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Wednesday, 26 February 2020

We Went Grey - And Love It. And Link Up

Jane Fonda shows how stunning grey hair can be on an older woman
A few weeks ago the Is The Mutton annual survey asked you a few questions about grey hair, and the answers revealed that 25% of us have grey hair and are happy with it. But the rest, well, very mixed views. 14% are thinking about going grey. 18% say they will never go grey. Four per cent said they wouldn't consider it until they're retired.

Since then a couple of prominent women have received a lot of attention because they've gone grey virtually overnight and in public:  Jane Fonda, 82, and Sharon Osborne, 67, now both have chic crops and both look amazing.
Sharon Osborne goes from dyed red hair to platinum
But it's still quite rare to see grey haired women on TV, certainly here in the UK.  I can only think of historian Mary Beard, Prue Leith, in her 70s, and Mary Berry, in her 80s.  Joan Bakewell, in her 80s, below, is still coloring.
Dame Joan Bakewell, credit Clara Molden
Newsreader Susanna Reid, 49, was quoted last week saying she would probably not go grey for least  30 years.  Meanwhile Jennifer Aniston said recently:  "I'm not gonna lie. I don't want grey hair."

If you look on Instagram you'll find lots of women who are growing out their hair and documenting their journey, plus women who have been grey for a while. Check out @grey_hair_oneday, @Rosemariefern, @claresmiler36, whose long hair looks stunning as it grows out;  @silverstorm777  @going.going.grey and @silverserenity4

In this post I'm talking to two women who have gone grey and are thrilled with it, and another woman who's determined to keep dyeing.  I've also got some tips from stylists on how to grow out and style grey hair. 


Gail McCauley, 50+ Women's Fashion and Style Blogger

A before and after for Gail McCauley, style and fashion blogger, on her grey hair transition
Gail lives in Arizona, US, and has been a full-time blogger for the last year. She's been 100% grey for the past three years.  She says:  "I went grey because my grey was coming in so fast, I was coloring my hair every 3 weeks and spending a fortune. I was in my early 50’s when I decided to let my natural grey grow out. Both my sisters, who are older than me, tried to talk me out of it."

Gail asked her hair stylist for advice. "Unfortunately she messed up my hair by trying to match my grey color to my colored hair. This is why I opted to just let the grey grow out. My hair was turning orange from so much hair dye that it could no longer hold the color. 

"The two plus years that it took me to grow out my grey hair were incredibly difficult and my hair looked terrible. But it was worth it in the end. I love my grey with silvery highlights!"

Gail has silvery grey highlights mixed in with her natural grey every four weeks, and highlights every 12 weeks. She cares for her hair with purple sulphate- free shampoo to help hold the highlights better in her hair. 

Follow Gail

instagram.com/lifebeginsafter50
facebook.com/lifebeginsafter50 www.twitter.com/lifebafter50
YouTube: Gail McCauley
pinterest.com/lifebeginsafter50

Liz Klebba, Image, Wardrobe and Color Consultant


Playful picture of color and image consultant Liz Klebba talking to Is This Mutton about her grey hair transition  in 2008
Liz, from Augusta, Georgia, USA, was a classroom teacher when she went grey.  She stopped coloring her hair eight years ago and hasn't looked back since. 

She says: "My hair coloring history was on and off. I found my first grey hair at 16 and loved it! It was a good way to buy a few years and the privileges that go with being 18 or 21… (wink. Nudge.) I colored my hair in uni and in my 20’s for fun, not to cover the grey, but because I wanted a different color like auburn or rich chestnut, rather than my mousy brown.

"It wasn’t until I was living in England and hit 40 that I started coloring in earnest. My social circle was all mums who were far younger than I, and my grey started making me feel self-conscious. A hairdresser from my church worked from home (and my boys were older and could mind themselves for a few hours) so getting my hair high/low-lighted was a lovely treat! And not nearly as pricey as at the salon!"

Going grey was a spiritual decision

"During prayer, I made one of those foolish statements about wanting His will for me, wanting to be more the woman he made me to be. The answer was clear, “I gave you grey hair. Why are you trying to change it?” Not in those exact words, but the feeling was intense and irresistible, so I decided to run with it! If that was 2008, I was 45."

Liz says no-one tried to talk her out of it, and it was her decision anyway.  She laughs: "My mother did make it clear that she wasn’t “old enough to have a daughter with grey hair.” I laughed heartily at that! 

