Wednesday, 8 June 2016

A Journalist's Style Interview With Not Dressed As Lamb (That Went Unpublished)

A Journalist's Style Interview With Not Dressed As Lamb (That Went Unpublished)
Right at the beginning of the year I was asked to answer a number of questions for a well-known national publication that was running a story on bloggers over 40. Although I usually struggle to fit in such requests, I thought it was worth my while as it would have been pretty good exposure for me...

...Five months and much chasing (with zero response) later, it turns out that the article has been and gone, without my interview in it. Nor those of some of my blogging friends (who were also given the same silent treatment). Now I totally understand if my interview didn't fit the article or something similar, but to be ignored is just not cricket, if you ask me (and I'm putting it politely).

So rather than letting my four pages of A4 answers go to complete waste, I thought you lovely lot would like to read it instead! I've missed off some of the "tell us about yourself" questions at the beginning (you can read all those things on my About page) and kept the more juicy stuff about my thoughts on my personal style, my style icons, what it's like being an over 40 blogger, that sort of thing.

Hope you like it!

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF MY INTERVIEW - WAS THERE ANYTHING I SAID THAT SURPRISED YOU OR RUNG TRUE WITH YOU? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS OR TWEET ME @NOTLAMB!

A Journalist's Style Interview With Not Dressed As Lamb (That Went Unpublished)

How would you describe your style?

I describe my style as eclectic, but it errs towards "Preppy with a twist". I also can't get enough of pattern mixing and bright colour. I only wear black occasionally, or as evening wear.

Spring Style: Pink, mint, white and grey stripes | Not Dressed As Lamb


What would you say is your blog’s USP [unique selling point]?

My blog's tagline is "Who wants to be "age appropriate", anyway?" which tells you a lot about how I feel about age appropriateness! I actively encourage women to see that age is not a barrier to looking good and feeling fabulous, and many of my posts challenge the notion of age appropriate dressing that, in my opinion, is so outdated. Although the blog  is aimed at a slightly older audience, it is not exclusively read by older women. Judging by my readership, it appeals to the very young and the very old - and everyone in between.

Not Dressed As Lamb - Facebook


Who’s your style icon?

I'm a little bit obsessed with Rooney Mara - she looks so polished yet unconventional. I love the fact that her look is so unique, not just her clothes but her hair and make-up too. But my ultimate style icon is Grace Kelly. No one oozes class and sophistication more than she did.

Rooney Mara, Grace Kelly (photos: Wiki Commons)
Public domain photos from Wiki Commons: Rooney Mara (Leod23) | Grace Kelly (MGM)



What are your favourite labels to shop and why? 

I'm a high-street girl all the way. You're almost guaranteed to get a huge selection of current pieces and trends at very reasonable prices at my go-to shops ASOS and Topshop. (I very, very rarely buy anything designer - in fact there isn't anything designer in my wardrobe that’s coming to mind. It may come as a surprise to many but not all fashion bloggers are the millionaires the media leads us to believe: Some of us make a very modest living!) However, when I want to go for quality it's Hobbs and Reiss for their gorgeous fabrics and wonderful tailoring - plus I'm a fan of a longer hemline.



Do you have any fashion rules for putting an outfit together?

Generally, no. For example, I've been mixing patterns for so long now that I don't even see that I'm wearing three patterns together - I just see them as three colours. Also rules for your body shape don’t always work. I'm an hourglass and style rules often say I should wear pencil skirts, but I've always thought they look terrible on me - I just don't feel right in them.

MY ONLY REAL RULE IS TO KEEP AN OPEN MIND WHEN PUTTING AN OUTFIT TOGETHER - AND DON'T FOLLOW RULES!

My only real rule is to keep an open mind when putting an outfit together - and don't follow rules!

Springtime pattern mixed florals with longline blazer | Not Dressed As Lamb


Do you believe in dressing ‘age appropriately’ and what does it mean to you?

I’ve probably already answered that question…! I can't bear the term "age appropriate", especially when it comes to fashion. What I consider so much more preferable is "occasion appropriate". Why should age dictate what you wear? If you're the kind of person who wants to wear something that’s deemed "too young" for you (leather trousers, shorter hemlines, etc.) but the occasion is appropriate, then it’s really no-one's decision whether you wear it but your own.

I admire women who aren't constrained by the pressure put on them by society to be age appropriate and don't give a flying sausage about what anyone else thinks of their dress sense.



Do you have any stylish-at-any-age tips?

