March 1, 2021

Finding body confidence in midlife.

How I have overcome my lack of body confidence to become a silver haired curve model, modelling lingerie at 50.

Rachel Peru model

If someone would have told me in my twenties and thirties that I would become a full-time model in my late forties I would never have believed them.

To the point where I actually booked to have a breast reduction because I hated the size of them and honestly thought this would make me feel happier, thankfully I reconsidered. It makes me feel sad that I wasted so much time and energy on these thoughts instead of living life to the full.

I was very shy when I was younger and didn’t have a big career mapped out when I left school, I really wanted to go to Drama school, but my lack of self- belief held me back. I spent fifteen years in various retail roles until I had my three children and then retrained as a nursery school assistant as it fitted in with family life easily. I found myself getting divorced at 39 and decided to finally go to University and gained a 2.1 Education Studies degree aged 41. I was delighted and thought I had finally got my career mapped out and imagined a new career in teaching. Life has a habit of turning plans upside down when you least expect it and shortly after my eldest daughter became ill with crippling and anxiety which resulted in her being home schooled and me having to leave my full-time job. Little did I know what was in store for me in the following years.

Four years ago, I began a new career, aged 46 as a model. I’m a UK size 14-16, with grey hair and a 34G bust.

I didn’t plan to do this; it just sort of happened at a time when I least expected it. After getting divorced at 39 I went to university and gained a BA in Education Studies and worked as a nursery teacher which I loved. My eldest daughter was struggling with severe anxiety which in the end led to home schooling and me leaving work. This really knocked my confidence being at home and I definitely felt very isolated for what felt like a long period of time. I was asked to model in a local McMillan charity fashion show by a close friend and although nervous about it I agreed. This was just the thing to help me regain my confidence, because it took me out of my comfort zone, and it was exhilarating. I had also decided to stop colouring my hair after battling grey hair since I was a teenager. It’s hard to explain but for the first time I truly felt like me, this in turn helped my confidence grow even more. After volunteering for McMillan for a few years I decided to send photos off to agencies after some encouragement from others and to my surprise I was offered contracts.

I am now signed exclusively with Bridge models in London and I love my new career, I get to meet so many different people, travel and wear some fabulous clothes, including swimwear and lingerie.

But the thing I have become most passionate about is being able to represent women in midlife and help challenge the media and fashion industry.  I am finally happy in my skin and have never felt more confident about my body, but I am aware so many women in midlife come to a body confidence crisis and when you look at how invisible in media, marketing and the fashion industry it’s hardly surprising.

Wouldn’t it be nice to go lingerie shopping in a department store and see models in their forties and fifties as well as the younger women? I want to be able to relate to the images and imagine how I would look in them, instead we are bombarded by youth which often leads us down a negative ageing body comparison.

I want to be able to share all my experience and knowledge gained,  all of the things that have worked for me over the last ten years that has helped me become happy in my body and move forward in life. I have recently gained a BodyLove diploma.

 

Keep being fabulous

Rachel x

 

 

March 18, 2020

Have you heard about Cabi Clothing?

I thought I was pretty good at knowing what's out there in the fashion industry so I was quite surprised I'd never heard of Cabi clothing before now.

Am I the only one that this has passed by? I first heard about them through my lovely friend and co-organiser of the Silver & Sassy York fashion Week event, Annie Stirk.

Annie organised independent Cabi stylist Deborah Richardson to include Cabi clothing in our fashion show; we spent a fabulous morning looking at the Spring Collection and I was really impressed.

Annie and I are obviously gutted to have to postpone our event due to Coronavirus but it was the right decision and we are already making plans to be back when the time is right even sassier than before!

Cabi is an American clothing brand, founded in 2002 by Carol Anderson and Kimberly Inskeep (who I've now added to my podcast guest wish list), alongside 10 other co-founders. Cabi have made huge waves in the American fashion industry with sales now reported at £200m a year, this is a serious brand that has now moved in to the UK market.

I loved hearing the story behind the idea, born from women feeling unfulfilled with their working lives and bored with their wardrobes. They set out to create a direct home selling fashion brand; you need to get the 1970's Tupperware party image out of your head right now! They've certainly proved there's a market for it.

Think of it as a styling party with friends, a chance to try new looks without the confinements of a shop changing room with poor lighting.The stylist sets up the seasons' collection, showcases individual pieces and gives styling tips and advice along the way. The fun part comes when you get to play dress up and try the clothes on. It seems like in a world where we are all craving that connectivity and personal touch this is a brand with great timing.

It's a huge success in America and had been in the UK for three and a half years now. What impressed me most was the quality of the clothes, the material and the cut is better than in your average high street shop.

