The Dress Label was founded by Emma St John and Sue Biggart in response “to the difficulty of finding fabulous dresses with sleeves, that aren’t halfway up the thigh”.
“We started The Dress Label as we felt it was hard for older women to find beautiful flattering dresses without spending top-designer prices. There is a huge choice for the young, but a lack of fabulous and appealing dresses for older women. We don’t wish to look like the proverbial mutton but equally don’t want to surrender to comfortable middle-aged ’safe’ clothes either.”
As they hit the mid-life mark, Sue and Emma find, that women are anxious about three things – their upper arms, their tummy and hem lengths. To address this:
~ All of The Dress Label dresses have sleeves, a vital ingredient in terms of looking streamlined;
~ All their designs are engineered to gently hold in or skim the tummy, so it will not be a feature;
~ Hems are a tricky issue but the best thing about fashion at the moment is that anything goes so you should choose the length you feel comfortable in and which suits you.
Top Tips when Buying a New Dress
1. Body Shape
By the time women are approaching their middle years they generally have a good idea of what they think works for them but Sue and Emma urge women, from time to time, to reassess their body shape – as they say “What suited you at 20 will be different to what looks good after 40 and mentally women want to dress in a different way as they get older and above all they don’t wish to look like their daughters!”
2. Latest trends
Today’s middle aged women do not have to resign themselves, like their mothers did, and wear stereotypical middle aged clothes. It’s great fun to follow the latest trends which work for you but only follow the latest trends if they suit you and you feel comfortable and confident in them.
Colour is a complex issue. As designers Emma and Sue stick to a reliable palette of classic colours, as they don’t tend to date and suit most people. They have brighter dresses though for those whose colouring can take it and often use prints with an elegant colourful design to stop dresses from looking frumpy.
Fabric is uppermost in their minds when they are designing. A little bit of stretch can make all the difference when it comes to ensuring a dress fits like a glove. They tend to use fabrics that flatter and enhance, avoiding anything too insubstantial that may be unforgiving. They generally line their dresses to ensure a smooth silhouette as they want their dresses to feel as good as they look.
Sue Biggart & Emma St John
5. Buy Online
Try buying dresses online as it’s so hard to make the right decision in a shop cubicle. The light is invariably unflattering, you probably won’t have the correct ‘magic’ underwear on or the right shoes – trying things on in the comfort and privacy of your own home will give you a more realistic perspective.
6. Feel Happy
And finally ensure that everything in your wardrobe makes you feel confident, comfortable and most of all happy. A lot has been written about feeling invisible after a certain age, which Emma and Sue think is unfortunately quite true. The solution is to don a ‘good’ dress you know makes you look and feel your very best and embrace the world with a smile!