Yes and no. Since I've been blogging I've actually come to embrace the notion that women have the right to wear whatever they please at any age. I never follow style "rules" and don’t think others should either. I wholeheartedly believe that personality should dictate what you wear far more than body-shape or age should. I love seeing a woman who isn't regarded as classically "stylish", who has fun with what she wears, more than one who dresses without care because she thinks she’s meant to fade into the background as she gets older.

Zandra Rhodes is a great example of a woman who obviously wears what reflects her personality, despite not being considered as stylish as someone like Anna Wintour or Victoria Beckham. But what all these women have in common is that a great deal of thought has gone into their wardrobes and how they present themselves, and I admire that.

MY TIP IS TO WEAR WHATEVER YOU WANT AND ENJOY IT. DON'T LET ANYONE TELL YOU WHAT YOU CAN AND CAN'T WEAR - AT ANY AGE.

So my tip is to wear whatever you want and enjoy it. If you want to dress in a twinset and pearls at 22, then do it. If you want to wear leather in your 80s, then do that also. Don't let anyone tell you what you can and can't wear - at any age.

Zandra Rhodes (Wiki Commons, Philkon) | Judith, The Style Crone
Public domain photo from Wiki Commons: Zandra Rhodes (Philkon) | The Style Crone



Any must-buy pieces for SS16?

I'm all over Rose Quartz and Serenity* - Pantone’s (pink and blue) Color of the Year combination for 2016.  I think candy colours are going to be everywhere this spring. If money were no object I'd be treating myself to a Burberry Kensington lace cotton trench coat in blush. However, a slightly more modest item on my wish list is a Michael Kors Jet Set tote in sky blue - that would satisfy my craving for something Serenity-coloured. Oh and I'm after a blouse with a ruffled yoke - I loved the Miu Miu ruffled blouse that was so popular last year so I'm hoping the high street will have their own versions in 2016.

* as it happens I wore Rose Quartz and Serenity on the blog on Monday this week.
** I did buy a high street version in the end - the M&S Archive by Alexa Harry blouse.



What has been your favourite outfit of yours on your blog?

The vintage pink and white striped DVF jumpsuit I wore on holiday in Santorini is definitely my favourite. I was a bit worried that I looked like I was wearing pyjamas the first time I wore it in the UK, but wearing in the Greek sun with a Panama hat and red sandals made it the perfect summer holiday outfit. Someone even left me a message on my Instagram feed to say she spotted me in Santorini and recognised the jumpsuit from a previous post…!

Vintage DVF pink and white striped jumpsuit, red sandals


Do you have any other style tips for women over 40 that you like to share – what has really worked for you (always, or recently)?

Don't be afraid to wear what you like and what will bring a smile to your face when you look in the mirror - that’s more important than how appropriate it is or how much it suits you. If others think it doesn't look right but you absolutely love it, who cares? Life's too short to spend worrying about what others think of what you're wearing - in the grand scheme of things it doesn't really have that much of a consequence for other people.

Wear skirts above the knee if you want to show off your great legs or a crop top if you like your middle. Leather trousers aren't just for the teens and 20-somethings because they can look great on older women.

Fairy princess Cinderella style: Blush pink crystal covered crop top, floor length tulle skirt, pink pointed heels | Evening wear, gown, dress | Not Dressed As Lamb

As mentioned I always keep an open mind, and I'm never afraid to try something I've seen on someone else. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. My proportions work better with a nipped-in waist and a longer hemline, however, so a fit and flare midi dress is my favourite dress silhouette. But then on the opposite end I'm a fan of masculine chic with boyfriend jeans and brogues, and a longline blazer has been my best friend for a while now.

I find that the "show off the bits you like, hide the bits you don't" idea works for me. I show off my shoulders, arms and waist and hide my legs and cleavage. It's as simple as that.

For practical tips I always say the following:

  1. Get yourself a full-length mirror. You can't dress yourself in a full outfit without one.
  2. To really get to know what suits you, take a photograph of yourself in an outfit, upload it onto your laptop or tablet and study the photo. Detaching yourself from your reflection in the mirror or picture on your phone is the only way to objectively see what looks good on you.

Make sure photos are taken on a camera with a zoom. Get your partner or a friend to stand back and zoom in - no phone selfies in the mirror or wide-angled shots. Many women make the mistake of judging how they look in photos taken with a wide-angle lens and think they're bigger or more out-of-proportion than they actually are (you end up with short legs and a big body). It can be a revelation for many women when they find out they're far more evenly proportioned than they thought, but that's why they fear having their picture taken - people unknowingly take unflattering pictures.



