gemma sheppard age without apology interview 10 years younger

Age Without Apology expert chat: fashion stylist Gemma Sheppard

Our Willowberry Age Without Apology Insta Live Series is held bi-weekly on our Instagram page. These live chats with expert guests are designed to help you navigate age with confidence and style. Here are the highlights of our recent chat with TV fashion stylist, Gemma Sheppard.

Gemma Sheppard is an experienced fashion stylist who has worked with celebrities, private clients and on TV shows including The X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and 10 Years Younger. Gemma champions women by giving them the confidence to look and feel good.

Here we share Gemma’s top styling tips for women as they age. Read on to learn more about why confidence is everything, how to find your style and whether over-50s can wear leather trousers (spoiler alert, the answer is YES!).

Confidence is key

Inner confidence is really complex. Sometimes previously confident people hit a point where that confidence is lost. Sometimes it comes after having children, sometimes around perimenopause, sometimes if they’ve experienced trauma. In survival mode you start to lose yourself. The big issue is usually around a loss of identity. Pinpoint when you started to recognise a change in yourself to help identify the issue and sort that first. This is a really big talking point. You are not going to glow until you are really feeling it from within.

Move away from the leisure wear

Everyone has got used to wearing their comfies this past year but the danger with that is our whole mentality starts to become a bit slouchy and even that starts to make us lose our sense of identity. Even simply going back to wearing jeans, a sweater and a scarf or a piece of jewellery can make you feel a bit more together.

How to detox your wardrobe in 5 easy steps

You have to do a wardrobe detox!

  1. Get everything out and put it all on the bed – this is a completely boring chore I know but at the end of it you are going to feel brilliant
  2. Try literally everything on
  3. Sort into three piles: yes, no, maybe
  4. Keep everything that fits and see what else it can work with to create outfits
  5. Put everything you want to keep back into your wardrobe in category order

Style heroes everyone should own

You have got to get your underwear right, that alone can transform your look. Once you’ve got that base foundation right, everything else hangs so much better. Then for a capsule wardrobe you need a great white shirt, a trench coat, a great pair of jeans, denim jacket, biker jacket, black polo neck, a white t-shirt, a black trouser suit and a little black dress.

By having these key pieces in your wardrobe, you can create 30-40 looks by mixing and matching and switching up shoes.

Plan ahead to feel fabulous

On a Sunday, play dress-up in your own wardrobe. Put together seven wonder woman outfits ready on hangers for the week ahead. Then set aside some me-time in the morning and embrace the process of getting ready. The minute you take that control you will give yourself such an empowering start to the day.

Finding your style inspo

Pinterest is brilliant for developing your sense of style. Google people that give you style inspiration then go to Pinterest and pin the looks that you like. It’s a great starting point to help you see how you can emulate those looks your way. You will very quickly determine what pieces are missing from your own wardrobe.

How to rethink your wardrobe if your body has changed shape

Looking at clothes that don’t fit, every day, in your wardrobe is so cruel, like self-torture. My best piece of advice is that you pack any clothes that don’t fit lovingly away. Get some gorgeous tissue paper and a spritz bottle with water, lavender and eucalyptus in it. Spritz the tissue paper then let it dry, fold the clothes into it and then use those big vacuum storage bags that you put the hoover in to suck the air out. Then go and get that capsule wardrobe and start to experiment. The beauty now is that you can buy and try on things in your own home. It’s about identifying brands that are working for your body shape at this moment in time.

One style trick every older woman should know

Don’t lose sight of the fact that as we get older we need a bit more structure. I love a shoulder pad, I love popping up a collar, I love a scarf. All these things are good at creating structure. When we start to lose structure in our face and bodies we need to inject structure in our fashion. Good underwear makes a massive difference.

Leather trousers for the over-50s

I love a leather trouser. There are some incredible pleather trousers around but they make me really hot and they are a little bit squeaky. So, what I do is invest in the sale. I go online to Net-A-Porter, Mytheresa, and to the second-hand designer sites Vestiaire Collective and The Real Real where you can get pieces in immaculate condition for 20% of their original retail value. I always invest in a great pair of buttery soft Helmut Lang leather trousers. It’s all about the fit. The beauty of leather is that it sits effortlessly on the body and gives you a clean silhouette.

How to Age Without Apology

Style has become ageless and what a relief that is! I think it’s because we are healthier, fitter, more connected. Sixty is the new fifty. We are a generation that wants to stay relevant, we don’t accept ‘no’ easily and we ask the right questions. I think I speak for a lot of women when I say we are self-sufficient and that makes a very big difference to our own level of expectations.

By the way, I am a massive fan of your Willowberry products. Your Cleansing Balm is dreamy and actually my daughter has stolen my pot!


Watch our live chat with Gemma Sheppard in full here. Follow Willowberry on Instagram and look out for our Age Without Apology Insta Live Series every other Wednesday.


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