Shopping with Attitude: Where ageism is never in style

“No woman is invisible or irrelevant”

That’s what the founder of The-Bias-Cut, believes.

It’s a sentiment that rings true for us at Sylk.  As a company that supports the sexual well-being of menopausal women, it’s important to us to help women feel good about themselves. As we age, hormonal changes can affect our mood, body shape and confidence which can affect our enjoyment of how we look and shopping. Which in turn can affect how sexy and attractive we feel.  Finding clothes that are stylish, comfortable and feminine can be hard.  But now there is an answer as I discovered recently.

The-Bias-Cut is a unique online boutique that celebrates style at every age and is a complete joy to visit

Featuring pieces by some of the best contemporary labels today, the eclectic collections reflect founder, Jacynth’s, thorough and in-depth understanding of different women’s bodies and shapes, as well as cut and fabrics. Throw into the mix her stylist, contemporary eye, and Jacynth is swiftly becoming recognised as one of the UK’s leading experts and pioneers of style at every age.

I would definitely recommend visiting the online store and Jacynth has also kindly given all Sylk customers a 15% discount on their first purchase, simply use code SYLK15.

I caught up with Jacynth and got to pick her brains on how to dress well as we navigate the menopause journey.  The key thing for me that came out of our discussion is “if you feel you look good, that will shine through!!!” Go For It.

What top tips would you give to mid life women to help them choose clothes that flatter and are stylish / fashionable?

It’s essential to understand your body shape. No matter how beautiful a garment is, if it doesn’t suit your figure, it won’t do you any justice.

It’s also important you wear clothes you feel confident in, because confidence is the true essence of style. If you feel you look great, that will shine through, and others will see it too.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t step outside your comfort zone. A lot of women only wear clothes they feel ‘safe’ in, which isn’t emotionally healthy. So it’s important to take risks and try something new. You might be pleasantly surprised, and others will notice the positive change too. And if it doesn’t work, you can just take it off again!

When it comes to picking flattering colours and prints, again I encourage giving anything a go. Some women follow the ‘Colour Me Beautiful’ theory, but I advise against it; it’s an outdated approach which has been scientifically proven to have no foundation. So those who follow it end up severely restricting themselves, and even wearing shades that don’t suit them.

Instead, if a certain colour or print catches your eye, try it. Because even if you’re convinced it isn’t ‘your colour’, this particular shade or style may work. Case in point: a few years ago I asked one of our ‘real women’ models to wear a yellow coat in a photoshoot. She was adamant it wouldn’t suit her, having avoided yellow her entire adult life. But when she put it on, she realised how fabulous it looked on her – which was reiterated by family and friends. So it proved she could wear some yellows after all, broadening her style horizon.

As we get older, many women tend to stop enjoying buying and wearing ‘stylish’ clothes……why is this?

I don’t believe a love for style fades with age. If you’ve wanted to look good your whole life, that doesn’t suddenly disappear because you’re older.

The issue is that a lot of older women feel excluded by the Fashion Industry and, as a consequence, may resign themselves to no longer buying or wearing stylish clothes.

I know many older women who have lost confidence because they have been sneered at or ignored in stylish shops because of their age. They’ve felt embarrassed and rejected. So naturally all that joy they once had drains away, and they move from wearing stylish clothes. But that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t love to dress stylishly if they felt they could.

How do time pressures such as juggling kids, work, elderly parents affect our clothes shopping habits?

It can vary, but many women with these pressures spend a lot less time and energy on their style, both in terms of shopping and dressing. Of course, online shopping helps with this, but even when women buy new clothes, they may only purchase practical garments, rather than pieces that they really love and will feel special in. They also may spend much less on clothes, even though quality pieces will be more durable.

Of course, it may not matter to some women. But this can have a detrimental impact on those who have valued style and looking good all their life because they can lose a sense of identity.

It’s very easy to feel guilty spending money on yourself and shopping for new clothes. We live in a society that widely considers fashion to be frivolous and superficial, and shames those for not putting other priorities first. But there is a clear psychological link between how we dress and how we feel. When you look good, you feel good, and that confidence and happiness permeates into all areas of your life. So it’s important to remember there is no shame in treating yourself.

Why do older women feel like they can’t wear certain clothes?

There are so many articles out there dictating what women over a certain age should and shouldn’t wear, written by so-called ‘style experts’ and members of the fashion industry, so naturally older women feel they need to pay attention.

Society can be extremely judgemental when it comes to style, and a lot of older women are fearful of being considered ‘mutton-dressed-as-lamb’. So they rely on the ‘rules’ to help guide them and make sure they don’t make ‘errors’.

But these rules are ageist and prey on a woman’s insecurity regarding her image.

Women should feel they can wear whatever they want, at whatever age. It’s hard to not be worried about what other people think, all that really matters is that you feel good in what you’re wearing.

What impact does the menopause and hormone changes have on our enjoyment of fashion?

Whilst it doesn’t happen to every woman, many women’s body shapes change. In particular, women can put on weight around their middle. This can be hard to accept and adjust to, causing a drop in confidence. It also doesn’t help that a lot of fashion brands do not appreciate how a woman’s body changes with age, so their styles don’t cater to it.

It may be difficult, but I encourage women to embrace their new shape, and see it as an opportunity to try new styles and looks that now suit them better than before. We have a ‘shop by body shape’ feature on The-Bias-Cut website so that women can find those pieces that she will feel and look great in.

Additionally, due to hot flushes, a lot of women struggle to find clothes that are comfortable to wear – both in terms of cut and fabric. They may pay more attention to fabric composition of garments, typically looking for cooler fabrics such as cotton and linen. However, in recent years, there have been huge developments regarding fabrics – especially synthetic ones – so women shouldn’t dismiss them straight away and limit their options. Quality, synthetic or semi synthetic fabrics can be just as, if not more, effective as keeping you cool, as natural ones.

As we get older we may not want to totter around in high heels or wear revealing clothes but we still want to look stylish and good, how can we achieve this?

The true essence of style is looking effortless and having confidence. So it’s important to wear clothes that feel authentic to your true self. As Professor Carolyn Mair PhD said recently “our clothes don’t fall on to us by chance”, so the pieces you wear should be a reflection of the best version of yourself today.

I also do recommend subtly referencing trends to keep your look contemporary. I don’t believe in being a slave to trends, but by incorporating a nod to one or two here and there, your look stays fresh.

What top tips can you give for buying clothes that are on trend this Spring?

As more of us are becoming environmentally conscious shoppers, moving away from fast disposable fashion, it can be hard to justify buying into a trend, knowing that next season you will have moved on.

However, there are ways you can buy into trends, whilst still supporting slow fashion:

  1. Only follow trends that feel authentic to your personal style

Ask yourself “would I have liked this if it wasn’t on trend?”. If the answer is yes, you’ll known you’ll continue to love it in the future, rather than be inclined to throw it away.

For example, a lot of women love animal print and, whilst it is having a ‘moment’ right now, it will never truly go out of style.

  1. Understand your body shape

No matter how much you like it, don’t force yourself to wear a trend if it doesn’t suit your shape. Cycling shorts are hot right now but, as someone who doesn’t like her thighs, I know they’re not for me as I’ll feel too self conscious to wear them.

  1. Keep it subtle

To avoid looking too ‘try hard’, eschew pieces that are bang on trend in every aspect, and instead look for garments that reference trends. For example, a classic knit with colour blocking features is both on trend, but won’t instantly date.

Big thank you to Jacynth and her team!

Remember, you can get 15% off when you shop at  Simply quote SYLK15.

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