Policewoman-turned-best-selling author Gina Kirkham tells SoSensational about the traumas of finding clothes for book launches and photographs.
“It’s funny how you develop a personal style in your early twenties. It is a style that brings gentle acceptance of your body shape. You work with your good points and discreetly cover small failings.
Then, fast approaching 60, you stand in front of the mirror. You quickly become aware that time has not been as kind as you first thought.
Suddenly, with age, those ‘small failings’ have, overtaken the good points. There’s nothing ‘discreet’ about wobbly bingo wings that knock your hubby sideways when you wave goodbye to your grandchildren.
Since my early teens I have suffered an excruciating lack of confidence in my appearance. I also have a deep-rooted phobia of being photographed. All our family snapshots have a glaring gap where I should have been.
From functional to fashionable
As a police officer, I wore a uniform. For over 25 years I didn’t have to stand in front of my wardrobe and worry about what to wear or how I looked in this or that.
Granted combat pants aren’t the most flattering, but they were functional. In fact ‘functional’ pretty much summed up how I dressed.
First there was excitement. Then, public appearances: book launches, charity luncheons and horror of horrors – being photographed.
This very quickly plunged me into the dark realms of worry over what to wear to each event. The outfit needed to be fashionable, comfortable and age appropriate.
Fortunately there was some very good fashion advice on the web. It led me in the right direction, helping me to adapt to this new phase of personal style and my ‘new’ body. I also learned that you don’t have to be restricted in choice just because you have achieved a certain age.
‘Whiskey Tango Foxtrot,’ is my second book. For its launch, there have been a few additional factors to take into account when choosing a suitable outfit, not least the hot weather. I needed something that would keep me cool, give me freedom of movement, boost my confidence and most importantly, cover all my areas of concern (bingo wings included) whilst still looking stylish.
Being Petite added to my issues
I love my final choice, a loose, off-the-shoulder top in a very loose weave silk in gold-and-green . I can wear it over a black cami and trousers or over a black slip dress. As a vertically challenged women, choosing trousers and cami/vest in the same colour helps me appear to be a little taller (and slimmer). Adding a pair of vintage drop earrings gifted to me by my grandmother will hopefully add a touch of glamour as well as being of sentimental value. My choice of shoes – either a black stiletto or ballet pump – will depend on how long I have to stay on my feet at any event.
With the fabulous choices now available in clothing for women over 50, there is rarely a need to plump for comfort over fashion or to feel pigeon-holed into ‘age appropriate’ outfits.
We can be chic, daring, glamorous AND comfortable at any age.”
Do you hate to be photographed? Tell us about it.
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