How to build confidence and avoid the cloak of invisibility

I’ve written in the past about the danger of wearing clothes that make too much of a statement. Driven by a media that is focused on selling magazines, many women make the mistake of wearing noisy clothes that get them noticed for the wrong reasons.

Last week, a good friend who is approaching her 50th birthday – and reads Confidence Tricks reminded me that there is a flip side to this.

She told me that she was increasingly feeling like she was becoming invisible. She was finding it hard to find (non-noisy) clothes that she felt she could wear that that would help her maintain her confidence as she – gently, in my opinion – aged.

In the past nearly 40 years of Wardrobe I have heard this many times before. In fact I remember an ad agency sending two women out shopping on two consecutive days. The first day dressed in ordinary and fairly dull clothes and the second day looking more chic and confident. The first day in their ordinary clothes and wearing a headscarf nobody seemed to realise they were even there and in shops they were totally ignored. The second day they were achieving admiring glances and were attentively acknowledged by sales staff when they entered smart shops.

There is a way of dressing after your late 40s which is still sensual, attractive and certainly not invisible. I have written about it lots – just click on the Confident Personal Style category in the right hand column of this blog and you’ll find tips and a seven part series on the subject.

Like everything else, achieving this goal of confidence through the decades will not be cheap, but if you keep everything simple and classic with a bit of edginess it will last longer.

You might not be at the cutting edge of High Street fashion but you can be at the cutting edge of style and good taste. Classic doesn’t mean boring. It means finding shop that believes in good quality and cut, with experienced people who will care for you and your individual concerns. How do you find these places? Ask anyone who you think looks good. Recommendation, word of mouth is the best way always.

And it’s also really important to remember as you mature that your personal grooming will take quite a bit longer. Clothes alone won’t ‘do it’. Hair, make-up and skin care (face and body) have to feature importantly and of course never forget ageing teeth.

And since we’re talking about invisibility, don’t forget you always need to build on “good foundations”. Underwear is less invisible than you might think and needs to fit well. More on this soon.

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1 Response to “How to build confidence and avoid the cloak of invisibility”


  • A very interesting post, Susie. Lots to think about here.Oh the danger of too much bright colour.And the equally dangerous safe colour ! Did you see the article in the Times magazine on Saturday where a 40-something journalist , dressed, made-up and acting as an 80 year old went out to shops in a hip east London street ? The stylist put her in head- to- toe beige, with grey-beige hair and glasses from Specsavers.She was either patronised or ignored by everybody.
    I think a bit of (subtle) colour makes a real difference to feeling visible. And as you have written earlier, modern jewellery !

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