Old age ain’t what it used to be!
“You must never think your age, and you must certainly never dress your age.”
1. Helen Mirren, 2. Diane Von Furstenberg, 3. Jean Dujardin, 4. Glen Close, 5. Giorgio Armani, 6. Grace Coddington, 7. Christine Lagarde, 8. Brigitte Macron, 9. Charlotte Rampling, 10. HRH Queen Elizabeth, 11. Jane Fonda, 12. Andre Leon Talley, 13. Iris Apfel, 14. Ralph Lauren, 15. Christina Scott Thomas, 16. Catherine Deneuve 17 Prue Leith, 18. Emma Forbes, 19. Dame Edna Everage, 20. Sean Connery.
Let’s face it, no-one likes the ageing process, but since you can’t stop it, you might as well embrace it. Look on the bright side – no more exams to sit, no more job interviews, no more objects of desire to impress… It’s freedom! And there are ways to make it more palatable.
Here are some of my tips…
1. First and foremost is your attitude to life. We live in an increasingly stressful world, it’s the modern disease. Be positive, open up to new ideas, new faces, new adventures.
2. By now you know who you are and don’t give a damn. Who cares what people think? So, express your true nature.
3. Never indulge in bitterness. Do that and you end up a bitter person. Let it go.
“The price of peace is forgiveness.”
4. Live for the moment. Today is the most important day of your life.
5. Too many people are wrapped up in the past, “In my days …” You often hear from older folks. Things were not all better. They were just different. That’s why I strongly advise having young friends. Let them be your role models. They bring to the table different viewpoints as well as educating you to the modern way of life. Remember “it’s never too late to teach old dog new tricks”.
6. Make some plans for tomorrow, as well as for next year.
There are also practical ways to embrace the ageing process:
1. The key to good health is what you eat. The Mediterranean diet is often recommended by nutritionists. Eat lots of vegetables and make sure your plate is half filled with vegetables, preferably green ones.
2. Don’t drink alcohol to excess. You will regret it “the day after the night before”. Drink lots of water instead.
3. Next is exercise. Do some form of excise every day – a long walk, yoga … Get off the bus one stop before your final destination. Mental exercises, like crosswords, Sudoku… keep your brain active.
4. Sleep is very important. If you have difficulties falling asleep, don’t try, just relax. If you had a bad day, don’t dwell on it. Think about tomorrow and the pleasures it will bring.
5. Only a few minutes of meditation will clear your full head.
6. Smile a lot. Everybody reacts positively to a smiling face.
7. Travel helps your brain, with new experiences and challenges – foreign languages, money systems… And while new places bring new pleasures, new faces feed the soul.
My Fashion Tips
1. Don’t gain weight, but don’t get too thin either. Women who diet themselves to a stick don’t look good.
2. Plastic surgery? The problem is, one only notices badly done jobs. Successful processes can achieve miracles.
3. I think hair and make-up are a giveaway. Don’t stick to the ones you wore in your twenties, and please cut off the locks falling halfway down your back. Nothing is more ageing.
7. Beware of this season “must haves”, they are not necessarily going to be your best friends. Last year’s outfit will look “right on the money” with this season’s shoes. This season’s outfit with last year’s shoes definitely won’t.
8. Because you can just about zip up your old favourite frock, it is not going to make you look slimmer. Au contraire!
9. Don’t let clothes wear you. The maxim of Molyneux, a Thirties couturier, was that you should not notice what a woman is wearing, only how wonderful she looks.
13. Invest in a pink shirt. It’s cheaper than a facelift, and it will make your skin glow.
14. Don’t wear a designer head to toe (unless they are paying you).
15. Finally, dress for yourself, not for others. It will make you feel good and therefore look good.
4. A good hairstyle, a good pair of shoes and a good handbag. Everything else is about attitude say French women.
5. Not too much flesh on show. Watch the neckline and the hemline. But short skirts are fine if you have great pins – “if you got it, flaunt it”. People won’t notice your wrinkles so much!
6. Wear simple clothes, always with good accessories. Less is more in every way. This may not be breaking news, but it’s sound advise. Chose quality over quantity. Invest in quality basics. They will form the base of your wardrobe.
10. Don’t underestimate the importance of being comfortable. Tottering around in high heels is never a good look and you certainly are not going to relax. Comfort, until recently was a dirty word. Today it’s cool, a way of signaling youth and dynamism, the two most important status symbols of our age. Which means elegant flats, brogues, loafers and even trainers.
11. Don’t try to be sexy, be sensual.
12. Clear your wardrobe, it’s therapeutic. Make three piles: one for clothes you wear regularly, one for the one you wear from time to time, and the third with clothes you haven’t worn for a couple of years. Send these to your favourite charity. You will feel liberated. Next time you go shopping, look at what’s left and build around it.
1. Clothes that fit properly will always make you look slimmer and younger. So avoid anything that’s too loose or too long. Make sure your trousers don’t fall heavily on your shoes, like Simon Cowell’s. A slightly shorter trouser will make you look taller.
3. There is nothing more youthful than a crisp white shirt.
4. Keep the wrinkles on your face, but off your clothes.
5. A pair of simple white trainers can look smart and modern when worn with chinos or jeans, or even a suit (not stone washed and no holes, please).
2. Avoid black, it’s a harsh colour to wear against older skin. Navy is far more flattering. However being a little older doesn’t preclude you from wearing strong colours, but only as accessories. Stick to one or two – shirt, tie, sweater, or a pocket square. But if you dare, go the David Hockney way.
6. However appealing a chunky cable knit sweater may look, it won’t be flattering if you are already a little chunky. A crew neck is a safe option. It looks great when worn under a blazer. Roll neck sweaters are back in fashion. They can effectively hide a multitude of chins.
7. You must call your old blouson a bomber jacket. No one says blouson anymore.
Rembrandt’s, Titian’s, Monet’s, Picasso’s, Hockney’s work never slacked with old age. Marie Curie learned to swim in her later years, Tolstoy learned to ride a bike in his seventies… and Cher, seventy-two, stole the show in “Mama Mia, Here We Go Again”.
Happiness is the goal we all try to reach, but the goal is a result of your attitude and your actions. Often people believe success makes people happy, but happiness is success.
As the French say, “Entre bien dans sa peau” – being happy in your own skin.
“Dream as you live forever. Live as if you die tomorrow.”