Dressing your age
There is a TV advert in the UK featuring the splendid Joan Collins. She's in tight clothes, full makeup and copious bling, surrounded by younger men. Miss Collins is well into her seventies, and looks pretty amazing. The advert has prompted much debate about the promotion of sexuality in a woman of her years. Her detractors would have us believe that she is the epitome of what we Brits call: "mutton dressed as lamb". They feel she ought to relax into grandmotherly dignity, dressing in grey cardigans and smelling gently of lavender.
It occurs to me, with increasing horror, that this is the year I turn 40. I am a respectable (stop laughing) middle class mother with a mortgage and a dog. Cue sensible outfits and reliable handbag to match. However a quick peek in my wardrobe reveals skirts that are really very short, knee high boots, four inch heels, and plenty of cleavage flashing tops. I don't wear all these items together, I hasten to add, but they are there, and at the right time (and in the right company) I like wearing them.
If critics of Miss Collins are to be believed, it's about now that I should banish these items for below the knee tailoring and low-heeled shoes. (I must also accept some middle aged spread, so can ditch this idea too.) It's agreed that as I approach 50 I will feel more or less invisible, as is right and proper, for sexy and matronly just don't go together. Once I hit 60, I can finally give in to that rectangular shape that so characterises old ladies, and acquire the aforementioned clothing and smell we now wish so violently on Miss Collins.
To summarise, that's 40 or more years of frumpy and invisible. Now I'm not sure how that makes you feel, but I'm firmly in the Joan Collins camp, with a good dose of: "You have to be bloody kidding me" on top. I refuse to give in and so should you. So here's my top five list of chicks over 40 who prove that looking good does not have to end with teenage acne:
1. Miss Joan Collins (78) *Stands and applauds for at least five minutes*
2. Dame Helen Mirren (66) It is a universally accepted truth that this woman is sex on a stick.
3. Susan Sarandon (65) Those eyes! Those cheekbones!
4. Kristin Scott-Thomas (51) Effortless, elegant, more French than the French.
5. Mary Portas (51) Rocks the quirky stylish looks, great haircut and legs that go for miles.
Take heart out there, and don't you dare disappear!