Some years ago I sat behind the newsreader, Anna Ford, at a concert. For any of you who don't know who I am talking about, she read the TV news from the 1970's to the end of the '90s. I didn't know who it was to begin with. I just noticed this elegant back view - the beautifully cut grey hair and an expensive looking navy jacket. In the interval I recognized her, took in the whole picture and realised later that it was a moment of inspiration for me. I was mid-menopausal and all over the place in my head. (Why does nobody tell you it is like puberty without the recognition?). What I saw was an older woman who looked confident, authoritative, stylish and extremely attractive. I saw a woman who had embraced her advancing years in a positive way and was looking gorgeous. I wanted to be her. Look at this image and you will see why
I thought, all I need is a beautifully cut jacket and trousers, a simple T shirt and a better haircut and I can be like Anna Ford - effortlessly stylish. Well, I quickly learnt that style doesn't work like that. Anna was looking the best of Anna. I needed to find out what the best of Hilary would look like and it has turned out, not surprisingly, to be nothing like Anna Ford.
Four years ago I trained with Kim Bolsover at Improvability and then at the London College of Fashion. Since then I have been working with clients, particularly mature women, with a mission to stop any descent into invisibility, elasticised trousers or beige. It is all about staying vibrant, vital and current. I have developed my own way of discovering how to reveal personal style. Yes, scale, shapes, necklines, lengths, fabrics etc. are all important and part of the mix but the most important element is who YOU are; your tastes; your lifestyle. You need to feel that what you wear expresses your personality and the life you are living. We live at a time when, in a way, anything goes. That is wonderfully liberating but so much choice can be overwhelming. Where do you start? Do you go for the tried and tested; the "safe" option? Do you copy a celebrity? Are you worried about looking, on the one hand, mutton dressed as lamb, or on the other, (dare I say it?) like your mother? More than ever, it would seem you can benefit from a knowledgeable and understanding eye to tease out your unique style so you can recapture your vibrant magic.
With this in mind I have developed three "Style Doctor" packages in which we work with who you are and with your existing wardrobe; looking at colours, scale, shapes, patterns, fabrics etc. We will probably find different ways of wearing some of your clothes which give them new life. You may get the permission you need to let go of some pieces. You will also get some suggestions of how to update or add to your wardrobe and directions to go in the future.
My next Style workshop is on October 14th. Here are the details. Book now on 07932 599210.
Meanwhile there is a free mini-guide to starting your own style journey which you can download. You will also then receive my monthly newsletter full of thoughts and tips on colour and style. Just scroll down to the bottom of this page and sign up.
It's funny, but I don't remember anything else about that evening. Just seeing Anna Ford. If only she knew what a profoundly positive effect she was having, simply by appearing at her stylish best. That alone should dispel any fears you may have that paying attention to how you present yourself is at worst selfish or at best frivolous. Anna was giving out that evening - inspiring someone a few years behind her who needed a positive role model for the next stage of life.