In the current climate of information overload and fashion-blogger saturation, it can be hard to know where to turn to for style inspiration. Every aesthetic under the sun has been catered to (10 times over), and there is no stone left unturned when it comes to the eternal search for that perfect outfit. So what's a fashion lover to do?
While youth may still be viewed as a precious commodity in the world of fashion, there's a new wave of over-50 influencers challenging the status quo and forgoing the way for a future where women don't disappear from the public eye after reaching a certain age. This is fashion that transcends the generations and speaks to individual taste rather than an age bracket.
These women have the benefit of hindsight and years of experience when it comes to style successes and mistakes. Meanwhile, people in their 20s and 30s are desperate for any insight into self-development in all areas of life. Really, it's a no-brainer. Plus, with loneliness becoming an epidemic across the generations, what better time to create a dialogue between the age groups, even if it is around something as straightforward as fashion?
I can't think of a better source of inspiration, and as someone who's in her 20s, I'm more than willing to lap up any fashion advice offered to me. So I decided to get in contact with some of my favourite over-50 fashion influencers and grill them on all things style and shopping. From the advice they'd give their younger selves to the pieces they couldn't live without, scroll down to see what they said, and then shop their style.
"My advice for my younger self would be don't be afraid to experiment; be open to new styles and trends; and have fun with fashion. Have more distance from yourself and what you're wearing. Over the years, I've learnt that the first impression can be wrong, and by this, I mean we shouldn't just give up and say, Oh, this trend is not for me. Be open-minded. I think you can't go wrong with combining statement tops, trousers, skirts, etc., with more classic items. My fail-safe outfit formula has to be a high-quality white shirt, tailored trousers and heels. This formula has never failed me."
Jan de Villeneuve
"I've always liked being individual, so I've never worried about having to conform to a style or look. I'm still happy with many of my own vintage clothes. I'd also say to make sure you always try clothes on. Some things have no hanger appeal but fit and look better on the body. Classic things are always good, and 'style on a budget' is my motto, so I love a good sample sale, store sale or discount store where my money goes further.
"I couldn't live without the following six items: a Ralph Lauren leopard-print linen safari suit, a Thea Porter 1975 black velvet jacket with gold sequins, my Zac Posen cream linen suit, an Aganovich black hooded coat with metal buttons, my black leather Simone Rocha tie-up boots with perforations, and my black velvet flats by Charlotte Olympia!"
"The older I get, the less I want to faff around with clothes in the morning—or any other time of day, for that matter. What I want is an outfit with superb pull-on-and-go properties. The aim when is to be effortless—feeling comfortable and confident is what matters most. I'm a fan of faff-free dressing, so I wouldn't wear any flouncy, frou-frou nonsense or anything too bothersome. I rarely wear heels. I love a comfy run-around shoe like a brogue, loafer or trainer (shoes I can walk or run for a bus in).
"When it comes to staples, I couldn't live without my boilersuit. It's great with trainers and a striped T-shirt for running around in, plus it's so easy to dress up. I'm such a denim lover, and my favourite style is the Phoebe boyfriend jean by M.i.h. The Céline tuxedo is the most expensive item of clothing I've ever bought, but it helps me look the part, and finally, 'the Beast' (aka my vintage faux-fur leopard-print coat) is an outstanding coat and always get loads of compliments."
"My advice? I'd say dare to try new things when you're alone in front of your mirror. Experiment with unexpected combos using whatever you have at hand. Take photos. Play first with your own style for your own satisfaction—then you can make a statement in the real world.
"Fashion is linked to culture, but culture shouldn't just mean fashion shows or magazines. Look to old movies, sculptures, paintings and even old novels for style inspiration. I couldn't live without the following items: My wide-leg trousers, silk Saint Laurent vintage blouse, flat Greek sandals, bucket hats and belts!"
"If I had to give fashion advice to my younger self, I would say to be proud of the small things that make you different because they will define you in the long run. Also, fashion should be fun—not an exhausting list of rules you have to stick to. I never say never when it comes to avoiding certain styles, but 10-centimetre heels are not something I wish to wear anymore. My max heel height is 8 centimetres. It simply is not comfortable if it gets higher than that. If I could wear one outfit every day, it would be my black leather pants, a white T-shirt, and sneakers or heels."