Recently I’ve stumbled across so many articles aimed at the woman over 30; articles along the lines of ‘…things women over 30 should not wear’ ‘…things a women over 30 should not own’… what a load of cods whollop! Oh the audacity, who the hell are they to tell us anyway? And since when did 30 become the point at which the line is drawn in the sand?
Here are just a few items hat I apparently shouldn’t be caught dead wearing and yet have only just found the confidence, at almost 40, to do so (GASP!)…. graphic tees, leopard print, short dresses and anything furry!
This is why I so admire author and personal stylist Jo Blankfield and her ‘Key Pieces’ concept. One key piece, styled on four women of different ages, sizes and body shapes. What struck a chord with me, when I first met Jo at one of her photo shoots, was the simple idea of how you can take a single garment and make it work for women of different shapes and sizes.
I’ve written in previous posts, that part of my ‘Style Journey” has been saying YES to new opportunities, getting out of my comfort zone and meeting truly inspiring women, such as Jo. I recently had the pleasure of working with Jo, being a ‘model’ for one of her concept shoots. Well, she put me in a beautiful A-line white skirt from Forecast Official, admittedly not something I would normally have picked out for myself (think sticky fingers from The Toads) but a piece nonetheless I felt fantastic in!
I loved the experience and seeing first hand how Jo’s styling of a key piece worked on all of us, so I was thrilled when she agreed to be interviewed for my blog Love Your Wardrobe.
How long have you been in the fashion industry and a personal stylist?
I fell into the industry at the age of 17, assisting a friend’s mum back stage at fashion parades. I realised then I had a knack for styling, specifically everyday people, and gradually built my career and business from there. Almost 14 years on, I’ve written a book on dressing for your proportions, worked with Gok Wan and Trinny and Susannah, been a National Stylist with Westfield and styled thousands of everyday men and women. I have truly found my vocation and LOVE that I get to make people feel great with such simple and logical tips and tricks.
What does ‘style’ mean to you?
Style is all about you. To be stylish is to feel good and confident in what you are wearing and how you present yourself. Style is your visual expression of yourself. It’s a way to show who you are without having to speak. It is individual, personal and diverse. No one can tell you what your style is, but a good stylist can guide you and help you uncover it.
Tell us a little bit about your ‘Key Pieces’ concept?
In this day and age versatility and ‘bang for your buck’ is key. So often I see clients that have a wardrobe full of clothes, but nothing to wear. Frequently I’ll visit a client’s wardrobe and see there are key pieces missing that tie everything together. I will talk to the idea of purchasing a piece with 3 looks in mind so you can get the most out of it. The ‘key pieces’ concept derived from this idea and also that many women don’t believe they can wear certain pieces at their age. I wanted to show that anyone can wear almost anything; it comes down to how you style it. Secondly I wanted to show how many options could be created out of one piece, encouraging you all to think outside the box. You many notice regular garments or ideas reoccur in my posts, especially on instagram, to show you how it all ties together.
How do you make one item work for four women of different shapes and sizes?
With my experience and understanding of proportion, I do have the skill to recognise what styles will work for most. Especially as I don’t meet or see most of the ladies I shoot until they turn up on the day! I also know how to ‘make things work’. It all comes down to balancing a look, knowing how to proportionally balance their bodies with clothing lengths and shapes and understand the mindset of the everyday woman.
‘Real women, real clothes, real budget’… I love it! Can this be achieved on a ‘MUM’ budget?
Anything can be achieved on any budget, it’s about being smart, building a capsule wardrobe and finding the right fit. The cheapest piece can look expensive if the fit is correct and it is styled well. It comes down to the individual, what you need your clothes to do for you, what your personal style is and what you have to work with in your wardrobe. Less is more and accessories are key. Add texture and print to give you more options and layer to maximise the use of your pieces.
As a busy mum of three, I NEED comfort but want to LOOK stylish too…any styling tips on how to achieve this balance?
Keep it simple! For risk of repeating myself, get the fit right! Don’t try to hide. Instead find pieces that flatter and complement your body and give you shape. Keep simple accessories on hand to pop on as you head out the door, something as a simple long pendant necklace or statement scarf. Try a jacket to give polish to your look and have fun with stylish sneakers, brogues and lace ups for a fashion confident, but practical look.
What would you say in response to all those articles titled “things women over 30 should not wear’?
In my opinion these pieces are purely there to create conversation. You really can wear whatever you want, the trick is to wear it confidently, and in a way that suits your body, style and generation. We all know what feels right for us and that should be your guide. It’s not for us to judge what one person chooses to wear. I often get asked if I see how people dress and cringe or want to change them, but for me, it’s not about that. If I see someone uncomfortable in what they are wearing, I want to help them, but even if it’s alternative or a bit ‘young’, if they own it, I’m all for it!
What’s a key piece EVERY woman should own?
Obvious pieces are a good pair of jeans, and LBD, a leather jacket, but really the first thing that springs to mind is a good bra. It can really make or break a look. How and where your bust sits affects the balance of your body and in turn how your clothes look on you. The right bra can define your waist, minimise your tummy and hips and of course lift and shape your bust. Remember, just because a bra was ‘good’ when you bought it doesn’t mean it’s good now! Bras have a life of 6-12 months and should be regularly replaced to ensure the fit and shape is flattering. Don’t underestimate how hard this piece of underwear works!
Styling parties! That sound like fun…
Styling parties are a great way to get the girls together, even do a clothing swap and learn some key tips and tricks about styling yourself and wear to shop in the comfort of your own home. The support and conversation these start is fantastic, as you and your friends will often be quite honest about how you feel with your body and your own style. It’s great for building confidence and learning what works for each other when you next go shopping.
Jo is always looking for everyday women of all ages and sizes to model for her Blog shoot in Melbourne. Email Jo to organise when you can have your moment of fun and learn some new styling tricks along the way.
You can buy Jo Blankfield’s book ‘Your Body, Your Style’ here and learn more on dressing for your body proportions.
If you fancy breaking some of those fashion ‘rules’ no matter what your age, Jo from iCurvy has a fantastic instagram challenge for the week (starting 25th July) you’ll find me ‘playing along’ too!