Growing old(er) gracefully

Have you, too, endured a ‘Julia’ moment when a salesperson snubs you?

Growing old(er) gracefully

Have you endured a ‘Julia’ moment when a salesperson snubs you? If so, it’s time to fight back and prove that you can still look absolutely fabulous at 50, 60 or any old age.

Maybe you have been ignored when you’ve entered a trendy store and thought about slinking right back out again? I’ll let you into a secret – from time to time, so have I, which is plain dumb when you think about the buying power and influence of mature woman. So here are my top five tips for staying stylish and managing rude retail staff:

1. Chanel reigns

No, no you don’t have to buy Chanel – oh dear, there goes the mortgage. But remembering Mme Chanel’s best-ever fashion insight helps us all to choose outfits which suit us. And that is “Fashion is architecture: it is a matter of proportion.” So if you don’t own and use a full length mirror, get ye to a Bunnings store now, to make this significant style purchase. You’ll never look back. So what does proportion really mean? It means that, by adjusting the proportion of your garments, you can reduce defects and highlight assets. If, like me, your derriere is ‘generous’, then longer tops layered over slim skirts and tapered pants are very flattering. And Remember Helen Gurley Brown? She said that after a certain age the only way a woman could improve her appearance was expensive jewellery and good posture. I don’t buy the jewellery part, but good posture helps everyone look immediately better.

And along the same lines …

2. Layering hides a multitude of sins

So you love that short printed top (Feathers image) but it cuts you in half, like waving a flag at your generous (back-in-the-day child bearing) hips? If the print is flattering, of course you can wear it, just make sure you have the essential longer line cami or t-shirt in a neutral colour (think black, black or black) to pop underneath, and match the bottom, be it a skirt or pant.

3. Accessories rule – but not too many!

Accessories provide the focal point of your outfit. You actually can’t go too bold when it comes to funky costume jewellery. But to carry off this look, channel the Parisians, and dump all other jewellery or adornments. So pair a large costume necklace with a simple one-colour dress, t-shirt and pants or sweater and skirt. The drama in the necklace is all you need.

4. Grooming is everything

It may be old school, but it works. Nothing shouts style louder than impeccable grooming. This means head-to-toe, 24/7, cleanliness and attention to detail. We’ve all broken this rule, maybe Saturday morning when you head to the café in workout tights, with unkempt hair and chipped nail polish. And of course, that’s the day you bump into the friend you haven’t seen for 15 years and you can tell by their surprise, they think you’ve aged. DON’T DO THIS TO YOURSELF. You are better than this. So make a promise to love yourself enough to do a weekly, at home, facial and manicure – like we did in the old days – with no need to spend a fortune on salons or expensive product. By all means pamper yourself in a beauty salon if money is no object, but don’t miss out if you’re on a budget. The best style spend is always on a good haircut and colour that you can maintain yourself between visits to the hairdressers. Great hair and a winning smile trumps everything else.

5. Last but not least, the shout-out-loud lipstick


Hollywood glamour girls would never be seen without it. Sales go down in recessions, except for lipstick. And, in times of war, it was the ‘red badge of courage’ that kept many women feeling strong and able to do whatever was necessary. So make sure your spirits are high – shout yourself a new season red [link] and head out the door – your outfit in perfect proportion thanks to layers, your upright posture, shiny hair and nails and an unforgettable smile. Stylish over 50? You’ve nailed it, girlfriend!



    To make a comment, please register or login
    Nan Norma
    8th Sep 2016
    So the first thing you show Kaye is a skinny model. I've never felt invisible in my later years, its all about how confident you are.
    8th Sep 2016
    Yes, it certainly is all about confidence - walking and standing tall and confidently - no matter your age or stature.
    8th Sep 2016
    If the article is directed to an age bracket, why not use models of that age?
    Happy cyclist
    8th Sep 2016
    To be taken seriously I believe you need to be engaged with the world, know what is going on, be able to converse about current affairs sensibly, offer the wisdom which comes with age when appropriate rather than worry unduly about your looks. Thats not to say that we all shouldn't look smart but a well-groomed shallow person won't even keep my attention for long, let alone that of younger people.
    fish head
    8th Sep 2016
    Sorry Kaye,beyond a certain stage (notice not age) when skin and hair colour begins to fade bright red lippy will NOT do unless you are aiming for the cannibal look.
    8th Sep 2016
    Gym wear aka "leisure wear" is for the gym or around the house, NOT for going shopping in etc. Wear appropriate clothing for the occasion. Be neat, tidy and clean. Always have clean shoes.
    8th Sep 2016
    A couple of years ago I was shopping in the local supermarket and I saw an 'older' woman (well over 70 i'd say) who looked amazing. She was short, slim and basically dressed in black and white (black trousers, white shirt, black and white checked jacket,black boots) with some bright red accents -red scarf and belt. Her hair was nicely done and she looked really well put together. I had to compliment her and tell her how good she looked. She looked me up and down, took a step back and said; " Well you could have made more of an effort!" turned on her heel and walked off with her husband pushing the trolley!