"My biggest struggle is finding a new hairdresser. They always want to have “the talk,” so I just start with the fact that coloring my hair is a non-negotiable. If they don’t want to take a client that will not color, that’s their loss. Not mine."
Liz with her first grandson in 2012 
Back in 2008 when Liz began growing out the dye, it was quite unusual. And still is, to some extent:  Mary Beard in a radio documentary, in 2012, found that 75% of women still color their hair. Liz says: "I went for a more gradual process sans professional help or advice. I had no desire to do the “skunk stripe.” I’m just too vain and the stripe would have been quite the conversation with 400+ students!

"I used semi-permanent color every 4-6 weeks (depending on how often I was washing) to soften the stripe as my grey grew in. It gave my hair a mottled effect, and the greys looked like highlights. 

"I didn’t get any odd comments, so I suppose it worked well enough! When I got to a few inches of growth, a friend was diagnosed with cancer, and I chopped off my hair in solidarity with her. That created a bit of a stir with my students, but they got over it by the end of first period. They’re like that."

Liz says her hair doesn't need much special attention now - it's healthy hair. "It doesn’t need any special conditioning like it did when I was coloring. I wash three (or so) times weekly and mix my regular shampoo with a purple shampoo for one or two of those washes. I let it sit on my hair for a few minutes and rinse it out. That’s about it. Low maintenance."

I've often wondered if women need to e-evaluate their colors and makeup when they go grey, but Liz, who runs color and image consultancy Closet Play Image, says she has definitely avoided brighter colors. "I used to wear heaps of black punctuated with some cool brights. Since going grey, I have embraced the softer colors that better flatter my hair and complexion. I didn’t throw out my wardrobe and replace it immediately; it was a gradual process. I certainly wear more color than I did before!"

Her message to women who may be pondering on whether or not to go grey is a powerful one.

"I never knew I was hiding until I chose to stop. The freedom of being who you are and showing up that way in the world is POWERFUL. You could not pay me to go back. I get FAR more compliments now on my hair and the way I look than I ever did when I colored! There’s no loss in trying, and no shame if you decide to color again. It’s your hair. You do you!"

Follow Liz: https:closetplay.biz
instagram.com/closetplayimage/ 


Grey hair? No thanks

Dutch fashion blogger Nancy Baten doesn't think she will be growing out the grey any time soon. When she sees the grey hair reappearing, she can't wait to get rid of it again and goes to her hairdresser every six weeks. "After just three weeks the first signs of old age are starting to be visible again.  I do like grey on other women, although not on all. But for me it doesn’t work. I get very unhappy about it and am very content coloring my growth every six weeks."

My own hair was dark until around 2012 and I was getting the roots tinted.  A few highlights turned into a full head, and now I'm in the hairdresser's chair every seven weeks. It's a tedious process and expensive.  I have seriously thought about growing it out but the hairdresser said I wasn't ready yet. Not enough grey.

My mum went grey in her early 50s.  My dad used to color her hair with a home product and in those days the chemicals were very strong.  Her scalp started to sting so she stopped dyeing it.  I was horrified, thinking she was letting herself go.

Now she has pure white hair which gets a lot of compliments. She wears striking glasses and bright colors because she doesn't want to be a "beige old lady."  Grey or white hair seems to look best when it has a definite style:  a bold crop like Jane Fonda's, for example. It's the small permed grey heads of old women that have put us off grey hair for years.
My mum June with her brother at my wedding in 2010

Growing it out with a hairdresser's help

If you don't want to go cold turkey and undertake the one to two years growing-out period, with all the stress it can entail, hairdressers advise having highlights put in to lessen the demarcation line.  There's some great advice over at Katie Goes Platinum with before and after pictures.

Well-known UK hair stylist Josh Wood, Redken's global creative color director, says your pro should keep the color lighter nearer the face. “Try to get the hairline as light as your natural grey,” he advises. “If the eye sees the lightest color against the face it will give the appearance of being totally grey."

He warns it can be a long process. "When you do decide you want to start to grow the grey out, you’ve got to be realistic about the time frame it’s going to take to start to feel like you don’t have a 'hard' regrowth. The quickest I’ve ever seen anybody be able to transition was around nine months, but realistically, it probably takes around 18 months to get to a point you're happy with.

“The first step in the process is to purposefully leave a little bit of grey regrowth around the hairline, so it starts to break up that harsh regrowth. It looks a bit more natural and helps to introduce a bit of grey gradually. If you’re going to a salon, you should talk to your colourist about having a lighter brown tint around the hairline for a few weeks, then introduce some kind of highlights or balayage. This will help break down the demarcation - the line between the grey and your coloured hair.” 


And once you are grey....

