Entertainment Style How to age gracefully: Kirstie Clements on style for those no longer young

How to age gracefully: Kirstie Clements on style for those no longer young

Zandra Rhodes, Iris Apfel and John Waters attend 17th Edition of LOOT: MAD About Jewelry at Museum Of Arts And Design on April 3, 2017 in New York City.
There are no rules for aging gracefully, but some fashion items can send you straight into frumpsville. Photo: Getty
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Someone contacted me recently to ask about fashion and style for the 50-plus set, and whether I had any opinion on that.

Were there any rules on how to age gracefully, or was this a time when we could forget about what other people think and just dress exactly how we please?

In my opinion, there are no rules, except for obvious reasons of appropriateness, such as appearing in front of a judge, or say, scuba diving.

If you want to go down that path of red spectacles and purple hair and floral dresses worn with combat boots at the age of 75, knock yourself out. That look says you are probably fun and fearless, and by all means come sit by me. But I also think there are fashion items that can send you straight into Frumpsville that I am not and may never be ready to embrace.

Case in point, my online order that arrived yesterday. I tried it all on in front of my 25-year-old son for his opinion and we ended up in fits of laughter, all at my expense.

First purchase, the sleeveless puffer vest. As you know, people, I have been resisting this for a few years now, thinking it was all too Bowral or horsey or something, but since COVID-19 I’ve spent so much desultory time walking in the park that it seemed like it was time to bite the bullet. I bought it in black (slimming), quickly put it on and paraded it for my son. “Urrgh, I hate that look,” he said. “When guys do the sleeveless puffer and they look like tools.”

Billie Eilish performs at Outdoor Theatre during the 2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival
A Billie Eilish-esque oversized hoodie was not the right fit. Photo: Getty

Okay, next. I put on the oversized hoodie I had chosen in a fetching shade of beige. It was huge. I looked like an ancient Billie Eilish. “It’s alright, isn’t it?” I whined, looking for encouragement, as I hate the bloody rigmarole involved in sending things back. My son shook his head.

I pulled out the leggings, navy with a red stripe, one size too small for sure, I could tell without even putting them on. “These are fine” I said gruffly, putting them aside as I didn’t want him to clock that we were at 75 per cent disaster purchase at this point.

“Anyway, they’ll all be fine in the park, here is the piece de resistance” I said, pulling out what I had decided was my absolute must-have of the season. It was a pale blue merino wool sweater with a white and red fair isle pattern.

“Why did you buy that?” said my son as I pulled it over my head and went to look in the mirror. I looked two metres wide and twenty years older. “It makes you look so bad,” said my son, and he’s nice.

His girlfriend arrived. She’s a tiny, perfectly proportioned beauty with shiny long brown hair. “Would you like this sweater?” I said as she tried it on with her jeans and looked like a million bucks. I’m now adding Fair Isle to the no-go list. Unless I’m going trout fishing in Scotland.