On the Run – Life Begins at 40 (Part 1)

I read a really interesting article at the weekend about the former tennis player, Annabel Croft.  It was about how her daughter, Amber, took control of her Wardrobe, which was stuck in the 1990’s.

This is what Annabel said about her clothing:

“For a good 10 years, after I had three kids, I got used to throwing on a uniform….I suppose I went into a bit of a tunnel and a lot my friends did too.  It wasn’t until my children started growing up that I discovered I was completely out of the loop with fashion.  I’d forgotten that it could be fun, and I lost faith in my own judgment.”

Having worked with so many women who find themselves in this situation, I found her last comment really inciteful. A lot of women have a really good innate sense of style but having not devoted any time to themselves, have just lost confidence. Once we re-ignite that dwindling flame, there’s no stopping them!

She also went on to say: “Looking back, I can see that my look had got locked in the 1990s, before I ‘d had children. I’d had the same shoes for seven or eight years and wasn’t updating them. So, thank God Amber spoke up, or I’d still be wearing my Dynasty suits now.”

Once her daughter took control, she taught her Mum how to layer things and to mix high street and designer pieces.  She styles designer pieces with something clever from Topshop or Zara and looks to brands such as Elizabeth and James (designed by the Olsen twins), Acne, LK Bennett, J Brand, Issa (a favourite of Kate Middleton) and All Saints. 

Having the figure of a former tennis player and probably a relatively healthy clothing budget makes it easier for her to look amazing but nonethelss, the point remains the same.

So, where to start if you have reached that stage where you finally have a little bit of brain space, and time, to devote to yourself?

Without wanting to do a “capsule wardrobe post” these are the items that I would look to add to a Wardrobe first to give it a new lease of life:

A good pair of jeans – and by good I mean well fitting, not necessarily pricey. I like these high waisted flared jeans (below) by Jaeger which at £35 in the sale are a great buy. I would also look to Not Your Daughter’s Jeans, Hobbs, J Brand at Shopbop or Levi’s,  curve ID as all are cut for women’s figures.

Flare Jean

  • A good trench coat. Why? Because it covers a multitude of sins beneath and whilst also looking stylish.  I like this one from Aubin and Wills which is reduced in the sale from £325 to £150.  Made in the UK, it’s of great quality and will last for years. It also comes in navy. It isn’t too long so will look equally good with jeans and trousers as well as with a dress or skirt.

Shirts or blouses. Why? Because they are so much more forgiving and flattering than T-shirts or clingy tops. Shirts with darts are particularly flattering and ladies with curvier busts will know to avoid breast pockets. Zara always has a great selection. I particularly like this Loas print blouse from Monsoon which is now £22.50 in the sale. It’s a blue and turquoise delicate animal print.

I also like this pink Esther shirt also from Monsoon, together with…

this Suzy colour block sandy shirt also from Monsoon.



Add in a blazer to add a bit of structure such as this NW3 boyfriend jacket reduced from £179 to £89 (and likely to be reduced further).

Zara always has an excellent selection of blazers and if you already own a plain one, then an embellished or tweed blazer is a great option.



Some wedge shoes such as these Kara 2 strap espadrille reduced from £119 to £59, which also come in navy would be comfortable yet stylish.


  or these LK Bennett Star Sandals (£45 instead of £125 or Embassy Sandals (£65 instead of £125) Even though they may not be available on line, I have seen plenty in the stores.

                             Star Sandal               Embassy Sandal

An A-line day time skirt such as this one from Boden reduced from £45 to £33.80 (Cos has similar) would work wonders and is a flattering shape…

and a day time printed dress is always a useful addition to your wardrobe.  This dress, also from Boden will lend itself to being put with lots of different colours.

Everyone’s needs and demands will be different, as will their budget and bodyshape. However, with the addition of a few other pieces, such as a couple of knits – I love this one from Orla Kiely reduced from £265 to £132.50 which also comes in navy.


a breton top such as this one from Boden…

some day time sparkles and perhaps a lace skirt you would be well on your way to kick starting your wardrobe.

Tomorrow I will look at those all important accessories which will complete your wardrobe, making sure that you are the glamourous 40 something you deserve to be.


  1. Anonymous
    July 10, 2012 / 9:02 pm

    A brilliant, practical, no frills post…..love it Beth! Claire H

    • StyleGuile
      July 11, 2012 / 3:46 pm

      Hi Claire – thanks, that's really good of you to say so. Thanks again!

  2. Andress
    July 11, 2012 / 8:37 am

    Really great post Beth! Lots of ideas, especially like the trench and the espadrilles. Will have to see if I can source something similar here in Aus. Look forward to the next instalment:)

    • StyleGuile
      July 11, 2012 / 3:42 pm

      Hi Andress – thank you! The next installment will be on its way later! How are your shops in Aus? I have heard from an Australian client that they aren't that great – but I hope you haven't found that to be the case. It's a long time since I have been your way!

  3. Anonymous
    July 11, 2012 / 8:46 am

    Helpful stuff here – I think mums are always putting their needs after their children's so looking good and spending money on ourselves is sometimes a hard thing to do.

    • StyleGuile
      July 11, 2012 / 3:44 pm

      You're so right – there's always something which seems more important and which takes precedence over our time and/or the pennies isn't there? That investment in ourselves does pay off though doesn't it? It can make you feel so much better, knowing that you look neat and tidy with clothes that are flattering.

  4. Justine
    July 11, 2012 / 9:04 am

    Great post Beth. I feel inspired!

    • StyleGuile
      July 11, 2012 / 3:45 pm

      Hi Justine – that's good to hear! Now is such a great time to be in the shops as the sales are so amazing.

  5. Anonymous
    July 11, 2012 / 10:26 am

    I'm inspired to try blouses & shirts instead of tops. I find tops difficult to buy, I'm tall with broad shoulders and they are often too short on me. I love the trench, I need a shorter coat as my legs are the slimmest part of me & I've discovered that if the coat is too near my knees I can look a couple sizes bigger. Great post.Martina Walsh

    • StyleGuile
      July 11, 2012 / 3:47 pm

      Hi Martina – let me know how you get on with the blouses and shirts. Glad that you like the trench too. Jigsaw also has a shortish one in the sale I see, so that may be worth a look at too. Have fun with it all!

    • Anonymous
      July 12, 2012 / 9:18 pm

      Thanks Beth.

  6. shan siggers
    July 14, 2012 / 1:44 pm

    Oh thanks for the nod on the Hobbs boyfriend jacket. Exactly what I want, good quality and love the sale price. Just ordered on-line. Shan x

  7. shan siggers
    July 14, 2012 / 1:45 pm

    Oh thanks for the nod on the Hobbs boyfriend jacket. Exactly what I want, good quality and love the sale price. Just ordered on-line. Shan x

  8. Leonard Uper 1
    November 11, 2016 / 12:41 am

    Get set for warmer days ahead with American Rag's maxi dress featuring an allover print, bodycon dresses for juniors an Empire waist and a handkerchief hem.

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