Everyone who is anyone is turning forty this year. Kate Moss. Chloé Sevigny. Eva Mendes. Amy Adams. Penelope Cruz. Victoria Beckham. And me. I got all of those except La Moss (and myself) from this joyless article about the abundant new possibilities of 40+ style. One may "consider colour"! It may not be essential to "cover up"! However, do not have a blunt fringe because it will accentuate your jowls. Seriously, don't.
(Jowls. That bit resonates).
Anyway, I thought it would be an opportune moment, between bouts of cold terror at my own galloping mortality and burning jags of jowl shame, to present you with my own, carefully curated, style rules. These are the fruits of 39+ years of uncompromising commitment to... well. To cake and sleeping and warmth and long books. To avoiding exercise. To self-acceptance in all my jowled glory.
1. Take a view on ladders
I don't wish to be prescriptive here, but you need to decide how comfortable you are with the ladder issue. My own view is, if I can't see it, it doesn't exist, thus ladders to the rear of hosiery, or holes in toes: fine. My mother, also a style icon in her day, took a different view and would colour in visible runs and holes with a black marker pen. An experiment with superimposing two pairs of differently laddered tights was not successful, but might merit another attempt.
2. Buy a slightly larger pair of trousers
I bought a slightly too large pair of trousers at new year, because they were £10 and I was in a rush and they were comfy. What a bloody brilliant decision. Nothing, but nothing, has improved my mood like these trousers. They are PROZACTROUSERS. Despite over-eating solidly for 4 weeks, disdaining dry January and composing whole meals from small puff pastry canapés, I only have to put the trousers on to feel delightfully slim.
3. Fuck matching socks
Any time spent trying to match varying gradations/ages/lengths of black sock is time that would be more usefully spent doing almost anything else. No one is ever going to look that closely at your legs, especially if you are wearing black ankle socks. Read Stendhal. Have phone sex. Pet a capybara. Make Felicity Cloake's Perfect Lemon Drizzle Cake. NO ONE CAN TELL.
4. Embrace the sack
The close correlation between mood and waist constriction has been the subject of literally no studies. However, I can and do assert this link exists. Too tight belt/skirt/waistband = urge to murder by 11am. Cos sac dress = beatific sense of wellbeing. You know it makes sense.
5. Be selective with stains
After a certain age, one must exercise some discretion with stains. A light dusting of avocado around a cuff, fine. A discreet spot of grease on a trouser leg, perfectly acceptable. Both together = edging towards full hobo.
6. The very best accessory is a striking dog
Most dogs come in flattering, warm, go-with-everything neutrals. Also, once you have a dog, no one will look at you again, except as a sort of adjunct to your pet. This is very comforting.
7. Dress for the life you want, not the life you have
My main aim for my middle and later years is to become one of those defiant Englishwomen whose best, indeed only, friend is a halitotic labrador. You know, the type who wear straw in their hair and keep horses in their kitchens and a half bottle of gin and twenty Rothmans in every pocket of their fetid waxed jackets. To this end, I am amassing a collection of old navy blue jumpers, slightly foxed padded waistcoats and sensible boots. Eyes on the prize.
What are your mid-life style rules?