'It's only a fringe,' said my hairdresser, Steve. 'You can always grow it out if you don't like it.'
A couple of months back I turned 40. It was a weird one. People kept asking me how I felt about it and I still don't really have an answer. It's just a number. But it's not....
Right up until the last minute, I didn't know if I wanted to celebrate what everyone kept describing as 'a milestone' or 'a big one'. In the end, I had a hastily thrown together knees up that was just right and the right decision. It felt marked.
Since then, I've been wondering about this stuff a lot. Watching First Dates, who insist on captioning everyone with name and age, I find myself comparing and just not really identifying with the 40 brigade. I'd only just got used to being thirty and now you're saying I'm forty?? The maths seem wrong. Still, growing old is always better than the alternative and should be celebrated as such - gratefully and gracefully-ish.
So I decided to change my hair. Not in a midlife crisis kinda way. It IS only a fringe.
But I love it.
In the six weeks since, I've found my interest in clothes and style has sky rocketed. My fringe has unlocked a new level and I'm negotiating my way through, fighting dangerous enemies like 'appropriateness' and 'modesty'. Forty is not going the way of the fleece and flats for me, thank you very much.
So what am I wearing? This glorious dress shares my name. The Boden Lottie dress is the exact right cut for me, thankfully (would've been awks if not, eh?). At 40, it's about time I dress for my shape as it is now, not what it was or what it might be in the future. I love the colour – blue has always been my bag – while the pattern is cute black-and-pink clover. Love me a lucky four-leaf. The ruched tummy panel is a girl's best friend, and I'm all about the dresses with sleeves, too.
Now, I'm not sure I should've reached this ripe old age without a bit of cashmere in my wardrobe but I'm glad I waited for this, a strawberry ice-cream pink cardigan softer than my kittens. Turns out this touch of luxury is an excellent way to improve almost all outfits and almost all situations. Feeling a bit gloomy? Pop on the bright cashmere. Wish you could wear your pyjamas to work? Give the cardie a surreptitious stroke for instant cosiness. The classic cut means it goes with almost everything. Plus, I feel like an extra from (a non-Hollywood, chilly February version of) La La Land when I'm wearing it.
And the boots? When the kids were wee it was flats all the way – trainers and Birkenstocks, basically, footwear for constantly chasing children. I've lost the knack for super-high heels, but these Boden Boho boots? They are the baby bear of boots. Not too high. Not too low. Just right.
This outfit makes me feel amazing for all these reasons. But the thing I love most? It's an evolution of a style I've had since childhood. Dresses were always my garment of choice because of the way they made me feel special. Sling on a cardie and a pair of boots (any boots, wellies even) and I felt like me. Still do.
Yes, it was only a fringe. But, for me, it's worked more magic than a facelift.
Shop this look
Dress: Lottie dress in Santorini Blue Pansy Floral
Cardigan: Cashmere cardigan in Pink Fizz
Boots: Boho boots in Navy
Did you find your style evolved after a milestone birthday? What are you wearing at the moment? Got any tips for looking and feeling fab? Let me know in the comments...
Photography: Alice Hendy
Clothes: c/o Boden
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