Fashion and Menopause

Article by
Susan Daly.

In this article Susan Daly, a forty something stylish mother of two and savvy shopper gives us her take on how women should be thinking of dressing in their 40s and beyond. 'Elegance is the privilege of age' she quotes. See if what Susan has to say on the subject of middle age spread and other issues, resonates with you.

Sometimes it feels as if women are being advised to disappear at menopause.

I am totally fed up with articles claiming that women who reach forty suffer from Fashion Disorder Syndrome!

Typically found in magazines for "older women" and weekend lifestyle supplements are depressing articles offering ‘Tips for the menopausal woman'. What usually follows is a litany of how to conceal the menopausal paunch, bulging hips, bingo wings and suggestions as to where to find the best "shapewear" on the market. We women of a certain age are advised to wear elasticated waists, dress in block colours, avoid drawing attention to ourselves - in short disappear. ARGH!!

These kind of articles suggest that  "flab" is associated only with middle age. POPPYCOCK! Weight has been and is a problem area for women of all ages .... so stop pinning it on us! How many of us, at any stage in our youth, wore leotards and lycra leggings with confidence?

Elegance is the privilege of age

Elegance is the privilege of age according to French style guru Geneviève Antoine-Dariaux. With four decades of dressing ourselves under our belts, finding our own style should be easier now than ever. 

The Barbie Doll aspirational years are over so get rid of all that tack. We no longer have to adhere rigidly to fashion. We are above it all. This is our belle epoque - we will become sophisticated sirens.

Now answer this - Which character is more iconic in The Graduate? Mrs. Robinson 40 + (Anne Bancroft) or the doe-eyed Elaine (Katherine Ross)? Now you get the picture. The key to your style success is to focus on 80% classical 20% funky and you are well on your way to becoming the coolest cat in any room!

Your New Shopping Guide 

We now have come to know our body shape and the kind of clothes and colours that seem to produce the compliments and good feedback.

But does that mean we now go clothes shopping joyfully, delighted with our body shape and our appearance, certain of where best to focus and which shops will yield best results?

Not here are my tips for making your next shopping trip a more rewarding one:

  1. Edit your Wardrobe: Find time to go through your wardrobe with a fresh eye and maybe a reliable friend. Be realistic about what no longer fits you or flatters you. Include your shoes, boots and coats in this survey too. Sort your unwanted clothes into 2 categories: 1. Charity Shop and 2. Good items for swapping.
  2. Review your Shopping Habits: Think through how you normally buy clothes. Are you totally happy with your approach? If not, why not take a moment to think about what you've been doing wrong? Maybe you tend to leave shopping until the last minute - then you just have to get something for that wedding or event. Maybe you buy things on impulse without knowing exactly how they'll work with the clothes you have? Maybe you're just too frugal to spend what you really should to get a good "classic" item such as a pair of great trousers or boots. Maybe you don't persevere, you don't really believe you'll find exactly what you're looking for and you compromise.  Whatever mistake you typically make, why not resolve right now that you won't make it again?
  3. Use the Web: Even if you don't feel comfortable buying clothes online, you can always use websites such as or For example, on shopstyle you can input the item you are looking for e.g. 'riding boots' and it will show you tons of styles of riding boots in various shops and price ranges. For a more up-market version try they will also show you what's out there right now. You could also google the websites of the labels you like. All of this will help get your eye tuned in and your creative juices flowing!
  4. Be Ruthless!: By now you know what shapes, cuts, colours and textures make the best of your figure and your skin tone. From now on, do not buy anything that doesn't entirely flatter you. If it's the right shape but the wrong colour.....don't buy it. If it's the right colour but the texture is just too "thin" or clingy, don't buy it. If it 's a great bargain but not quite the right colour, don't buy it!
  5. 80:20 Rule: At this age, you should be dressing in clothes that are 80% Classical and 20% Individual / Funky / Contemporary in style
  6. Limit Your Shopping Time:  Everyone knows that "down" feeling that comes from trying on too many unflattering things in too many dressing rooms. Our spirits sink and our energy falls. This is not the right mood to shop in. Quit before you get to that stage. My suggestion is that you take the following steps: 1. Think about what you need. 2. Research it online for 15 minutes. 3. Allocate yourself one hour (no more) to look for this item. Make the best use of this hour, go exactly to where you think you'll find the coat or boots you are looking for, even if it's a bit out of the way. 4. If you're not successful, give up and allocate yourself another hour on another day. It hasn't been a waste of time... you now know a lot more now than you did when you started. Use this information to make your next shopping trip more fruitful.
  7. Have Fun!:  Give yourself enough time. Appreciate the fact that you've at least some money and the health and appetite to go clothes shopping. Treat it as a gift to yourself and ENJOY!

80% Classic 20% Funky

Just came across this cool site That's Not My Age all about Styling at 50 plus - this article recommends good layered clothes for women suffering from hot flushes.

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