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Fashion for the over 50s with books and beauty

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Wednesday 28 September 2022

Nailing Your Personal Style

 And #WowOnWednesday

Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton in cream patterned brogues, brown jeggings, pale peach top and flamingo pink short tie wrap

Dear friends. Have you nailed your personal style?  Do you gravitate towards certain styles and shapes that suit your build and personality?  Or do you get seduced online, in shops or on Instagram, by the whims of fashion, the desire to keep trying something different, or not really knowing what to buy that will suit your shape?

In my experience, in our teens, 20s and probably early 30s, we're led by fashion and we flirt with many different styles, colours and personas. We may adopt a bohemian style for a pop festival, for example, or to reinvent the fashion of a favourite decade. 

In my teens and early 20s I went through a spell where I wore only black for a while. Then I embraced punk, in a gentle way  (drainpipe jeans, long shirts worn with footless tights, razorblade earrings), which segued into "mod"  (geometric red and black dress with flat granny shoes), and in between, some atrocious nods to the fashions of the 80s and Princess Diana such as a pie crust blouse, and huge shoulder pads in jackets. 

I had a period early in my career when where money was tight and I bought most of my clothes in charity shops and had a thing for floral co-ords and ratty old fur coats.

Here are some of the style clangers: 

Some of the fashion clangers from the Is This Mutton archives!

Left to right:  this pale yellow two-piece with pie crust collar was what I bought for a job interview in 1982 (amazingly I got the job);  second from left, the early 2000s and I was going for neutrals in an attempt to look chic.  The cardigan, long skirt and big bag swamp me.  Third from left: again, swamped by an ill-fitting leather jacket and long skirt in the early 2000s. Fourth from left:  I wore this pale pink dress in a towelling fabric a lot because it had an elasticated waist, which I knew early on was a style that suited me  (my mum hated it though!). 

I didn't have much confidence in my style until my 40s when I was earning a good salary, divorced and becoming more discerning.

Nonetheless, being a blogger obliged me to be constantly showing new clothes and trying different styles. 


Now that my circumstances have changed and  I've given up work, I'm trying to be be more environmentally conscious - so not buying fast or cheap fashion;  making sustainable choices, and buying only for the lifestyle I have. 

I'm pretty confident now that I have "my look."  I prefer neat, tailored clothes that nip in my waist.  If I wear baggy, floaty, empire line or tunics with no shaping, I look huge.  

I rarely wear patterns nowadays except the occasional polka dot. I never wear ruffles, frills or lace - too frou frou for me. 

Skirts are better knee-length on me. Flared or wide leg trousers/jeans don't work but skinny jeans or jeggings do.  Cotton shirts are a no go - too structured, and make me look like a pouter pigeon. Shirts in soft fabrics like silk are my choice. Big baggy knitwear is another no-go:  cropped cardigans and belted long cardigans are what works for me. 

A cream jacket and brown jeggings with green top and cream patterned shoes. Is This Mutton is the style blog for the over 50s.

I still have fun with fashion, particularly with accessories - boots, brogue shoes, patterned and coloured tights, Georgian collet necklaces, the occasional cape. 

I've been weeding out my wardrobe so that it's no longer bulging in a way that used to depress me.  I wrote about ways to organize your wardrobe here.


There are certain times in every woman's life where we go into a new phase.  It could be getting divorced, going back to work after having children, losing or gaining weight.  And sometimes we need guidance on how to reinvent ourselves.  Style consultants can be great for this.  It's not cheap, but the boost to confidence is amazing, plus buying the right clothes for your personality and shape means fewer mistakes. 

Or you can "DIY" and do research online.  Put together Pinterest boards on women whose style you admire; read books, find bloggers or influencers who inspire you.

Carry out a wardrobe audit where you identify the clothes you wear a lot, and weed out anything that hasn't been worn or doesn't work with the rest of your wardrobe.  I wrote about this here. 


I'm showing off my new cream patterned brogues in the first two pictures.  These were a snip, £15, in the Joe Brown's sale. Top pic:  brown jeggings, M&S  (they have just restocked, 15 colours, you need to be fast!), top and short tie wrap from Kettlewell.  Cream jacket, bought pre-loved;  green top and scarf, Kettlewell as before.  Blue short tie wrap, red tee and belt from Kettlewell, jeans from M&S.

And before I sign off today, a few more "lewks" which make me cringe, from this very blog! 

In my defence, this was for a challenge, Style Imitating Art, and I was supposed to be channeling Italian lace designer and wood carver, Isabella Catanea Parasole. I love how a Buff finds its way into the shot! I went through a period of wearing hats for the blog but I don't think they suit me very well. 

Here I am looking like a country and western singer in double denim:  well, triple denim, if you count the wedges! 

A Bombshell dress didn't make a bombshell of Is This Mutton's Gail Hanlon

I had always wanted a Bombshell dress but somehow it did nothing for me! I didn't know what tights to wear and ended up with nude fishnets. The length of the dress is wrong, as is the colour.  I had decided to try to get back to being a brunette - this was the result - and my hair didn't suit me either. 

Tartan tights with a patterned skirt were too much in this Burn's Night outfit worn by Gail Hanlon in 2018

Here I am in tartan tights for Burn's Night.  What to wear with them?  I found a skirt and top that had the colours of the tights in them, but it doesn't work does it?  

Love to hear about any of your sartorial disasters in the comments, along with any advice on how you found your own distinctive style. Or are you an experimenter, and prefer to wear anything that catches your eye?

Sharing this post with: On Mondays We Link Up at Glass of Glam, Top of the World Style at High Latitude Style, Chic & Stylish at Mummabstylish, #SpreadTheKindness  and #Linkup on the Edge at Shelbee on the Edge, #AnythingGoes at My Random Musings, Turning Heads Tuesday at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish,  Style with a Smile  at StylesplashTFF at Doused in Pink,Confident Twosday at IDoDeclaireRena at Fine Whatever,, #Neverendingstyle at The Grey BrunetteFancy Friday at Nancy's Fashion Style, Talent Sharing Tuesdays at Scribbling Boomer, Link Up Pot Pourri at My Bijou LifeTraffic Jam Weekend at Marsha in the Middle Fabulous Fridays at Lucy Bertoldi, Friendship Friday at Create with Joy, OMHGWW at Oh My Heartsie Girl , Trend Spin at The Fashion Canvas


Now it's time for the #WowOnWednesday link-up.  Posts on any topic are welcome. I'd encourage both bloggers and readers to explore what's on offer. Blog comments make it all worthwhile. 


Nancy from Nancy's Fashion Style and her visit to Brighton, as shown on Instagram:

Another holiday that was popular was Jacqui's - My Weekend in Sicily - over at Mummabstylish. 

Nicole from High Latitude Style reviewed Ashlee Elle's book on retro crochet

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


  1. Great style. I think through the years, the best thing about fashion is expressing yourself and trying something new. But sooner or later your true style sticks with you. Absolutely adore this post and love your outfit inspirations. https://www.bauchlefashion.com

  2. It a shame we have to find our styles when we get to our age now, but was nice (at times) to learn though our mistakes! Jacqui x

  3. I think you nailed your style! And I agree with what doesn't suit you. I also don't wear much prints. I always loved black and still wear it a lot. Lovely to see some throwback photos of you! And thank you so much for the feature.

  4. I think we all grow into our style as we become more confident in our skin.


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