Cyndy and Jan So Sensational

Cyndy right and me on the left

“I’m going to a black-tie event, where can I get a gorgeous gown?” “I’m going to Royal Ascot, where can I get an amazing outfit?” “My daughter/son is getting married, where can I get a fabulous frock?”

These were the questions I and my friend Cyndy Lessing were regularly being asked by women over 55.

They certainly didn’t want old-lady clothes but nor did they want clothes that looked as if they’d been borrowed from a teenager. Some had lost their fashion confidence; some no longer knew where to shop, believing High Street brands were for the young. For everyday stuff they made do. But for special occasions, they wanted help. And they wanted it from people who understood that no matter how often you go to the gym, your 55-year-old body is different from your 25-year-old body.

Cyndy is a former businesswoman; I’m a former fashion editor. We thought we could pool our expertise and start a business to help and was born.

SoSensational has clothes and accessories from 100s of brands all carefully chosen for women over-50, so they don’t have to keep going to the same old brands, or search dozens of websites. We do the searching, so everything is in one place.

SoSensational was going well when, in 2014, I underwent brain surgery that left me disabled. As you might imagine, that slowed our momentum, but SoSensational is again going well. In 2015, we won a business competition run by The Times and Vodafone. These days the question Cyndy and I are most often asked is: “Should I follow trends, now I’m over 50?”

Our answer is “Yes.” We should follow trends, but never slavishly. We think all women of any age should be picky with trends, dipping into some and ignoring some. The danger is that, after 55, we can ignore too many and get stuck in a fashion rut. So it’s essential to stay a bit adventurous with fashion. But that involves risks which is why we offer style advice tailored to women over 50.
The good news is that A/W’s key trends are very wearable for women over 55. Here is SoSensational’s guide to A/W17 trends and how to wear them.


So Sensational

Jewel colours, are the hot shades, especially red. Choose a coat or dress in a statement colour, or demonstrate fashion savvy by wearing a jewel-tone jumper or blouse, or one jewel-tone accessory for a nod to this trend.

Metallic and texture are major fabric trends. Lurex, sequins and anything shiny or shimmery is right on-trend; textured fabrics, too, notably velvet, lace and jacquard. Get into metallic with a glittery sweater or by wearing shimmer head-to-toe for evenings or parties. Velvet, lace and jacquard, available in many work very well for evenings and occasions. Or add a touch of shimmer, velvet or jacquard via bag or shoes for a cool nod to the trend.


So Sensational Masculine

Masculine Tailoring comes through as a boyfriend coat, a tailored blazer and a trouser suit. What’s fresh is how we wear tailoring: either pairing a blazer (oversized and slouchy or close-fitting) with overlong trousers. Or pairing your jacket with ankle-grazers. Age is irrelevant here; choose the proportions and cuts that best suit your shape.

Over 50s should avoid excessive braid or too many shiny buttons on a military-inspired coat.


HouseofFraser Embroidery


Embroidery remains the embellishment du jour. At 55-plus, choose lavishly embroidered fabric in simple shapes or plain fabric with touches of embroidery. A cool way to incorporate this trend is to carry an embroidered bag.

Asymmetry appears as one-shoulder (or one-sleeve) pieces, high-low skirts and as asymmetric hems. Embrace or reject depending on hemline and what a garment reveals.


This trend for long sleeves and/or bare shoulders has given us the Cold Shoulder, the Bardot neckline and the Flute Sleeve. Loving it. Wear long sleeves with statement earrings to balance all that fabric.

Gorgeous and grown up

Checks, notably Prince of Wales, are having a moment. Grown up and a bit classic, this trend is one to embrace if you love checks; ignore if you don’t.

Current styling trends include ‘Volume,’ ‘Clean’ and ‘Ladylike.’ The Volume mood (the key word here is oversized) is visible everywhere. Volume works very well for tall, lean women (of any age).
‘Clean’ is not about hygiene but about absence of clutter. Loved by disciples of “Less is more,” ‘clean’ applies mostly to necklines.

The Ladylike mood is currently about midi skirts, top-handle bags and ‘princess’ shoes (flats with oversized bows or big diamante brooches). Ladylike can work really well for chic 55-plus women but is anathema to those who prefer edgier looks.

Clothes shown are from Coast, House of Fraser, Reiss and M&S. All from a selection at 

Dress with Bardot neckline by Coast, from a selection by Coast at 

Please visit the website for our A -Z of fashion and much more.

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