As the weather is starting to warm up, I’m finding that I’m gradually removing my scarves and polo neck jumpers which puts the focus back onto jewellery. The bold statement necklaces that have been so popular for the last few years suddenly don’t feel right. Jewellery has shifted to being more delicate and gold is back along with fine chains and pendants. I’m also really pleased to be seeing the re-emergence of pearls. By the time you reach 40, you have usually gathered a few pearl necklaces. I have the classic rope of pearls that my parents gave me for my 21st birthday, my oversized pearls that I bought to add a twist to my outfit on my wedding day and a couple of beautiful grey pearl necklaces that have been gifts. Pearls have an amazing ability to lift your complexion and add a glow to your skin but after 40 there is a narrow line between looking classically chic or just old fashioned. As with everything, the secret lies in the way you wear them so let’s see how to wear pearls after 40.
As I was thinking about jewellery last week, I was approached by our friends at Eternal Collection. They have a new range for SS16 and they very kindly invited me to choose something. With pearls on my mind I was drawn to this freshwater Baroque pearl necklace. The added sterling silver leaf pendant adds a contemporary twist which makes it more versatile.
To avoid any connotations of frumpiness I still tend to wear pearls with more casual outfits to create that ‘fracture’ of expectation that people have of women over 40. As you can see, I wore the necklace to go out with friends on Saturday along with the freshwater pearl earrings that they also sent – the brilliant thing about the earrings is that they have a really good sized sterling silver back so you don’t have to fiddle to get them on and they stay really securely attached rather than working their way loose.
I used the pearls to lift a dark outfit of faux leather trousers and a black top. For me the pearls soften the effect of the leather and avoid the black draining all the colour from my face. Hopefully they also detract from any connotations of mutton. I’m looking forward to wearing them in a relaxed way throughout Spring and Summer to smarten up simple jeans outfits.
A note about what I’m wearing
I haven’t worn my Top Shop faux leather jeans for ages but on Saturday we were going to a chilled out bistro and I felt like a change. I wore them with my Finery Ashwin boat neck jersey top which is now a staple in their range. I have this top in every colour, the jersey has a beautiful sheen to it and a hint of a Bardot neckline but it is much easier to wear than a full ‘off the shoulder’ number. I’m amazed that they are still so reasonably priced given their popularity but then that’s one of the things that I love about Finery. I also wore my new ponyskin Jigsaw Milly shoes which were a present to myself on Mother’s Day. I first fell in love with them a year ago at the Jigsaw press day but couldn’t quite bring myself to make the investment. However they have stayed in my mind ever since. As you know this Milly style is my favourite court shoe, they are incredibly elegant and yet also really comfortable – they aren’t really a Spring buy but I know I’ll have them for years.
How to wear a classic string of pearls
If you’re like me you’ll have a traditional rope of pearls in your jewellery box that you hardly ever wear (if not Eternal have some lovely pearl necklaces here). In fact I was going to style mine now for you but it just shows how long it is since I’ve worn them – this is what happened when I lifted them out of my jewellery box (my parents wouldn’t be very happy, I will be popping to the jewellers’ tomorrow).
So, the best way to wear classic pearls is in a classic English way, with cashmere for example but to avoid looking frumpy it is critical to make a style statement elsewhere with your outfit – with brightly coloured shoes or bag for example. You need to reference your style credibility by showing that your pearls are a deliberate understatement.
Research group request
Finally, on the subject of making life better for midlife women, I have been asked by the Zinc Group if any of you would be interested in taking part in some research that will help to improve the design of products targeted at our age group. It will take place in London at a date to suit you between 4th and 22nd April. It will consist of an interview that will last between 1 and 2 hours and you will be compensated with £80 for your time. There are more details here, isn’t it great that we’re starting to get involved with things like this as a group – we can change the world! I’ve said I’ll do it if I can fit it in with my next trip down (the research that is, changing the world might take a little longer).
A big thank you from me
I want to finish by saying thank you to you for your overwhelming response to my last post about why I walked away from my Midlife career. I’ve loved reading all your thoughts and stories and I’ve nearly finished replying to you all. It seems that you are keen to start this Midlife shake up and raise the profile of women over 40…I’m on the case. I’m still licking my wounds but hopefully not for too much longer – your collective wisdom has made me feel so much better about everything. You’re an amazing bunch of people, I’m so glad I’ve found you.