Certain types of product can help your hair look its best. “Grey hair has no natural pigment so it can become yellow over time,” says Katie Allan, creative manager at Charles Worthington. “To prevent this from happening, use clarifying products weekly to eradicate any free radicals and impurities.” 

Also invest in a silver shampoo, advises Adam Reed, editorial ambassador for L’OrĂ©al Professionnel. "This cleans and purifies the hair fibre while neutralising any yellowness, to give clarity, shine and softness”.

Lastly, you may notice that the lack of pigment in grey hair also affects the texture. “It can also be very dry and wiry,” Allan notes, so take conditioning seriously with the addition of a weekly hydrating mask."

New York hair stylist Yvette Gonzalez, senior stylist and makeup artist at Sahag Workshop, recommends getting a sharp cut with clean edges. "Ask your stylist not to use a razor, because it can cause the ends to fray, making your whole style seem untidy," she says. Whatever cut you choose, be sure that you get a trim every 6 to 8 weeks. "Grey hair can start to look unruly if it's not trimmed frequently enough."

Gonzalez says your makeup colors may need to change, and she recommends a different shade of blusher. "Go for shades like apricot, peach, and rose—not beigy or tawny colors. They make your skin tone look muddy next to grey hair." 

Use a liquid or cream blush for a youthful glow, rather than a powder kind that can leave skin looking dull.  Most important of all: Groom your brows. Trim wayward hairs (grays tend to be wiry), and define your arches with a taupe pencil so they don't disappear.

Sharing this post with Claire Justine, #ShareAllLinkUp at Not Dressed as Lamb, Top of the World Style at High Latitude Style, Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style, Chic & Stylish at Mummabstylish, Linkup on the Edge at Shelbee on the Edge, Anna at Muttonstyle,#BloggerClubUK or #AnythingGoes at My Random Musings, Thursday Moda at Elegance and Mommyhood, Stylish Monday Link Up at Hello, I’m 60ish, Thursday Fashion Files at Doused in Pink 

I'd love to hear from grey haired women in the comments with your tips and thoughts on surviving the growing-out phase. 

#WownWednesday


Now it's time for the #WowOnWednesday link-up. Bloggers, find more readers for your posts on the topics of fashion, beauty, fitness, jewellery or travel.  Readers are keen to discover new blogs.
Last week's most popular post was by Kim from Fierce Fashion, showing again how to create a unique garment.  In her post "Free People Inspired Babydoll Top" Kim showed her ingenuity in using fox print material to make a baby doll top.  She didn't have enough fabric but managed to find some more.  I have always been hopeless at sewing so I really admire anyone who can make their own clothes. What a wonderful skill to possess.
Kim from Fierce Fashion in hand made fox print baby doll top with white pants and white boots
My favourite post was from Iris of La MouMous and her post "Keep Up With Me: Upcoming Projects."

Fashion blogger Iris from La MouMous in denim shirt and long floral skirt
Iris works full-time and has small children, but her energy takes my breath away.  Her upcoming projects include delivering her very first fashion workshop in March and preparing to release live videos on IGTV. 

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Monday, 24 February 2020

Style Not Age Challenge: Flower Power

Over 50s style blogger Gail Hanlon in faux fur trimmed floral bomber jacket and jeans for the Style Not Age challenge Flower Power
I'm thrilled to be back in a style challenge and joining the fabulous women of Style Not Age each month.

This month's challenge was chosen by Hilda and it's Flower Power. I find these challenges fascinating
to see everyone's different take on the theme!
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Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Beauty Bonanza and Link Up


Over-50s blogger Gail Hanlon experiments with three products that claim to give you the fake eyelash effect
Greetings all.  It's been a while since we talked about beauty, so in this bumper post I'm going to show you what happened when I copied a tutorial for a fake eyelash effect, using three products;  share my current routine, and talk about cleansers.


Using a Primer for "Fake Eye Lash" Effect


I mentioned before how I saw a tutorial on creating a natural make up  with just three products by  Katie from Beauty and the Boutique I'm still using the blusher.  Revisit that post here. So when Katie popped up showing how to use three products to get a fake eyelash effect, I was hooked.  I'm forever trying different mascaras, as regular readers will know.
Mascara primer, mascara and eyeliner from Beauty and the Boutique
The three products used, above, are a mascara primer from Code Beautiful called Forget Fake Lashes, mascara Back in Black from Lord and Berry, and eyeliner Goddess Pencil from Eye of Horus.