The price is mid range but although some items may seem a bit pricey, you are paying for better quality and designs that will carry on working in your wardrobe for years to come. I should point out I'm not affiliated with Cabi and this is just my first impression of something new to me.

Deborah kindly came to my home with the whole of the Spring Collection so I could have a one to one session and I tried on so many great items, I was spoilt for choice.

Here are some of my favourite pieces.

This Botanical Kimono is not something I would normally go for but I really liked how the geometric print breaks up the floral design and teamed with a bright Yellow Cami it looks fresh.

I'm a huge fan of wearing Red and Deborah showed me how to turn this Siren wrap dress in to a completely different look. That's why It's great to have a stylist on board that can give you great tips and push you out of your comfort zone.

This was one of my favourites and I don't normally go for the boho look but this Poet jacket and Discovery Trouser felt so comfortable and easy to wear. I can imagine living in this in the Summer and it would be great for travelling. I'm sure I'm not the only one mentally planning where they can escape to for some sun once we've got through this current time!

This Green library jacket would work with so many different looks, dressed down with blue jeans and a white t-shirt and trainers or dressed up Chanel style with a little black dress and ballet pumps.

Pretty in Pink. This blazer is part of the Grace suit and it's on my wish list. It's all in the detail, scarves can make such a difference to an outfit too.

Which outfit do you like most?

I could have created so many different wearable outfits and as I was trying things on I found myself thinking of my friends and who would suit what, so I have booked a Cabi party for when life gets back to normal. Fashion should be fun and shopping for new clothes should be a positive experience which I feel has been sadly lacking on the high street recently, especially for women hitting midlife who don't feel represented out there.

We all know there has been a sharp increase on shopping on line for convenience but maybe Cabi's home selling marketing might help bridge the gap for those wanting a more personal shopping experience. If you're thinking that direct home selling is not for you Cabi have been forward thinking to also create the Cabi Ap. Recently launched so you can watch style shows, see the full collection, create looks with previously ordered items which helps make sure you get the most of your wardrobe and then order on line.

I've been converted!

To find out more visit https://deborahrichardson.cabionline.uk/

Keep being fabulous!

Rachel x

February 13, 2020

Why women over 40 need to be seen in lingerie campaigns.

Figleaves Valentines Day Campaign

You should know by now that I'm very passionate about women over 40 being seen in lingerie and swimwear advertising, it's something that I've written about before on the blog. So you can imagine how I felt when I got booked to join the Figleaves Lingerie Valentines 2020 campaign!

We worked on this campaign back in December and from the moment I arrived I could tell it was going to be a great shoot, despite the freezing cold weather outside. The set was so pretty; it always makes me want to rearrange my own home. What I loved about this campaign was how diverse the women were; some women had never done anything like this before and the glass of Prosecco to start the day off was not only a treat but definitely helped calm some nerves. I loved watching everyones' confidence grow throughout the day.

FANTASIE Sophie Underwired Side Support Bra

I'm not going to lie, but when I first saw this image all I could focus on was my 'muffin top' but what's the point of being so critical about something that is so natural? The lingerie set was beautiful, my hair and make up was on point and I was caught in a relaxed happy moment, enjoying the shoot.

90% of the time I am happy with my body and have embraced all that it is, but there are still moments that catch me off guard and cause me to have wobbles. It's something I've been conscious of recently when talking to people about body confidence.

Being body confident is not a definitive state but should be more fluid as you grow older and your body changes. Somedays its more about being kinder to yourself and for me the bad moments don't linger as long.

Women are so quick to judge themselves and focus on the things we don't like about our bodies, instead of celebrating the positive aspects. Spending the day on this shoot really felt empowering, we all have our own body stories but we can all lift each other so much by sharing them and learning from each other. I really believe that all women should experience a lingerie shoot in their lives to help raise their confidence, I find it liberating.

I only hope that more brands start using and representing older women in their marketing. Women want to be able relate to the images they see in lingerie shops, it is demoralising to be constantly bombarded with images of slim 20 year old women when you try on that same bra. It's impossible to not compare yourself and women over 40 have very different bodies to younger women, this needs to be reflected in the images as well. I strongly believe brands should be using a real mixture of ages and sizes so that everyone is catered for. This campaign has made a positive step in doing this which I think is really exciting to see.

Harper Geometric Lace Underwired Plunge Body B-G Cup

I never used to wear bodies but I'm a huge fan of them now. Not only do they hold you in but they are comfortable and supportive too. This outfit was my absolute favourite of the day.

You can read more about all the women involved in the shoot over on the Figleaves blog.

Keep being fabulous
Rachel x

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