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“Next time you go shopping try and take emotion out of a garment when you are buying something, this sounds strange, but emotions can lead to expensive mistakes,” says Alicia. “You need to ask yourself ‘I know I love the colour but does the style love me?’, ‘What am I going to wear this with?’ ‘Do I have something similar at home already?’ ‘Will I wear this item enough to justify the cost?’ Most importantly, you have to ask yourself ‘How do I feel in the garment?’.”
Alicia adds: “When it comes to confidence it is the whole inside and out scenario. Being fit and feeling fit will contribute to how you look in your clothes. Starting from the inside is key, so taking cod liver oil will help you stay supple and contribute to your immunity, keeping your joints supple and your skin look younger, which will be reflected on the outside.”
“As we get older, no matter what your size, we must always draw the eye to a positive part of our body,” says Alicia. “For instance, necklines can be cruel as they draw the eye to potentially ageing necks. You can soften this neckline with a scarf or a statement necklace as this will draw the attention to the accessory rather than the neck.
She adds: “If you are slim keep your necklines narrow and shallow so it softens the collar bone area. If your collar bones are too prominent this can be very ageing from late 40's onwards. But remember, the smallest detail – whether your neckline is a few centimetres lower or higher - can make all the difference to a youthful look, so make sure you experiment.”
“It’s often said that black can be ageing, but it’s more about the style you are wearing rather than the colour,” says Kay. “Sometimes black is actually kinder if you show a bit more flesh, i.e. when not wearing a high-neck top. “Make up can play a huge part in how a colour looks as well as what time of year you are wearing a certain colour. When in doubt consider how the colour is making you feel. After all, sometimes as you get older, a brighter colour can make you feel more radiant.”
“When you try on an item and it doesn't flatter you, it is not your fault; it is simply the wrong style garment for you,” says Kay. “As you age, you need fabrics that have less lycra in them. You need a small percentage to give you shape, but too much so that clothes will cling. Pure fabrics – cotton, silks, linen, cashmeres and wool become more important, especially when the menopause kicks in. You will pay more for it, but they will undoubtedly allow your skin to breathe and give you added confidence.”
Kay adds: “Washing machines today have so many settings, but the ‘cold’ and ‘delicates’ wash are a must. Always use a good quality soft detergent and one designed for colours when you are washing dark coloured garments as these have less bleaching agents in them.”
“The dreaded size label can often play tricks with our confidence, but please think of it as nothing more than a starting reference point,” says Alicia. “Sizes vary from shop to shop, but remember it isn’t you, it is simply the wrong garment for you. All brands (and even styles) within that brand can fit differently so it’s important not to get disheartened.”
Alicia adds: “In terms of length, the most flattering is just below the knee. However, when wearing 80 denier opaque tights, you can afford to go shorter. Mid knee length can also be flattering if you have very slim legs and are looking to create shape, but stay clear of any dresses or skirts that finish at your mid-calf as they tend to be the most unflattering, no matter your size.”
“As you get older fit is everything. Even the length of your sleeve can make all the difference - the most flattering is just below your wrist bone and not across your hand,” says Kay, “As this can make your arms look wider than they are.”
“Always draw the eye to a positive. For example, if you don't have hips, but your middle has decided to extend, take the side seams in to give a more youthful look. Or, if you have a small waist make sure your garments are fitted and not hanging off – this will only make you look bigger.”
“Age is just a number, so your style should always reflect your personality,” says Alicia. “Take two minutes to do this exercise from the Alicia Kay Style Wardrobe Workout:
If the words you have written down and how you want to look don't match, that’s your starting point of change. Style is an evolution and changes as you do, the key is to manage those changes to give you the confidence to rock your style at any age.”