Glamour – is it a step too far for us young oldies?

Thanks to Maggie Cox for this, her latest fashion article. Here she is offering us all some useful advice on how to dress up what you already have in your wardrobe…

What comes to your mind when I say “Glamour”? Is it:

  • Hollywood stars of the 40’s/50’s?  Audrey Hepburn? 
  • Marilyn Monroe? Ab Fab’s Joanna Lumley?
  • Lots of sparkle and diamonds (or similar) that ‘young’ people wear for parties?
  • Shimmering slinky dresses (in ads for posh perfume) oozing with sex appeal?
  • How you always wanted to look on special occasions, but never/sometimes/once-in-a-blue-moon managed to pull off?
  • Or is it nothing?  You haven’t thought of it for years.

Maybe you did enjoy making an effort to look special once upon a time but think it’s ‘inappropriate’ now.   Better leave it to the young ones! Best throw away those old sparkly earrings and necklaces that hardly ever see the light of day (or night) and those burgundy velvet trousers that cling more than drape. They should go, together with the silk blouse with the plunging V neckline and the strappy, red slip dress that you once wore for a summer party when you had one too many glasses of wine when getting ready.

There is a case for culling those blingy bits that really do go too far.  But no way does this mean throwing out all your old ‘adventurous’ clothes   Because there is a new, relaxed version of glamour nowadays, which is more accessible, more user friendly – and suited to day and night dressing.  I like to call this trend ‘casual glamour’.  It’s not the extreme glitz of old Hollywood, but a glamming up of more everyday garments – making them fun for day and evening wear. And – this is the exciting bit – we young-at-heart oldies can do it just as well as our younger friends. 

Casual glamour is taking the ordinary and making it special

Look for jumpers sprinkled with sequins, a cashmere tunic with silk embellishment, a sweater with unusual colour combinations.  Something trimmed with fake fur or silk, or a dress or tunic in velvet.  

This new idea of glamour means that we can still make use of the some of our more adventurous clothes and accessories by styling them differently. Velour trousers can be worn under a short or midi dress. A too-revealing blouse can be softened by adding a camisole, in a self or contrasting colour. Quirky or sparkly jewellery can add a touch of pazazz, a hint of drama to a classic dress or top.

Casual glamour also means mixing different textured garments.

The idea is to put together items not traditionally matched. For instance, you could put a fine, generous-sized cashmere sweater over a tulle skirt to give an edgy look for day or evening.  If tulle is a step too far, a pretty, oversized jumper, over a patterned summer skirt or dress would, have the same striking effect.  You may already have put a dressy blouse, or colourful sweater, over jeans.  This too is part of the casual glamour theme, and jeans then become good enough for lunch or dinner out.  Not any of the artfully torn varieties though. I hesitate to ban any contemporary looks – but that for me would be a draughty step too far!

The Scandinavian brand, Gudrun Sjoden is awash with casual glamour.  She mixes fabrics, colours and patterns that you might find extraordinary.  But there is no doubt her creations are artistic and joyful. You don’t have to mix the tops, tunics skirts and dresses she shows together.  You can use the collections for inspiration.  Mix and match in your own way.  Even mix with other labels you already have if the combinations she uses are too folksy or colourful.

 I always remember when the owner of a favourite shop of mine said to me that although fashion brands took pains to show how their pieces could be combined to make an outfit, most customers did not do this. They tended to take one garment and mix it with clothes they already had to make their own individual look.

So, have I said enough to for you to take glamour seriously?  I do hope so.  It can be a clever and fun way of pushing the boundaries of what we young oldies think we can wear.  Just as we still enjoy larger than life romances, intrigues and mysteries in films and theatre, we can express our love of adventure in what we choose to wear.  In this way we can add a touch of sparkle and originality to our lives.

Read Maggie’s other style articles here