Menopausal Style might seem like an oxymoron, but how we get dressed can have a phenomenal impact on how we feel and how others perceive us.
Admittedly it’s not always easy to find your style or feel remotely sexy when contending with hot flushes, no sleep and a changing body shape!
But there are some things that you can do to ensure that your wardrobe helps you, not hinders you.
Clothes and styles that have served you well for years or even decades suddenly don’t work for you any more, so you are at a loss as to where to start. This certainly happened to me!
But there is light at the end of the tunnel. I am going to give you some tips on how to navigate your way through and to actually see the whole process as an opportunity to reinvent your wardrobe.
Achieving Menopausal Style
1. Be realistic
Your existing clothes & the styles that you have worn successfully for years might suddenly not be right for your new shape.
The main issue that we face during the menopause is weight gain around our stomachs. This is challenging enough for most women but more so if you naturally have a pear or hour glass shaped body. This is because you have never gained weight here, as it normally heads straight for your hips, bottom and thighs! You have always loved your flat or relatively flat stomach and narrow waist so to suddenly find that none of your clothes fit around the waist is a shock. You have probably always worn belts or short tops and jackets to emphasise your waist, again something you no longer feel comfortable doing. So no wonder you feel that nothing in your wardrobe is right any more.
Start to make subtle shifts – avoid tucking in; look for tops & jackets that are slightly longer and slightly looser – that skim not cling. However, you still want to create the illusion of a waist so you want to avoid very baggy clothes as this certainly isn’t going to help. If a top is loose in the body ensure that the sleeves are tighter.
2. Layers, Stretch Fabrics & Elasticated Waists – yes, this is style advice!
I am not recommending shapeless, baggy and unflattering garments BUT you do want to avoid anything too tight or 100% synthetic. Use layers, natural fibres and some Lycra.
This is all practical advice to help with the hot flushes and any weight gain. You know how some days you can love your clothes but the next day hate everything. One morning you can feel okay and by the afternoon feel like you have gained 10lbs. We’ve all been there!
These types of clothes will help with those days and help stop you looking hot and bothered. Avoid synthetic fibres from head to toe as your temperature will soar. Look for natural fibres maybe with some Lycra mixed in to give the garment some stretch and give. As we move into the heat of the summer, look for looser cotton or linen tops and dresses.
If you don’t like your upper arms ensure that your tops, blouses and dresses at least have a short sleeve. This is so that your arms are covered if/when you need to take off your jacket, sweater or cardigan.
If your temperature fluctuates widely then have a scarf handy that you can add or remove as necessary.
This brings me to my next tip…
3. Accessorising & Grooming
Enjoy accessorising. Using a scarf, jewellery, bag or fab pair of shoes will allow you to express your personality and add interest to your outfit. They will also “fit” when everything else doesn’t seem to. They literally are the quickest way to add variety and fun to your wardrobe. You may need to adjust your style here as well. Heavy necklaces might be too much during a hot flush so try chandelier earrings instead.
It is also important to take care of yourself – have a manicure, a massage or a facial. Wash your hair and wear some make-up. All of these “treats” (or essentials!) make you feel human.
Add some colour to your wardrobe but choose colour wisely.
Very often when we are feeling down, hot or fed up we will wear the oldest, dowdiest thing, just to disappear. Is that really how you want to be seen?
Also, wear black with care. You may want to hide in black and it seems like the safest thing to do – well black is slimming isn’t it??
But if black doesn’t suit your complexion and you wear it right by your face, people will be concerned that you are ill and this will then exacerbate how awful you feel.
Any dark colour will be slimming so perhaps navy, grey or brown would be a better shade for you to choose?
Also wearing a colour next to your face that actually flatters and compliments you is the easiest and quickest way to boost your confidence.
Think about the colours that you love wearing, that people have complimented you on in the past or that you feel good in. Add these colours into your wardrobe to lift the dull and dark colours.
If you not sure which colours suit you best then I would obviously recommend investing in a colour analysis session which will guide you towards the best clothes, make-up and accessory colours for you.
5. And finally, think about your underwear….
If your body shape has changed &/or if you’ve gained weight, you may need a different bra size, so get measured. You will be amazed at the difference a correctly fitting bra will make to your posture as well as to the way your clothes fit.
Buy something pretty and colourful so you can feel sexy and confident from underneath.
The menopause is a time of change for women in lots of different ways. So why not use it as an opportunity to explore new clothing styles, new colours and new accessories. You can then build your new wardrobe around these items.
Your body may never be the same again, and that’s okay.
If you need any support with your wardrobe, I can help with a variety of colour and style sessions. Working in your wardrobe or going shopping to help you to feel good in your clothes and allowing you to enjoy getting dressed in the morning.
For more ideas, watch this short presentation with myself and wellness expert, Philippa Taylor.