You need to be totally crease-free yourself to get away with crumpled clothes.
Exercise You really should. I fully intend to.
Yes, if you can say:
- I can touch my toes.
- I draw the line at leggings.
- I have my own teeth.
- I have stopped home-dyeing my hair.
- I only have friends who make me laugh.
- I still buy albums.
- I crave fashion (sometimes).
- I own nothing beige.
- I never compromise on shoes.
- I have danced in the kitchen in the past six months.
No, if you would say:
- I still want to look like Sarah Jessica Parker.
- I never eat carbs after 6pm.
- I sometimes wear over-the-knee socks with heels.
- I lie to everyone about my age.
- I never touch my face with my hands because it is bad for the complexion. (This is something Glenn Close once told me in an interview. I have, literally, never got over it.)
- I won’t allow animals in my house.
- I am always in bed by midnight.
- I need my own room.
- I cannot see the point of ear-splittingly loud music.'*

So, at the tender age of forever 21, ehem (cough) I feel doomed on the basis of I do still quite like looking like SJP or more realistically Carrie - in a kooky sense when the whim takes me, I've always worn over the knee socks with heels and flats but have been trying to ween myself of this one. I don't lie about my age I never mention it ('cept above!). And I sort of like Madonna in her skirt with those lace leggings., well actually I did. High street jewellery is such fun and cheap but I thinks she's got a point. Oh crikey (I'm holding to my resolution) what's a gal to do! I absolutely love Susie Bubble and her style expression and experimentation; in my head I'm still like that, but on the other hand I think should I become the sort of grown up sexy type of the Yasmin Le Bons of the world - questions, questions oh drat!

*© Shane Watson 2009. Extract taken from How to Meet a Man After Forty and Other Midlife Dilemmas Solved, published January 15 (Penguin £7.99). Buy it for £7.59 (inc p&p) through the Sunday Times BooksFirst on 0845 271 2135 or at timesonline.co.uk/booksfirst


  1. Hi kate-oh wear to start!! I hit the big 40 this year and I think the best advice I take is WendyBs, wear what you want. I adore leggings, no intention of giving them up, eat carbs after 6, I can touch my toes and I do crave fashion. I love Carries sense of style, mixing vintage and designer is my sort of style too. I love this post and I'll check out Shanes column later.

  2. Really the only thing that works is not giving a fuck about what anyone else thinks. It's like magic anti-aging formula, because it really is all about the attitude!

    Also, as soon as you start going "am I good for my age?" then you're totally doomed. The question is always (from cradle to grave) "am I alive and kicking?" So long as the answer is yes then all is well.

  3. Surly glitter makeup should be ditched long before 40?
    Great list, thnks for posting it!

  4. How do you ditch a tattoo once you're 40 - is she suggesting surgery??

    You're as young as you feel and I thought 40 was the new 30 or somethings like that!

  5. Uh-oh! You know I have leggings. Thanks for my ad, by the way! Those negative beyotches have taken the lead, alas.

  6. I totally disagree with this list, with the exception of dungarees (overalls), which shouldn't be worn by anyone over the age of 10, and especially not pregnant women!

  7. Love this post! Except I think leggings are acceptable after 40 when worn as tights (not as pants)...


  8. My heart wants to agree with Skye, but my head knows it's more of a balancing act. With lists of do's and don'ts like this, that seem so hard-and-fast, I always try to remember that they're merely GUIDELINES. When she says "no high street jewelry," hear "less high street jewelry." Could work, right?

  9. Great post! I agree with Sharon, wear what you want. But I a draw a line at the glitter eyeshadow, sadly few people regardless age can pull that of!

  10. Carrie is really fun :)))

    a kiss friend!

  11. I have such an aversion to over 40 lists, especially as i'm 41 and still wearing leggings, socks with heels, sleeveless tops and leather pants if I can afford a kickass pair. I think it's just common sense, and something inside of you that one day, when you're looking in the mirror, says, nope, no mas. But lists, screw them! Especially if written by women under 40:)

  12. I make Sharon Rose words my own, I agree with everything she said.


  13. very informative. i think gals should dress age appropriate but there isn't a must do list though. i have seen gals in their 40's who looks better than a gal in her 20'any day.

  14. I really dislike this kind of prescriptive nincompoopery. i say do your own thing and swing from the rafters until you can physically swing no more. What else is life for except living?

    Also can I just say what a bunch of foxy ladies we bloggers are at any age. I can't believe that Fashion Herald is 41! Good on you grrrl. You are now my new hero. And in the spirit of full disclosure I hit 39 this birthday and I'll be rocking my leggings and heels in the coffin, dammit.

  15. According to her criteria I am doing well for being over 40.I have no leggings, no glittery makeup and no beige. Oh, but I do occasionally do a white tee shirt(like now and then there was the one I wore yesterday).

  16. I don't like how this person is trying to boss me around. No white Ts after 40? That seems stupidly arbitrary. And, if you have some high street jewelry that looks like a million bucks, what does it matter where it came from. The point is to do your style well. This is unnecessarily ageist, I feel.

  17. Those lists depress me, thanks for the post, I'm 41 and break a lot of those rules and frankly couldn't give a stuff about it. I like Wendy B's motto of wear what you want.

  18. haha. pretty much all of that list applies to me - i only buy unusual 2nd-hand jewellery, i have never owned leggings, plaits look dumb on me anyway, and the rest is mostly alien to me [except the enormous led zep tee i wear to bed]. and i seem to be on top of most of that 'things you should get into' list already [though by god i home-dye my hair - i cannot afford to get into salon colouring!]. that last list, apart from 'i need my own room', doesn't apply at all.

    i like to think i will become reprehensible, start breaking all of these rules once i hit forty, and turn into an unholy mix of izzy blow and cyndi lauper. right now i am enjoying being terribly ladylike.

    i like lists.

  19. I had a bit of a moment in the A.P.C sale in New York when I was trying on countless smock-style, Peter-Pan collared tunic dresses.

    I came to the sad conclusion that a 34-and-11-month year-old can't get away with baby girl frocks anymore, as gorgeous as they are.

    I was slightly depressed until I stumbled across a shoe sale, and then all dismal thoughts vanished as fast as you can say cheap-as-chips-designer-ballet-flats. xx

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  22. Wow, I agree with a lot of this, through trial and error I've learned to avoid some things and embrace others. And while I would like to have words with my 16 year old self (mostly just 2 words: Sun Block) I'm glad I had fun while I was young enough to recover. Xx

  23. Ah, they can't resist making the over 40s feel bad! I'm just writing a similar post on the Trinny and Susannah approach to dressing. Though magazines seem to have 'dress for your age' articles periodically (apparently as a 30 year-old I have to ditch purple eyeliner. As if.) I suppose it does all depend on your lifestyle - you have a young son and live in London, which I think makes all the difference. No-one rocks a jumpsuit like you!! My mum is 60, and wore white jeans on her birthday - she looked wonderful and so youthful. What intrigues me more is how many people on this page wear heels and socks - how have I only discovered this now?! I'd better start caning it, as I only have 10 years!!! ;)


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