Fashion: Dressing for your Age

Stylist Ruth Essex shares her thoughts on dressing for your decade 

My style has evolved over the years. In my twenties, I was more experimental with my clothing choices. Pushing boundaries, finding my feet. I would probably have worn shorter skirts had I had the legs for it, but I did experiment with colour combinations, hairstyles and make-up. I was working out who I was and having fun.

By my early thirties I changed how I wanted the world to perceive me. I was climbing the career ladder, cared more about quality and invested in items such as my fabulous Max Mara coat I wore for years. My style was maybe a little sexier; sassier. I played up my good points like my waist and played down the bits I didn’t like.

By late thirties/early forties my figure changed after having children. I gained weight I never fully lost again. I didn’t want to feel invisible. I had to learn to embrace the new me; love the figure I had there and then, not the one I had in my twenties. I selected my clothes very carefully, looking for linings that skimmed my figure rather than clung. I embraced tailoring to work with my curves, not against them. I selected my best colours and curated the clothes and accessories I let into my wardrobe.


Turning 50 next year, I look forward to a new style decade. I suspect I will still love coloured handbags and great shoes; let’s face it, they always fit no matter what. You can still have your cake and be stylish….I am wary of fading away though and shall continue to embrace new ideas and the odd trend that adds to my classic pieces. I know adding some shine, like brocade, flatters a mature skin and a furry collar can add elegance to my outfits. They give me a lift and make my look feel fresh. The same things I want for my sixties and beyond. 

Whilst style rules can be helpful, but they shouldn’t be restrictive. I am never going to get any younger and I might not get any thinner, but there is nothing to stop me aiming to look a little bit fabulous every day. So, have you considered what your next style decade beholds?



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