Dear Trinny, I’m 55 and used to be slim and able to wear chic clothes, but that’s all changed since I hit the menopause and started taking HRT. My boobs are now huge, I’ve got a horrid layer of fat on my tummy and nothing fits. I just can’t find clothes that make me feel comfortable, gorgeous and still cool. Any ideas?
– Jane, Cheshire
Trinny: I constantly hear this from my friends. I think for a lot of women not being able to fit into their clothes any more is a real trigger for making them feel old. But you have to bear in mind what is happening to you – your body isn’t bigger, it has just changed shape, and that’s all down to hormones. It won’t do you any good to keep buying the same clothes you’ve always worn, because the fit won’t be the same and you’ll feel continually dissatisfied with your outfit.
Instead consider embracing a voluminous, layered look. I’m not suggesting that you go out looking like a tent; I’m saying skinny clothing can be very unchic and you are far better off using a mixture of loose and fitted pieces to flatter your shape. There’s also a real joy about using clothes to disguise the bits you don’t like, and instead show off a more stylish you.
To help start off your new look I’ve chosen a colour palette that’s really easy to wear – white, navy blue and black – and looks very sleek, with some pieces that you should use as your layering inspiration, starting with this beautiful Cos shirt dress. So many women opt for oversized shirts when they feel they’ve lost their figure, but this has a neat shape that slides over your stomach, and can be worn over cropped trousers or jeans. It looks great done up at the top – the first three buttons, say – with a white T-shirt underneath.
I love a gilet over a white shirt (this Zara one has a very flattering neckline). My top tip is to always buy a gilet in a size smaller – don’t be tempted to go big, as you’ll feel shapeless. Good layering is all about the flow of slim pieces with slightly bigger ones. This has a slightly broader shoulder that will make your arms look slimmer.
Lastly, I always think a good bag is key to feeling stylish – not a big battered one that looks as though you are dragging your whole life in it, but something timeless and chic such as this Zara tote. Believe me, a lovely bag will change your outfit.
My long-haul heroes
A friend of mine who is off to Australia asked for my in-flight beauty tips. Here’s what I told her…
Being a seasoned long-haul traveller, I know only too well how drying flying can be on the complexion, so I always slather on Cosmedix Rescue Intense Hydrating Balm & Mask
(£63.57, medicobeauty.com) at the beginning of a flight, reapplying it at every stopover. It’s an amazing barrier cream and means you’ll arrive at your destination with skin like a baby’s bottom.
Since you’re exposed to so many more germs when travelling, I take a good travel biotic – Viridian Travel Biotic Capsules (£24.95 for 30, victoriahealth.com) – before my trip, on the plane, and also when I land. And, as I find that I bloat more during a flight, I also take a charcoal pill to help alleviate that feeling. I recommend Gastone Activated Charcoal Capsules (£7.99 for 60, victoriahealth.com).
Finally, I always pack a bottle of De Mamiel Altitude Oil (£30, demamiel.com), which, when inhaled, is great for energising my mind while flying and helps with jet lag, too.