Poringland woman wants to look fab in her 50s

Jennifer Udell from Poringland is in a style rut now that she is in her 50s – so did a Life Matters makeover help? BY EMMA HARROWING.

Many readers write to us here at Life Matters saying they have lost their way when it comes to fashion. They are usually in their 50s, are overwhelmed at the many fashion trends and struggle to find a look that makes them feel stylish.

'I just do not know what to wear,' says 56-year-old Jennifer. 'I have lost my way in clothes. They are full of stripes or flowers and have short sleeves.

'I don't want to dress too young or old and cannot find anything to suit – there don't seem to be many shops which cater for the older woman.'

Dressing to suit your body shape can help you pick the looks that suit you. And as there are many different fashion trends in the shops this spring and summer, you are sure to find a style that suits you.

There are many free personal shopping services in department stores in Norwich who can help you distinguish which styles and colours flatter you the most, so we took Jennifer to meet one of them.

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The personal shopping service at Debenhams allows you to book a time slot from 30 minutes to two hours so that you can get one-to-one advice on what styles suit you.

We booked Jennifer in with Emily, who took her through the new season's trends that will flatter her body shape.

Emily says: 'Jennifer doesn't like her tummy area, so an empire line top or dress, draping over the tummy, a large pattern, or keeping detail to her neckline can all help disguise a bigger tummy.

'Looks to avoid are pleats and tulip shape skirts and dresses, and tops that end on the stomach – these will all draw attention to and add volume to the tummy area.

'As Jennifer doesn't like stripes or florals, this season's colour block look is a very good way of getting on board with a current look.'

To tone down the clashing colours of this trend, Emily chooses a tailored empire line dress with blocks of red, cream and black.

The empire line draws your eye to Jennifer's slimmest point and the bold pattern disguises her tummy. A pashmina gives Jennifer the option of covering up the tops of her arms if she feels too exposed. The dress is also inspired by this season's trend for the 60s look.


Although Jennifer likes the colour of her hair she feels that her hair is a mess. She longs for more volume in her fine hair, but no matter what style she has or how much she tries to give her hair more height, her hair always falls flat.

Enter top Norwich hair stylist Becki Matthews from Nigel Alexandre hair salon on Castle Street.

'From looking at Jennifer's hair it's clear that where she has been trying to create height on top by vigorous brushing there is a lot of hair breakage,' says Becki.

'This is making her hair thinner and so is counter productive to Jennifer's bid to get more volume in her hair.

'When having a new style it is important to look not only at someone's face shape but also their head shape. Jennifer's head shape is quite narrow and so trying to get any volume through the top will be a challenge. However, by changing the direction of her hair and taking out some of the weight from the bottom Jennifer will have a style that is full of volume.'

As well as changing Jennifer's parting, Becki cuts in a side fringe that will flatter Jennifer's face shape.

Becki says: 'Drying and styling the hair should be easier for Jennifer now. Instead of using a brush and a hairdryer – which can make the hair flat – all Jennifer needs to do is scrunch up her hair with her fingers as she dries. This will add volume and texture.'


To complete Jennifer's new look, Clarins consultant Louise at Debenhams shows her how to create a simple daytime look.

Get Jennifer's look

For the base

After cleansing and moisturising the skin use an illuminating cream to highlight cheekbones and give skin a dewy finish. Louise used Clarins Beauty Flash Balm.

Choose a foundation that matches your natural skin colour and apply with a brush over the face and blend in.

For the cheeks

Your base should give you a flawless and even tone, so to add a bit of colour to your face use a blusher on the apples of your cheeks and blend upwards and outwards along your cheek bones up to your hairline with a brush. As Jennifer has a warm complexion, Louise used an Apricot coloured blush.

For the eyes

As an alternative to the classic smoky eye, using two tones of the same colour eye shadow can give you a pop of colour. Louise used green on Jennifer to bring our her warm brown eyes. To create the look, brush over a mid green eye shadow over the eyelids from lash line to crease. Louise used Clarins Jungle Green eye shadow.

Next, apply dark green eyeliner along the top lash line and bottom lash line from the outer edge to the middle of the eye. Finish with a coat of brown/black mascara.

For the lips

Lips can become thinner as you age, so Louise has a few tricks to make your lips appear fuller.

First line your lips with lip liner. This will prevent feathering and will define your lips. Next, brush on lipstick – Louise used a warm salmon pink shade. Finally, apply a lip gloss over the top, the shine will add fullness to lips.

The verdict

Jennifer says: 'I cannot believe how slim I look just by wearing clothes that suit my body shape. I love red so this dress is perfect – I feel like Cinderella!

'It was amazing to get make-up advice to find out how to make the most of my features and as for my hair, I was amazed that I was actually making my hair lack the volume I wanted. Armed with Becki's tips on how to style my hair I'm getting rid of my brush and will hopefully have the hair I've always wanted.'