Katie is a makeup artist and a very relatable one.  Here she is, right, giving the spiel, with her friend, also called Katie.
Makeup artist Katie from Beauty and the Boutique giving a tutorial on fuller lashes with three products
I applied the primer first: it looks like a beige mascara.  The technique is to wiggle it at the base of your lashes and then pull it outwards. It dries instantly.  The mascara has an unprepossessing wand - it's a fairly straight stick - but this style of brush is best suited to wiggling and then using the wand vertically to gussy up the tiny lashes.  Finally, there's the Goddess eye pencil - which looks like a felt tip pen, and is double-ended - which I chose in amethyst.

The eyeliner is applied at the waterline of the top lid.   Hold up the lid and aim the tip at the lashes.  I've found this is a great effect: it fills in the gaps if your lashes are a bit sparse. You can use this without any mascara.

My "after" is at the top of the page.  I certainly have thicker and longer looking lashes, not as good as Katie's, but she probably has 20 years on me. Watch her tutorial here.

I'm now going to see if the eye make-up passes my "Panda test" and for how long. Very few eye products go more than an hour or two. It's probably because I'm a contact lens wearer and my eyes can get a bit watery.

UPDATE: I was amazed that by the end of the day, even after having to manoeuvre a roast dinner in and out of the oven, the eye make-up was still intact. No smudges.  In fact it was quite challenging to remove, took 3 attempts.  I will definitely use this technique when I'm going Out Out, but it's too much of a faff for everyday.  The eyeliner pencil works brilliantly on its, however.

My Current Routine


Several skincare and makeup products being used by Is This Mutton blogger Gail Hanlon including a foundation to cover pigmentation and a face cream, neck cream and eye cream to help over-50 skin
This is the current line-up of skincare and beauty products that I use most days.  I start with a serum, from Clarins. This has a delicious fresh scent and glides nicely over the skin, disappearing into the skin quickly and giving a glowy base.  I then apply an eye cream - StriVectin Multi Action R&R Eye Cream. I add a couple of drops of Clarins Radiance Plus Golden Glow Booster to my face cream and neck cream. In the winter, it helps reduce the pallor.

I recently finished the jar of moisturizer I was using so I'm now using up what's left of a Magic Cream from Charlotte Tilbury.  This one takes a lot of beating. It has a rich hyaluronic acid formula so it revives tired dull skin in an instant.  I've nearly finished the expensive Perricone Neuropeptide neck cream, right, which I wrote about here.  It's lasted a long time.  I have some new Prai neck products which I was given for Christmas to use when the jar is empty.

A couple of other products in the line-up: the two round pots are:  a Body Shop blusher in a pretty pink, Marshmallow, that probably suits everyone, and Trinny London's Miracle Blur.

Trinny and Susannah

UK readers will remember Trinny from the TV show she did a few years ago with Susannah Constantine. Trinny has her own range of makeup and is frequently on IGTV and Facebook giving demos in her exuberant way.  I don't know why she and Susannah haven't been paired again on TV. They would be great in a travel show, or giving an honest view from the fashion shows. They are great together and very amusing. Of course they're also middle aged women, so to the 20-something hipster male commissioning editors, probably not appealing.

Anyway, back to the Miracle Blur. This is a bit like a Polyfilla for the skin. Simply push it into pitted or lined areas. I used it above my top lip line to cover up the little lines. It's very effective.

I also bought Trinny London's BFF Cream, which was highly recommended by Laurie over at Vanity and MeThis is described as a skin perfector, and you wear it instead of moisturizer. There is a color matching tool on the Trinny London website and I was matched with Light.  The cream is white but apparently "micro-encapsulated pigments perfectly adapt to your skin tone using your body heat, and oxygen, to create a healthy looking luminous glow."

As you can see below in the "after" shot, it gives a good even finish and a radiant sheen.  If you're younger or have very good skin with no issues, it would look fine on its own.  I need some help with the skin around my eyes, so I definitely need to add some concealer and eye primer.  But it did a better job than I expected with making the pigmentation on my cheeks less visible.
Before using the BFF Cream
After using the BFF Cream

Repeat Buys

In the picture there are three very regular repeat buys. I already mentioned the eye cream, which I'm convinced has diminished slightly the crow's feet lines. I have just re-ordered the foundation, left, Darphin's Melaperfect, which I always buy in bulk because I'm afraid they might discontinue it.  I love this foundation because it hides pigmentation and dark circles better than anything I've tried, without looking too heavy. I'm still using the cheap Pro Base concealer from MUA which I showed you in my post Party Face With Bargain Make Up.