What are the advantages and/or disadvantages of being a 40+ blogger?

There aren't any disadvantages of being a 40+ blogger for me personally. I think it may be harder time-wise for older women who have a family to look after as well as perhaps a full time job and a blog, but I don't have children and I blog professionally. My blog benefits from the fact that I can dedicate my time to it and give it 100%.

The advantages, however, completely outweigh any disadvantages. If I had to choose between being a 20-something fashion blogger or a 40-something one, I'd definitely go for the latter. The main thing that is always said by older bloggers is the sense of community that we have - we're too old and wise for schoolgirl-style trolling or shaming. I'm sure most over 40 fashion bloggers would say that there’s nothing but support and friendship in our community, and many young bloggers have told me that it's fiercely competitive for them and that they have no true blogging friends which makes me so sad for them.

I CHAT TO MY BLOGGING FRIENDS EVERY DAY. THROUGH EVENTS AND CAMPAIGNS I'VE MET SO MANY MORE AMAZING WOMEN THAN IF I WERE STILL WORKING IN AN OFFICE WITH THE SAME PEOPLE FOR YEARS.

I've made so many wonderful new friends - online ones and real life ones - through blogging. Being self-employed means I may spend most days at home by myself, but I chat to my blogging friends every day. Through events and campaigns I've met so many more amazing women than if I were still working in an office with the same people for years.

Why It's Great Being an Over 40 Fashion Blogger | Not Dressed As Lamb

In other words, I can’t recommend blogging highly enough for older women who want to connect with others their own age and make a totally new, and wildly varied, circle of friends.

There are loads of other advantages:

  • Being older is a great USP just in itself. There are less 40+ bloggers than 20 or even 30-something ones, so I like to advertise the fact that I'm over 40 just for that reason. It hopefully encourages other older women to participate in discussions with women their own age - or even start a blog themselves.
  • Brands want to work with older bloggers. A large percentage of the collaborations on my blog have been with brands who are looking to target an older audience (who generally have more disposable income). 
  • You have more life experience and a more stable view of the world. I've noticed this in the writing of 40+ bloggers - they're more sure of themselves and their opinions. 
  • Readers are more intrigued by a 40+ fashion blogger - you stand out amongst the sea of 20-somethings. No one's expecting you to wear the latest trends all the time, so in effect you have free reign to wear whatever you like. 
  • Blogging saved me, sartorially-wise. Taking photos of myself every other day and studying the results on my computer screen has made me realise what I was doing right and where I was going wrong. I have no worries about getting older and what I should be wearing as each decade goes by. My blog sorts that out for me. 
  • I honestly wouldn't have got the exposure I've had if I'd been 20 years younger. My age is what's made my blog successful; it's what gets people talking. "Fashion bloggers over 40" makes a great topic on blogs and websites with huge readerships, and for that I'm grateful. 


Catherine

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39 comments

  1. What a fab interview, I am glad you shared it! How rude to be ignored, most unprofessional. X

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  2. I'm glad you chose to publish it here. Would have been such a waste otherwise. Very annoying to be ignored.

    bisous
    Suzanne
    http://www.suzannecarillo.com

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    1. It was a bit, Suzanne...! Oh well, at least my readers still saw it which is more important I think! x

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  3. This makes me love reading your blog that much more than I already did. You are awesome, and they are (for lack of a better word) idiots for not choosing to share this interview. Way to go!

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    1. Alisha that's so sweet of you to say, thank you so much!!

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  4. I enjoyed your interview, thank you it was interesting.

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  5. Loved your article and love your style. I just started writing articles, taking pictures and posting them - I guess I am a blogger over 60! I'm having fun.

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    1. Kathleen thank you - I hope (am sure) you'll love blogging as much as I do...!! x

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  6. "Being older is a great USP just in itself." - Absolutely love this! You are a great inspiration. Thank you for sharing this interview!

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    1. Aww Yuliya I'm so glad you think so - thank you!!

