Ten tips for timeless style

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Check out these top tips for timeless style, no matter what your age or figure.

Just a quickie today, as I have a ton of work and and am also down with bronchitis and feeling absolutely parlous. 

Found this nice article the other day on 10 secrets of timeless style. Have a click and see what you think. Really it’s a shameless plug for designer Gayle Bentley, but it might give you some food for thought. 

Her top ten tips are:

Potrait neckline1 Neckline interest:  flattering necklines are key because they bring attention to your face and decolletage, says the piece. Well, that couldn’t be more correct. But fancy necklines cost money – it’s why you find the godawful crewneck so ubiquitous in fashion – easy to sew, cheap to construct. In contrast, I have a fabulous 1950s jacket with a collar that can either be a short open cape, or rebuttoned to make an asymmetrical frame for the face – simply gorgeous, but a lot harder to find. 

2 Monochromatic looks: but monochromatic, note, not BLACK. Sadly, black is the first colour most of us think of when we hear the word monochrome, but a head-to-toe look in blue, beige, grey or any other neutral works well for daytime, while any colour at all works well for night, or for summer. Just beware of certain colours if you’re a certain shape, is my advice. My mum was a definite ‘apple’ but her prediliction for scarlet often made her look more like a ripe tomato on stilts. 

3  Simple, elegant lines: that’s on the less-is-more principle, but I think it’s important once you hit 40 not to be TOO simple unless you’ve got a drop-dead-gorgeous figure and face. While bog-standard teeshirts and jeans might not do much for you, a little touch of something different really helps at a neckline, cuff or hemline, especially something subtle such as topstitching or a fine line of embroidery. For my June treat for myself, I bought a beige dress from Boden in a subtle leaf print and I was confident it would have one of their signature details, which indeed it does – the cuff is slightly fluted and the neckline frames your face, lifting this dress slightly out of the ordinary. 

4 Movement in clothes: very important in women’s wear, which should never look like a man’s if you can help it. Stiff, unyielding fabrics do none of us any favours, while a little flirty movement in a skirt is better for most women over 40 than a skin-tight look.

illusion of fit5 The illusion of fit: well, that’s a plug for this particular designer, but what she means, I think, is don’t dress in sacks. With the help of proper belts and sashes, you can fit even the curviest of figures. 

6 Modern comfort: by which she means fabrics with stretch. Stretch is, in fact, the biggest favour the fashion industry has done us all in the past decade. Back in the day, for a piece of clothing to be really comfortable, it had to be made virtually on your body, and woe betide you if your weight fluctuated, say during your period. Now, virtually all suiting has a little stretch built in and just 2 per cent is usually enough to keep you comfy even in the most formal of clothing. Try on a vintage suit and the first thing you notice is the stiffness, especially from the 1980s and 1990s.

7 Break the rules: this is where your personal style comes in. If you like blue with green or pink with red, then do it. If you like silk with denim, then do it. some of the most useful items in any wardrobe are formal items cut in informal fabrics (a denim suit, say), or casual items cut in luxurious fabrics such as a pure silk t-shirt. 

8 Flattering silhouettes: including trumpet skirts, bootleg pants and princess-seamed dresses. These are cuts that suit nearly all women, as opposed to, say, pencil skirts, skinny-leg jeans and empire-waist dresses, for which you need a particular type of figure. 

9 Chic accents: Bentley’s include red lipstick (which is part of the company logo), sunglasses and pearls. A narrow chiffon scarf is another useful one, to tie around your neck, in your hair, round your waist or liven up a bag handle. 

10 Trendy accessories: about the quickest and often the cheapest way to liven up a basic wardrobe. If you keep to accessories when you want to follow a trend, there’s no worry about fit and you can chuck it if it doesn’t work without breaking the bank. For instance, this season’s screaming yellow is something I’ve picked up in a necklace made of heavy dyed stones. Next year, I can always take it apart and make a new one – a lot less outlay than buying a jacket, for instance.

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