How to look ef­fort­lessly cool in your fifties

Streetwear might sound like some­thing for your twen­ties. But even the edgi­est of la­bels and trends can have some­thing for every­one, finds Fiona Gol­far

The Daily Telegraph - - Fashion -

The other day I found my­self ly­ing to my 19-year-old daugh­ter Molly. I had been meet­ing a friend in her early 30s

– I am in my mid 50s. We had dropped into Lib­erty to­gether as I needed to pee. Any­way, the Ladies hap­pens to be sit­u­ated next to the shoe depart­ment, and I came out to find her try­ing on what looked like the most “comfy” pair of train­ers I’ve seen in ages. Now, I don’t re­ally know or care about cool train­ers; it al­ways seems to me to be an area of ex­per­tise too far. But I did note that these were by Raf Si­mons. My first thought was that they might be re­ally good for my back: it’s bad, and I do wear train­ers a lot – I just don’t much care who they’re by. I tried a pair on. Heaven, I felt like

I did in the Sev­en­ties when I wore my first Kick­ers: like I was walk­ing on air. I bought them im­me­di­ately. I wore them out of the shop and floated home in them.

When my daugh­ter got home that evening she zoomed in on my feet like a heat-seek­ing mis­sile be­fore she’d even got her coat off, and said, “Where did you get those?” “What do you mean?” I asked, feel­ing a bit ner­vous.

“Well, aren’t those the Adi­das x Raf Si­mons train­ers?” she asked in that way that poured scorn on the very no­tion that I should have parted with money for some­thing I have no right to be wear­ing at my age. “Ju­lia was sent a pair and they were too big for her so she gave them to me…” I lied. Ju­lia works in fash­ion and is al­ways be­ing gifted lovely things be­cause she, un­like me, is young and cool.

Not too long af­ter this nar­row escape, I read a piece on­line on

Busi­ness of Fash­ion about Vir­gil Abloh, the fash­ion de­signer who has worked with Kanye West’s brand Yeezy and whose own la­bel Off-white is do­ing ex­tremely well. I don’t know the brand very well so I went on to Match­es­fash­ to in­ves­ti­gate. Less than 90 min­utes later a pair of high-rise wide-leg black and white checked bas­ket-weave trousers were de­liv­ered to my front door. If that is new world ed­u­ca­tion mar­ried to shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence, then I’m all for it. I loved the trousers, and they looked re­ally good with my train­ers.

That night Molly and I were watch­ing TV to­gether. “Nice trousers, mum.” I thanked her cau­tiously. “Where are they from?” she asked. “Oh, just this brand I’ve dis­cov­ered called Off-white,” I mut­tered. “You’re wear­ing streetwear!” she laughed.

I had no idea. Streetwear or not, it seemed clas­sic and com­fort­able to me.

The truth is I’m more com­fort­able both psy­cho­log­i­cally and phys­i­cally in the clothes I’m de­scrib­ing than I am in, say, a flowery Gucci dress or the lovely green ruf­fled num­bers that are in the win­dow of H&M as I walk past at the mo­ment. I don’t want to look “pretty”: I find it age­ing. In many ways, I seem to have re­turned to the way I dressed in the Nineties when my gods were Hel­mut Lang, Comme des Garçons and Ann De­meule­meester. Then, I wore black suits with T-shirts and train­ers for al­most a decade. I have kept ev­ery piece of them and re­cently have been wear­ing a lot of them again.

My pal­ette has be­come sub­tler; I am wear­ing grey, black, khaki and caramel tones where I would have

worn all black in the past. And this time it’s a looser sportier feel, so I might pair some well-cut trousers with a silky Adi­das hoodie. This cur­rent trend for a more mas­cu­line sil­hou­ette is re­ally ap­peal­ing to me. The last time I put a flowery dress on I felt blowsy and, thank you very much but I don’t want to show my chest. I don’t care how good my skin still is or isn’t, it just looks age­ing to me.

I have also no­ticed a shift in my beauty rou­tine: no longer blow dry­ing my hair, hav­ing longer and darker roots. The less I faff the less faffed I look, and I feel more com­fort­able that way. My make-up rou­tine is about hav­ing clean, healthy-look­ing skin.

If I give more at­ten­tion to any­thing, it’s cleans­ing and the ap­pli­ca­tion of reg­u­lar masks and serums. Al­though I have a lot of skirts I have aban­doned all my heels, partly be­cause they just rep­re­sent “sore lower back”, and partly be­cause I pre­fer to wear skirts ei­ther with train­ers or a pair of Church’s Chelsea boots or lace-up brogues.

The other thing that I’ve no­ticed is that there seems to be a bit of wardrobe raid­ing go­ing on in our house. Not, as one would ex­pect, be­tween Molly and me – noth­ing to do with the fact that she is about 10 sizes smaller than me. I have found my­self han­ker­ing af­ter my 22-year-old son Joe’s wardrobe. He has a black over­sized ny­lon jacket with SE­CU­RITY writ­ten across the back of it in fat white let­ters (no one seems to know where it comes from) that I keep pinch­ing.

It looks great with a pair of black­der­son wide-legged pin­stripe trousers and a big Zara hoodie – they have a great se­lec­tion this sea­son. I find that far from feel­ing stupid and mut­ton dressed as lamb in these clothes, I feel com­fort­able, and there is a mod­ern clas­si­cism to them.

Not long ago I was in LA and my very cool god­daugh­ter took me to Sil­ver­lake, the home of the hip­sters. We went to an Army and Navy sur­plus store and I bought Joe a $40 para­chute suit in crisp blue cot­ton. He was hav­ing none of it. So I rolled up the hems and wore it my­self. I was hooked. Am I too old to be dress­ing like this? Hell no, I’m just get­ting into my very comfy stride!

As the days are get­ting longer and colder, I’ve found my­self fall­ing in love with an over­sized black pea coat at H&M with fab­u­lous red silk lin­ing and red stitch­ing on the but­ton­holes. It works with ev­ery­thing I’m wear­ing and I’m ob­sessed by it. But when I went to wear it yes­ter­day, I found that Joe had pinched it. Fair enough, I thought.

Right: Fiona wears jump­suit from an Army & Navy sur­plus store in Sil­ver­lake, LA; Mar­garet How­ell belt;

Adi­das x Raf Si­mons train­ers


Noah at Dover Street Mar­ket util­ity jacket; Chloe trousers; Adi­das x Raf Si­mons train­ers

Be­low: vin­tage Hel­mut Lang blazer; JW An­der­son trousers; Comme Des Garçons Play at Dover Street Mar­ket top; Adi­das x Raf Si­mons train­ers

Far right: Ur­ban Out­fit­ters puffa jacket; Uniqlo roll neck; All­timers at Dover Street Mar­ket T-shirt

All jew­ellery Fiona’s own

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