Candidates too are warned to wear appropriate clothes: "If you are going for an interview at a finance company, then dress conservatively" is the standard advice. I guess that I've always been a slight rebel at heart, as I have always been of the opinion that if a company didn't like the way I looked, then it wasn't a company that I wanted to work for. Having said that, I kept denims for out of office wear unless it was a dress-down Friday.
Now that I've retired I don't have to worry about dressing appropriately for work, however I think I am even more aware about what messages my appearance may be sending to people, although the rebel in me doesn't really worry about it! Women over 60 used to be told that they shouldn't wear jeans, to cover their knees, and to avoid the latest fashion trends like the plague. The one terrible fate that we wanted to avoid was appearing as mutton dressed as lamb! Our grandmothers and great aunts seemed to spend their time in the kitchen with their pinnies on and, to our younger selves, seemed positively ancient. Does the picture below look familiar?
Many of our grandmothers didn't go out to work, were practically chained to the kitchen sink and dressed dowdily, whereas my generation of women expects to have a career outside the home, to be treated as equals and we enjoy wearing more flattering clothes.
The good news is that there are lots of older role models out there: Helen Mirren, Meryl Streep and Susan Sarandon immediately spring to mind. However those of us who haven't been born with their natural beauty and talent, and who definitely don't have a film star's budget, have also learnt to make the most of our assets.
Being interested in fashion, I am fully aware of the styles and colours that many other older women wear. They look stylish in a low-key and age appropriate way, which used to be my aim too. Their wardrobes contain black, navy, grey or other neutrals, all beautifully matched and stylish. However over the last year or so I have embraced my inner rebel and started wearing more colourful outfits. Why? Because they make me feel lighter, happier and because I think that they flatter me more. What do you think?