Everything is New!

What a year!  And to cap it all I recently turned 70.  This milestone has prompted me to re-energise my business. New name, new website, Hilary’s Style File Facebook group (please join!) and a presence on Instagram. I’d like to tell you about five aspects of style you’ll see on my website and in my social media  – all of which correspond to my core values:

  1. I am all about ageless beauty. It is not about aiming to look younger. Why should we?  It is a privilege to grow older and I want to embrace age and the benefits in can bring, so for me it's about looking healthy, vibrant, current and basically the best of yourself.  We live in a very youth-centred culture where girls as young as 18 are trying to “perfect” themselves with botox and fillers. We do know this is crazy.  I want to waive the flag for individuality, for maturity for the changes that happen over a lifetime and say “we are here and we have things to offer; things to say”  Dressing well immediately gives that message out to the world and people react to you differently.
 Of course we aren’t going anywhere at the moment and there has been a rush to buy extra-comfortable leisure wear.  This is totally understandable and according to “You and Yours” on BBC Radio 4 last week there was a similar tendency during the 1918 flu epidemic.  Sales of long-johns and blankets went sky high!  I do believe, though, that the value of putting effort into how we look, even if it is just for Zoom appearances, is that it makes us feel better.  We have more energy and a more positive and hopeful outlook on life. Without making ludicrous claims, I believe it helps mental health.

With this in mind I have developed my “Colour Confidence Guide” to work brilliantly online.  How can this work?  Not only do I now have ingenious digital drapes but I also have a number of other tools at my disposal which, all together give an accurate diagnosis.  




Testimonial:  I've had such fun sourcing the different colours and have had quite a few successes. I've learnt to filter the available products by colour to focus my attention!! I've managed to find some very nice Khaki tops, teal chinos and a really lovely tan 'unstructured' jacket.  I decided to bite the bullet and had a cull of my wardrobe. I was very ruthless and it's true what you said - I have fewer things in the wardrobe but everything goes together so there are lots more outfits.  AE



  1. I love transformation. Don’t we all?  The before and after.  I like to see a client who has lost their way image-wise find the many things they can do to achieve the “after”. Suddenly comes the sparkle, the joi de vivre!  The pay-off for me is seeing them in a sense “come into focus”.  It is like tuning a radio – all the crackle and interference goes and we get crystal clarity. I see the true person and it is so exciting.  I see their individuality; their greater energy and enthusiasm for, well, themselves!  I know for sure they will have more fun, they will FEEL younger and happier in their own bodies.  One 79 year-old client said “I left with a spring in my step.”


  1. The planet.


      V & A Fashioned from Nature exhibition


I first joined Friends of the Earth at its beginning in about 1977 when it operated out of one room in Poland Street, so I have been conscious of climate change, loss of wildlife etc. for a long time. It was still a shock to learn at the V & A “Fashioned from Nature” exhibition a couple of years ago how very damaging fashion has been and continues to be to our environment. Most thinking people have woken up to this and it has prompted me to be interested in ethical clothing.  Things have changed a lot – you no longer need to look as if you are a member of the Amish to wear sustainable fashion. It is not all hemp skirts and bamboo sandals.  There is a multitude of brands who offer beautiful, stylish clothes which are also sustainable in one or more ways and I will be focusing on them + on recycling, swapping, renting, charity shops etc.  I am not religious about it but when I do buy something new I want at least to feel I am doing some good whether it is knowing the fabric is recycled, supporting a local shop, or skilled artisans or with my smalls purchase, donating knickers to African women..


  1. Ageless Beauty.


      Tricia Cusden – Founder of Look Fabulous Forever


I champion the makeup brand Look Fabulous Forever which is specially formulated for older faces.  I take inspiration from its founder, the indefatigable Tricia Cusden, who started the brand seven years ago when she was 65.  I love the makeup  and use it myself and enjoy seeing the transformations it can make with clients,  to help with uneven skin tone, hooded eyes, non-existent eyebrows etc. and all those delightful things that come with age.  There really is no excuse not to look fabulous!

  1. Timeless style. The other half of my by-line.  This is not fashion.  Fashion is the industry.  Style comes from inside.  I am always principally interested in what motivates my clients.  What is their Style Personality?  How does their taste manifest itself into an authentic and attractive look? This – along with consideration of all the usual body scale/proportion/shape things -  will lead me to help them find their signature style.  Style is a journey.  It changes over time but it is great to know where to start.  I have talked before about how inspiration can help so I will post style icons.  Here is one who has inspired me:  The fabulous Katherine Hepburn


Arriving at 70 I won’t pretend that everything about it is wonderful.  There are losses, frustrations and irritations just as there are with any age or stage in life, but my attitude is that by making the best of myself right now, I feel better, more positive and energetic. It is part of, in Professor Anthony Clare’s words, “deciding to be happy”.