Last week I was on a shoot for one of my clients, Yarn Stories. I met a woman called Kate Goode who is an art director, stylist and all round amazing person. She is a similar age to me and, as often happens when women in their 50s get together we chatted about the problem of being who we are at a ‘certain age’.
To give you a bit of background, Kate and I must have bumped into each other in the heady days of London in the 80s. Post punk and just about post New Romantic it was an incredibly creative time in the fashion industry. Within 3 weeks of starting my job at Courtelle I had met Paul Smith. Lynne Franks (Abfab) was our PR and Lamb and Shirley did our graphics. In my second year I worked with Jean Paul Gaultier and in my third John Galliano. The parties we went to were ridiculous and I loved every second of it. I didn’t earn much so I mainly shopped from the High Street, but whatever I bought was chopped and changed to make it individual and trendy.You could wear anything and it was accepted as you being you.
Over the years I have struggled with my look. Having been a Sassoon house model I have always focussed things on my hair as a starting point – do you remember my mohawk from a few years ago? – then my shoes and now my glasses, but clothes have become harder and harder to wear. For a start I am a good 2 stone heavier and my bust has got significantly bigger since becoming a mum. But I also have a super-sensitive mutton alert that seems to go off if I even go near a Miss Selfridge or Zara.
What further complicates things is my age. Now that I could technically be a grandmother I have become invisible. I used to get appreciative comments or looks when I walked in to a room but this just doesn’t happen now and its amazing how much this has dented my confidence. These days I would rather don a pair of jeans and a T-shirt, and cocoon myself in a voluminous cardigan so I can merge in to the background. I have a fantastic pair of mock leather culottes I bought from Zara in my wardrobe. I would love to team them up with ankle socks, killer wedged suede boots and a man’s shirt but I just can’t get past the fear that I would look ridiculous. I never used to worry about this so what has happened to me? Don’t get me wrong I don’t want to be or look younger – I am happy with my age, I just want to be a bit more me.
This is what Kate and I talked about, the dilemmas of the ageing woman. I don’t really have any answers because it is a very personal thing, but seeing how great Kate looked and following our chat I am determined to take a few more ‘risks’.
The day after we met Kate commented on an image on Instagram and used #wearenotinvisible at the end of her comment. Brilliant! This is now my mantra so watch out!