The other repeat buy is Jouer Essential Lip Enhancer.  I keep one in the car and actually look forward to the moment when I apply it, on the way to work. My lips can feel horribly dry and scaly in the winter.  Most balms feel bitty or need reapplying too quickly. This one glides on to create a smooth shiny finish, and lasts a good while. I'm wearing it on its own in the picture at the top.

Cleansers

Various cleansers belonging to over-50s blogger Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton?
I have a bit of a backlog of cleansers, after being given a couple for Christmas.  I love to use Emma Hardie's Moringa Cleansing Balm every morning.  It cleanses very gently and thoroughly and doesn't leave any redness. I have been a fan for several years.  When it's finally used up, I will try the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil.  This is a Japanese company and I've heard great things about the cleanser.

In the evening I like to remove makeup with a micellar or cleansing lotion, even though I'm sure that the products don't really remove the makeup - they simply push it round your face!  But it's a throwback to when I was a teen and we all used Anne French cleansing milk - which you can still get.  I'm currently using the Vichy product, which is rich and soothing.  When it's used up I will open the Elemis rose petal cleanser. And then the Caudalie Micellar.  I have enough to last me the entire year.  The Dr Dennis Gross pore cleansing gel is quite a small tube so I'm going to take it when I'm travelling or on holiday.

None of the products featured was gifted - I bough them all.  I've included a shopping guide below to help you find them, and I receive a couple of pence if you click through.  It won't set me up for retirement any time soon!

Sharing this post with Claire Justine, #iwillwearwhatiwant at Not Dressed as Lamb, Top of the World Style at High Latitude Style, Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style,  Turning Heads Tuesday at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish; Style with a Smile at Stylesplash; Chic & Stylish at Mummabstylish, Linkup on the Edge at Shelbee on the Edge, Red Carpet Link Up at Glamadventure, Muttonstyle, Fancy Friday at Nancy's Fashion Style and #BloggerClubUK or #AnythingGoes at My Random Musings  Jennie at A Pocket of Polka Dots and Thursday Moda at Elegance and Mommyhood


Shop My Favourites


Which are your favourite cleansers ladies?  Have you used any products by Trinny London? And share your most precious buys of all - the repeats, in the comments.


#WowOnWednesday Link Up 

Last week's most clicked was Michelle from My Bijou Life with her post What Fashionistas Need to Know About Gold Filled v Gold Plated.
My favourite fashion post was by Jess from Elegantly Dressed and Stylish with her post Valentine's Day the Casual Way. I fell in love with Jess's blouse.
Jess Janenga in floral blouse showing a casual Valentine's Day look
I'll include both of these posts in my Stories later today on Instagram.

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Friday, 14 February 2020

What I've Been Hearing, Watching and Reading: Five for FriYay

Marian Keyes best selling author of Grown Ups, 2020
My occasional round-up of great reading, TV and podcasts starts with the marvellous writer Marian Keyes.  I pre-ordered her new book Grown Ups  although I've decided to save it for my summer holiday.  I wish the warm hearted and funny Keyes could be my BFF.

She featured in two of my favourite podcasts this week, How to Fail, and Fortunately with Fi and Jane. She's spot on when she says that men who write in the same genre are not dismissed as "chick lit" or light and fluffy. Of course, if it's by a man it has to be some higher art form. Utter nonsense of course.

It takes a lot to spook me. Normally,  I find ghost stories a bit of a yawn fest. But when I read Michelle Paver's Thin Air, I'm sure my heart rate went up. The story is set in 1937 in the dark isolation of a snowbound base-camp of a small scientific expedition.

Reading reviews after I finished it, I found that this was Paver's second "ghost story" and people complained it was not as scary as the first one, Dark Matter. I promptly read the first one and found that in some ways it was similar. The dramatic device was the same: someone with a grudge coming back to wreak havoc.  Both books are gripping.

Podcasts

I was so pleased to discover Heavyweight not least because it has a healthy back catalogue of episodes. Heavyweight is from one of my favourite pod providers, Gimlet.  The title eludes to "losing a heavy weight."  The presenter, humorist Jonathan Goldstein, helps people try to resolve a moment from their past that they wish they could change.

Two examples: one was from his own family, where his father and uncle, aged 80 and 85 respectively, had barely spoken to each other for year for reasons they could hardly remember. Jonathan managed to get them to agree to a meet up. It was fascinating and compelling. as the younger brother realised for the first time the heavy burden his older brother had carried. He had  believed all his life that the older brother was the favourite and felt resentful.

