October 19, 2021

Silver & Sassy- Grey Haired Women Are Not Invisible

Men are silver foxes but women are letting themselves go if they decide to ditch the dye?

When Annie Stirk first came to me with the seed of an idea to celebrate grey, white and silver haired women which we'd planned to be part of York Fashion Week 2019 I completely got it.

Silver & Sassy

I started going grey as a teenager, not really a shock as my grandmother was completely white at a young age.  Dyeing it every colour of the rainbow, from Navy Blue, Blonde, Bright Red and Plum , the list goes on.  I don't really remember anyone batting an eye.  Fast forward to age 45 when I decided to ditch the dye and embrace my grey hair and people suddenly had an opinion. Comments , which all came from women, included "You're too young" , "Don't let yourself go" and "it will make you look older".

I'm sure it's too do with societies conditioning around the fear of ageing. Grey hair is another sign along with wrinkles that we are ageing, and to be honest thank God we are lucky enough to still be here to show them when so many others aren't! There is still so much fear around the whole subject. We wanted to create an uplifting fashion event that challenges those outdated stigmas  and celebrates women embracing their grey hair. Reminding women that may be feeling a bit lost that we are most certainly not invisible!

The event, held at the beautiful Goldsborough Hall, involved 13 models who all volunteered to join Annie and I on the catwalk. These women had never done anything like this before but completely embraced everything we threw at them. With a fabulous styling team; Sara Anson and Trudy Fielding, behind us showcasing 7 brands from small independents to well loved high street names. It was important to Annie and I that not only did these women leave feeling more confident about themselves but so did our 90 guests. After the last 18 months there was a really positive energy coming from the audience and their support for every women that stepped out was palpable.

Our models ranged from late 40's up to 77 and indeed our oldest model Heather Sandler often stole the show with her sass and personality.

Why we need better representation in the media and fashion industry.

Although we have started to see more older women included in media and advertising campaigns they are still token gestures and  yet to be included in fashion campaigns on a consistent basis. Deciding to ditch the dye often comes at a time of great change in a womans life, children leaving home, adjusting to an empty nest, caring for older parents, the menopause. All these can have a huge affect on your body confidence. Add to that the lack of visibility in the images we are bombarded with daily and it's no wonder that women often feel invisible and lost.

When you consider that the over 50's spending power is one of the largest and fastest growing in the UK it makes you wonder at what point will brands start really listening and learning how to include us in their marketing. We were delighted to have high street brands John Lewis Leeds, Figleaves swimwear, Fenwicks and Jigsaw in York involved in the show alongside independents Copper & White, Cabi Clothing, My Vintage Beau, Natalia Willmott jewellery, Molly Titfer hats, The Yorkshire Handbag Company and Yorkshire Eyewear.

Seeing our models of all shapes, ethnicities, heights and at different stages of their grey journey really felt like a powerful statement. The women in the audience clearly enjoyed seeing the clothes on women they could relate to as they enjoyed shopping after the event after being inspired by what they'd seen. This seems to be a perfect way to shop and target the older market and perhaps we'll see more in person fashion events as an after effect of the pandemic. I really do hope so! I’d love to see more brands creating live fashion events to really connect and understand their midlife customers better.

Is the tide turning?

It does feel like the tide is turning with celebrity role models like Helen Mirren, Andie MacDowell and most recently Dawn French embracing their grey hair in the public arena. You often hear women described as being brave for going against the ‘normal’ and these women are under so much scrutiny in the spotlight but owning it. I completely agree with Andie MacDowell when she told Vogue she’d never felt more herself,  able to embrace where she is right now and completely comfortable in her skin,  I feel exactly the same and its freeing.

I’m sure that comes with age as much as embracing the grey, I’ve started to care less about what other people think of me. Deciding to ditch the dye can be a very positive experience and so many women find it liberating, stepping out of your previous fashion comfort zone can be a real part of that change.

With award winning presenter Christine Talbot as our host we knew we were in safe hands and it was a pleasure to have Jayne Mayled, founder of White Hot Hair and Tricia Cusden from Look Fabulous Forever as our guest speakers to share their pro-ageing wisdom too.( I have to say our award winning hair and make-up artist Sonia Schofield and her team did an amazing job enhancing all the models natural beauty using Look Fabulous Forever make up).

There’s never been a better time for women to support women and this event really showed that as we also raised money for the York based women’s charity Kyra.  The event was kindly sponsored by York Gin and Figleaves.

Enjoy a few of the images of all our gorgeous models, all at different stages of their own grey haired journey, different shapes, sizes, ethnicities and ages but all Silver & Sassy!

 

 

 

Annie and I are already planning what's next for #Silverandsassy and we want to reach as many women as we can with our positive message. The icing on the cake came from being featured on ITV Calendar and then going national on All Around Britain.   (watch from 31 mins in)

We are Silver & Sassy!

Huge thanks to everyone behind the scenes who helped make the day the success that it was.

All images @Olivia Brabbs Photography

October 10, 2019

My favourite products for Silver, White and Grey hair.

I stopped dying my hair 5 years ago and have fully embraced my silver hair now; I've found the whole experience liberating. There are so many different shades of grey you don't know what hair colour you will end up with until you stop dyeing. My hair is very white, almost silver, except at the back where it is a darker grey. People seem to assume because you don't have to colour it any more, you also don't have to worry about hair maintenance but it's not as easy to manage as people think.

Many women with grey hair have a constant battle with yellow tones which can be caused by so many different factors including air pollution, heat from styling, exposure to the sun, and a build up of hair products. I have tried and tested so many different silver shampoos and treatments in the last few years, I thought it might be helpful to share some of my favourites.

