What Would You Wear At 40?

“I confess, when I shop with my 19 year-old daughter, I am so envious of the style choices she has. PLEASE do women like me a favor! How can a forty-something mom build a style without large expense (we are paying for college you know) which will look new and fresh but appropriate for our age. Remember, we don’t have the great bodies we did at your age. Classic but unexpected. Flattering. Age-appropriate but FUN! What do you see yourself wearing at 40?

People often write to me saying that they’re x age or y weight, what do I think they should wear? It can be hard to answer questions like that, because I don’t believe that just because you’re not young or thin (the theoretical ideal), that you should have some kind of boring style prescription. I think dressing in a way that makes you happy is the most important thing, & when you’re being told what you can & can’t wear, the fun gets sucked out of it pretty quickly.

This email was different. She asked, “What do you see yourself wearing at 40?” — a much better way of phrasing things. It made my brain whirr. Of course, what I’ve come up with is my style, & therefore not necessarily suitable or even something you can picture yourself in. But it does give us a jumping off point!

Here’s what I came up with.

A simple outfit with a splash of purple. This would be great for a day off, shopping or walking my Dachshund!

40 year old Gala on her private jet. Oh yes. Secret spy woman with colour-coordinated accessories!

Black & white & super-chic. I absolutely adore this outfit. It’s just not quite the sort of thing I can pull off yet.

I think older women look so amazing in black & white. It’s so clean, & it makes them look clear-headed, intelligent & successful.

While it can be easy to feel like you’re being left out of the fun trends that your daughter is slithering into, remember that as a woman, there are a lot of things you can pull off that younger people can’t. As we grow & mature, our presence expands, & our whole way of being changes.

So as a grown woman, don’t feel limited. Think about it — while it may not be in your budget, the real high-end fashion houses make clothing for women who are your age. Not young whippersnappers! If you need some inspiration, look at fabulous women your age & see what they’re wearing. Think about Coco Chanel, Lauren Bacall, Diana Vreeland, Nicole Kidman, Iman, Julianne Moore, Kate Spade… !

I imagine that when I’m 40, my style will have evolved quite a lot. I probably won’t be so keen on super-short skirts or sleeveless tops. I envision a huge closet full of obscenely beautiful things — great coats, fabulous shoes, delicious handbags. I will probably have moved past my obsession with shoes that have springs & platforms! I can’t even begin to imagine what my hair would be like… I will probably still have a penchant for black worn with a splash of colour, & unusual jewellery.

This whole thing reminds me of “Warning” by Jenny Joseph.

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

What do you think you’ll wear when you get older? Make a Polyvore set & link it in the comments if you’re feeling really creative!

«
»

iCiNG Treats

03.31.2008 · miscellaneous

I had the idea a while ago that it would be stupendously cool if there was a way for nonpareils to signal one another on the sly, in real life. You know how sometimes you see somebody on the street & you think, ‘I bet we have things in common’? But life is weird & […]

READ MORE

Weekly Resolutions

03.30.2008 · miscellaneous

What did you want to do last week? If you can’t remember (naughty!), have a look. If you really want to get something done, announcing your weekly resolutions in a public forum (like here!) is an excellent way to get things started. It gives you more impetus to finish it off — people know what […]

READ MORE

Reminder!

03.29.2008 · miscellaneous

iCiNG’s super super SUPER secret surprise will be revealed on Tuesday! Are you counting the sleeps? I am! Seriously, I am so excited, I could burst!

READ MORE

How Hirsute Are You?!

03.28.2008 · advice

“What have you found the be the best solution for facial hair? I don’t mean advice on how to grow a beard, more like how to remove that irritating little strip of hair on the upper lip. I’ve used bleach, then moved on to a cream hair remover, and am now thinking about getting it […]

READ MORE

Voted Most Popular

VOTED MOST POPULAR

Wonderland Sessions #1: Feeling Good!

Read More

VOTED MOST POPULAR

Sacred Mornings: Experience Your
Full Radiance While The Sun Comes Up

Read More

VOTED MOST POPULAR

How To Change Your Mindset
(And Save Your Relationship)

Read More

Connecting Up!

03.27.2008 · miscellaneous

I’m gonna get myself, I’m gonna get myself, I’m gonna get myself connected… It occurred to me last night as I was lying in bed that it would be fantastic if we had a sort of “connection” page, where we could all list our various haunts online. It would make it much easier for us […]

READ MORE

Carousel — Week Ending 28th March 2008

Working on a Friday? Bah, who truly works on a Friday?! Here are some of the internet’s best offerings for fabulous distraction! Enjoy! Fashion’s new tomboy queen, aka Agyness Deyn! Inspiration — actually, 50 pages worth! Courtesy of The Fashion Spot. sk*rt is “Digg for chicks” — & it’s pretty cool, too. Go & have […]

READ MORE

Things I Love Thursday

Dr Sketchy’s Anti-Art School! Last night I modelled for Dr Sketchy’s Melbourne, & it was totally brilliant! So much fun. The room was totally sold out — there were people standing at the back, for god’s sake — & it was a really amazing experience. I did two different costumes — disco diva bunny girl […]

READ MORE

Imitation Is The Sincerest Form Of… Flattery?

03.25.2008 · advice

“I was just wondering if you would by any chance consider writing an article about people copying you/how you would deal with that? I have a friend who’s recently started copying my music tastes, saying my favourite movies are her favourite movies and the way I speak (stupid little things like saying ‘spiffy’ a lot […]

READ MORE

Things I Require This Winter Or I Will Surely Die

03.24.2008 · style

Melodrama is so hot right now! (Not really.) So, with the temperature dropping, it seemed like time to compile a list. I haven’t yet decided on my Winter direction; it always takes me a bit of time to put it together. I can tell you though, that it will definitely involve my vintage leather jacket, […]

READ MORE

@galadarling on Instagram

SUBSCRIBE TO MY NEWSLETTER

Receive a free worksheet when you join plus exclusive content!