Good and Bad

When it comes to style, I think it’s the everyday, casual look that throws up the biggest challenge for ‘older’ women.  Big night outs are easy.  Just ask Nicole Kidman who knocks it out of the park so often, but looks like she got dressed in the dark, in 1984, most times she walks anywhere that isn’t a red carpet.

I think because the ‘street’ so dictates what looks right and wrong these days – roll back 30-40 years and there was a more formal dictate – formal in definition and execution.  My mother is right at home in this world, where things were ‘in’ and ‘out’ of fashion and so it was as easy as attending a local Myers fashion parade to get a basic grip on how to leave the house.  There also seemed more a sense of manners in ensuring one was well presented for the public … check out Betty in Mad Men for 50’s and 60’s fashion rigour, or Carole Brady for 70’s stiff casual.  (Of course, fashion fun also had a fairly strict lifeline so a commentary around 40+ dressing wasn’t going to find many readers).

The point of all this  – the controversial bit – how good and how bad it can be.

Take Elle for instance.  She has haunted my self esteem for most of my adult life.  She still does.   Whilst I can’t vouch for her intelligence or humanity, and maybe she could lose a little length on the surf-chick hair, but the girl knows how to dress (and undress).  Sure, she can be a bit show-offy on some of her school runs, but she does work in fashion and probably is off to some glamorous job after drop off.  To be completely honest, I’d love to have somewhere to get that dressed up for a little more often.

But this pic isn’t school run, it’s simple hippy chic that she owns for a hanging out sort of lifestyle.  Or in normal lives, non-office days or weekends.

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Now, let’s contrast this with another famous, gorgeous and definitely smart woman, only a few years older than Elle.  Ms Stone.  An apt surname for how heavy footed her fashion choices are.  She has all the basics (tall, rich, hot body) but just lacks the basic instinct when it comes to getting dressed.  Actually to be honest, I think she fudges the formal as well as the everyday, but it is her more mundane outings that rarely fail to raise an un-sisterhood snigger on my behalf.

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Look, by now you should know that I have no issue with cut-off denims, cut-off denims  with boots (long or short); Alexander Wang tough bags and leather jackets.  Written down, it can all work, young and old.  I also admit that Sharon has thankfully walked away from the mum jeans she’s usually sporting.  Actually, I give her 10/10 for effort, really.  Unfortunately I still see a desperately misunderstood effort to dress down – in formality and to her boyfriend’s age – and getting it all wrong.

Even if she’d put on a bra she’d be way ahead, but I’d also be leaving those boots at home and going a Converse and/or getting rid of that nan jumper and trying an ankle boot to show off those gorgeous legs.  And pull the shorts down a bit, what is it with Sharon and Harry-High pants.

And just so you don’t think I’m being parochial in my choices here, I include one last pic.

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Elle, Paris called and wants her dress back.

(It’s good to know that even the best get it wrong sometimes.)

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