The Changing Attitudes of Women
Maybe it’s because I am getting older myself or maybe it’s just a personal observation but I notice these days that attitudes are changing and more women are embracing who they are regardless of their age and are confidently demonstrating that beauty is not just reserved for the young but can be carried with you at any age.
I am not talking simply about how ‘physically attractive’ a woman may appear as she ages either. I am talking about something deeper, a confidence and inner beauty that says ‘I am not going to be defined by a number and neither will I be dictated to on where I should shop or what I should wear just because of the age I am’.
How we dress should be an outward expression of who we are or even who we strive to be. Our taste might not be that of others but as long as we wear it with confidence and own it, then who’s to tell us we can’t enjoy expressing ourselves in our own personal way?
The expression ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ has always been a derogatory remark thrown at women of a certain age who dress younger than they apparently should but I say we should redefine our thinking on this and instead of dressing ‘age appropriate’ we should focus on ‘ageless chic’ and investing in pieces that suit our body shapes, our colouring and that flatter regardless of age.
Thankfully the fashion industry no longer divides women into the young and the old (remember those hideous garish flowery polyester dresses older women thought they had to wear a few decades ago?)…
Now we have the opportunity to dress stylishly and youthfully at any age thanks to brands like Mint Velvet leading the way.
The revolution is now, women over the age of 40 no longer belong on the scrap heap just because society tells them so. We all grow older sure but we should still have fun and continue to develop our ‘style’ rather than our ‘frump’ as we do so!
It’s not just what we wear that makes us feel more confident – our lifestyle also has an impact too. If we are out of control on our eating, we don’t get enough sleep or we don’t take care of ourselves, we will age prematurely and in turn that spring in our step that makes us seem youthful, will likely disappear.
My Mum (featured in this post) is someone I have always admired not only for her sense of style but also for her positive mental attitude, pursuit of living healthily and general zest for life.
She has gathered much wisdom over her 65 years when it comes to matters related to health, fitness, fashion and beauty and has kindly agreed to share some insight into her lifestyle on what keeps her feeling great in her sixties! Over to you Mum…
My style has evolved over the years as one would expect, having experienced a wide range of fashion through the 60’s to the now! Trends have changed with each era and so my style has changed with it as a result. No doubt everyone has had a few fashion disasters in the past (I am no exception!) but that said, as I matured, I learned to stick to a few golden rules which have helped me stay focussed when it comes to choosing what I wear.
Rule One – Dress for Your Shape
My shape has changed a little over the years but I have always tried to go for clothes that flatter my shape and learned to accentuate my best bits and hide the bits I’d rather not show!
Rule Two – Invest in Some Tailored Pieces
You can’t beat a pair of good fitting trousers, a nice tailored blazer or a fitted white shirt to make you feel instantly chic! It’s always worth doing a review of your wardrobe and going through anything that is dated or no longer fits you properly if your shape or weight has changed. If something looks tired and scruffy then it’s time to get rid of it and go shopping…I’m talking clothes though not husbands!
Rule Three – Know What Colours Suit You
Knowing what colours suit you is really important. I know that there are certain colours that I have to avoid completely because they drain me and don’t suit my skin tone. What colours you wear can also impact on your mood. Bold colours can feel empowering where soft colours can calm you. Try holding different coloured scarves up to your face in a mirror in natural light and see which warm your skin tone and which don’t work.
Eat Well, Live Well
When I was younger I was always fairly good at making the right decisions when it came to food. I had a balanced low fat diet and didn’t usually over indulge in unhealthy snacks or meals too often. I was certainly not a saint but tried wherever possible to be ‘sensible’.
I noticed however, that in later life, maybe due to hormonal changes, my eating habits changed. I developed unhealthy cravings more regularly and gradually over a period of time I gained weight. It wasn’t a lot, but it was enough to move up a dress size. I was eating later than I should and developed an unexplained digestive disorder that was so uncomfortable at times I regularly found it hard to sleep. The combination of lack of rest and discomfort led me to feel unhappy and constantly exhausted.
What had always been relatively easy for me, suddenly got harder and I needed to do something about it. I decided that I would treat it as a challenge – get fit, get healthy and feel better. I started by watching inspirational weight loss programmes on the TV which motivated me and got me on track.