    I am/was a size 8 -10, tall, and wore jeans and a blouse!
    8th Sep 2016
    Just because someone looks good it doesn't mean they have Class.

    KSS I bet you have more class in your little finger than that well put together rude person.

    I was watching Miss Marple last night and thinking how great her outfit of soft grey and apricot with a high neckline looked.

    Now there is a character destined to have attention paid her regardless of looks or age.
    8th Sep 2016
    I agree with all 5 above comments, but would like to add tidy and neat hair, why does everyone on the tv have their hair either hanging down in rats tails, or sticking up in spikes, whatever happened to neat and tidy for all ages. And red lipstick for the older woman is definitely a no-no, a lighter shade of lipstick looks much more attractive than a bright red slash. Why are older models never shown wearing suitable clothes for the over 60''s? Would be much simpler to pick an outfit to suit if this were so.
    Golden Oldie
    8th Sep 2016
    Where are the older models? I am fed up with all the young models looking great with young styles, never any aimed at the more mature ladies looking for a new outfit. Tried to buy new slacks a while ago, and found nothing in 3 stores except for hipsters. I find these extremely uncomfortable, the dig iny the belly, and if you lose a bit of weight, then they fall off. Back to the sewing machine for me.
    8th Sep 2016
    The other ladies have beaten me to it, but I too was concerned that a article about feeling good in your 50s+ uses photos of models in their 20s.
    8th Sep 2016
    I am going on 62, and try to dress neatly even to go to the letter box, and my partner wonders why! I am a size 8, try to stay fit, DON'T wear red lipstick, but always am conscious of my posture and co-ordinated clothes that suit me. It would be great to see 50+ models, as it would also put $$ in the lucky seniors' pockets.
    I also agree with Happy cyclist - if you can't have a decent conversation it won't work!
    8th Sep 2016
    Yes,I agree with all the other ladies comments here. No bright lipsticks, heavy mascara or eye shadow. Angela Lansbury shows may be decades old but she knew how to dress and wear makeup. So do the royal family. Sadly with clothes, cut is everything and it costs. As our shape falters its more important to have nicely tailored clothes. Jewelry is magic when it comes to giving sparkle - but it has to be subtle. There are a few older women who are thin but the majority are not. Show us some hair styles and outfits that suit us. - and as to becoming invisible - Yep, Ce la vie. However I would like to think I dress so as not an embarrassment to my children.
    8th Sep 2016
    I somewhat disagree, I'm confident in myself and if I choose to go out in gym wear, tough luck if someone else doesn't like this - I don't care. Obviously going to restaurants, functions etc appropriate wear should be worn but otherwise, please yourself.

    That's real freedom.

    9th Sep 2016
    Yeah well none of the people depicted look anywhere near 50 - so including photos of an appropriate age range may have made your advice a bit more credible. And not too sure I'm seeing much connection between layering, accessories, red lipstick etc. etc. in curbing and managing the behaviour of rude retail staff. But some suggestions to manage the rude behaviour of retail staff to a business may include:

    - Just confront the retail staff and assertively ask that you be treated with respect and courtesy. - OF if that doesn't work

    - Speak to the manager and make a formal complaint about how rudely you have been treated and ask for an apology and for the employee to be counselled or receive further training in customer service -OR if that doesn't work

    - Write a letter to the local paper letting the world know how rudely you have been treated as a customer to this business. - OR if that doesn't work

    - Standing on the footpath outside the business with placards letting the world know how rudely customers of this business are treated - OR if that doesn't work and you feel really strongly about it

    - Contact ACA, 7.30 or a similar program to get your message out there. OR if that doesn't work and the business has a facebook page

    - Complain about being treated rudely there.

    Not convinced layering, accessories, and red lipstick etc. etc. is the answer to lousy customer service believe a more direct approach is required in some instances....after all the customer base is their bread and butter...treat them with respect or they'll walk....
    9th Sep 2016
    I agree in principle with this posting but... really, I'm way too busy to waste time complaining - best thing I feel is to respectfully challenge the individual, pointing out their individual rude behaviours and then walk away.

    NB. It isn't just high end shops etc that are rude to individuals, eg, yesterday I'm at an op shop (st vinnies) - the volunteer staff member was completing a sale. I stood at counter with money in my hand and one small item to purchase, waited patiently, sale completed just as another woman walked up to the counter/volunteer, volunteer greeted this woman warmly and proceeded to fiddle counting the multiple items being purchased (coat hangers), bagging them in several bags, chatting - I said absolutely nothing, wasn't impressed but I understand the sales attendant is a volunteer - still not nice.

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