In the most recent episode, Marie-Claude, who wants to take up a career in real estate, finds she has to take exams that involve maths, and she has been traumatised by maths since childhood. I know how she feels. Does she succeed in putting her fear of algebra behind her?  A very uplifting story.

The podcast always starts with a phone call between Jonathan and one of his female friends. She doesn't want to be involved in his podcast and it's an entertaining intro.

Watching

The Stranger (Netflix) is watchable and intriguing, although ultimately a bit disappointing. With a stellar cast, including Dervla Kerwan, Stephen Rea and Anthony Head, it has many story threads, some of which turn out to be dead ends and a bit pointless. We enjoyed it until the last episode, which was not very believable.The UK thriller The Stranger on Netflix
Olive Kitteridge, a two-parter from HBO, is back on Sky, Now TV and Brit Box.  I saw it when it first came out, having read Elizabeth Strout's Pulitzer prize winning book.  Now, watching it again, having read the unexpected follow-up by Strout, I find myself disliking Olive.  The former maths teacher is a curmudgeon, always rolling her eyes and having a sharp opinion; but in the two parter, she rarely shows a glimmer of the kindness you see in the second book.  I cringed at how awful she was to her kind, loving husband. 
Olive is a complex character however, which makes her all the more real.  We see how she loved her son when he was a baby, yet when he's grown up they have a difficult relationship. She resents his first wife, and after overhearing her criticising the dress Olive made for the wedding, Olive steals an earring from her and runs a marker pen across one of the daughter-in-law's dresses.

I highly recommend it - beautiful scenery and filmography, and outstanding award-winning performances from Frances Dormand as Olive and Richard Jenkins as her beleagured husband.

What are your latest recommendations? Do share in the comments.

Sharing this post with #ShareAllLinkUp at Not Dressed as Lamb, Weekend Blog Hop at Claire Justine, Linkup on the Edge at Shelbee on the Edge and #BloggerClubUK or #AnythingGoes at My Random Musings

FOR MORE MUTTON

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Wednesday, 12 February 2020

I Liked This Skirt So Much I Bought Another One: And Link Up

Flattering for all sizes the Zandra skirt from Kettlewell in Atlantis worn with white fur gilet and sweater by over-50s blogger Gail Hanlon
If you find something you love, and there are more colours available, ladies, go for it. I bought this velvet skirt by Kettlewell in Violet Dazzle a few months ago.  I noticed it's now in the sale, so I snapped up this gorgeous colour, Atlantis Dazzle.

I'm wearing it with last winter's white jumper and boots and a very old furry gilet. The necklace by Corsi Design Factory was a perfect match. I bought it at the V&A Museum on the day I met the lovely Penny from Frugal Fashion Shopper.  It looks like a normal necklace but it's made of a soft resin.
Teal velvet skirt worn with white boots, white jumper and furry gilet with a necklace by Corsi Design Factory
The reason I love the Zandra skirt is that it's got a lovely sheen, and is so soft to sit on;  and it's so easy to wear, with its elasticated (yes!) waist. It's a good length too.
As I mentioned, I already had it in Violet Dazzle. I wore it on an outing last week to meet Nikki Garnett from Midlife Chic. When meeting another fashion blogger you always agonize over what to wear. I wore my skirt and a purple cashmere jumper from M&S, but the stand out items were my chunky pearls and lilac coat.
A lilac cocoon coat is warm and stylish over purple with silver accessories, as shown by over-50s style blog Is This Mutton
I love the coat but we rarely get the right weather in the UK to wear it.  Ideally it should be cold but dry.  And the coat feels a bit dressy for everyday running around.  So although I don't wear it very often, it's brilliant quality with a high percentage of cashmere so I know it will be good for many years to come.
Over-50s blogger Gail Hanlon in monochrome purple with a velvet Zandra skirt from Kettlewell and silver ankle boots with chunky pearl necklaces
You can see the lovely sheen of the skirt.  The pearls are actually two necklaces.  One was very cheap and bought in BHS many years ago.  I got the other one from Etsy.  Chunky pearls always seem to get compliments.  One of Nikki's readers (she invited ladies in London to meet up, if they were free, and 15 came along) messaged me afterwards to say she liked the pearls.
Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton in lilac cashmere coat, purple jumper and layered chunky pearl necklaces
Do you ever buy an item in more than one colour, if you find you love it?

Sharing this post with Claire Justine, #iwillwearwhatiwant at Not Dressed as Lamb, Top of the World Style at High Latitude Style, Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style,  Turning Heads Tuesday at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish; Style with a Smile at Stylesplash; Chic & Stylish at Mummabstylish, Linkup on the Edge at Shelbee on the Edge, Red Carpet Link Up at Glamadventure, Muttonstyle, Fancy Friday at Nancy's Fashion Style and #BloggerClubUK or #AnythingGoes at My Random 
Musings.

