A quick guide to where best to shop for styles for women over 40.
I know I am constantly saying this but the high street or non-designer shops in the UK is the best in the world for shopping and we are very lucky to be able to access all the shopping centres and shopping areas in the London region, relatively easily and quickly from Essex and Suffolk.
There are great clothes to be found for all shapes, sizes and ages and style preferences in supermarkets, low end cheap and cheerful shops to vintage and second hand and charity shops and all the way up to high end high street shops – especially when you know what suits you. There are a string of main stream high street shops that I would recommend to all ages beyond 30 including H&M, Zara, Monsoon, Kurt Geiger, Wallis, Primark and Dorothy Perkins. However, what I am often asked is where the shops are that specifically cater for the 40+ market. As this is the demographic I myself now belong to and the demographic of my target client, this is definitely a question I should be addressing.
A brief search on line whilst researching this blog reveals a handful of articles about 40+ shopping but nothing particularly recent and nothing really tangible to use to write this article. I have therefore decided to use solely my own empirical experience from shopping with clients to build this list of where to shop if you are over 40.
Definitely edging away from work wear and now offering a range of clothing for women not necessarily looking for a conventional suit and shirt for work. Hobbs offers a great colour range, modern and more classic cuts, good discounts and excellent customer service. Changing rooms are spacious, cuts are well designed to flatter tummies and arms with skirt and dress lengths just so. Styles do tend to be more structured but looser/draper styles are increasingly available. This is a place I always take my clients (who are virtually all in the 40+ bracket) and we always come away with a purchase (or several). Clients have ranged from 5ft to almost 6ft and from size 8 to size 16 and all these shapes and sizes have been well catered for. Jewellery, scarves, shoes and bags are tasteful elegant but still modern. It often has discounts on and is available at Braintree outlet where discounts are sizeable. An absolute winner! There is currently 30% off many styles now too.
On many people’s radars but often dismissed as being mumsy or only for weddings. This is most definitely not the case. Excellent colour range particularly for those with muted colouring and excellent jewellery selection. Really strong in jumpsuits and dresses and skirts with ruching and draping on cross or wrap tops which help flatter and sculpt the tummy area. Sleeves on many tops are also designed to flatter and disguise. The selection of dresses online is quite incredible…. I defy you not to find a dress that you like! Florals appear as do stripes and plains in abundance. Sizing is on the generous size and Phase Eight can be found as stand alone shops and in department stores. The shop is in constant discount mode which is always appealing and currently has 50% off many items as it’s summer sale has started. It can also be found at the Braintree outlet with everything massively reduced. The brand is let down by its shoe and bag styles which only seem to come in outdated “summer wedding” styles but hopefully this will improve over time.
My personal favourite shop. A joy for make-up, home wear and food and of course clothing. I am particularly excited about the opening of John Lewis in Chelmsford later this year. The swimwear and underwear department is always very strong. With the former having a great selection of one pieces and tankinis that work well to disguise tummies. Also, a great selection of cover-ups, beach bags and sun hats. Excellent scarves and jewellery with the handbag and shoe department more than adequate although not a patch on my personal favourite Kurt Geiger. The great thing about John Lewis is the range of concessions it offers all under one roof. Along with Phase Eight and Hobbs – also Jigsaw , Whistles and Mint Velvet which are strong for the over 40 woman and in house brand KIN which I really like. For event wear, Damsel in a Dress has some great pieces and even Warehouse, Karen Millen and French Connection can sometimes deliver. The reasonable pricing, large changing rooms and helpful service in the changing rooms and regular price matching of other department stores offers makes it a very positive shopping experience. Again, somewhere I take my clients for shopping without fail and it always delivers.
There is always something to be found in M&S for every demographic. Good pricing, quality and washability and after a rocky few years think they are now making moves in the right direction with regard to their clothing. I would particularly recommend Autograph which mixes up classic tailoring with the latest fashion trends. Styles can be quite structured and “worky” but despite that there is always something worth buying which has a modern edge but is still appropriate for a woman in her 40’s and upwards. The pallet tends to be neutral but that then makes it easier to mix these items into your existing wardrobe. Thought given to the tummy and upper arms areas. Items can also often be found in Limited and Indigo is good for denim. Even in the Classic of Per Una ranges the odd good item can be found but by and large stick to Autograph and you won’t go far wrong. A trip to M&S is nearly always an integral part of my shopping trips and always delivers too!
A new kid on the block. This recently established brand is the brain child of Nanya McIntosh who previously worked for M&S in the Per Una brand. She has set this company up specifically with the 40+ woman in mind and sells clothing through pop up shops at people’s houses hosted by trained stylists ( similar to the way Stella & Dot is run). Clothing can also be bought on line through the website. All clothing is made in the UK or Italy mainly from natural fabrics so whilst not cheap the quality is definitely there. Worth buying less but buying better! The range offers clothing, underwear, accessories and jewellery and has good on line discounts. The colour range is wide so there should be something that appeals to everyone. Clothing is specifically cut to drape tummies – nearly always a pain point for women who have had kids and/or coming up to the menopause and also styles are cut to bear arm issues in mind. The majority of styles are plain fabric which makes for ease when dressing up with jewellery or scarves or other accessories. All styles are drapey to softly cocoon the body and show off our asset areas not make us feel that we are having to squeeze into styles that don’t suit or flatter us. Styles are modern but timeless – a difficult act to pull off but I think Hope has achieved that. My personal favourites from the brand are the cocoon and wrap tops and the leather front stretch trousers.
For any questions about this blog or to contact me to find out how I could help you dress well call 07500 443974. If you like this blog please share with your friends and/or comment and to get regular updates on what to buy and how to wear it please like my facebook business page and subscribe to my monthly newsletter on my homepage.