Style Tribes have always fascinated me, writes Alyson Walsh author of the book Style Forever based on her popular blog That’s Not My Age. From the punks of my teenage years to the wonderful women of the blog, Advanced Style. I do think that it’s human nature to identify with others - with people who dress similarly, who like the same things and have similar attitudes and beliefs - whatever your age. Some people may steadfastly stick to one particularly look, others might join a different tribe every day of the week. Here are my six style tribes – I’m definitely a member of more than one grown-up gang, are you?
The grown-up style tribes
1. The Casual Glamourpuss
Reliable everyday basics are the building blocks of the Casual Glamourpuss’ wardrobe – an effortless tunic dress, essential jeans, a pair of Adidas Stan Smith trainers - but to avoid looking bland a simple outfit needs revving up with a showbiz staple. Throw on an eye-catching metallic coat with a simple black shirt and cigarette pants. Wear a sequinned pencil skirt with a t-shirt and razor-sharp blazer. The go-anywhere appeal of this dressed-up daywear is what the grown-up Glamourpuss loves.
The style heroines: Linda Rodin, Bella Freud, Thelma Speirs.
2. The older and bolder brigade
The Older and Bolder Brigade celebrate life with equal measures of energy and eye-popping accessories. Fashion freedom fighters like Iris Apfel, Linda Rodin and Beatrix Ost are styling it out on the streets of New York, not sitting at home in elasticated waist slacks and slippers. These women are confident, creative and they care about how they look. This flamboyant, peacock-style is all about individuality and enjoyment. "It’s not vanity," Ari Seth Cohen of Advanced Style tells me. "They're doing it for themselves because it makes them feel good and lifts the spirits."
More style heroines: Catherine Baba, Lucinda Chambers, Helena Bonham Carter.
3. The Superpower Dresser
Superpower Dressers like; Apple’s Angela Ahrendts, Christine Lagarde and Sheryl Sandberg are in control of their lives as well as their wardrobes. Talking of control, arbiter of style Anna Wintour is never less than impeccable in designer frock, kitten heels and don’t-mess-with-me sunglasses. The signature look is always polished and professional. Style is part of the Superpower Dresser's DNA. You know what you’re going to get – and that means she can get down to business.
More style heroines: Natalie Massanet, Michelle Obama, Roksanda Ilincic.
4. The Gentlewoman
An elegant, grown-up tomboy with discerning taste, a love of culture and an eye for detail: meet The Gentlewoman. Her look is pared-down, modern, a blend of masculine and feminine. Think off-duty Cate Blanchett or Tilda Swinton in a tux. Clothes are just a small part of the elegant tomboy’s carefully curated lifestyle, when she’s not obsessing over the perfect striped t-shirt, she’s at an art gallery private view, or watching Kirsty Wark on BBC Newsnight, riding a horse or reading her favourite magazine: The Gentlewoman, of course.
More style heroines: Robin Wright, Maxine Peake, Sofia Coppola.
5. The Fabulous Femme
The Fabulous Femme has a style confidence that comes from sticking to perennial classics rather than following fashion fads: Carine Roitfeld practically lives in a silk Equipment shirt, it’s always a kick-ass jacket for Farida Khelfa, (brand ambassador for the house of Schiaparelli) and cigarette pants for Emmanuelle Alt. And this is why we all love a little faux Francais, we’re enamoured by une femme d’un certain age who confidently sticks to what she knows, and she knows what suits.
More style heroines: Caroline de Maigret, Ines de la Fressange, Francoise Hardy.
6. The Scandinista
The Scandinista has her own laid-back style, her own fashion week (Stockholm) and an array of fabulous homegrown brands to choose from. Unafraid to play around with masculine and feminine silhouettes, she loves mannish jackets and coats, minimal shapes, neutral colours and natural fabrics. But it’s not all boyfriend jackets and shades of greige, The Scandinista has an innate fondness for nautical stripes, patterned knitwear and beautiful bright prints.
The style heroines: Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Helena Christensen, bloggers Elin Kling and Pernille Teisbaek.
Style Forever: the grown-up guide to looking fabulous by Alyson Walsh (Hardie Grant, £12.99) Illustrations: Leo Greenfield.
By Alyson Walsh