I'm back on Friday with a #FiveForFriYay post on podcasts, TV and books. See you then!

Now it's time for #WowOnWednesday.
Last week's readers' favourite was Kim from Fierce Fashion with her post Refashioned Top with Camo. Kim's top was originally black but she bleached it, and then she changed the shoulder by adding a leopard print insert.  he instantly has a totally unique garment. I really admire women who can customize their clothes.  I'm hopeless with a needle so all I can do is admire.
Midlife blogger Kim from Fierce Fashion in camo pants and a refashioned top
My favourite post was by Shelbee from Shelbee on the Edge. Please indulge with this one! No-one has ever done a style steal on me before, so I was so chuffed  (a good ol' British word) when Shelbee gave us her take on my David Bowie t-shirt and jeans - "Inspired by Is This Mutton: Bowie Tee." Thanks so much Shelbee - I love your take on the outfit, particularly the red boots!
Two bloggers, similar outfit: take one Bowie tee and add jeans and boots
A special mention also to Michelle from Fifty and Fab. She wrote very bravely about her phobia of vomiting - My personal struggle with emetophobia amd how to overcome phobias and anxiety. It's a big deal for bloggers to open up about personal challenges - kudos to Michelle.

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Wednesday, 5 February 2020

We're Glad to Be Grey: Results of the Is This Mutton? Survey and Link Up

Women over 50, feel proud. You're happy to be your age, accepting of grey hair,  and doing your bit to try to reduce your carbon footprint and make greener choices.

Here are the results of the second Is This Mutton? survey - and fascinating they are, too.

Let's dive in. The majority of respondents were from the UK and Ireland with 13% from the US and Canada, and four per cent from rest of the world. 34% were over the age of 60, 31% between the ages of 55 and 60, and 24% aged between 50 and 55. 10% were aged over 70.

Key Goals for 2020

I left this question free style with space for comments. A lot of you said you wanted to lose weight,
get fit (or fitter) and drink less alcohol, but there were other goals too:
  • Go 100% whole food plant based, no oil, diet
  • Build strength and come off a medication
  • Greener choices, shop locally
  • Be happy /read more books, live life
  • Forgive wrongs and move forward. Find a project, do something new each month
  • Buy only a few pieces (latest clothes and accessories) that really work for me everyday
  • Write, learn, continue to share a message about plastic pollution, go on adventures, release a film, qualify in a new role
A recurring theme was making greener choices. This reader summed it up well: " Trying greener has been a priority to in our family since 2006! Just the little things, more to do with less waste of #food.

"Now in 2020 it's to try and rid ourselves of plastic, invest in good #tupperware #glass containers that will last decades to house our food, lotions and potions. Have noticed that liquid soap are more freely available in large rectangle sizes."

40% said they would avoid certain retailers and "fast fashion," while 19% said they didn't know enough about it to make a decision yet.  39% aren't worried about fast fashion.

How do we feel about being over 50?


Ladies, I take my hats off to you because you're a lot more positive ageing about than I am. The survey results are certainly questioning some of my own (deep) thoughts and fears, and I'll write an honest post about that. 

However, nearly 50% said they felt invisible with 27% saying they never did, and 24% saying they occasionally felt invisible. More than 80% of you are happy to tell people your age. When you don't, it's because it's no-one else's business! 

The question "are you still a head turner?" confounded some, with one respondent telling me she had never been a head turner. To me, it's less about looks than a certain confidence, or sense of style, that  commands attention when we're at the top of our game.

The good news is, half of us say we can turn heads occasionally.

The idea of "tweakments" - botox and fillers - was rejected, with 55% saying they would never try them, even if money wasn't an issue.
Grey haired women in her 50s. Image courtesy of Pixabay
On the grey/gray hair question, the majority - 25% - have grey hair and are happy with it.  But the rest of us, well, very mixed views. 14% are thinking about going grey. 18% say they will never go grey. Four per cent said they wouldn't consider it until they're retired.

Lots of comments:
  • I'm over 50 but not one grey hair yet
  • I may do it but not for a while. I don't have much grey yet
  • Happy with highlights
I'll be writing a follow-up post about going grey. 

