• Paula


Updated: Apr 14, 2018

It's been many a year now since I last had the pleasure of frequenting the school hall to attend a bi-annual parents evening. I wouldn't have called myself a young parent (I had my kids aged 25 and 28 respectively so I wasn't exactly Vicky Pollard when I dropped a sprog) but as the age of having your first child has risen so much in recent times, I used to feel quite young when I attended school events, especially when my kids were in their teens.

As I'd sit down on a hard plastic chair, slight whiff of over-cooked stew in the air with whichever of my off-spring sat beside me (probably cringing because I had come from work and had a full face of slap on and I didn't look like the 'other' mums), my eyes would whizz around the room to see if I recognised any of the parents.

Besides the odd familiar face (you don't talk to the parents as much in 'big' school), I'd see around 100 women with bad hair, bad shoes and wearing anoraks. Come on girls - it may not be London Fashion Week but have some respect for yourselves! Even on parents evening. I felt like I was sat in a packed hall with an army of SuBo's pre-makeover.

Just because you're over 40, doesn't mean you have to hang up your stilettos! Far from it. Ok, maybe you can drop the stilettos because they make your calves ache and no one has time for blisters, but a least grab a kitten heel or a shoe boot.

Let me just explain some basic fashion and grooming rules for the benefit of those gathered at said evening - and for anyone else who needs a kick up the proverbial fashion-arse.

  • Wearing crocs with socks is not acceptable. In fact, unless you have a medical condition (and I do know several people for whom crocs are a life saver) crocs of any style or colour are a no-no. End of.

  • If you are hiking across the Lake District, walking your dog in the rain or trekking the Himalayas, you may wear an anorak. I get it. If you're not, WTF are you wearing one for? You might as well go the whole hog and use a Karrimor rucksack as a handbag.

  • Whilst a full face of makeup a la Lily Savage is not always required, a lick of lippy makes you look in control, mascara opens up your eyes. A squirt of perfume gives you a little extra confidence and can revive you enough to get through another hour when you're most knackered. Honest - I do this daily.

  • Nothing ages a woman more than a bowl haircut, a curly perm and 2 inches of grey roots. Not everyone can afford a shiny head of highlights but Boots and Superdrug have a fabulous collection of DIY hair colours - just make sure you get help from a friend! Better still, all hairdressers do model nights. They are a great way of getting an on-trend style without having to sell the dog or spend your weeks grocery money.

  • In midlife, your hair quantity and quality can take a nose dive. Give it some TLC with a weekly hair masque, don't give up and stop making the effort. This is for you - not everyone else.

  • If you're unhappy with your size, don't think that hiding in a black, shapeless dress will save you. It will drag you down! Get some structure to your clothes and add some colour - whether you're an 8 or a 28. Plus size doesn't mean minus fashion anymore!

Not everyone has the confidence to walk in to a room in a red pant suit, waving the middle finger and this isn't about that. It's not about making statements or being the centre of attention. It's about making tweaks to your look to make you feel the best you can - whether that's a bit of make-up, a new frock or a hair colour.

Now find me a pair of crocs that can make you feel a million dollars, and I'll send my unicorn round to you to photograph them....

Cofounder of Feeling Flush, Paula Fry, getting her 'city' on...

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