FAYE: From a designers perspective, I would say women 40+ are doing both, hiding their sensuality, and embracing it at times. Bringing out our lusciousness, our sexiness, is learned behaviour for most of us, from our personal experiences, and by observing the women in our lives. I remember as an 11 year old pubescent young girl, walking down the main road of my home town, thinking I looked trendy and smiling at a boy who walked passed. His friend said ‘oh yuck’ and they both laughed.
MOTTO Fashion Designer Talks Sex Appeal & Aging
Australian fashion designer Faye Brown started her clothing line MOTTO in 1985 and has styled thousands of women over the years. As part of the SheSpark August 2016 interview series on sex appeal and aging, Faye answered our questions as not only an industry veteran, but also a breast cancer survivor. Here’s what she had to say…
THEA: From a designer’s perspective, are women 40+ embracing or hiding their sensuality in their style?
These things may stick with us, as sensual image crunchers. I also remember when I was 4 years old, meeting a beautiful lady in a blue, body hugging dress and thought, when I grow up, I want to have a dress like that. I sheepishly think that I do wear my clothes very tight now. There is no black and white to a style question, as everyone experiences it, very deeply, in their own way. Our ego creates a “style evolving” persona. Imagine for a moment that all our style sensual experiences become our decision making process when shopping for clothes. These experiences build our belief systems about who we think we are as “sensuality.”
The other side of this coin, is that we are brain washed into believing we must look like Kim, Chloe, or any other celebrity. I believe that life is about finding our own truth in everything, and fashion/image is a way of showing the world who we are and perhaps we can find freedom in our personal image. Hopefully without judgement. Most of our sensual self is learned from outside ourselves. Until we go within, we may miss this knowing. I use mindfulness as a form of self discovery. Perhaps that is the answer…. self love. Then, if someone does give a negative comment, you know that it isn’t your truth.
THEA: What advice to you have, style wise, for women to feel confident and desirable in their body and clothing?
FAYE: Learn who you are and what you want to share of yourself with the world. A question I ponder is, “Do we build ourselves up, like LEGO, from the day we are born to show others what we are made of?” I am blessed to be watching my two-year old granddaughter fitting into a fashion family. Already at this young age, she is very particular about what she wears. If it doesn’t match, she won’t wear it. One day it’s her favorite outfit, the next, she discards it as if it’s the worst ever. I find I do the same. I say “what was I thinking” with regards to an outfit I felt good in on a previous occasion. It has everything to do with what aspect of ourselves we want to share. Perhaps one way of looking at it is that clothing can be a window into your life.
This comfortably takes me to a favourite stylish topic, personality dressing.
What is your personality? It brings out your best with clothing and accessories in the fashion of the day. Your clothes tell a story of you, to every person you meet. What is it saying? Think of a prostitute (yes I know this is extreme). She knows how to get her message across with clothing and her image. We can do the same by sharing our personality with the world through clothing. Consider this:
If you have a dramatic personality, why not wear dramatic pieces that says to the world “hey I’m here”? Alternately, if you are sensitive and feminine, bringing out your softness with delicate pieces, such as a soft, floaty, scarf, gives out the message you may desire. There are many personalities to explore within you, such as classic, natural, chic, etc. The tip is to know who you are, when you feel it, then bring it out with image. It’s a discovery process, which can be a lot of fun. When you see a sales person in a store, who you connect with, she/he would be a great start. Any store you choose, will give you guidance. It’s about connecting, so best you choose carefully. I train MOTTO staff in doing this. They all tell me it changes lives. That’s retail therapy at its best. I feel warm and fuzzy when I think about the transformational stories I have heard over the 45 years as a designer.
THEA: Share a surprising style strategy that women can use to “up” their self confidence in looking/feeling desirable.
Every time we look in the mirror, our brain sends a message to our body. Notice what it is, that you say to yourself. When I had breast cancer I realised I was giving myself such negative messages every morning when I dressed. I would guess that breast cancer is high on the image destroyer list. I learned to tell myself I was beautiful regardless of my scrawny, boobless, bald, no eyebrows, body. I found it such a challenge at first, so I did it through the eyes of my 3-year-old self. How can anyone think a 3-year old, isn’t beautiful? During this time, I wanted to share this part of myself with all women, through Motto, and began writing positive messages, on all the mirrors in our stores as a first step. You can try this anywhere….You are awesome. You are beautiful. You are Devine. You are the perfect shape. You are special. And so many more. The feedback is inspiring to us all. Long live beauty the way it was designed to be.
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