"Smiling is the best makeup, no matter what age."
You changed careers three different times. What's your outlook on finding your passion later in life?
As we go through life, we have this fear of failing at something current or something new, so we don’t pick up new things. I had a steady career path starting with Harpers Bazaar, and moving on to interior design. Both careers used everything I had been taught from my Dress Design and Textile qualification—opening my eyes to everything visual—beauty, balance, symmetry and form no mater if it is a room, a garment, or a garden. At 65 I decided to go back to art school, challenging myself through the courses. Complete transparency, I was terrified. Putting myself in a position of failure is testing, but helped me grow exponentially. I was surprised after a ew lessons how good some of my drawings were, and that I hadn't forgotten all my earlier teaching. This led me to being showcased in exhibitions and I now sell my drawings.
I think the underlying lesson is to not be afraid of failure and not to do something only to succeed. Enjoy the journey. It is all a learning process no matter what age.
How did you find your confidence when starting a new career path later on in life?
I think with anything, you need to be patient and work on finding who you are within the work at hand. When I first picked up a pencil after many years, I didn't have the confidence to have my own style. I kept working through it, and the more I did the more my drawings started to look like they came from me, and not mimicking someone else's style. They began to become full of passion and heartache. That was what I was showcasing through my work. Just like fashion and what you wear, it's a form of expression.
The hard work paid off, as I am proud to say that I had a successful exhibition last year, selling eight out of ten of my paintings, four having gone to Instagram followers.
"When you find your personal style is when you feel most confident. When I started drawing, I found my own space in that, and my drawings became a true extension of me: a little bold, detailed, and very honest."
Your Instagram page showcases many different styles, all of which could appeal to women at any age. What's your fashion advice for women as they get older?
I intend to only post style and elegance, whether it's clothes, gardens, buildings, or landscapes. I keep up with current collections and street styles, however, I don't use the words 'fashion and trends'. I will take the current styles and showcase the timeless versions and how to wear them. When you feel comfortable in what you are wearing, you will feel your most confident self; age is irrelevant.
You seem to have a positive outlook on aging, fashion, and design. What would be three styling tips for the everyday woman?
1. Dress and work to your positive parts and create your own look with elegance. For shorter woman, wear a top to toe monochromatic look, it gives you height. Focus on buying classics, whether tops, shoes, or pants they will take you everywhere. My top pieces are: a good trouser, a well cut blazer/jacket, classy belt, and a great shoe.
2. Wear a belt when you can, whether you have a small waste or not, it will help define your body.
3. Keep your face and hair fresh! Play with your hair to get that great style, and always add a lip color. My personal favorite is red, utterly ageless. One last tip; don't forget to smile, it's your best asset!