How to overcome the age barrier to style

Posted on: 23 August 2017 by Eloise Craven-Todd

Dawn Cutler from fashion and beauty blog, Posh Rock, talks breaking down the age barrier to style and explains how setting up her blog improved her self-confidence.

Dawn Cutler

With an over saturated fashion market aimed towards those in their younger years, confidence can be a real barrier when deciding what to wear. We’ve been chatting with Dawn Cutler, a fashion guru for women post 40 and co-founder of The Posh Rock, as to why it’s important to break down these barriers and asked her to share some of her top tips. 

How did you overcome confidence issues?

The more I pored over fashion magazines and shopped with my daughter Emilie, the more I realised that I could wear whatever I wanted; I just needed to do it in my own way. Instead of thinking “can I get away with this at my age?” I started to think “why shouldn’t I wear this at my age?”

Women should be able to have creativity and fun with fashion, without worrying about what’s ‘age appropriate’.

I’ve also learned what suits me. I’ll consider anything but I’ll only wear what I know I look good in. Luckily, I’ve got Emilie to give me an honest opinion and encourage me. We set up The Posh Rock to give other women the courage to take control of their fashion choices and not to listen to anyone who says ‘don’t’ or ‘can’t’.

What’s the most important thing your daughters have taught you?

Resilience. My daughters keep me grounded and give me the motivation to achieve what I want to in life. Emilie lives with a health condition and has been so strong throughout it all. I am hugely inspired by the strength and determination of both my daughters.  

Emilie is also a fashion student at The University of Edinburgh and has definitely made me braver in my fashion choices.

What do you look for with regards to a good ‘fit?’

It’s all about finding the right shape and style. I want something that’s going to sit right and that I’m going to feel confident wearing.

I know that a tailored looks work better for me. I’m slim but I have curves so it’s also important that my clothes nip in at the right place on the waist.  There’s a fine line between a fitted dress and something that looks too small or shapeless. It has to fit all over, rather than just look good from one angle.

What are your serious no’s?

Overly casual or untailored looks just don’t look good on me.  I like a classic look, so I always try to adapt trends to match what suits my style.

I also really enjoy dressing for the season. Whites and stripes are great for summer but come September, I’ll turn to a more autumnal palette.

With skincare and makeup, I keep my lips neutral and focus on the eyes. An over-done look is a big no for me. It’s the same with showing some flesh - it’s a balance. I think this is true whatever your age.

Dawn Cutler

Why is it important to dress for you?

I’m at an age where I’m at the pinnacle of my career and in control – and I want the way I dress to reflect that rather than what someone else thinks I should look like. It’s me who I’m going to see in the mirror and I want to feel happy with what I see.

As I’ve mentioned on The Posh Rock blog before, I think there’s a tendency for British women to get to a certain age and take too much notice of what the media says is ‘age appropriate’. Fashion is about confidence and expression – I don’t think you should ever stop having fun with it.

What is your most comforting and feel-good outfit?

We had a great holiday in Mykonos recently and I absolutely loved some of the shirt dresses I wore. I think they’re incredibly sexy and I love that you can pull them in to accentuate the waist. They’re so versatile. You can wear them for a lazy day shopping or dress them up for a day in the office.

And sunglasses, all year round. I have so many pairs and think they add style to any outfit!

Do you follow the trends?

I love peeking at the new trends at the Fashion Weeks and it’s so exciting to see all the creativity that has gone into the pieces.

I always try to inject some ideas from the latest trends into my wardrobe but I prefer to add to the classic look that I already know suits me. I think new hints of colour and accessories are a sophisticated way of following trends while keeping your own style.

That said, if something I like and I know suits me comes in, such as the jumpsuit or bell sleeves in SS17, I’ll plunge straight in!

Do you feel like the fashion industry is moving towards an ageless approach?

It’s reassuring to see high profile women such as Brigette Trogneux publicly break down barriers about looking stylish at any age. The fact that the mainstream media is slowly embracing wardrobe essentials for all ages is also encouraging.

But you only have to look at the billboards for big fashion brands or walk into the majority of high street shops to see how focused the fashion industry still is on youth. We started The Posh Rock because we were frustrated with demoralising articles telling women that they are trying too hard to be young.

For many women, having their photo taken is an uncomfortable situation. What advice would you give for taking photos of yourself?

We all have good and bad days no matter what our age, so try to choose a good day if you can!

I used to only take photos from above because I thought they were more flattering, but since we started The Posh Rock I’ve taken photos from all angles and been genuinely surprised by how much I like them.

I think the key is that you may not get the perfect shot first time round. That’s why fashion photographers take hundreds of images. I’m not suggesting that you do that, but why not take a few photos from different perspectives and in different frames and see what looks best? You can always take a few more to tweak the light and what’s in shot.

And only publish what you’re happy with. Victoria Beckham wouldn’t share a picture that she didn’t feel totally amazing in, so why should you?

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