Friday 19 January 2018

Never wear printed leggings...and other tips for dressing in your 60s

They grew up in the '60s, now our 60somethings are in style, writes Deirdre Reynolds

Champions of silver style: Designer Carolyn Donnelly
Champions of silver style: Designer Carolyn Donnelly
Cher in tartan at 67
Helen Mirren in Dolce & Gabbana
Deirdre Reynolds

Deirdre Reynolds

Back in the sixties, she was the ultimate poster girl for the mini skirt generation. Now in her 60s, 'Turn Back Time' singer Cher appears to have done just that, stepping out in a series of age-defying outfits to promote her new album, Closer to the Truth.

Most recently, the 67 year-old mum-of-two wowed on Graham Norton in an on-trend tartan jacket, black leather mini and fishnet tights.

And she vowed never to stop flashing the flesh: "Getting older sucks the big one.

"If I am buried in a short skirt, I am wearing fishnets with it."

When it comes to fashion sense however, many sixty-somethings feel theirs is already dead and buried, says stylist Marietta Doran.

"Lots of my clients are in their 60s," says the image consultant (www.marietta doran.com), "women who grew up in the 60s wearing the micro-minis."

"Many would come to me and say, 'Marietta, I used to be really trendy, then I just got busy with life'. Between work and family life, they just kind of fell out of touch with fashion.

"Now they've raised their family and retired, they may have taken up golf, be going on cruises or just out to lunch with the girls, and have no idea what to wear."

"They're back, and want to make a good impression."

At Dunnes Stores, new designer label 'Signature', including Italian knitwear, velvet trim jackets and tailored trousers, is going down a storm among more mature shoppers.

"In recent years, the difference between what someone of 45 and someone of 65 wears has narrowed significantly," says Creative Director Carolyn Donnelly.

"Both age groups shop in similar stores and often buy the same styles. But it doesn't always work out for the older woman, and not just because the music is too loud or there's no place to sit down!

"The fact is that an older woman wants slightly different things when she goes in search of clothes," explains fashion designer Carolyn. "Yes, she wants style but she also wants comfort.

"She wants higher necklines and longer skirt lengths. She may want wider sleeves on her jacket and sometimes elasticated waists on skirts and trousers."

"We all know older women with great dress sense and style but it has been difficult for them to find sophisticated clothes without spending silly amounts of money.

"Remember these women were fashion groundbreakers in their day," she adds. "When you think about it, women who were wearing minis in the 60s, are now in their 60s and 70s. They loved clothes back then and many of them have never lost their interest in fashion."

As Ireland's first lady of fashion, model agency boss Celia Holman Lee (62) certainly doesn't need any style tips, but concedes: "We all have parts of our body that we're not in love with, so learn how to deal with them.

"If it's the arms, hide them nicely with sleeves or wraps, and if it's the legs, wear longer skirts, and then get over it.

"If you're unsure of what suits you, try on different styles and find the ones that work for you. Be adventurous when it comes to clothes, don't be stuck in a rut.

"I tend to go classy, because I don't want to look ridiculous, but I always put my own little twist to it."

Not everyone will be as brave as Helen Mirren, who recently stepped out in the same red Dolce & Gabbana frock as pop star Rita Ora, who at 22 is 46 years the Oscar winner's junior.

"For ladies in their 60s, I would always recommend that they go for a hemline just below the knee," says stylist Marietta Doran.

"Of course, there will always be exceptions to the rule like Helen Mirren, who can wear short skirts into her sixties and still look really classy.

"But there are some definite no-nos for older women such as printed leggings."

"I always tell my clients to pick out the looks that you love from magazines, and we can recreate them to suit your shape and lifestyle," she adds.

"If you see a trend on the catwalk that you like, add an element of that to your look.

"You might not get away with both a tartan jacket and leather skirt like Cher, for instance, but a check shirt might work. Young or old, it's all about getting the right balance."

Irish Independent

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