Make it last talks to Alyson Walsh about women who refuse to be invisible.
Alyson Walsh is a fashion journalist who writes for the Finanancial Times, Guardian and Telegraph and founder of That’s Not My Age, a blog aimed at women aged fifty and beyond, women who ‘refuse to be invisible’ and author of Style Forever. We asked her about London life, style and sustainability.
More and more I am realising that I don’t need too much stuff – I would rather have one nice thing than a load of cheap shit. I try not to buy fast fashion, I’m wearing a pair of Church’s boots that are 10-years-old and revisiting my Levi’s 501s. Provenance is important and something I am aware of, and as a fashion journalist I do try to support smaller designers when I can. If I’m writing about something for That’s Not My Age it’s either something I already own and wear, or something I like and have seen and just want to write about. I don’t need to own it. Who needs the clutter? Sounds a bit corny but it’s experience and quality time that matters, anyway. Travel-wise, I guess I’m quite low-impact: I don’t own a car and use public transport and my bicycle as much as possible – though I do fly to New York to see my brother once a year. It’s easy to be sustainable in London, if you try hard enough – and never venture into Primark on Oxford Street.
I like brands like Margaret Howell, Sunspel and Jo Gordon knitwear that make in the UK and Scotland. I’m currently wearing a Gudrun Sjöden stripy t-shirt which is eco-cotton and I know the Swedish brand do take care with their manufacturing process. And I like Matt & Nat who use recycled materials to make bags, instead of leather.
Most days I wear jeans. I live in them and wear them with a variety of different jackets. Sometimes it’s quite mannish – I do like a bit of Gentlewoman Style – and then sometimes I practise what I call Casual Glamour and add a showbiz staple: faux fur or sequins. I also love a good jumpsuit and wear one with trainers. Always have a pair of shoes I can walk in.
A little something that makes my day is my accidental practice of the Swedish art of ‘fika’. On the days when I’m working from home and have a deadline, I like to carve out enough time for a local coffee. It doesn’t take very long but both my brain and my back appreciate a 15-minute break and I get a cup of proper coffee (no matter what I do, the stuff I make at home is dreadful), and can return to my computer refreshed and caffeinated.
I have a list of interesting and stylish women that I like to keep tabs on, Michelle Obama, Margaret Howell, Lucinda Chambers, Ruth Chapman, Kirsty Wark, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Tilda Swinton.
As much as possible, I want to empower women with my writing and continue to learn about life and style. I’m lucky that That’s Not My Age has a loyal following, my readers are really engaged and I’m eternally grateful to them, because without them my book Style Forever wouldn’t exist. I’m currently writing my second book, which is coming out next year and will feature a whole host of women aged fifty and beyond – or what I like to call Generation FAB!
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