Absence of Colour: Wardrobe must-haves are black and white

One of the best things about getting older is you develop your own sense of style. And then you hit 50 and every body starts telling you what you should and shouldn’t wear again! New Look is out, Marks & Spencer is in.

Well bugger that!

No matter what age you are, confidence is the deciding factor when it comes to looking good. And that can only come from liking what you wear and feeling comfortable in it. And I’m never, ever going to feel comfortable in frou-frou blouses and sensible slacks.

My style is casual – jeans and a T-shirt, most days. I do try to go classic at times, with pearls and “naice” tops, but then I catch myself in the mirror and I feel like Mrs Thatcher is looking back at me. I’m lucky in that being only 5ft-and-a-teeny bit, I can wear children’s clothes – one poor shop assistant was very bemused when I told him I couldn’t decide whether I was age 7-8 or 9-10 in their boys’ section when looking at T-shirts. This mainly comes in handy for sleeves because I’ve yet to find an adult coat where I don’t turn the sleeves up once. Or even twice (who are all these long-limbed lovelies?)

The range of shops where I live is quite limited, but there’s a Zara and an H&M (and yes, a New Look) as well as a Primark and these are generally the shops I live in. If there was an & Other Stories, I’d be sorted.

These are also the shops in my price range. Many fashion writers seem to think that once you get past childbearing age (which to them is 20-33), you suddenly get a pot of money and can start shopping in LK Bennett or Reiss. I wish! (And so do just about all my friends. A pal won some money once and went to splurge herself. She ended up buying a manicure set for £27.95 because she couldn’t get past the lifelong training that shopping on a budget brings. “Spend over a hundred quid for a T-shirt? Are you mad?”)

I think the key, when you get to an age that’s too old for trendy but too young for Marksies, is to find ageless pieces in the shops you like, follow your style and not be a slave to fashion. I snapped myself in this last year and still wear it today (the T-shirt is from Primark – I think it cost around £4 – while the jeans are H&M. I adore these jeans. They are as cheap as chips, true to their size and have enough stretch to make them comfy without getting baggy)

primark t-shirt and H&M jeans

Also, it’s important to occasionally push yourself out of your comfort zone and try something new. I can get into a real rut and have to have Mr 50Sense forcing me into the changing room with something I would never consider. Sometimes it’s a disaster, but other times you discover that a draped neckline dress really hides your fried eggs. That also means exploring shops you would never have tried before – which is how I discovered & Other Stories.

Finally, I will always stay away from loud prints and colours and fussy details (are you listening M&S?) I am, at heart, a monochrome girl (blame Gary Numan) and the majority of my wardrobe is dark, muted colours in simple shapes. Which is why I’ve fallen in love with a new find – Absence of Colour

This is only a relatively new label, founded in 2013. It’s a London brand but draws heavily on the Nordic influence, which is what I think I love about it: it’s clean, modern and minimalist. I also like that it doesn’t follow seasons, so you can buy something and know it won’t ever go out of date.

After obsessing for several hours, I’ve whittled down my favourites to these. Click for gallery

The Noir T-shirt is a must-have, while the black blazer over the white tee is classic me. It’s a look I constantly return to. I love the striped trousers – but I wonder if that’s because I love them on lovely leggy Trinny Woodall, so I’ll have to try them on (see what I mean about trying new things?).

An animal-print is also new for me. It’s hot on-trend this season but I’ve always been wary of looking too mutton. I think the colours on this dress will avoid me looking like Bet Lynch. Finally, I’m on the lookout for a new bag and these are definitely on the list for Santa (note to self: stop buying light coloured bags when your wardrobe is dark. The stains never come out.) Except the large tote. That’s now appearing on the bank statement list…

Top of the wishlist is easy – it’s this Maya Mongolian Fur Coat, which I would never wear. Just snuggle up to it all night. And day. In fact, I’d never stop stroking it…

Absence of Colour Maya Mongolian Fur Coat

What are your favourite shops? Who else should I look out for? I’d love to hear.