Barb, you look amazing every time we meet – you must get compliments from people on the street all the time?
(Laughs)… thank you! I do get some compliments about my look and the great thing is I get to tell people that the majority of my clothes, jewellery and accessories are from Union Road, Ascot Vale where I have lived for 25 years. A special shout out to Two Byrds, Willow, Berserk and Albero. The great part about shopping local is that you build a great rapport and friendship with the owners of these boutiques who get to know your style and can source fabulous pieces for you. Shopping local means you are never just another face in the crowd!
You have incredible style, is this something you have always possessed or has it evolved over time? Who inspires you?
I have always loved fashion, jewellery, creative people and the arts. I’m inspired by everyday people… no matter their age. I love strong looks in fashion, jewellery and hair. I prefer a strong, edgy, androgynous look rather than super, feminine fashion. I really admire my hairdresser Danny who just oozes style, as does Instagram fave Deborah Darling from South Africa who has a strong social following. I admire style and panache whether it is imbued by male or female icons or even just people on the street.
How does living in Melbourne influence your style?
I love the fact Melbourne has different seasons and you can change your wardrobe accordingly. I’m a big fan of black and block colours, and love the edginess to Melbourne fashion. When I was in Berlin a couple of years ago, Berliners remarked on my look and I was proud to say it was pure Melbourne…. though in saying that I have picked up some superb and quirky pieces from regional towns in Victoria too!
How do you feel about trends and how the fashion industry shapes how women see themselves, particularly women over 50?
I think there has, in recent times, been a strong emphasis on celebrating women over 50. Rules about what you ‘can and can’t’ wear have been put out to pasture, and women are embracing fashion that is unique, stylish and comfortable to wear. Designers are finally starting to realise that fashion does not solely belong to the young, and are creating strong and creative looks that women over 50 are happy to wear. Great style is truly ageless.
And what made you decide to finally embrace the grey? And not just embrace it, totally work it?
I admire great hair, and over the years have embraced many different colours and styles. But it just started to make sense to let the silvers shine through, and in the end, it was the colour that was most flattering to my complexion. It works really well with my current hairstyle, which has shaved sides, and it makes the bright red lipstick which I always wear, stand out.
Besides… as I grow older there are so many things I would rather do with my time than sit having my hair coloured every few weeks! I actually love silver coloured hair… another reason I love Deborah Darling’s look. It’s just so striking. Huge love to my cutter Danny from Mien Salon in Fitzroy, and Maddie from Earth to Betty in Ascot Vale who helps get my silvers their shiny best.
People often harp on the negatives, but tell us about some of the advantages of age? Has anything really surprised you?
I love the freedom of being in my 60’s. I know who I am and I’m comfortable in my own skin. I’m healthy, happy, recently retired and life is full. Every day, I get the time to do and be me. I certainly don’t feel invisible and each day brings joy. I am very busy!
What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
Be true to yourself…. you don’t need to change who you are to please others.
And what are you most looking forward to in the future?
More travel and adventures with my gorgeous husband, and the time to spend with friends, and my beautiful fur babies. I certainly never had a work-life balance when I was still working… now it’s time to smell the roses. Life is good. I feel truly lucky at this point in time of my life.
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