Stylish woman wearing sunglasses

Have you hit forty and lost your style identity?

Do you feel uninspired by the clothes hanging in your wardrobe?

Would you like to rediscover the style confidence you had in your twenties?

The Oxford Dictionary defines the term “mumsy” as “giving an impression of dull domesticity; dowdy or unfashionable”

How hideous does that sound?

There may come a point in your life, often somewhere between 30 and 40 when a clothes crisis looms its ugly head.

You wake up one day and start doubting whether or not the clothes you are wearing are entirely appropriate for a woman of your age.

You start to worry about what other people might think and you start to play it safe for fear of getting it “wrong”.

Out go the short skirts and in come the cardigans. You bumble along feeling somewhat invisible but you tell yourself that this is a better option than being judged as making a style faux pas.

You view everyone around you as younger, prettier and more stylish than you. Other women just seem to know instinctively what suits them. This only compounds the problem. The longer these feelings go on, the more you feel undeserving of spending time and money trying to fix the problem. Perhaps it’s easier and safer to stay invisible?

So here is the good news. You are not alone.  Many of my clients came to me for help when something inside them triggered a burning desire to get out of the mumsy trap. They decided that enough was enough and took the first brave step to making positive change by calling for help.

Take Helen. She hit 40 and had a wobble. She hated her hair and was sick of wasting money on clothes that just didn’t feel right. She came to me feeling underwhelmed and uninspired.

During her session, we discovered that she suited an edgy look and that a statement hair cut was in order. Out went her baggy cardigans and in came some fabulously dramatic clothes and accessories. The result was a more confident Helen (with a fabulous  hair-do!), who looked years younger and more importantly had got the spring in her step back.

If you feel as though you have fallen into the “mumsy” trap, try my 7 ways to ditch the “mumsy” look and step back into your stylish shoes.

1. Don’t hide under voluminous layers.

The rules for a stylish silhouette are simple; wear a loose top with fitted bottoms or a fitted top with loose bottoms.

2. Wear clothes that fit you properly

Comfort is important but not if it makes you look scruffy. Ill-fitting clothes look cheap regardless of how much you paid for them. And far from hiding your wobbly bits, wearing clothes that are too big makes you look bigger.

If you love an item of clothing but the fit isn’t quite right, have it altered to fit you perfectly.

3. Have a bra fitting

A study by Triumph International showed that almost two thirds of women are knowingly wearing the wrong sized bra.

Stand in front of a full length mirror and see where the fullest part of your bust is. It should be half way between your shoulder and your elbow. If yours is lower, adjust the straps and watch your figure change.

Did you know that the support in a bra should come from around your rib cage rather than the shoulder straps? (So hitching up those straps isn’t the long-term solution.)

Get properly fitted and give those boobs a lift. I promise that you will look instantly slimmer.

4. Permission to wear flats

Great news if you struggle with heels, this season is all about the flat shoe.

Ballet pumps have toughened up somewhat this spring/summer, with pointy toes and even studs and spikes adorning the once dainty shoe (there’s nothing mumsy about a spiked ballet pump!).

For those times when only a heel will do, a small to medium wedge heel is very comfortable due to the weight distribution. Block heels are also very stylish right now and easier to wear than slim heels.

5. Avoid matching jewellery sets

This can be dreadfully ageing. Mix it up a little. Introduce a piece of unusual costume jewellery into your outfit instead. Pay careful attention to the size and weight of jewellery that suits you.

6. Be modest (not mutton)

If you are worried about dressing in an age-appropriate way, be aware of how much skin you are showing.

Choose to show either décolletage, shoulders, arms or legs.

7. Get out there and have fun!

There is nothing more ageing than taking life too seriously. When you smile you look happy, your eyes sparkle and people are drawn to you. A smile completes any outfit beautifully.

 When you raise your game in the style stakes you will be amazed at how it makes you feel and what you can attract into your life. You may just find a little bit of you that you had forgotten about. Does that sound exciting?

If you feel you are stuck in a mumsy trap, consider hiring the services of an image consultant or a personal shopper. Our role is to bring your look up-to-date and to help you to create looks that are perfect for you and your lifestyle.

Looking and feeling great is something that everyone can achieve but if you are feeling a little lost you may need some expert help to guide you.

Are you stuck in a mumsy trap? Maybe you have rescued yourself? I’d love to hear your experiences.  Please leave a comment!

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