10 off-the-wall fashion tips from a 54-year-old model and stylist that every woman should know.

A model, and product and interiors stylist, Melinda Brady knows style. She also happens to be in her 50’s, something which is neither here nor there except she’s all about ageing gracefully and living in the moment. Full of tips for women over 40 (check out her first instalment here), Melinda is back again to top up our wisdom with 10 more useful fashion and style hacks:

1. Reinvent yourself.

I think its important to reinvent yourself every decade or so, often the older we get the more we have on our plate so eventually we just don’t make the time to pay attention to our own style we once did.

If you can open up your wardrobe and see things you purchased over a decade ago that don’t fit you, or you haven’t worn in years then its really time to do something about it.

Imagine how much easier it would be to get up and out the door with the confidence you need to get through the day if your wardrobe was only inhabited by things you love to wear?

2. Mix high street fashion with designer and vintage.

I’ve always loved vintage, perhaps its my proportion; 50s pieces in particular just work on my body.

I love designer labels too but usually only buy one piece a season to mix with my vintage and high street finds.

It’s this blend that gives me my unique style, I love that I rarely look like anyone else.

Once upon a time vintage used to be associated with being a student and having to shop in opportunity shops because we couldn’t afford anything else.

Nowadays there are plenty of amazing second hand stores who have stashes of vintage gold!  Shag in Melbourne is a definite favourite!


3. Look to the past.

Look at some of histories fashion icons from the past!

Movie stars like Sophia Loren, Marilyn Monroe or fashion editor Diana Vreeland to name a few.

If your body shape is not the stock standard model type then you will find that many of these icons from the past had very different body shapes and back then they dressed for their shape.

Watch some old movies or Google images of past stars that have your body type. You’ll be amazed how many ideas you will find to help you dress for your shape.

Remember you don’t have to be like every one else, develop your own style. It’s your confidence that draws people to you.

4. Play with proportion.

OK, if it’s not something you’ve done before this can seem a little strange.

Playing with proportion is all about mixing up sizing; it really helps play up your assets and disguise your flaws.

If you opt for a tiny pencil skirt because you have a great bum and good legs then oversize your top…go 2 or 3 sizes bigger than you normally would.

If you’re more of a pear shape with a narrow waist, great shoulders and a larger bottom, then wear something tight to show your shoulders and décolletage and something tailored that skims your bottom rather than something clingy.


5. Menswear.

I love wearing menswear! It started back in the 80s when I developed a penchant for men’s white dinner shirts. Nowadays I buy a few pieces of menswear every season.

I don’t like the way women’s knits are so tiny; they don’t accommodate my bigger bust.

Men’s knits can be slouchy and warm, think chunky cardigans and collared knits with leather covered buttons. I wear them with blue jeans or over a silk slip dress.

Men’s pants go hand in hand with being oversized for me, belted with a beautiful vintage belt and paired back to a more fitted top or knit.

See? its all about the proportion if one end is fitted, oversize the other.

Wearing menswear this way can also be super sexy, teamed with some killer heels and an intoxicating feminine perfume and you’ve really got something alluring going on.

6. There is strength in being soft.

As we age I think it’s important to maintain certain softness, from the way we dress to our hair and makeup. In my mid 50’s long gone are the days of power suit dressing, yes of course suits are still OK but paired back with a pastel shirt or knit, worn with smaller pieces of sentimental jewellery instead of statement pieces.

Perhaps its time for a softer hair colour? Grow out your silvers or transition to a champagne blonde, even a pastel rinse.

Maintaining very dark hair and brows as we age can look harsh and instead of sending a message of strength we can look scary.


Look at your make-up; are you still applying it the way you did a decade ago? Then maybe its time to consult with an expert to talk about reinventing how you go about your daily routine?

7. Lingerie as outerwear.

I often wear a chemise under man pants with a softly draped jacket or cardigan.

It’s an easy way to soften your look. Just a hint of a lacy bra under your shirt without exposing it is another way to be soft.

I always think of the 90s supermodels in their simple silk chemises when I channel this look.

At the end of the day just wearing sexier underwear under your clothes will make you softer, sexier and add a little wiggle to your walk.

Last tips I expounded the importance of great shape wear under our clothes. I haven’t diverged from this tip I’m just reminding we should also have some pretty things in our lingerie draw as well.

8. Back to front.

Oh don’t laugh! Seriously I can’t tell you how many times I do this. When I’m in a change room trying things on I literally almost always try this. NO, I don’t mean wear your pants back to front. But almost certainly dresses, tops and t-shirts will work worn in the reverse.

When I turn a t-shirt around it creates a boat neck, which takes the emphasis off my larger bust. It squares my shoulders and makes my middle look slimmer. I do this all the time and I’m often asked where I got it.

You would be surprised going through your wardrobe just how many pieces you can apply this theory to.


9. Sexy is a suggestion, not a promise.

Being sexy isn’t a competition; we run our own race so to speak. I’m often dismayed when I’m out at just how much flesh is on show in my age bracket.

Yes, yes it’s OK for our daughters to expose that much more but once we’re into our middle age sexy should be more a suggestion than a promise.

Sexy can also be about what we have to say and how comfortable we are with our bodies and ourselves.

I really believe its what we don’t show that’s more alluring, leaving things to the imagination can be a far more subtle approach than putting it all out there.

10. Let go of the fear, age gracefully.

If you’re over 40 then you would have noticed the constant pressure to “Look Young” with all of the “Age Defying” products being marketed towards us, making us feel like we have less to offer as we age, DON’T believe this, keep your composure and keep your confidence.

Despite the fact we are living in a world where youthful beauty is lauded and applauded we still need to embrace our age and think about setting an example for our younger sisters and daughters.

We need to show them that there is nothing to fear in growing older, it happens to us all eventually and running towards it is far more liberating than trying to hide.

Follow Melinda on Instagram @missbrady and visit her website here.