"I've always wanted to look good... that desire hasn't gone away, so why should I be ignored now"
Way back when Jacynth founded The-Bias-Cut.com's companion blog, she decided it was only natural to start by interviewing the inspiration behind it: her mum, Marilyn.
Occupation: semi-retired solicitor and director of compliance
How would you define your style? Chic and tailored, although feminine with a quirky twist. My aim is to dress age appropriately but not dowdy. I’m less interested in trends (although admittedly I might unintentionally follow them as I don't want to look old-fashioned), as I want to have my own individual style.
What is your wardrobe comprised of? I have a big array of jackets, both for day and evening. Their tailored structure is flattering on my shape and I mainly wear trousers, as most dresses and skirts out there don’t work on me as I have a short waist.
What do you struggle to find? Clothing that fits me well, covers the areas I want to hide, but isn’t matronly. In particular, it’s hard to find good evening wear other than jackets. For example, I’d love a beautiful dress. There is lots of beautiful clothing available but it is usually designed to suit slim women. But after having children, a sedentary job, and suffering from age related health problems that prevent me from getting fit, I don’t have the perfect figure to fit into standard sizing.
So what does fit often means a compromise: cover up and look dowdy, or show lots of skin and be uncomfortable. I don’t want to hide all of my skin (I like to show my décolleté as I feel the line flatters my upper body) but equally I like to cover certain areas such as the top of my arms. But it’s difficult to find items that do both. And those that do are more often than not in dark colours, whilst I’m happy to wear bright colours.
How do you feel the fashion industry currently perceives you? As an irrelevancy. I feel I need to apologise to the staff for browsing in a lot of top London shops and, whilst there are some high street shops interested in catering for my age, there’s such a limited number everyone can end up looking the same. I’ve always wanted to look good, be stylish, stand out and make a statement through my clothes. That desire hasn’t gone away with age, so why should I be ignored now? It’s very frustrating not being able to find the clothes I want to wear.
How do you get around these limitations you’re presented with? Accessories are my compromise. They allow me to update my wardrobe and add style. Jewellery-wise I mainly buy earrings, rings, brooches and bracelets as lots of necklaces are too short so don’t flatter as one’s face and neck can thicken with age. I like to wear eye-catching brooches to jazz up my plainer well-structured jackets.
I also like good quality shoes, and I’m lucky to be able to fit in a lot of the narrow stylish designs around these days (although lots of them are far to high for me). But I have many friends who aren’t able to wear narrow designs due to bunions or other changes to their feet that have happened with age, so they’re even more limited in choice than I am.
What are 3 of the most significant items in your wardrobe?
- A lime green jacket. I wouldn’t wear it for business, but I would for dinners and looking good in the day. It’s special because it’s bright, eye catching and young but still appropriate on me. I’ve even had younger people asking me where I bought it. So I feel youthful, confident and stylish in it. It also has a personal significance for me as I wore it to my daughter’s 21st
- I have a variety of different pearls: white, black, pink and gold. I think they always flatter, look good and have quality, whilst being ageless. And they remind me of lots of occasions and places throughout my life, such as being with my parents.
- A black satin evening clutch with a large bow on it. It was a present from my husband (but picked out by my daughter). It’s been admired a lot as it’s classic, chic and great quality but a bit different with a large bow on it
What was your most indulgent spend? I bought a jacket by to wear at my daughter’s graduation. It was very expensive but because I struggle to find something that ticks all the boxes, I was willing to splash out. Its unusual mixture of different fabrics and shades of white and blue were what appealed to me. So, whilst I feel it’s age appropriate, it also has an edge and I don't believe will date.
What's your favourite piece from The-Bias-Cut.com's first limited-edition collection? That's a tough one! A stand out for me is the yellow Ellis coat by Emile Vidal Carr. I love the vibrancy of it, it's feel and style. It would look chic on anyone. I also particularly like the exclusive blue and silver jumper by Korlekie - it's a statement piece for day or night.
What tip would you give to women encountering a similar experience as you? Don’t succumb to how the industry wants you to perceive yourself. If you can, buy something that makes you feel good about yourself, and if you can’t find the right clothes, a statement piece of jewellery or other accessory can go a long way.