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!

5 comments on “#wearenotinvisible

  1. I have found that since getting older I worry less about what I wear and definitely wear what I like. I have no set style although my DMs feature in lot of what I wear, but now it is definitely about fun and what makes ME feel good.

  2. Juliet! Wear what makes you happy! If those culottes make your heart sing, get them out and wear them! When you were young and wore wonderful things, you didn’t care what others thought….so what has changed….only your perception of yourself. Thise appreciative comments were for the confident woman you were..which you have lost because of self doubt. Get out there and strut your stuff! (I am talking to myself here too….because I’ve let myself become invisible too.) I’m with you…..let’s get out there!

  3. What you are describing in this post sums up what I have heard of so many women over 40 since I started Tall Yarns 8 years ago. It has been the driving force behind the development of my own label called Layercake. Tall Yarns business is (was!) yarn, needles, patterns. My customers kept asking where I bought my clothes. I made them myself and decided to start making them for my yarn customers too! That was 6 years ago.
    Now Layercake contains my favourite garments and is built around the concept of modern-day aprons we call Smocks and Tabards. They have a reputation of setting women free; this is what our customers tell us, ESPECIALLY the ones who thought they “could never wear outfits like these”. The concept is quite simple (and seemed to come so naturally when we were younger): accentuate the assets you love and wear clothes that are comfortable AND make you feel good – which immediately makes you visible! It’s not the clothes in themselves that make you visible, it’s wearing clothes that reflect you feeling good. The two go hand in hand and (as we all know) create the best upward spiral.
    This year I will shout louder to spread the Layercake word. Please tell me if you’d like more information and/or please point me in the right direction to find places and people that can help me shout (without spending money on traditional advertising).
    And please DO wear your culottes – what is the worst thing that could happen? Truly?

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