Michelle from Yorkshire, England went from a beige loving woman who had lost her sense of style to a 50+ fashion blogger who is not afraid to try something new. Discover how she got her style groove back and enjoy her many style tips!
Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?
Absolutely. Originally from Wales, I now live a somewhat mad life in West Yorkshire. I am married to Andrew who, apart from being the love of my life, snaps all my outfit photographs – which is handy. I have two children from my first marriage, Daniel 30 and Rachel 22.
When I moved to Yorkshire I kept my family home in Wales. What with visiting family in Wales and running my businesses, my life is spent hurtling along motorways. What can I say; I have become adept at working from the passenger seat of a car.
I love eating out, boating, travel, cooking up a storm and the odd glass of fizz.
As a point of reference which age group do you belong to or perhaps you are willing to share your age?
I’m as old as my gums, and six months older than my teeth! Seriously, I have no problem sharing my age – I am 51.
Can you tell us a bit more about The Barefaced Chic and why you created it?
The Barefaced Chic was originally destined to be a chronicle of my journey to hit 50 and beyond looking and feeling my best. Then I had a lightbulb moment which went something like this:
“Hey you, this is the voice of your subconscious. Put down that cup of tea and listen up. Starting a blog for sassy women with a ‘bring-it-on’ attitude to ageing would be awesome. But what about all those women out there who are not in a great place in their lives?
The women wearing cloaks of beige invisibility, the ones who don’t want to stand out in a crowd, the ones who don’t realise their own self-worth, the ones living their lives pleasing everyone else, the ones really struggling with the ageing process. That used to be you!
So how about a blog that celebrates sass but also helps women evolve into the person they were meant to be – the women they would have been if life hadn’t got in the way? Good idea huh? You’re welcome. Now pick up that cup of tea, I’m parched.”
You see, there was once a woman with no confidence who hid at social gatherings, she wore clothes that made her blend into a crowd, she was a people pleaser.
A sad little bird trapped in a cage of her own making with a song in her soul but no voice with which to sing it. Then she hit 40 and took a long, hard look at her life and decided to change, to reinvent herself and become the woman she knew she was meant to be.
It was a long, hard journey but she made it. She is now a happy, confident woman who sings her song with gusto. That woman is me, and my dream is to help other song less birds. Within the posts on The Barefaced Chic, my hope is that my readers will find a tune, or even a not that resonates and that it will help them to find their very own song to sing.
How would you describe your own personal style?
Eclectic, oh so very eclectic, and a work in progress. After living in beige, shapeless clothes for the first 40 years of my life, I am still experimenting. There are now pieces that are definitely ‘me’ but I’m open to a trying new things, even if that means I get it ‘wrong’.
What would you consider the most important components of your style?
It has to be my jacket collection. During the Autumn and Winter months I have a very basic ‘uniform’ of black/grey trousers and turtle neck tops. It sounds dull, but throw on a well cut, interesting jacket, add some accessories and you’re good to go. With the amount of traveling I do for both my business and personal life, it’s a great way to simplify packing.
Where do you live and how does that influence your style?
I travel extensively which offers up plenty of opportunities to hit a wide variety of shops. I tend to lean more towards the smaller, independent retailers and thrift stores – especially for my accessories. I’ve found gloves in Welwyn, handbags in Harrogate, jackets in Edinburgh, shoes in Broadstairs and scarves in Whitstable.
Do you have any favorite brands?
I’m not really loyal to any particular brand, but I do love clothes and accessories that have a bit of an unusual twist. I’ve always been a fan of small businesses, and as I’m getting more involved with the fashion side of my blog I find myself being drawn towards UK brands.
Do you feel you have a signature style?
I actually didn’t think I did, until a couple of blogger friends of mine went to a AW16 show and took photographs of clothing that they thought would suit me. They had it bang on; I have similar styles in my wardrobe!
I hate being uncomfortable or restricted, so my style is generally dictated by how I feel in a garment. I have been known to put the most perfect outfit back on the shelf because it just doesn’t ‘feel’ right. It’s no good wearing beautiful clothing if you can’t wear it without constantly readjusting it.
What is your current body type and height and what are your best tips for dressing for these?
The last eighteen months has seen a huge change in my body shape. After marrying my husband five years ago all thoughts of healthy eating and exercise flittered from my mind. I piled two and half stone onto my small, 5’ 1” frame. I ballooned from a UK size 8 to a UK size 16, looked terrible, every joint in my body ached and my skin and hair were in a terrible state.
I decided to create my own healthy eating plan, and get back on the fitness wagon. I am now a UK size 10 and feel and look so much better. I now get quite a lot of compliments about my skin.
I think the only advice I can give is to actually know what body type you are. I was still dressing to suit a slender woman when I was at my largest – which actually made me look bigger. It’s something I often see when a woman loses a lot of weight; she will still dress for her larger body.
As we get older our bodies are constantly changing, it makes sense to me to reassess its shape and size and experiment. Oh and get someone to take photographs of you in different outfits. I can’t tell you how many outfits I’ve ditched when I’ve seen them in a shoot!
Do you believe in dressing ‘age appropriately’ and what does it mean to you?
I think the only time I am ever ‘appropriate’ when it comes to clothing is when I am attending a function. I wouldn’t wear jeans and a tee to a white tie event, for example.
I dress for myself, in clothes that I feel comfortable and confident in. If that means breaking the ‘rules’ and other people have an issue with what I’m wearing, then their attitude says more about them than it does about my style choice.
Why is the way you look important to you?
As stated above; my style is evolving. So I see every day as an opportunity to try a new look, or to wear something interesting. It gives me a buzz to ‘shop’ from my own wardrobe and put pieces together in a fresh, interesting way.
I do tend to wear comfortable clothes when I’m working from home, but I enjoy clothes and always feel better when I’m wearing something beautiful. Clothes don’t define me, but they do give me a huge boast of confidence.
Do you have any fashion and style tips for women over 40?
As a fully card carrying member of the ‘I will wear beige every day’ society, I feel I have the authority to say that it is NEVER too late to change your style, try new looks or experiment.
Take a trip to the mall and wander around the stores, find a piece you love and then try and build an outfit around it. You don’t have to buy anything, just see what calls to you. Above all have fun with fashion!
What are your plans for Barefaced Chic and how do you see it develop over the coming years?
I would love to see the self development side of The Barefaced Chic flourish, the feedback I get from women who have been helped by my scribblings gives me such a buzz. I am also keen to share more motivational, healthy living posts. Moving forward I am working on launching a Youtube channel – exciting times!
Anything further you would like to add?
I’d just like to thank you for inviting me to your corner of the internet Sylvia and for sharing my ramblings.
Visit Michelle at The Barefaced Chic and @Barefaced_chic for more of her fabulous style!
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