Thursday, 25 February 2010

All grown up

A funny thing happened to That's Not My Age recently. There I was, minding my own business, when up popped the lovely Julia Darlington, 45, (immediately above) and our conversation went something like this:

Julia: 'I know you. Where are you from?'
Thinking Julia was a work contact from way back when, I proceeded to run through my CV...
JD (looking bored): 'No, I mean where are you from?'
TNMA: 'Er, Blackpool.'
JD: 'I used to live with you!'
TNMA (looking confused): 'Eh?'
JD: 'I used to live with you!'
TNMA (still confused): 'Where?"
JD: 'In Manchester.'
TNMA: 'Where?'
JD: 'The flat where you never paid any rent.....'

Now, I know my memory's not as good as it used to be, and I had been on the sherry, but I just didn't recognise this sophisticated lady. And she certainly didn't look like someone who'd live in an undergraduate squat . Obviously, I hadn't changed that much - apart from wrinkles and better clothes - I still look like a student. Anyway, we reminisced about Manchester; how much we loved cheap drinks at the student union bar - even when it was créme de menthe, backcombing our hair and making jersey tube skirts on the overlocker at college. Oh yes, we were that sophisticated.

So, fast-forward twenty-odd years, Julia is now buying director at Wallis - the top image is her favourite outfit from the S/S 2010 collection - and has worked for lots of big high street retailers, including M&S, French Connection and Habitat. Mrs Darlington (married, one kid) has her own ultra-modern office with an amazing view of the London skyline, crikey, I have a table in our spare room jammed next to an old bed we couldn't dismantle. Never one to miss an opportunity, I asked my very own retail expert what her secret is, and how to look grown-up, gorgeous and well-groomed.

Julia Darlington's style tips

1. Wear less black. This is probably the biggest change I've made. I wear softer neutrals, more colour and bolder prints.
2. Know your body. Mine has changed over the years which means I can wear more figure-hugging clothes - cleaner lines just look more elegant.
3. Accessorizing is important. I've grown up with fashion and still want to look contemporary but now I just take an element of a trend and make it work for me.
4. Look for clothes with the Martini factor - something you can wear any time, any place, anywhere.
5. Go to bed early! I'm in bed by 10pm these days, I can't do it any more (don't worry Julia I wasn't going to suggest a pint of snakebite and a kebab).

And here are some more of Julia's favourite things from Wallis:

The utility look. Now we know the military trend works for grown-ups but team khaki with sequins a la Balmain and we're talking double Martini factor.

The leather t-shirt. This may have a certain Tyrolean charm but sorry Julia, I'm not convinced. And thigh-skimming shorts were fine at the Hacienda in 1984 but today they're more créme de menthe than Martini, as in, I've got to the age when I have to say never again.

Do your clothes have the Martini factor?


SR@MyStyle said...

Hi there-out of all the outfits, the last is my least favourite too! I like to try all styles, because I thrift, its not a problem if its a wrong choice!!

Le Club Du Style said...

I have a few pairs of men's style trousers that fit the bill- but come to think of it, I'd need more clothes that have this anywhere, anytime quality. But I think it does not include a leather t-shirt, though!

Make Do Style said...

LOL the snakebite and kebab line had me in stitches. I need more martini in my wardrobe!

ThatGirl39 said...

Wow - she looks amazing. I too went on a small escapade to LFW and loved looking at what the women in my age group were wearing. I hereby resolve to do more muted with one edgy piece... tres chic!

That's Not My Age said...

SR and LCDS - yeah, I can't really imagine any woman of a certain age wearing the last outfit.

MDS - more Martini after your March no-spend deadline.

TG39 - Muted with an edgy spin is the way forward.

Nicola said...

Love the leather t shirt.

finchleygirl said...

I like the dress in the top photo best. Might go and hunt it down on my next trip to Brent X. Did I know this woman too?? Don't recognise her but I do remember a Julia. My drink of choice was of course bottles and bottles of Pils, now I prefer a nice dry Sauvignan Blanc...very grown up.

That's Not My Age said...

Nicola - I do quite like the leather tee, just think it might feel a bit too snug. Maybe I'll test-drive one for my readers?!

FG - Yep, the top outfit is the best. And this is another Julia, there were two. Do you drink bottles and bottles of Sauvignon Blanc?

Looking Fab in your forties said...

Love the first picture - not so sure about the last. Would somebody in their 40's really wear a leather t-shirt and shorts?

Gino Ginelli said...

a'right sta. Ya have not changed shape, ya still a long baby. Jah bless.

Semi Expat said...

Great post... and will apply to any new purchases before proceeding..think Martini Factor! Do have a jacket I bought from Zara eons ago and it always looks good and on a 'cost per wear' it is probably paying ME now!! p.s. Snakebite and kebab ha!ha!

That's Not My Age said...

Mr Ginelli - It's been a long time. How's the ice cream business?

S-E - Thank you. And well done for finding a jacket that pays you to wear it!

Jeanne said...

Ok..another great post and I promise I will stop here. She looks wonderful...she is spot on on all her tips....even the black although I hate to say so. I just moved from Auckland to London and have a closet full of black, their national colour. I am slowly adding colour again. The leather number at the end would not do much for me and I agree on the way, no more for me. I just did a post on Donna Karan and her great wrap tops all featured with long legged youngsters. Love the top but definitely need alternative dressing ideas. Would love to hear your ideas!
Jeanne :)

PS..I have another blog It is all about settling into London. I am a new kid on the block...just finding my way around :)