Views on the menopause

Of those who have been through the menopause, 35% said they were glad they no longer have periods. A pleasing 31% said they were enjoying this new phase of their life.  14% said they were sad they were no longer fertile. Quite a few comments: 
  • I do think the menopause can change you as a person
  • I am in the midst of it and cannot wait for it to be over
  • I wish the tiredness and hot flushes would stop
  • I'm 53 and no symptoms yet
  • Full surgical menopause at 39 and still suffering
  • Had an early menopause at 38 and was definitely sad even though my family was complete
  • Came as a shock! Felt my body had let me down
  • Couldn't live without HRT patches 

What we dread most about getting older

The biggest worries are being a burden,  followed by losing friends and family, and third, aches and pains. 

Encouragingly, there's less criticism of women for what they wear 

In the UK a lot of the weekly magazines, the Mail Online and a couple of the other dailies, spend a lot of time being critical of what older women are wearing, particularly if it's anything that challenges a particular perception of how a woman over 50 should look. Madonna in particular gets a lot of stick for having the audacity to display her toned, slim body in revealing clothes. 

But the good news is, while 35% of you said there's too much focus on what older women wear, 36% said it 's improving. 

Attitudes towards fashion

Thinking about when we were 25, 62% observed that they're less fashionable but more stylish.  I would whole heartedly agree with that.  I shared some of my dreadful outfits from my 20s here. At 25, we're still inclined to slavishly follow trends, even if they don't suit us  (and I didn't have much understanding then of what styles and shapes do suit me). As older women, we've learnt what flatters us and we're prepared to go for comfort over fashion occasionally.

I gave a long list of clothes items that are often considered "challenging" for older women:  mini skirts, leather trousers, bikinis, low cut tops. The majority - 33% - were most fearful of a bikini, followed by an even more nervous 31% who wouldn't wear ANY of those items. Applause for the brave 11% who said they would wear anything. 

We're not set in our ways: brands take note! 

47% of you like to change your appearance occasionally with a new hairstyle, a different look or new makeup.

When it comes to buying makeup, 45% are influenced by reviews, 21% by seeing something in-store, 13% by magazine reviews and 11% by blog posts. 

What makeup items could you not do without?

Mascara is the single most essential item in the makeup bag. 17% like to wear everything: I listed foundation, concealer, mascara, blusher, mascara, lipstick. But a surprising 26% of you never wear makeup at all.  I'm not in that category - as a bare minimum I wear a concealer and blusher, and for work I add some eye shadow and mascara.  For evenings, below, it's the works plus lipstick.
Over-50s woman with blonde hair, glitter eyeshadow and bright pink lipstick

Stop lumping the 50-80 age group together!

There wasn't a survey question about it, but one of the topics guaranteed to get hackles rising on Twitter is how "the media" tends to lump everyone between the age of 50 and 85 in one homogeneous age group. This is the equivalent of showing a baby picture to represent "young people" up to the age of 35.

Any story about people over 50 who are still working  (which in itself is an insult, given that the pension age is rising to 67) is often accompanied by a lazy stock image of a pair of very wrinkled hands clutching a walking stick. Here's one below. Look familiar?
Pexels image of elderly man with walking stick
Articles about the menopause usually feature women looking frazzled and never vibrant or energetic - although a lot of menopausal and post-menopausal women put younger people to shame with their energy and fitness levels. 

Finally a new survey by healthy ageing supplement brand LUMITY has more positive news for us:  women over 50 said they felt happier and healthier than ever and had discovered a brand new inner and outer confidence.

Thanks to everyone who responded to the Is This Mutton survey. Look out for my follow-up posts over the next few weeks. The first one, featuring two women who have grey hair and love it, will be published on 26 February.

Sharing this post with Claire Justine, #iwillwearwhatiwant at Not Dressed as Lamb, Top of the World Style at High Latitude Style, Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style,  Turning Heads Tuesday at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish; Style with a Smile at Stylesplash; Chic & Stylish at Mummabstylish, Linkup on the Edge at Shelbee on the Edge, Red Carpet Link Up at Glamadventure, Muttonstyle, Fancy Friday at Nancy's Fashion Style #BloggerClubUK or #AnythingGoes at My Random Musings Thursday Moda aElegance and Mommyhood

Now it's time for #WowOnWednesday

Last week's readers' favourite (most clicked) was Karen from Lady in Violet with her post Maroon Sweater. 
Fashion blogger Karen in maroon sweater and jeans
My favourite non-fashion post was by Laurie from Vanity and Me and her post  FF Trinny London v By Terry CC Serum.  In this honest review Laurie compared the two products. I've heard great things about the Trinny London range, and Trinny herself is an inspiration - so will be checking it out.
Blogger Laurie Bronze compares two products in a beauty review

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