Fierce at 50

Our new style columnists Patricia Jones and Emma Lightbown are taking on midlife with a whole lot of sass. First up, 10 tips to update your look     


Our bodies – and our style – are constantly changing in the early part of our lives. We accept it. We navigate our way through the hormonal horrors of puberty, experiment with our look during our teens and twenties; then there might be pregnancy, motherhood, career change, promotion… The list goes on and on. But as we move into midlife, we need a rethink. We’ve got to take a stand on how we want our future to pan out.  

Gone are the days when midlife was filled with boring clothes, hushed conversations about menopause, and living vicariously through our kids and grandkids. We’re on a mission to help women embrace everything midlife has to offer with confidence, grace and a whole lot of sass. 

As with all stages in our lives, it’s a balance – while we gain confidence, self-assurance and a greater understanding of who we are and what we like, we also get grey hairs, changing body shapes and sallow skin. But don’t worry. We have lots of tips to help you look, and feel, fantastic. 

Image is so often overlooked – yet refreshing our style at this stage in our lives is one of the quickest things we can do to feel better about ourselves. And a revamp can give us such a huge confidence boost. 

Here are our top 10 tips. 

1 Start by detoxing your wardrobe. Having a clear-out of the clothes you no longer wear is hugely cathartic and makes the process of getting dressed in the morning so much easier. 

2 A wardrobe detox is also a great way of finding those hidden gems – the clothes you forgot you had, the impulse purchases you’ve never worn or those old faithfuls you love but haven’t seen in a while.  

3 We never save anything for “best”: life’s too short not to make the most of the clothes you love. There’s no point having stuff in your wardrobe just gathering dust – so unless it’s a ballgown, wear it. 

4 Restyling your existing wardrobe needn’t cost you a penny. Layering is a great way to make new outfits with your current clothes. Try wearing a dress with a rollneck underneath or a chunky knit over the top – both great options for autumn/winter. Layering is also a great solution for women who are experiencing hot flushes. 

5 Think about accessories, too. A simple top or dress that’s already in your wardrobe can be enhanced with a statement necklace or a vibrant scarf. Pops of added colour are great for brightening sallow skin and can be a good way to road-test those bolder shades. 

6 Your body shape might be changing – so how can you embrace it? First, practise self-love. Stop talking negatively about yourself – it’s extremely important. Think about self-care, too: take some time out every week for yourself, even if that’s just to sit in a corner and read a book. 

7 Work on self-compassion. Be kind to yourself. Look in the mirror and say: “I am beautiful, I am kind, I am enough.” 

8 Go for a walk with friends, or join a Pilates or yoga class – these are all great ways of stretching the muscles and feeling more energised. Any form of exercise – especially done in the morning – sets you up for the day and leaves you invigorated. 

9 Even if your shape is changing, there will still be at least one area of your body that you like, so enhance it. If you’re concerned about size labels in your clothes, cut them out. You’re the only one who knows what size something is – it’s much better to feel comfortable than to be self-conscious in a smaller size that doesn’t fit you properly. 

10 Doing your hair and make-up before you leave the house is a real confidence boost. We don’t mean full-on Hollywood glamour, but do enough to be able, when you catch your reflection, to say: “Damn, I’m looking mighty fine today!” 


Follow Emma Lightbown and Patricia Jones on Instagram 

As well as talking about style for midlife and the latest fashion trends, Emma and Patricia will be solving your style-related dilemmas. Email your questions to 


Three tips for detoxing your wardrobe 

1 Repair, resell and recycle: take anything broken or damaged to a local seamstress/dry cleaner and get it fixed; resell anything designer or that’s in great condition; and recycle everything else by donating it to your local charity shop. 

2 Organise your clothes into categories (skirts, dresses, trousers) – it makes it easier to find everything. You could go one step further and colour co-ordinate, too. 

3 Use space-saving hangers: we love the non-slip velvet ones, which are super-thin, so you can fit more clothes in your wardrobe and prevent things sliding off into the darkness.