Do you feel too old to shop in high street fashion stores?
PUBLISHED: 20:00 10 April 2019 | UPDATED: 08:34 11 April 2019
At what age do women have to stop buying clothes in Topshop? ITV star Lorraine Kelly, who celebrates her 60th birthday in November, says its fine to shop where the teenagers go - she does.
You know what it’s like when you’re a size 16 and you go into a designer clothes store and they don’t sell clothes over a size 14.
That’s me, by the way.
I take the view that if I’m too big to shop there, they should narrow their doorways to keep me out. This would save the embarrassment of having to pretend you went in to look at the earrings and handbags... when you actually had your eye on a nice little top - little being the operative word.
A lot of the shops aimed at the teen market do sell size 16s and over but since my waist moved north and expanded, I do not conform to the shape of an 18-year-old but if I did? Well, if I did, I would buy from Top Shop, Miss Selfridge, Neww Look etc with no compunction. In fact, I would be cock-a-hoop.
Star of ITV’s Lorraine, Lorraine Kelly, in an interview in May’s issue of Good Housekeeping, out now, says she uses fashion to keep herself feeling young, rather than contemplate plastic surgery.
She says: “I always say to people that it doesn’t matter what age you are, don’t be frightened to go into shops that you think are for 18 or 19-year-olds.”
Lorraine has also been in the news because of her tax position, having won the right to be defined as having a ‘public’ TV personality called Lorraine Kelly, as distinct from the private Lorraine Kelly. Well, we have certainly seen the public Lorraine Kelly wearing Topshop clothes and looking fabulous in them.
But she recognises that you need to be selective: “Of course, you’re not going to go for the cutting-edge fashionista silliness, but you might find a skirt, dress, top or a T-shirt.
“You can just wear what suits you and what you feel happy and comfy in.”
Lorraine admits that she would be ‘too scared’ to get cosmetic surgery and says she can’t understand why women choose to go under the knife.
‘I look fine and to be honest with you, I see people who have had work done particularly on their lips and think “What are you doing?”’
“I just think, do a few wrinkles – or should I say laughter lines – matter? Is it a big deal? I don’t think it is.”
Lorraine was once pictured dressed in the same clothes as her daughter, Rosie.
If my daughter is reading this, it’s okay, darling, we don’t have to do that.
On one national newspaper website, a few commentators felt moved to be unkind about Lorraine’s choice of shops.
One person says: “I don’t get why she has to buy young clothes. You can look lovely at 60+ if you have good dress sense and know where to shop . I would say, at 60, shopping in young people’s clothing shops suggests insecurity and a cry for help! There are great clothes out there for the older woman and they don’t make you look ancient. You just have to know how to dress, perhaps she should get someone on her show to help her and give some advice.”
By contrast: “If you are buying clothes that suit you what difference does it make where you buy them?” runs another comment.
Meanwhile: “Wearing clothes for teenagers in your 50s is as ridiculous as having loads of plastic surgery.”
You know what, I am warming to Lorraine’s view of fashion and I fully intend to venture into Topshop next time I pass.
In the Good Housekeeping interview, she compared women today with women in the 60s: “When I was a kid, a woman of 60 looked like a woman of 60: a wee granny perm, a shapeless coat, a tartan shopping bag and comfy shoes.”
Her memories are much like mine, except for the tartan bag. But all women carried a proper shopper, big enough to hold a morning’s purchases, plus a string bag, just in case.
There were glamorous older women, of course, but mainly on the telly.
Outside the biggest cities, I’m not sure the sixties high street featured many dedicated fashion stores. Debenhams fashion floor and British Home Stores were about as trendy as it got until the arrival of Chelsea Girl (now River Island) and the independents.
For older women, in the 1960s, it did not help that Crimplene was the in fabric; non-iron, non-crease and stretchy, it had an extraordinary bounce-back quality but it was certainly not stylish, especially not in trousers as worn by my nana.
I like to think I am not Annie Twozzle, that, even though I am an older woman, I have not altogether abandoned fashion.
Lorraine is very much the millennial fifty-something, looking great - as many of her contemporaries do - look at Dame Emma Thompson, who will be 60 this month. And how fantastic is she? Very.
Some might say you should not darken the changing rooms of Top Shop when you hit your mid-40s but I have a friend and colleague who, about the same age as Ms Kelly, buys the occasional garment from Top Shop and she is among the most stylish, greatest-looking women I know.
My view is that there are no rules although, I might advise older women to check their knees in a mirror before wearing a mini skirt. If your knees are smiling back at you, cover them up. If you go out looking good and feeling good it doesn’t matter a jot what labels are in your clothes.
Go, get ‘em Lorraine; go get ‘em, everyone, whatever your age.
• The May edition of Good Housekeeping is also available as a digital edition.