23 September 2013

Fabulous Fashionistas: Six women that are fun,fashionable and feisty

Last Tuesday Channel 4 showed the most amazing documentary, which you can catch up on 4OD on Demand and YouTube. It was called Fabulous Fashionistas and was about women in their 70s, 80s and 90's, who refuse to give up on life and keep going, one fashionable step at a time. The women featured were there own person, with amazing fashion taste and an eye for picking out bargains, plus there wasn't a bottle of fake tan or injection of Botox in sight.

Here is a little about the women featured:

Name: Bridget Sojourner
Years young: 75
Job: Ageism campaigner
Style: 'Pioneer of colour'
Shopping list: Flowing vibrant dresses, DM's, headscarves, costume jewellery.

Despite only having a pension of £100 a week, Bridget still manages to look extremely stylish with her eye-catching costume jewellery and glamourous hats. Bridget loves going to charity shops and searching through all the rails for clothes. She is a stickler for price though and when asked what her most expensive item she's bought was a £4 of Doc Martens. Four quid for a pair of DM's? The woman is a treasure finder!
With her beautiful curly hair decorated with bright scarves, she explains that 'How I look is to do with my identity and the fun of it. It's nothing to do with looking younger.'

Bridget is a lifelong campaigner and her recent project is to campaign against ageism. She does this by wanting to spread the word in magazines and by trying to find some modelling.

Bridget says: "People stop me everyday in the street, amazed that I look so stylish at my age. The insidious ageism in our society says that you become invisible as you get older and that’s what I’m fighting against visually with my clothes." "I want older women to believe they can do and wear anything. I’m still waiting for the call from Channel 4 asking me to read the news." I'd go shopping and take style tips for her anyday.

Name: Baroness Trumpington
Years young: 91
Job: Conservative life peer
Style: "Lucky if it hits the spot"
Shopping list: Anything from a catalogue.

Baroness Trumngton is the oldest of the group, but that doesn't mean she is any less stylish. She is over going shopping and is now addicted to catalogue buying. The woman is an incredibly intelligent and very witty character and became an internet sensation when a video of her on YouTube showed her giving another peer the V sign, because he was talking about her age. The Baroness makes a point of refusing to go quietly and is regularly sitting listening to the debates on the Lords' red benches, always looking stylish.

In 1989 she became the oldest ever women to be appointed a Government minister. When she became the Minister of Agriculture, she didn't have time to go shopping anymore so started ordering from catalogues and hasn't put them down since. She cheekily notes that the catalogue even has men in it!

Baroness Trumpington explains that she was brought up looking at people who wore lovely clothes. During the Second World War the Baroness worked as one of the amazing women at Bletchley Park in the intelligence sector. She says that: "You did these awful shifts and you wore whatever was comfortable. You certainly didn't bother with appearance" I doubt they were wearing trackies, hoodies and Uggs though.

Like Bridget she finds bargains cheaply, but of one of her favourite items being a three-piece wool trouser suit, that she bought from Harrods about 20 years ago. There's nothing like spoiling yourself.

The Baroness describes that: "Women have a very difficult time in politics, but I've never felt that I have to wear something specific to be taken seriously. There are some particularly odd numbers dress-wise in the House of Lords, but it has no effect on their excellent speeches." Her fashion tip is "Simplicity is the key. There is nothing like a single rope of cultured pearls to dress up something drab. They're not expensive and they're all in the catalogues." How right you are Baroness.

Name: Daphne Selfe
Years young: 85
Job: Model
Style: 'Classy funky'
Shopping List: Styles from past decades, that she has collected over the years.
If you're likely to recognise any of these women then it will be Daphne. She is the world's oldest supermodel and has appeared on the cover of Italian Vogue. Daphne is one of the faces of TX Maxx, doing several photo shoots with them and has filmed several adverts. Trust me, if you've seen the adverts, you will remember Daphne. Not for her age, but for her style, elegance and beautiful smile. Daphne has gorgeous grey locks that tumble down her neck beautifully, which get her a lot of work. She worked as a model in her twenties and stopped to have children.

When most women are sitting doing a wordsearch, at seventy years old Daphne was rediscovered and asked to walk at London Fashion Week. Ever since then she has been more in demand then ever and has walked catwalks and starred in photoshoots all over the world alongside the top models. 
Daphne has accumulated some amazing pieces and items over the years, she has a wardrobe to rival the likes of Cara Delevigne's. 

When she was eighty three, she did a photo shoot for Oxfam's Big Bra Hunt, in which she wore the iconic conical bra and corset made by Jean Paul Gaultier for Madonna's Blonde Ambition tour in 1990. Brave isn't the word and before you think 'oh there must have been loads of airbrushing done.' No there wasn't, not even a smidgin. 

Daphne explains that she "doesn't believe in being a slaved to the latest trends." Her top tip is you should wear what you love and what suits you. Daphne loved modelling again, as she loves clothes and "prancing up and down the catwalk and even better, I didn't have to wear high heels!" I bet all the younger models were uber jealous of that. 

She is an incredibly stylish lady and has a lot of wisdom about how to feel about yourself. "Now that I’m older I approach fashion and modelling differently. I’m not perfect anymore, so I don’t worry so much. It’s very liberating. Getting old really does have quite a lot of advantages." Now we can all learn from that.

Name: Jean Woods
Years young: 75
Job: Botique gift shop assistant
Style: Dr Martens with everything
Shopping list: LBD's- leather, logo and statement tees, long grungy skirts and of course her beloved DM's.