Why use a silver purple shampoo? I think it can seem quite scary at first washing your hair with a dark purple shampoo, there's the fear that you will end up with bright purple hair. If you imagine a colour wheel, purple is directly opposite yellow which means they can cancel one another out. When you tone your yellowing hair using purple, it cools down the tone of the yellow shades and removes the brassiness.

I have been fortunate to have been given certain products to try and had the opportunity to attend the Philip Kingsley hair clinic in Mayfair for an analysis and treatment session. I had already been using their products and was a huge fan of the deep conditioning Elasticizer but at the clinic I was shown how to really get the best out of the product. I've now started using it once a week, leaving it on for at least 20 minutes before I wash my hair with a silver shampoo.

I have fine hair but lots of it and since using Elasticizer I've found my hair feels and looks fuller, has more bounce and generally looks healthier. It's not a particularly cheap product but I think it makes a real difference and one I would recommend to invest in. #gifted

Pantene also brought out a new Grey and Glowing range this year and I was fortunate to work on their social media campaign so again was gifted the range to try. Silver shampoos all seem to be different and in the past I confess to trying some that have left me looking like I've had a purple rinse! This range seems to banish most of my yellow tones without any build up but I particularly like the illuminating mask. I usually wash my hair twice a week and alternate between the Elasticizer or a mask. It's an affordable reliable product which I use regularly.

I've also been introduced to the Sachajuan Silver shampoo and conditioner professional haircare range by Samantha Sweet at Sweet Squared. I had never heard of it before but have used it a few times now and it seems to really cut out those brassy tones; if you like cooler grey white tones I think it's perfect. Be careful not to leave the shampoo on for too long, 1-2 minutes only; I left it on for 5 minutes and the result was an icy white colour with a hint of purple. It's available to buy on Amazon, at £20 it is quite pricey but it does work well.

If you've never tried any of the White Hot Hair products then I highly recommend them. I really like the whole ethos behind this brand and love the products.The shampoo leaves my hair with a healthy looking gloss. My absolute favourites from this range are the Lifeshine Oil (£14) to keep the frizziness at bay and the Whooshing Creme (£13) is always in my handbag for that last minute boost of oomph when you need it. The prices are reasonable too. It's brilliant! #gifted

If I'm going for an evening out, I sometimes like to give my hair an extra boost and have used the Milkshake Silver shine whipped cream mousse for years. Not only does it work well, without leaving your hair feeling sticky, but it smells amazing too.

I don't think you can beat the Pro:Voke range for Silver Dry shampoo and hairspray for reliable results and great value for money. I have also tried their silver shampoo but found it was too strong for me and always left a strong purple shade in my hair. I also found it stained the bathroom more than any other products. I once had a terrible purple shampoo experience in a nice white bathroom in a smart hotel. I've never used it since!

#greyhairdontcare

April 30, 2018

Why are women over 40 so invisible in the fashion industry?

Flick through any fashion magazine and you will notice a distinct lack of middle aged 40-50 year old models . Whilst it is wonderful to see the increase in older models such as the incredible 70 year old Maye Musk, the industry seems to be completely overlooking the middle aged bracket. Why are we so invisible to the high street fashion market? Especially when you consider that women over 50 make up 47% of the spending market. I want to be inspired when I open up magazines by women of my own age group that I can relate to and that reflect me, wearing high street modern fashion. We have money to spend and there is #nowrongage to express yourself through your clothes.

Green top- UK16 www.boohoo.com

Vinyl skirt- UK14 www.simplybe.co.uk

Shoes vintage www.etsy.com/uk/shop/myvintagebeau

I love this outfit an ended up buying the whole outfit,including the vintage beret from https://facebook.com/myvintagebeau Trousers and dustecoat www.simplybe.co.uk

Flamenco dancer in the making! Beautiful dress from Simply, UK16

It's good to step out of your fashion comfort zone and try different looks, after all there are lots of different sides to our personalities.

Trousers and jacket www.simplybe.co.uk Boots www.tkmaxx.com

Thank you Laura Carly Adams for the fab photography and Trudy Beau stylist for helping showcase some cool outfits.

 

January 10, 2018

Swim Suits For All shoot #dreamjob

When I say this was my dream job, It really was!

The fact that it was in The Bahamas working with Ashley Graham, Elaine Eirwin, Stefania Ferrario and Lori Harvey was an amazing opportunity. But for me it was so exciting to be involved with Swimsuitsforall, an American swimwear company I have been following and really admire for their positive and inclusive attitude to swimwear. When I tentatively started modelling this time last year I would never have imagined modelling swimwear at the age of 47 and it has been such a positive turning point in my attitude. I have come back even more determined to be able to represent the curvier women over 40, we are so under looked in the fashion industry even when our age bracket is one of the largest spending groups in the market. As I slowly approach my 50th I can't wait and I've never felt more confident, sexy, comfortable in my own skin, embracing my grey hair, so I'm looking forward to this new chapter and let's see what it brings!

Girl Squad Goals with Elaine Eirwin, Lori Harvey, Ashley Graham, Rachel Peru and Stefania Ferrario, Swimsuitsforall.

Rachel Peru, Elaine Eirwin, Stefania Ferrario , Swimsuitsforall.com

Rachel Peru, Silver curve model, Bridge models

''If everyone were cast in the same mould, there would be no such thing as beauty'' Charles Darwin.

Ashley Graham & Rachel Peru

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