I love the idea that we can still have ‘first time ever’ experiences even at the age of 71!
And this week I became (albeit very briefly) a TV presenter on a live national day time show having styled three women ranging in age from 68 to 84.
Was it daunting? Was it terrifying? Was it exciting? Was it fun?
Absolutely yes to all of those and if there’s a ‘next time’ I’d do some things differently, but that is what learning from an experience is all about. I had often joked to Anna ‘Maybe one day I’ll be on the sofa of ITV’s ‘This Morning’ with Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby’, so the photo above is the fulfillment of something I’d imagined but doubted would ever happen.
You may think that a five minute piece at midday meant arriving at about 10.00 a.m, straight into ‘hair and makeup’, a quick rehearsal after a chat with the three ‘models’ and then good to go. It all actually took much longer. I was picked up at 7.30 a.m and arrived an hour later and then it was ‘full-on’ for nearly four hours. The priority was to approve the three outfits and make any changes according to the fashion notes I had supplied. I’d insisted on comfortable shoes or sandals for all three outfits and suggested accessories like small cross-body bags and interesting earrings. I was also keen to show how well a jumpsuit can work on an older body and how something quite formal like a trouser suit can look more relaxed and ‘now’ teamed with white sports shoes.
On arrival at the ITV studios I met the three women who were my models. All of them were an absolute delight and I knew immediately that the suggested styles I’d chosen were going to work really well on them. Let me tell you a bit about each model and how they came to be there.
Sheri (68) wrote to This Morning a few years back to ask them why they never feature older, shorter women on their fashion slots (she’s 5’2”). A year later they contacted her and asked if she'd like to be one of their models and since she's been on a few times, most notably when she very bravely wore a bikini for Gok Wan! Sheri has an enviable figure which is probably down to the fact that she plays tennis, goes to the gym and walks a lot and good health and fitness is very important to her. Sheri has also learnt Flamenco dance in the last few years and she and her husband are also bikers and often spend their weekends travelling around the country with other bikers.
Barbara (74) became a model on This Morning after her daughter wrote to the programme asking if she could have a makeover as a surprise for Mother's day. This didn't happen, but a few months later she got a call asking if she'd come in for a feature Trinny Woodall was doing about layering. After she retired from nursing, Barbara decided to become a preschool educator which she did for 11 years. Like Sheri, Barbara also has a great figure, again because she’s very fit. Her daily routine is: up at 5.00 a.m, out for a walk at 6.30, home to do 1000 pedals on her exercise bike and then a period of meditation which she told us ‘sets her up for the day!’
Jo (84) has a friend who sent in a photo of her to This Morning a couple of years ago and she's since been on the programme a few times. Jo was a successful film and TV actress in the 60s and 70s, but gave it up when she adopted her son. She went back to acting in later life through a scheme run by RADA for older people. She's since been in several different plays and takes part in rehearsed readings at different theatres. As you can see Jo is very trim and with model facial features and lovely thick white hair.
I was delighted that Sheri, Barbara and Jo were happy with the three looks chosen for them. I have had the horrible experience of being ‘styled’ for a photoshoot in a national newspaper and hating the dress and excruciatingly uncomfortable shoes chosen for me. On that occasion I was more or less told that unless I agreed to wear the chosen outfit that I wouldn’t be included, so I reluctantly gave in. So when a fairly plain brown shirtwaister dress was suggested for Barbara, I could immediately sense that she wasn’t that keen. Happily she loved the idea of the jumpsuit I offered her as an alternative, and as soon as she tried it on she was thrilled with how it flattered her tall size 14/16 figure. Sheri particularly loved the New Look white sandals we’d chosen because they were so comfortable and easy to walk in and Jo (as you can see in the video further below) adored the ice blue trouser suit which complimented the cool tones of her colouring.
And what about me? I did my own makeup at 6.30 a.m at home and used our Cream, Taupe and Midnight Blue No Shimmer Eye Shades on top of Continuous Cover Foundation in 02 mixed with Face Prime and with Rosy Glow Real Radiance Blush, and Soft Plum Lustrous Colour Lipstick. For the programme I wore a white and navy sleeveless linen blouse I bought last week in the sale from Hobbs, a pair of navy trousers from Zara, a pink linen mix jacket I bought last year in France with some pink earrings which cost 10 euros on a market stall (the earrings, not the jacket!). My white tasselled sports shoes are from John Lewis and are by Me&Em.
And here’s the result
I thought you might also like to look at the three outfits alongside my own version of each one which will hopefully give you some ideas for stylish summer dressing now the sun has finally decided to shine!
In the photos below I’m wearing my own clothes - all of which I already had in my wardrobe. None were bought this year, so I want to give you some ideas rather than recommend specific items, but I know that you like to know where my clothes are from.
Max Mara, white top: Cos, navy jacket: Zara (sale last year), sandals: M&S.
LK Bennett (bought in their sale last summer) Navy sandals: Clarke’s Shoes.
Blue trouser suit:
Massimo Dutti, white top: Cos, White trainers: Me&Em (John Lewis).
I do hope you have found this inspirational and it has given you some ideas for your own summer looks now that the sun is finally shining. And do leave your comments below - I would be delighted to hear your thoughts.
And finally just to let you know that we are ‘popping down’ our Wimbledon shop after 17th August - so if you’d like a makeover then book quickly because we don’t have many appointments left. The Guildford shop will stay open until the end of October.