Fabulous Fashionistas: Sticking Two Fingers Up At Societal Convention

'Don't wear beige it may kill you'

(Image Source Channel 4.com)

So proclaims 73 year old ex cookbook queen Sue as she adjusts the action figure necklace she's wearing. Her home a vivid mix of bold colours, art, glittered doll heads and imbued with a sense of self that they don't sell in Ikea. Fabulous Fashionistas, is a documentary by Sue Bourne aired on Tuesday night to a wave of positive reviews. The idea for the show seemed to be a documentary exploring the style and substance of six women, average age of eighty who downright refuse to become 'little old ladies.'

We're introduced to Bridget, an ageism campaigner, she's 75 but that is far from her defining feature. Her
Bridget Soujouner
(Image Source Channel 4.com)
hair a wild mix of white and grey waves held back with a bright yellow headband. She has a catsuit pinned to her wall, her clothes lots of vivid colour blocking, she shops in charity shops and looks ridiculously stylish. She wants society at large to know that women do not suddenly become invisible over the age of 50. Such is the theme of the documentary, there's no botox or fillers, no plastic surgery addiction or mention of diets and face creams. Instead the six women aren't trying to be younger they just refuse to lose themselves under the weight of societal pressure to look a certain way at a certain age.

We're all guilty of it, I know I am. I had a bit of a meltdown about turning thirty, but these women are considerably truer to themselves than I am, also a heck of a lot cooler. Jean Woods, is 75 her micro fringe and short bob, enviable to those of us less than half her age. She wears her Dr Martens with everything, and her beanie hat with net veil actually made me yelp with joy (I'm doing that tomorrow). Her husband's sudden death when she turned 70 caused her to apply for a job with Gap, who took her on immediately (kudos Gap), since then she's found a whole new career and now works in a boutique. 'I don't dress to feel younger, I dress to feel like me' indeed this seems to be the linking aspect to all these women, they wear what they want, because they've stopped worrying about other people's opinion.

They're free from trends, they wear what they like, from Dr Martens to self decorated coats and Crocs, it's about expression and fun, and most importantly, no bloody beige.

Jean Woods
(Image Source Channel 4)
Lady Trumpington, 91 and a peer in the House of Lords, tells us about her catalogue addiction. 'I think they came from a catalogue called Chums' she adds looking at her slippers. Most famous perhaps for giving a fellow peer the V sign during a session at the House of Lords, Trumpington worked in intelligence at the famous Bletchley Park in World War Two. She didn't care much about her appearance then because of the awful shifts but now she is quite partial to a pocket, 'I always have a Kleenex to put in them.'

Daphne Self, is one of the oldest models working, at 85, she's effortlessly stylish and chic her hair, her defining feature. Gilly is 87, a staggering number as she could be mistaken for a woman thirty years younger, working full time as a choreographer and director. A ballet dancer she's never lost her poise and does her stretches every morning to ensure that suppleness continues. She pulls a pair of pointed monochrome Prada shoes from her wardrobe with glee, 'I thought, well sod it.' she laughs. Her husband, 27 years younger than her, she married him when he was in his twenties causing many to tut in disapproval. She now laughs wickedly that most are dead so it doesn't matter. 

(Image Source BBC News)


There's a consistency to the women that we see, the same things feature in their lives, a sense of purpose, fitness, positive outlook and not caring what anyone thinks of you. Truly inspiring viewing, Twitter was awash with comments and live tweeting of the show, everyone filled with the enthusiasm and infectious attitude of the women. If we can only grasp this wisdom with both hands and put it into our lives now, and use it. Wouldn't that be something fabulous? It's made me want to get out my yoga mat to attempt suppleness like Gilly, get out my sewing machine and do all the projects I've always wanted but never made time to. It's certainly made me less perturbed about my eye hollows, I can only imagine what Lady Trumpington would have to say about them!

Finally I thought I'd leave you with a hearty congratulations to Channel 4 and one of the thoughts from the programme.

'You mustn't let the aging process in, the minute you give an inch, life or illness or something will take a mile'

Much Love


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