Interview: Lynda BellinghamPosted on: 03 March 2011 by Rhian Mainwaring
As the new face of isme, we had a chat with Lynda about dressing well and feeling fabulous over 50!
How has your opinion of your own body changed over the years?
I’ve never been body confident, I hated my body when I was younger and I’ve tried every diet going.
Now I’m much happier with myself – I think that is definitely something that comes with age and from having a loving partner. I feel like I’m not trying to be someone I’m not and I feel healthier than ever. No-one can stop middle-aged spread but I think Pilates and exercise helps – the rest is clever dressing.
What’s your fall-back fashion style?
Essentially, I think my style is classic. I like a smart suit with different tops. I’m okay at eveningwear – it’s casualwear I struggle with, as I find it hard to get it right. I like mixing textures, so a silk blouse with a cashmere top always looks good. A couple of well-cut, well-tailored pieces will always look smart and will last a long time.
For evenings, I like off-the-shoulder dresses, as I think they look flattering and reveal a little flesh, but not too much. It is difficult to always find new things – once you’ve been photographed in a dress it can be hard to wear again. I once had a black dress with a lovely red band across it, so I had lots of different coloured bands made so I could wear it for different occasions.
What’s the best/worst part of your body?
I like my legs, I think they’re wearing well, but I steer clear of showing my arms. That isn’t just an age thing, I’ve always covered them up. It’s that bingo wings thing isn’t it? Even if you exercise, the skin itself changes – you get that crepey look going on.
Cleavage is similar – I think there are lots of clever cover-ups out there. You can show your assets but cover any bits you don’t like, such as your bosom and upper-arms, with gorgeous material.
What’s the biggest challenge for dressing as you get older?
It's all about fit when you reach 50 and you need to make sure that the clothes you are wearing fit perfectly, in all the right places. I think we all worry about looking like mutton dressed as lamb. I love fashion but I think moderation is everything so I’ll choose one or two items and wear those, rather than looking silly in the whole lot. Right now I love the Savoir collection from isme.com as it ensures that all of those little insecurities are taken care of.
I tend to look for shape enhancing details like cap sleeves, stretch in the right places, different trouser cuts, built in panels - all these things will make such a difference to your wardrobe.
Is there anything you wouldn’t wear?
Leggings. They’re great for lots of people but I wouldn’t wear them. If you’re toned and lovely, great. If not, you can look like a bit ‘jellyish’ which isn’t a good look!
What’s your fashion nightmare?
White stilettos – they’re so not me, and flashing your midriff makes me cringe. I cannot understand why anyone would get their belly button pierced and show it off. I think it looks awful.
It's not just because they're the official sponsors of Loose Women, although that's a pretty good reason, Isme is something a little bit different. They've created trend led fashion, with a high emphasis on great fit, specifically for the over 40 demographic - and that's us!
After our chat with Lynda we took a look at isme, to see how it differs from other stores...
We recently visited the Pure London fashion trade event, which catered for woman of all sizes, tastes and ages, but whie the fashion might have been inspiring, we were disillusioned with the lack of over 40 models. If you're tailoring your range to the tastes of older women then your clothes should be shown on a more mature model, not an emaciated 20 year old! So when we checked out isme we were delighted to see that their inreality girls genuinely catered for the over 40s - because they were too!
The inreality girls range from Janet who is 5'2" and a size 10 to Joy who’s a size 16 and 5'9" and with Lynda Bellingham as their poster girl, this is a set of women we can actually relate to. And because isme knows we all come in different shapes and sizes, they went back to the drawing board and created bespoke tailoring for this age group – allowing you to pick the right size for the perfect fit. Here’s how…
Here’s how… the team of shape experts at isme decided to go back to basics, and find out what a woman’s body is really like at 50+ and then use that as the starting point for the designs. They devised a unique body mapping system using a 3D profiling tool to chart the body shape of modern, British 50+ women. It created a new clothing block bespoke fashion line that really suits their bodies now. The result of which is the Savoir at isme collection, a range which offers flattering cuts and clever detailing to capture and celebrate a mature woman’s figure.
Lynda agreed to become the face of isme.com because, “I’ve been saying for years that us ‘more mature girls’, should get a little more attention from the fashion industry. And now, low and behold, someone’s taken note and given us a catalogue and website that’s just for us.”
She adds, “after all, I’ve gone past that landmark birthday and come out the other side, knowing myself and my style better than ever.” We’ve been honing our style for our entire lives, so it only makes sense that the older we get the more we know exactly what we want, it was just a shame that no one else did!
Call 0844 811 8112 for a catalogue or you can head to isme.com to read interviews with Lynda and the inreality girls, see her fashion picks for the season and shop the Savoir collection! And we’re going to be doing a series of fashion features starting with our ‘return of the mac quiz!’ We’d love to hear your thoughts on the range or you can join in our forum debate on the topic…
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