How to Age Alternatively
Suzi Grant – Creating Style for the Over 40s and beyond
Suzi is a source of fashion intelligence, you don’t encounter everyday, perhaps more so in Brighton, which is where she now lives. Despite reaching her 60’s, Suzi has refused to become invisible! She’s a role model for so many women who are unsure of themselves, when they reach a certain age.
It was my pleasure to interview Suzi for WellStyled and gain exclusive access into her secret world to find out about her passion for alternative fashion.
How would you describe your personal style?
My style has evolved since I hit my 50s! I have always loved fashion but there does come a certain time when I feel it is inappropriate to wear mini skirts or show a wrinkled cleavage! The best style for my body shape appears to be 50s dresses, cropped trousers and short cashmere cardigans.
I have about 15 vintage or retro dresses in my wardrobe. I love them because no one else will be wearing the same outfit and I feel very happy and confident in them. My style is vintage with Boho-Chic mixed with the High Street. Hopefully I come across as I am totally individual and unique by adding accessories for my own look.
You have fabulous style, what inspires you?
Thank you! I like the word “fabulous”, it’s something that every woman should aim for at 40+ 50+ 60+ and beyond! As a blogger, I spend a lot of time looking at or photographing women of a similar age to me who look stylish and different. Some of their style has slowly seeped in although I have become more adventurous the older I have become. I have always loved the Audrey Hepburn look and love viewing the “Advanced Style” ladies for inspiration.
What’s the best style advice you’ve ever received?
I had my colours done in my 40s and that has really helped me avoid colours that drain and age me. I discovered that black right next to my face looks absolutely dreadful. A stylist also sorted out what clothes suited my body shape and, for example, showed me that a V neck top looks much better on me than a round neck.
Another tip is to try different types of headwear such as turbans; outfits can also be jazzed up by adding a belt. These are really simple things but they are really effective and add that wow factor!
How does someone discover their own unique personal style?
Look at Pinterest, follow other fashion bloggers who are of a similar age and definitely go and get your colours done. I also recommend having a consultation with a personal stylist, such as you Siobhan, who knows how to stop clients from making expensive wardrobe mistakes. When I’m in the mood, I like to try things on and see how I can improve them with a necklace, a head scarf, a belt or even trying something the wrong way round!
I also have a signature look: vintage sunglasses. I can’t travel anywhere without buying vintage frames.
Can you tell us a little bit about how you manage your own wardrobe?
I put all my clothes into colours so it’s easier to find something in the morning. However, it still takes me an age to get ready so my top tip would be to try on an outfit for a special occasion a day or two before so you have all the accessories ready and you know exactly what you are going to wear.
I put things that go together, together! For example, a top and one cardigan that match up with one pair of trousers. I hate having too much choice so I am constantly de-cluttering and selling, swapping or giving to charity.
Do you plan your outfits?
Not in this country! It is all weather dependent so I can’t plan an outfit till the day before. At the moment it’s too cold for open sandals or shoes and I am thinking I may have to wear little booties to a Goodwood evening event this week! And then, which coat, will I need leggings underneath and a vest?
Where are your favourite places to shop in Brighton?
I prefer the big Vintage Markets. I scour the vintage shops and shops that are not in the High Street. I also pop into Whistles, Fred Perry (very Mod!) and Ted Baker. I travel a lot so I prefer shopping in individual boutiques or markets that are cheaper and have more unusual clothes than I can buy here although Brighton is brilliant for something a bit different.
Tell us why you love Byron Bay?
Byron Bay has a very special vibe about it. It’s like a very tiny Brighton full of an eclectic mix of people, from hippies to surfers and retired folk to holiday makers from Sydney.
I have been visiting every winter for the last 4 years because I feel so at home there. I bump into people I know almost every day. All the Oldies are slim, fitand look so happy. Everyone wears whatever they like!
The clothes shops and markets are fantastic for shopping. There are juice bars, coffee shops and health stores on every corner and Woolies is the only chain store.
There’s a weekly Farmers Market, an Arts Cinema, amazing outdoor live music at the local bars and always something going on. And dressing every day is so easy because it’s always hot! How can you not love it – it’s a stunningly beautiful place!
Where do you like to shop in Byron Bay?
The monthly market and the many individual shops. My very favourite shop is Trash Vintage & Retro. I probably have a rummage in there every few days and always come home with a bargain. I call it my local “ dressing up box”! I know all the girls there and they have become close friends. I always go there in February/March so everything in town is on sale as it’s the end of their summer! So no shop is too expensive at that time of the year.
Tell us a little about your amazing blog, Alternative Ageing?
I was initially inspired by my last book, Alternative Ageing. I have been a broadcaster, writer and amateur photographer and so it was an absolute “no brainer” to become a blogger! I am a qualified Nutritionist so it became Fashion, Fitness and Food for the Over 50s. Now, nearly two years on, the blog has evolved into, Health, Nutrition, Style and Travel because these are my passions and I want everyone at any age to get inspiring and helpful advice on-line. I also have a post called “I Like Your Style” which is full of photos of people I have met all over the world who are dressed stylishly and uniquely and usually well over 50, although anyone in their 40s and upwards is very welcome!
Health * Nutrition * Style * Travel* follow Suzi’s blog for top tips on looking good & feeling great, whatever your age www.alternativeageing.net
*Photos shot & styled in Byron Bay by A Beautiful Weirdo. http://www.abeautifulweirdo.com
If you are struggling with your individual style, WellStyled, based in Tunbridge Wells and helping women throughout Kent would be delighted to help. Please email Siobhan@wellstyled.co.uk or call 07905 897338