Belfast Telegraph

Instagram stars on their fashion dos and don'ts for over-40s

Katie Wright talks with five social media style mavens about how they made it big online and their go-to high street brands

Joanna McNeish
Joanna McNeish
Linen rich camisole top, £25, polka dot a-line maxi skirt, £39.50, Marks & Spencer Collection
Sallyanne
Lilac wrap maxi dress, £55, Next
Lipsy straw trilby ribbon band hat, £14, Next
Nikki Nicola
Ruffled linen dress, £59.99, Zara
Helen Brookes
Pure cotton good vibes straight fit t-shirt, £12.50, Marks & Spencer Collection
Natalia
Joanna Hope animal print maxi dress, £45, JD Williams

By Katie Wright

Scrolling through the #ootd (outfit of the day) tag on Instagram, it might seem that all the most famous fashion influencers are baby-faced teenagers and 20-somethings.

But did you know there's a huge community of fashion lovers on social media sharing shopping tips for over-40s?

We met five big names from the #40plusstyle movement, during a trip to Mykonos with JD Williams to showcase the brand's summer collection.

These women, who are based all over the UK, have amassed between 10,000 and 45,000 followers each by sharing their style advice and daily outfit pics.

"Does it work on a 'mum tum'? Can I wear a bra with it? How should I style it up for everyday?"

Helen Brookes says these are the kind of questions she hopes to answer with the outfit posts on her Instagram page, which is called 40Plusnotgivingupyet.

Here, the fashionable five talk about how they got started, their style dos and don'ts, and their top shopping tips...

Joanna @Lovestyle40

Joanna McNeish (43) lives in Northumberland with her husband, two kids and two dogs.

How did you become a fashion influencer?

"I started my blog and Instagram when I turned 40. I realised very quickly that there were a lot of women out there who needed help putting outfits together, and women who needed the confidence to wear things they wouldn't normally have looked at just from seeing it on the hanger in a shop."

Do you follow any fashion 'rules'?

"Yes, always wear good-fitting underwear. It makes a huge difference to your clothes. Always dress for your shape. Because I have a 34DD chest size, I stay clear of wrap tops and dresses."

What are your favourite high-street brands?

"Definitely M&S because they have a wide range of sizes and lengths available and that's really important - we're not all the same height. River Island is stylish. They've some great blazers and jeans."

Sallyanne @Rutlandgirlfashionstyle

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Sallyanne
 

Mum-of-two Sallyanne lives in Rutland and in just 18 months has gained more than 10,000 followers on Instagram.

How did you become a fashion influencer?

"I've been posting my daily outfits after a friend suggested I give it a go. The account was originally going to be lifestyle and home, but people preferred seeing my outfits.

Are there any fashion 'rules' you follow?

"I'd say love what you wear and don't save it for best! If you feel good it shows. Nothing looks better than walking out with a smile on your face."

Which brands cater best to 40-plus women?

"M&S always gets it right for 40-plus fashion in my opinion. It's a great place to find all the classics, alongside seasonal trends to instantly update your outfit."

What are your favourite high-street brands?

"Anywhere which has a petite range is usually a good place to start for me. At 5ft, I'm always looking to see what key pieces have been transferred over to the petite range. Topshop, New Look and Next all have a great selection."

Favourite local fashion shops?

"Most recently I've discovered the beautiful Violet & Iris in Stamford. Gorgeous clothing range alongside homeware."

Nikki Nicola @40notfrumpy

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Nikki Nicola
 

Instagrammer Nikki (45) is based in Surrey and says she's all about "banishing over-40 dressing rules".

How did you become an influencer?

"When I lost three stone with Slimming World in 2016, I discovered a hidden love for fashion. I started a Slimming World Instagram page and found a lot of over-40s fashion bloggers, so thought I'd start my own page."

Which brands cater best to 40-plus women?

"I will actually shop anywhere, but one of my fave shops is Zara, because they are edgy and cater for all ages, including us over-40s. Design wise specifically for over 40s, I'd say JD Williams, M&S and Baukjen."

What are your favourite high-street brands?

"I have a weakness for Topshop shoes. I also love jeans in Zara, but then I love most things in Zara. M&S for underwear!"

Favourite local fashion shops?

"Quattro Rish in Reigate is lovely. High end clothes but without the snobby shop assistants!"

Helen @40plusnotgivingupyet

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Helen Brookes
 

Helen Brookes (44) is based in Brighton and specialises in clothing 'try on' sessions on Instagram. She says: "I'm not afraid to show if something isn't any good, but I also show the gems."

Do you follow any fashion 'rules'?

"If something doesn't work for you, then move on. I've a 'mum tum' and I'm a size 12/14. Jumpsuits look horrendous on me - dress for you and if it makes you feel fabulous. If it doesn't then don't buy it! My mantra is: 'It's not you, it's the dress'."

Which brands cater best to 40-plus women?

"I am totally against the idea of any shop being just for over-40s - it makes me feel old! Personally, I still love Topshop and ASOS as much as I love Marks & Spencer. I can find items anywhere - it's my speciality!"

Favourite high-street brands?

"JD Williams for their jeans, Marks & Spencer for T-shirts and underwear."

Natalia @ShedreamsofGucci

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Natalia
 

Natalia is 43 and lives in Surrey. A big fan of Gucci, she says her Instagram name is "not supposed to take itself too seriously, although I do have a fascination with the amazing creations and flamboyance of the brand".

How did you become a fashion influencer?

"I started my Instagram account just after I turned 40, when I was feeling body-confident following a big fitness drive and felt inspired to share my love of fashion."

Describe your personal style...

"Eclectic, colourful, bohemian, adventurous and tall!"

Do you follow any fashion 'rules'?

"Dress for your shape. Legs or boobs, never both, and never too much of either. Buy less, buy better. A good pair of shoes will always elevate an outfit."

Which brands cater best to 40-plus women?

"I never think about my age when shopping and it wouldn't prevent me from shopping anywhere, but quality pieces will usually flatter your body much more than those created for a flawless teenage body. MeandEm do a great job, as well as Baukjen and Mint Velvet. JD Williams do an amazing job encompassing a huge range of sizes in the more affordable market."

Your favourite high-street brands?

"You can't beat M&S for me. That high street institution pulls it out of the bag on so many cult pieces, year in, year out. Zara is great for jackets and broderie anglaise-style tops, and Whistles for a great leather jacket. At 5ft 11in I do often find the high street quite difficult so tend to end up online for the longer lengths."

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