I would love to say that I am ALWAYS good but that wouldn’t be the truth. Life is too short not to have some naughtiness in it! I now follow the 80/20 rule – I’m good 80% of the time which leaves 20% for treats! Because of my digestive problem however, I now avoid wheat products. Luckily there is a huge range of wheat and gluten free products on the market now, so a lot more variety and choice than there used to be.
Here’s what works for me:
I have 1 cup of good quality coffee on a morning and then drink mint tea throughout the day along with several glasses of water.
A typical day’s menu for me would be:
1 tablespoon milled Chia seeds
1 tablespoon milled Flax seeds
Handful walnuts (chopped small)
3 dried apricots (sliced)
3 dried figs (sliced)
Unsweetened almond milk.
Small salad bowl with either turkey, salmon, tuna or boiled egg.
Sesame Ryvita with butter.
Green Juice. (I juice apples, lemon and celery and then blend the juice with Kale and cucumber and cashews)
Bowl of mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries, grapes, blueberries)
Cholesterol lowering yogurt drink.
Roasted veg. (butternut squash, sweet potatoes, button mushrooms, mixed peppers, cherry tomatoes, roasted with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of garlic granules and Cajun spice)
Salmon (baked in greaseproof paper) or chicken wrapped in Parma ham.
Tablespoon of Greek Style Natural Yoghurt with Salmon to taste.
Natural yoghurt with berries or a couple of squares of dark chocolate.
While I am not a natural when it comes to exercise, I really do believe that some form of exercise is essential to wellbeing and weight control. It is especially important as we get older when we are more at risk of developing age related illnesses. Exercise plays a great part in keeping us supple and healthy. I confess that I was a late starter! Like a lot of people I dipped in and out of the ‘I need to get fit’ phases.
I bought and then sold numerous pieces of exercise equipment when the novelty wore off after only a few weeks. I joined a gym but didn’t go and have a cupboard full of unused exercise videos. Then one day I discovered running. It was as a result of a friend asking me to run the Race for Life with her. In a mad moment, I agreed! It was hard to begin with and I struggled, alternating running and walking between lampposts. Slowly I built up the distance until I ran my first 10k Race for Life.
I enjoy the feeling of freedom that running brings. I use the time to think and unwind and the benefits have been enormous. I sleep better, feel good, have bags of energy and am generally much healthier. I’m aware that at my age, running alone isn’t enough and that I need to keep my bones and muscles healthy so to complement my running, I work out to videos which include exercises using light weights and toning bands.
I don’t use any particular brand of skin care. In the past I have used expensive products but decided to try mid-price range brands and have been perfectly happy with them. I believe that more important than brand is a consistently good skincare routine.
My routine is:
I use L’Oreal Skin Perfection Cleansing Milk and a L’Oreal Skin Perfection Cleansing wipe to remove the first layer of makeup (including my lips and eye makeup) followed by Garnier Skin Naturals Micellar Cleansing Water to deep cleanse.
I then moisturise using No 7 Protect & Perfect Advanced Serum, eye cream and night cream.
Protecting Against the Sun and Pollution
I never leave the house without applying Clinique Super City Block spf 40 to my face, neck and chest as I believe that protecting yourself from the sun’s harmful rays is vital in the fight against ageing. When sunbathing, I always use a high factor sun cream (spf 30) on my body. As I have very fair skin and don’t tan easily, I use a daily body moisturiser which includes a gradual build up self-tan. It gives me a nice natural golden tan without damaging my skin.
My Top Beauty Secret
To improve my muscle and skin tone, I also use do facial exercises. After watching a beauty programme on TV featuring Tina Richards 5 years ago, I discovered Tua Tre’nd, a non-surgical anti-ageing facial exercise machine that helps to improve lines, wrinkles and firms muscles. I absolutely love it – so much so that I did an online review for them! It is my most treasured beauty product and I would highly recommend it. Tina Richards do a free trial too so you can try before you commit to buying.
Pearls of Wisdom
Youth is not just about how you look, it’s also about your attitude and outlook on life that I believe is the secret to staying young. Some young people may seem old for their years while those older may seem forever youthful! I’m generally a positive person and deal with problems as they arise – following the ‘Focus on the Solution not the Problem’ rule. I think that this helps me deal with any stress in my life and keeps me young at heart.