How To Dress in your 40’s+

For Iris Apfel, 97, it is all about the layering.

As a woman, hitting my mid-forties has been an interesting experience. And when I say interesting, it has been more of a journey of self-discovery as I weave down the path of nature wanting to turn me into a man. Allow to me explain.

For two decades now, my body has been a fertile vessel, and I have done my duty by producing two offspring. As they say when you have children, the days are long, and the years are short and so this is where I am currently placed.

I am in the throws of perimenopause while my sons are hitting their puberty key performance indicators, right on cue. This combination, enhanced with my partner’s well-timed mid-life crisis, makes for some colourful dinner conversations, which inevitably end with someone storming off and the slamming of a door.

I am not proud to admit it, but sometimes that person is me.

As my fertility decreases at a rapid rate, and my estrogen goes on long service leave forever, some notable differences have materialised, slowly. I am starting to sprout a fine moustache. I can spend an hour weeping at dog rescue videos on Facebook, and my special talent, the one thing that can hit me out of the blue with little intent or notice, is the ability to turn myself into a human furnace.

Yes, welcome to the Hot Flush years, where one minute you can be getting about your business in a calm and rational manner, while seconds later you will be wanting to rip all your clothes off and seek the nearest bottle shop to sit in the beer cooler room. Having spent a lot of time seeking out local bottle shop vicinities, I have decided I shall no longer be a victim to this dreadful symptom.

Being a results-driven, caring citizen of the world, I am going to share with you my tips on how to dress when your body is no longer able to self-regulate its temperature.

First of all, what you must do is look at all the options in your wardrobe. Let’s look at the labels first. Anything that claims to be made of nylon, acrylic and polyester must be disposed of. This is your kryptonite and will act as an extra layer of microwaveable grade heat to the already pumping fire that is your body. Also, ditch the polar fleece. That totally works against you.

Ladies repeat after me. “Natural fibres and layering are my new best friends.”

The first line of defence is your first layer, the one that sits on your skin. I tend to always start with a loose-fitting singlet, ideally in a bamboo cotton. Bamboo cotton is a fabulous fabric famous for its function of drawing moisture away from the skin so it can evaporate.

Over that, consider a cotton or linen shirt. Or if you are really adventurous, consider a blend known as “modal cotton”.  Modal cotton is cotten blended with regenerated cellulosic fibre manufactured from wood pulp, to create a fabric that makes for superior wearing when your personal thermostat is on the blink.

So, we are now up to layer number three, which I like to call a lightweight, fine wool cardigan. Now, I am not thinking of the cardigans of yore which featured heavily in your grandfather’s fashion choices. No chunky beige itchy knits with wooden buttons, no thank you sir.

Think merino wool. It is soft, insulating, is all important at “moisture wicking” while still keeping you toastie.

If you really want to go nuts, add a coat, a scarf and a hat.

That is six layers in all, five of which can be discarded in seconds when you are travelling in the back of a taxi thinking that you have actually been set on fire, while the taxi driver looks on in alarm from the rear-view mirror and wonders if he should call the police.

Or so I have heard.