When I hit forty my mother welcomed me into the world of being middle aged.”It’s all down hill from now” she warned me and promptly offered me her cast offs. From then on, I should dress sensibly and get used to the joys of elasticated waists as, she reliably informed me, the pounds would now pile on due to the fat gene that I had inherited from her side of the family. As my grandfather ran a greasy spoon , and my grandmother believed that butter was a condiment and was liberally applied to everything, I don’t think genetics had much to do with the number of spare tyres that they both aquired!
I started receiving sensible cardigans for Christmas and birthdays. Apparently I suddenly suited beige, fawn, or oatmeal. The last beige thing I had ever owned was a boiler suit from French Connection back in the 80’s. The awful thing was, I slowly started to believe that I really should become sensible when it came to clothes. Comfort came first. If the label didn’t mention Elastane and lycra content, then it was a definite no no. Heels on shoes became lower and lower until they almost didn’t exist and my wardrobe turned from one full of colour and pattern to one that was incredibly boring and safe.
I wish I could say that I felt fabulous at 50 (or even 56) but I don’t. I feel frumpy and dowdy and very very beige! I can’t shop anymore and that makes me sad. I have lost my clothes shopping mojo! I was given a Next gift card for my birthday way back in August and I still haven’t spent it. Why? Because I feel that I’m too old to even be in the women’s clothing department, let alone buy anything. I’ll probably end up getting some gorgeous little outfits for my granddaughter instead. What infuriates Mr R is that I also view buying clothes as a treat. Something to buy (or often not in my case) with birthday or Christmas money. I encourage him all the time to buy new clothes for himself and the irony is that when I met him he owned double breasted blazers with gold button, anoraks and chinos complete with turn ups and pleated waistbands. His wardrobe was awash with beige! Seven years later and his favourite store is White Stuff and he loves colour.
I’m really not ready yet for a life of M&S classic’s range. Probably the frumpiest clothes going. And what is it with its love of lavender. A colour that is quite possibly worse than beige! I’m not even ready for their Per Una range. I hate fuss, and all that over embellishing is a big turn off. Sorry M&S, but you aren’t helping me get out of my frumpy rut! I’m not hankering to return to the twenty year old me either. My days of Top Shop, Miss Selfridge and Chelsea Girl are long gone.
What I need is the Trinny and Susannah treatment. Whatever happened to them? I wouldn’t mind all that boob grabbing if it meant that they were able to get me out of beige, stretch cotton and velcro shoes. I need someone to take me under their wing and teach me how to dress, accessorize, pick flattering styles and also to enjoy that little thrill you get when you look in a changing room mirror and think ” Wow, that looks really good on me!”
I have tried to remedy my lack of confidence and inability to put a decent wardrobe together. Last year I had my colours done by a very lovely and incredibly stylish lady from House of Colour It was great fun and I discovered which colours I should be wearing. I try and stick to my palette, but it’s not always easy after a lifetime of opting for grey and navy.
Now I’ve got this off my chest, I need to stop moaning, stop infuriating my husband and treat myself to a much needed new wardrobe.
Sorry Mum, but the time has come when the beige stops and colour begins!