There’s a new phenomenon on social media that, unless you’re a user, you won’t be aware of. Women are sharing their outfits, fashion tips and best buys on the picture-sharing site Instagram. And we’re not just talking about the young and nubile 20-somethings here, although there are of course plenty of those who share their fashion online.
In recent years there has been a growing trend for women of all ages, from their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond who are showing the world that fashion is for everyone, regardless of age. Indeed there are even hashtags, such as #fashionable40s #stylish50s and #styleover 60 that many of these women use on their posts, so anyone searching them can easily find an array of stylish women showing off their fashion credentials.
Some of these accounts have a huge following, such as Erica Davies, a former fashion journalist, turned blogger, and Nikki from @40notfrumpy, who began taking outfit shots and posting on Instagram after losing weight.
But it’s not only these big accounts that are gaining a fashion following, as there are plenty of other people showing off their outfits of the day regularly, whether they have 100 followers of 50,000.
So what has prompted such a surge in women wanting to show off their fashion finds?
Sarah Marshall meets three of the faces behind the Staffordshire-based style-focused Instagram accounts to find out what their top recommendations are for Autumn
Lisa Drew, 39, a Staffordshire-based mum-of-three, began her account @lisajeanstyle when she worked as a stylist for jewellery company Stella and Dot. She explains: “I wanted to show how to style an outfit with the right jewellery. The comments became more about the clothes that I was wearing, which led to me being approached to style for YourStyleBook.com, creating outfits for people to purchase.
“I began creating the outfit that I was wearing for an event or night out, I got a great response from that, so it became a daily outlet. It got me out of my daily uniform of leggings and a loose dress following the birth of my third child too and grew my confidence to wear patterns and brighter clothes.”
Lisa, who has more than 1,200 followers, is now looking forward to sharing her Autumn style tips, Autumn being one the favourite seasons for discerning fashionistas.
“My favourite look for autumn is coats,” she laughs. “Coats can definitely make an outfit. I have two favourite coats from last year, my pink wool one from Very and my faux fur leopard print coat from Marks and Spencer. I’m so chuffed that I’ll be able to wear these this autumn winter too, as leopard and brights are going to be on trend again.
“I’ll be shopping for a coat with a hood. And something red. I’ve seen a nice red dress in Zara that I’d like. Also pink and red is my favourite combo.”
Her main advice is not to revert to dark colours.
I love to wear some of my favourite spring and summer styles in Autumn. Think midi skirts, denim skirts and dresses paired with jumpers, tights, hats, scarfs and a good trench coat… Kerri-Ann
She adds: “It can be so easy to put on a black coat and get in a rut with dark clothes because the weather is cold, but my bright pink coat was the best. Not only warm, it’s such a feel-good coat, you can’t help but feel happy in such a bright statement coat. It also encourages me to wear brighter clothes under it too. Yes, I wear black with it sometimes just to make the colour pop even more, but I wear it with red too.”
“Also look at what’s on the catwalk and then look at what you already have in your wardrobe. Trends for Autumn 2018 are hoods, gloss, check, tweed and leather. However, one of the biggest trends of Autumn 2018 is animal print, in coats, dresses, boots, bags and suits, and haven’t we all got a bit of leopard print in our wardrobes to revamp and re-love?
“H&M is one of my favourite stores because it has great pieces at great prices. Zara is good for looking like you’ve got designer clothes on, and I love the dresses in there. Then there’s Next. You can always be sure of the fit in there and honestly that does appeal.”
Fellow Instagrammer Karen Walker, 55, says it was a miserable menopause and developing an underactive thyroid that prompted her to set up her Instagram account @fashion_menopause_life.
She explains: “I thought other women must feel as unattractive and lost during this time as I did, so, I wanted to show them that you’re not over the hill, you can dress fashionably and sexy without looking like ‘mutton dressed as lamb’.
“Life as we age, in a society that embraces youth and beauty can seem daunting and scary, creating a sense of feeling lost and invisible, but I can tell you, there is life after all this. Women of this age have a lot to offer, and we are relevant and contributory to society just as our younger selves were, but only better.”
Karen describes her style as understated, feminine and fun with a touch of quirky.
“I ask my daughter for advice and she pushes me out of my comfort zone, but keeps it age appropriate,” she smiles.
Karen says she used to avoid shops like Warehouse and River Island because she thought she was too old for them, preferring the conventional British Home Stores and Marks & Spencer. But she says that led to her becoming stuck in a rut, dressing to the ‘societal norm’ of a 50-year-old instead of being herself, so she began to step out of her comfort zone and hasn’t looked back since.
So what is her favourite look for Autumn?
“A simple, classic, button up or wrap, knee-length coat, a crewneck Jumper, plain or stripe, with the choice of adding or removing a collar or embroidered patches for character (soft around the body and stomach for those suffering bloated-ness and not too thick for those having flushes).
“I like skinny stretchy Jeans, black or navy, simple Chelsea Boots or smart slip-on or lace-up trainers, and a medium sized rucksack come handbag or tote.
“My favourite shop is Warehouse as it is affordable, comfortable and the clothes are made with quality fabrics. Just because you are over 50 there is no need to feel scared or intimidated by this type of shop. There really is something for everyone of any age. It is all about how you put the items together.
“My tips for Autumn would be to keep it understated with a touch of character. Also, use the three colour rule, so put together colours such as black, white and red, or navy, emerald green and white. It is important to have a statement shoe or coat. If you’re wearing mostly plain items, then why not add a striped jumper or some dogtooth cigarette trousers for that touch of character?”
Kerri-Ann Hargreaves, 38, began writing about fashion and style on her family and lifestyle blog, Life as Our Little Family. Several readers said they wanted to see more of her outfits on Instagram so she began sharing them via her feed @lifeasourlittlefamily. She now has an Instagram following of more than 10,000.
Kerri-Ann from Newcastle-under-Lyme, says: “I think it’s easy to lose your way with fashion once you become a mummy and so in some way I’m trying to show that you can still be fashionable, practical and on trend.
“Life As Our Little Family is a family, lifestyle and style blog – documenting our family life, adventures and my style loves. I love fashion and photography – always found with a coffee in one hand and my camera in the other.
“Autumn is the perfect time for layering and making the most of your current wardrobe,” she adds. “I love to wear some of my favourite spring and summer styles in Autumn. Think midi skirts, denim skirts and dresses paired with jumpers, tights, hats, scarfs and a good trench coat.
“A new coat, you can never have too many. For me they are an accessory, adding that little bit of something to an outfit. Dressing it up or down depending on the look. I’m on the hunt for a grey one this year and cannot wait to see the shops filling up with AW fashion.”