Twiggy’s handbook for the over-40s is a refreshing take on fashion and beauty.
Twiggy has been a fashion icon for longer than many of us have been on the planet and for a 59-year-old, she certainly doesn’t look about to pick up her bus pass any time soon.
Her take on fashion and beauty is very refreshing and down to earth. Full of anecdotes, this book makes it perfectly clear that she doesn’t believe in plastic surgery, isn’t about to head down the Botox route, will wear her peasant skirts until the day she dies and is addicted to cowboy boots. She also cheerfully admits that when at home she schlepps around in tracksuits and Uggs as she can’t be arsed to dress up all the time, and that she hangs onto fashion items in the hope they’ll come round again.
Twiggy is looking fab for her age, but I think it’s more of an attitude to life and a degree of scepticism about fashion than that she’s overendowed with gifts that the rest of us don’t have. She was always an editorial rather than a catwalk model – her 5’6" frame being too short for runway work. Nor is she the waif of yesteryear – over time, she’s remained slim but she’s certainly filled out in a womanly fashion. Without her makeup, in fact, I was struck by how remarkably she looks like my sister, who is about the same age.
The book itself isn’t a how-to book. If you want advice on dressing for your particular shape or colouring, this isn’t the book for you. It’s more one woman’s take on fashion and beauty, and what has worked for her. This, along with its very nice production design (good paper stock, a wealth of illustration and photography) makes it a nice gift for someone rather than a must-have for your fashion library.
Nevertheless it is useful. Particularly so for a UK reader, as it has comprehensive listings of boutiques that stock clothes for grown-up girls, including a regional guide. Each section also has suggestions for products you might like to try, in three price bands: luxury, medium and budget (I am SO in the budget range I’m almost off the scale).
The book is rather strangely constructed and it took me a couple of readings to get my head around it. It starts at the top down, with the face and hair, then works its way down the body to feet and toes, but these chapters are interspersed with a number of fashion chapters, covering areas such as Dressing Up, Style Icon and Dressing for Day. This can make it a bit difficult to go back and find things (for instance, the chapter on Jeans is under ‘Bums and Hips’ while the chapter on Trousers is under ‘Legs’, but if, for instance, your main issue is your waist, you turn to the relevant chapter and you’ll find everything you need from skincare to dressing for disguise, all covered under one heading.
Among the fashion tips I found the most useful were:
* If you’re getting too old for mini skirts, reference the look with a long tunic over jeans. This gives you the same outline with more coverage.
* When packing for holidays, take two sarongs – one little one to cover your hips and bottom over a swimsuit, and a big blanket-size one to lie on and to use as a modesty wrap.
* On holiday, three kaftans are useful: one bottom-length to pop over a swimsuit, one knee-length for lunch and to go over jeans, and one ankle-length for evening, especially if your skin is burned.
* For a weekend away, limit yourself to ten things – it forces you to be disciplined.
* You can check out the cruelty-free credentials of your makeup at www.leapingbunny.org.
* Juicy Couture maternity t-shirts have extra length, and high armholes that enable you to wear a structured bra underneath.
* Maternity jeans are very comfy if you carry weight on your tummy, or have had a C-section.
* A super-thin long-sleeved t-shirt can be worn as a layer under something skimpier (I’m so annoyed I never thought of this – I’ve had endless trouble finding summer Ts thick enough to wear…)
* Button-front grandad (Henley) t-shirts tend to give you more fabric around your middle, if you’re thicker in this area.
Overall, a very nice read and probably a book I’ll enjoy dipping into again.
Twiggy – A Guide to Looking and Feeling Fabulous Over Forty is available from the Second Cherry Bookshop.