midlife woman shopping with style

Style and lockdown: Why looking good is the first step to feeling good all day

I’m super-excited to announce a new regular feature on 50Sense – fashion, style and make-up with award-winning image consultant Olwen Shaw. Each fortnight, she will share her expert advice on how to look fabulous in midlife. You can find out more about Olwen in Celebrating Women, but for now, take it away…

I think we’d all agree that 2020 was a pretty challenging year, all ways round, and with a more stringent lockdown currently, things have not significantly improved. So surely there are more things to worry about than style or fashion?

Of course there are, but I firmly believe that if you look good and feel good about yourself it raises your self-esteem and flips your mindset to be more positive and start the day with a bright smile.

For those of us who are not key workers and are working from home, many will be familiar with the term “keyboard dressing”, which means thinking about what you wear from the waist upwards and not forgetting you’re just in your pants from the waist down if you have to get up to get something!

Maybe you’re not working remotely or on furlough and/or – what I would think is unimaginably stressful – home schooling. You may be self-isolating, shielding or live alone and may not have seen another person for months.

So what has this style stuff got to do with me, you may think. Actually a lot!

Are you watering yourself enough?

I have a very good friend who is a retired counsellor who used to talk about the Watering Can theory to self-care. You spend all your water giving out and then there is none left for yourself so you’re drained, spent and probably resentful. You need to keep filling up that water to be able to give out again.

Your particular water is the way you look and the way you feel about yourself.

Many people have said that the way you talk to yourself is not how you would talk to anyone else:

“You’re fat.”

“You look terrible today.”

“OMG. Another day. I really can’t be bothered.”

“Who am I actually doing this for?”

“Who cares what I look like? I’m not going anywhere/seeing anyone. Seriously, who really does care?”


Start with the basics

Start your day with a shower (or equivalent), cleanse and moisturise your face (tone in the middle if possible) and then, after a couple of minutes’ rest, apply a beauty balm or a foundation.

Get dressed into something comfy if you’re at home – more advice on that coming to 50Sense shortly – and then it’s:

  • eyebrow pencil (or equivalent)
  • blusher
  • eye pencil
  • mascara
  • lipstick/pencil

Five in five – Winner!

You will be amazed at the difference it makes.

Find your style

We all have different personalities and like to dress in our own unique ways. Maybe you’re a Creative, with a totally unique style and like to mix different fabrics, textures and colours. Or perhaps a Classic, with a timeless, co-ordinated look; polished in clothes, hair and make up – and matching!

You may be a Dramatic, loving attention and standing out in a crowd, unafraid of bold colours in clothes and make up, or a Natural, loving the relaxed, casual vibe and blending in with the crowd; wary of colour, pattern and usually very little make-up.

Perhaps you are a Romantic, preferring a pretty, feminine look. Loving floral, floaty fabrics with detail (bows, ruffles, lace etc) and gentle, delicately applied make up. Or effortlessly Chic. Uncluttered and sleek with hair and make up understated, classy and current.

When we are looking at these personality traits, we are helping find the best you. None are better than the others, but they complement you.

Obviously we can’t be pigeon-holed into one personality type and most of us show traits of two or three. But dressing outside of your comfort zone can be very uncomfortable. Try putting a Classic into Creative mode and they will be horrified. In fact, before I trained as a stylist 16 years ago I was very much a Classic. If I went out without my bag and shoes matching, I just about had to take Valium!!

I’ve learnt a lot since then, both about myself but more pertinently, about other people and how to help them find their fabulous and improve their self-esteem.

What could be better in lockdown?

Get your colours correct – give me a call on 07720 445 600 to check or visit me at Olwen Shaw Style to book a complementary 30-minute chat with no obligation. You can also follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

What would you like Olwen to cover in her series? Leave your suggestions in the comments below and she’ll do her best!

And don’t forget to sing up for regular updates and start living a better midlife!

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