Currently women are a hot topic with the media. With the celebration of women (over 30yrs) getting the vote 100 years ago this year, it made me start to think about the progression of women and their fashion. We are so lucky as we are the liberated generation: there are no fashion rules and so we have complete fashion freedom. We can wear what we like to whatever event we are going to (within reason). Meghan Markle has joined the Royal Family and has been wearing black, normally only worn by royal women at funerals. She was also seen out at an evening charity event in a black cropped trouser suit which is quite a change from a normal Royal cocktail dress!
Our mother’s generation were so much more restricted and I rarely saw my mother wear trousers let alone have her hair long. She sported the perm and curlers look – I doubt my daughters know what a perm is. Meanwhile we have so much choice and can dress in a very modern way, or shop at vintage shops and thereby choose the decade we admire the most. With footwear we can wear heels, flats or trainers – my mother never wore a pair of trainers except to play tennis.
So this week, on a very cold but beautifully bright day, Annabel Vere, our photographer, and I set off to Marlow to seek out some stylish, (slightly) older women to photograph and to have a chat about fashion freedom today. We were not disappointed. In actual fact we were spoilt for choice. The pictures show the enormous variety of styles that we as women choose to buy. Most of the outfits were from the high street and were not expensive but by careful combinations these ladies came up with some very individual looks.
We came across these two ladies, Jacquie and Annie, working in Huttons Gift shop. Annie loves Zara, White Stuff and Mint Velvet and they both love H&M. They are not online shoppers as they like to try clothes on as sizes can be so variable. We could have stayed chatting to them about fashion all day.
Next door to Huttons we found Nicola who works in the Winser London shop and looked so chic, spicing up her black silhouette look with a Merino wool coat, obviously from Winser. Their collection is timeless and you can just keep adding to your Winser wardrobe with new colours each season. Their silk and wool pieces are unbelievably reasonable considering the quality. It is all about layering which is perfect for our climate.
Helen and Sharon were full of fun and their favourite fashion labels are Baukjen, &OtherStories and Anthropologie. They were on the hunt for some black Nike Trainers with the white ‘gum’ platform. They live near Winchester and shop in two of their local fashion shops, Sass and Edge, and The Hambleden. Don’t you love their on-trend hairstyles?
We were so impressed with Kate as she looked so chic. Her coat came from M&Co. Another of her favourite shops is John Lewis and she loves to wear their leggings and with this above the knee coat, a plain off-white scarf at the neck and her very on-trend silver hair, it definitely gave Kate an ageless style.
Eileen and Tara, clearly great friends, were also fans of John Lewis, Mint Velvet and also Phase 8. Mixing and matching was their style and both had added a colourful scarf which finished their outfits off. Whilst they may have been different ages they clearly like shopping together though Eileen was surprised that Tara did not shop for clothes online very much.
We instantly recognised Nikki as a style queen with her lovely long legs and very fashionable leather jacket. Nikki told us she loves fashion and many items in her wardrobe, including this leather jacket, come from Zara. She also told us that she buys her jeans from The White Company as they look just as good as the more expensive designer brands.
We then met Emma, aptly named as she was wearing our favourite side-striped Me&Em trousers which are so leg lengthening. Her navy coat with the leather sleeves came from Maje and her fun decorated trainers came from Crime London. She was off to lunch with girlfriends and she really showed how much softer navy is than black.
Jan walked along the road bringing Spring to mind as she looked so pretty in her pink outfit. She often buys items in a local boutique, Daisy, and she loves M&S jeans as they cater for shorter women. I admired the hint of a Breton tee-shirt just peaking out from under her pink poncho. Jan also had a fleece waistcoat on to keep her warm without compromising her look.
Finally Audrey and Alison – they were a real shining star in the way that they had carefully put their outfits together without spending too much money. Both Annabel and I lusted after Alison’s bear coat from MaxMara, carefully matched with suede ankle boots from Clarks and M&S jeggings. I loved Audrey’s studded boots from TKMaxx and combined with the flower bag from Karen Millen she had kept the outfit soft but so individual. I loved the way that she had personalised her pale grey beret and was very happy wearing some extremely cool leggings making her look decades younger than she actually is.
So Fashion Freedom was demonstrated in numerous different ways on our local high street without any compromise on style. Aren’t we the lucky generation when it comes to what we can wear!
Photography by Annabel Vere
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