Why I'm absolutely not 'dressing for my age' at 54

Woman sitting on steps in printed dress
Lisa Talbot specialises in making women feel confident through style (AKP Branding Stories)

As we get older, the phrase 'dressing for your age' is thrown around a lot, but at 54, I am absolutely not 'dressing for my age'. I'm dressing for the person I am, and the woman I want to be.

For me, that means wearing patterns and strong colours, even if that's deemed 'too young' for my age.

There's a notion in society that when we hit 45, become a mother, or start a new job role, we should flick a style switch and suddenly be dressing as a different person just because of our age or situation.

Woman smiling in a blue print dress
Lisa encourages us to wear what feels most 'us'

But as someone whose job it is to instil confidence in women through style, I believe it's more important to dress according to the person that we are, rather than for how old we are.

Dressing for who I am

At 54, I have a naturally dramatic personality, so I love being a little bit different when it comes to my outfits, to reflect that.

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I don't feel confident dressing for who society says I 'should' be. If I dressed how others expect a woman in her mid-fifties to dress, I would feel more subdued and not able to express myself in the way I view myself.

I dress for who I am now because that's the person who gives me the confidence that allows me to stand as a woman in the power that I have.

Woman smiling in black top with a gold necklace
Lisa stays true to herself with her style (Shots by Sherrie)

I don't want to fade into the background with my clothes or my personality. I want people to notice my ensembles because when someone pays you a compliment, you get another hit of confidence.

Dressing for who you are

When we dress in clothes that make us feel like ourselves, be that bold prints, bright colours or all-out sparkle, we feel more confident because we're being authentic to ourselves.

When we love our clothes, we exude confidence with our shoulders back and our heads held high, ready to take on the world.

If someone insisted you wear long skirts and roll-neck jumpers when you feel more comfortable in short skirts and blouses, you wouldn't feel confident because you're not happy with what you're wearing.

READ: I'm 34 - why am I still expected to look how I did when I was 18?

Hitting the high street

My clients often tell me, 'I can't go to River Island or Zara, I'm too old!' but no store is off limits for anybody past a certain age. These shops want clients of all ages in there!

I love shopping on the high street - maybe I won't wear the items in the same way the younger generation will, but I will wear them in my own way. I don't have to be trendy, but I can certainly be modern and wear the latest styles if I like them.

For the ultimate confidence boost, forget how you 'should' dress, and instead embrace who you are and wear the clothes that you love and give you confidence - no matter your age!

Still seeking inspirations? Read on for my top advice on feeling confident in your wardrobe...

Finding your confidence

  1. Create a mood board of all the items you love; skirts, trousers, tops, accessories, shoes and so on. This can be on Pinterest or an A4 piece of paper using magazine cuttings if you’re feeling creative. This will remind you of all the things that make you smile.

  2. Spend an hour in your wardrobe; items that no longer fit or you don’t enjoy wearing can be removed as these create a negative space in your head. Items in your wardrobe that you love wearing will give you confidence during your day.

  3. Dress for your style personality and the woman that you want to be. Get a clear idea of her in your head and become aware of items that don't feel like her. When you become clear and aware of who you are now, it helps you pull together a wardrobe of items that you love and want to wear. More importantly, it will give you so much confidence.

  4. If your wardrobe consists of base neutral colours such as black, navy, grey or cream, I would recommend adding in pops of colour. Colour helps us with confidence and how others see us. You don't have to go bright and bold, you can opt for soft and subtle. Choose colours that suit your personality.

  5. Many of us love shoes and they are a great accessory to give us confidence. We use shoes to complete our outfits and say a little bit about who we are. Don’t stick to the same shoes; change the style, colour and maybe move from a white trainer to a coloured or metallic trainer, a ballet pump to a Mary Jane this season, an ankle boot with a dress or skirt or add a kitten heel for height if you’ve moved away from a higher heel.

  6. Accessories can change an outfit from boring to brilliant with little effort. Pick a piece of jewellery or handbag to put the finishing touches to your outfit. When you feel complete your confidence will grow.

Find out more about Lisa's work as a personal stylist here and visit HELLO!'s Second Act hub for inspiration on living your best life at any age.