With her Mary Quant/ 20s style fringe and love of Doc Marten boots paired with flowing dresses, she completly changes the perception of how a Grandma should look. With her leather LBD's and all round grungy style, you will not see her in sensible old lady shoes and elastic trousers anytime soon. Jean explains that "I have always been interested in fashion, but more so as I have got older."

Jean definitely has the right attitude as she says " I like to dress as I want to dress. When I put something on, I don't think ' will anybody think I look good?'. "I just decide in my own mind whether I look good- I don't really care about other people."

Jean lost her husband after being married for over fifty blissful years and was completly heartbroken. She needed to find something to fill the empty days, so decided on her son's advice to apply for a job with Gap. She was hired straight away and worked there for a year as their oldest employee. Jean now works in a Boutique advising customers and almost certainly giving them lots of fashion tips and advice.m

Jean hopes her being on TV will show people that life doesn't stop the day you pick up your pension. She says that "If it shows older people that life is there for grabbing and that you have to take that plunge, then I will be happy." Jean keeps herself active by running three times a week, even though she has had an operation on her knee and is styled to perfection whilst doing it. Her grandchildren ask her for tips on how to look stylish and she says that "I’ve definitely become edgier as I’ve got older. I’m not sure I would have worn a floaty Topshop dress with Dr. Martens thirty years ago, but these days they’re my staple items." Any Grandma that wears Dr Martens is a fashion icon.

Name: Sue Krietzman
Years young: 73
Job: Artist
Style: "Don't wear beige, it might kill you'
Shopping list: Chunky bangles, costume jewellery, black clothes to wear under hand made coats.

Sue was originally a cookery book writer, but after writing her 27th book, decided she wanted a change and became an artist and moved to London from New York. She had never tried art before and suddenly she was drawing, painting and creating amazing sculpture like pieces. Sue now has a studio and sells her creations, that are adorned with dolls, buttons, broken jewellery and anything she can find that she thinks she can use.

To say she has her own original style, is an understatement. With her bold red glasses and chunky plastic jewellery, her look is a way of expressing her art and herself. Sue wears all black, so she finds it easy to decide what to wear, but then completly overhauls the look by wearing the most amazing beautiful handmade coat style cardigans, full of symbols and bright colours.
She enjoys making her own clothes which she describes as a "release from the tyranny of fashion".

Sue definitely has her own look and owns it completely. She is an inspiration to women that no matter what age you are and no. After how successful, you can completly change your life and find a new part of your life that you love and never even knew existed.

Name: Gillian Lynne
Years young: 87
Job: Dance choreographer
Style: Miniskirts are a must
Shopping list: Dark flattering colours, brown and black clothes and miniskirts.
Dance and theatre fans may recognise her as the choreographer extraordinaire, that has worked on many shows over the years and still has an extremely packed schedule. Gillian began her career by dancing as a ballerina in the 1940s. She then used her expertise to become a choreographer and this year was awarded an Olivier award, for her amazing work in the theatre. To look at her she really does not look her age at all. She looks good for someone that is at least twenty years younger then her. 

Gillian keeps fit by stretching for 40 minutes in the morning everyday and even though she has had joint replacements and her foot is held together by metal, she is still as supple as ever and can fit into her leotards from decades ago. She still loves to wear her miniskirts and leggings, she explains that "I know people probably look at the face and go 'oh dear' ,but my legs have always been my best asset. Why should I stop showing them off. I couldn't give a toss what people think.' And yes her legs are fantastic.

Gillian's advice is that "You mustn't let the ageing process in." It bothers her that as women get older, they let their posture go. 'You see them hunched over, looking downward. Everything seems to sag. They look dejected. My training as a dancer always taught me that you stand up straight and get those shoulders back." You heard it here ladies, stand with your boobs out and when you're 87 you'll look amazing too!

When she's not working, Gillian has a very relaxed life with her husband of thirty five years, Peter. They got married when she was fifty two and he was twenty five. Peter says that he has never seen her as older then him, he just saw a fun loving person with a zest for life when he fell in love with her and she hasn't changed. 

You can tell that there is such a deep love and connection between them, however when they got married there was a lot of backlash. "My friends thought it was positively indecent when we started to see each other, but since we are still together now, how silly they look now!" She says that all the people that had a problem with it are now either dead, or have been proven wrong. It's definitely true, you're as young as the man you feel!

All these women have an immense zest for life and are determined not to give up their lives and passions, even though they are getting older. They are positive, strong women that love life and look stylish while doing so. They are women that we should look up to and see as an inspiration. They've lived a life and have experienced love and heartache, sorrow and the deepest of pain, but have come out at the end of it more determined then ever to live their lives and be themselves and that is true style and elegance.


  1. I love this programme! Is there a series or is it just a one off? I was going to blog about it too but think I may have left it a little too late if it's only a one off. Your post is so detailed don't think it could match up to yours! Maybe I should just leave it! Awesome post :) xxx


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  3. I watched this programme and these women are brilliant - thanks for sharing so much info about them.

  4. I absolutely love this blog...and I will be using it today and give you a shout out on my blog. I promote confidence and beauty in women of every age and size and this blog was certainly an inspiration to me. thank you from my heart!!!

  5. I absolutely love this blog...and I will be using it today and give you a shout out on my blog. I promote confidence and beauty in women of every age and size and this blog was certainly an inspiration to me. thank you from my heart!!!

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