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  7. What a great "interview"! That is a shame they didn't publish it and were quite rude in how they handle the whole affair. Thanks for putting this on your blog. It really encourages me as an older blogger to keep at it. And makes me realize that even though I may not always see it, I just might be encouraging someone to start thinking about how they dress and who they are. I want women to see themselves as people of great value and that their value can be expressed in how they dress and present themselves. Thanks, Catherine. This was a great article! You are a beautiful blogger, inside and out! - Amy
    www.stlyingrannymama.com

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    1. Aww Amy how lovely are you?!! Thank you so much!! That's what I'd like to think I do, it's all about encouragement and hopefully making women see it's something to have fun with... It sure ain't rocket science or saving the world, so we should treat it with the light-heartedness it deserves!! xx

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  8. Hi Catherine, I got asked to answer to the same interview and was treated exactly the same way ! Same questions and everything, but never even found the article (did they publish it, at least ??)...shame because just like you I spent some time to answer to the question and never even got a reply back. Said that, wonderful answers that make me love your style and admire you as a blogger and woman even more, moreover I admire how you turned a disappointing experience into a winning one ! Many kisses

    Fashion and Cookies - fashion & beauty blog

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    1. Well what do you know...?!!!! Yes it came out a couple of weeks ago I think, Vale - and thank you for those kind words! I agree it was a lot of work, sometimes you have to turn a negative into a positive but boy was it frustrating :((

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  9. Well it's their readership's loss Catherine, maybe they were after something more boring/"style rules for women over 40" - who knows! Print magazines catering for women our age are well and truly thin on the ground/generally not very on the pulse if you ask me anyway! Lovely and inspiring read, thank you for sharing!

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    1. Thanks Steff - who knows what they were thinking...!!

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  10. Publishers need to read this and realise that by treating people so poorly they are actually damaging themselves. Articles such as this take a whole lot of work and, even it a publisher decides not to use our work, a simple email thanking us for our time wouldn't go amiss - it's all down to treating people in a professional and courteous manner. The publisher in question is obviously neither!

    I'm so glad you decided to share your interview Catherine, I'm sure a lot of your readers will really enjoy it - I know I did.

    Michelle xx
    http://www.thebarefacedchic.co.uk

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    1. Hmm I have to admit I'm never again going to write something about or collaborate with them if they ask, Michelle!! And thank you xx

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  11. I really hate it when agencies or journalists reach out to you, in a flurry, and then never even bother to reply to your response. It peeves me greatly. Let me rephrase. It pisses the shit out of me. And it was such a pleasure to read your responses, Catherine, your honesty is really nice. I can't think of any other word to describe it, it's just so nice and heartwarming :)

    p/s I knew there was a reason we got alone, Catherine, I've adored Zandra Rhodes since she made waves in the early 80s with chopsticks in her pink hair, and when Princess Di wore one of her tissue dresses to dinner and promptly fell asleep xoxo

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    1. Haha I LOVE that you love Zandra Rhodes too, Sheela - though it doesn't surprise me!! ;))

      It is frustrating, you're right, and yes you're right about the other thing you said...!! Thank you for your kind comments, I'm so glad you enjoyed it! x

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  12. Thank you for sharing this great (unpublished) article, Catherine! It was really worth doing so. At least any kind of response could have been expected.

    I still keep mine in my saved documents.... oh dear!

    xx
    Annette | Lady of Style

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    1. Maybe you could do the same, Annette? I know your readers would love to read your responses too!! And you're right - even a "sorry we're not using yours now" would have been polite...!

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  13. What a shame you were treated with such rudeness after taking the time to answer the questions! I'm pleased that you published it on your blog though. It sounds like they've burned their bridges with a few bloggers!

    Emma xxx
    www.style-splash.com

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    1. I think they have, Emma (burned their bridges) - the journalist is very well known, and I won't be thinking so highly of her in future. It'll be the last time I do anything for them after being treated like that! x

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  14. That was very rude of that well-known national publication. If this is the way they treat "suppliers" they will get their dues. Believe me. What goes around, comes around. And they missed out too, as this was a very good interview.
    Greetje

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    1. You're right about the what goes around... Greetje!! Karma and all that. Thank you, glad you enjoyed the read xx

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  15. Awesome read Catherine & kudos to you!!!

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  16. I can see they did not want to publish this. They want to push us down, not up

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    1. It was odd considering the bloggers they DID use, Nicole... Think it was more of a case who you know here!! But it was the ignoring bit that got me. Fine, don't use it... Just have the decency to tell me!

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  17. Great article! Particularly liked picture of you in longline striped jacket, toning crops and hot pink top. Could you tell me about the jacket and trousers?

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    1. Thank you Rosemary - if you click on the image it'll take you to the original post... But I'm afraid both are from a couple of years ago so no longer available. I've linked in the post to alternatives, you might like them!

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  18. Thank you for posting! Us women over 40 refuse to be ignored!

    Julia
    www.whenthegirlsrule.com

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