Not Dressed As Lamb | Fashion Event | Style Session With Catherine Summers | Hobbs

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Behind the Blog
Not Dressed
as Lamb

Fashion blogger Catherine Summers is flying the flag for stylish women over 40. Spreading her philosophy that women should worry less about their age, more about the occasion, to date Catherine’s award-winning ethos has seen her featured in The Sunday Times Style magazine, while Who What Wear named her one of their ‘Best Fashion Bloggers over 40’.

Equally at home in tulle or a twitchell, here Catherine reveals the story behind the blog and her wardrobe rules to live by...

I think dressing should be more about your personality, not your age
Tell us a bit about
Not Dressed as Lamb.

I studied photography at art college, and a few years ago I was really starting to miss having an outlet for my more creative side. I’d been following fashion blogs for a while, so had the interesting idea to start one myself. At the time there didn’t seem to be many fashion bloggers aimed at women my age, and I thought there should be.

And the distinctive name?

When I started the blog I was approaching my 40th birthday. At first it was just a personal project, a way for me to review/try to improve my style as I approached that milestone. I knew I didn’t want the blog, or myself, to be associated with the phrase mutton dressed as lamb’, so it evolved from there.*

I love to clash things and think it’s nice to introduce colours.
So as you got older, it was a phrase you connected with?

Yes, I guess because I would never say that someone shouldn’t wear something – if you start restricting, where does it stop? I think dressing should be more about your personality, not your age, or your shape – shape comes into it, but first and foremost is personality.

How would you describe your own style?

I think of my style as slightly eclectic – I love to clash things and think it&s nice to introduce colours. My wardrobe holds very little black. I do like to contrast masculine with feminine, a pleated skirt with a grey marl t-shirt, that sort of thing.

How has your style evolved with age?

I think blogging has certainly helped me develop my style. Taking pictures, looking back at my outfit on a screen really made me think ‘that look worked, oh and that one didn’t at all’. There’s something about a mirror that never quite translates.

Whose style do you admire?

Rooney Mara. I love how it's always about the whole look, the way her make-up works to enhance the outfit.

As a Londoner in the country, do you think your own style has been influenced?

I don’t think the move affected my style, as such, but I do miss the cosmopolitan vibe of London. It’s more relaxed in the country so, subconsciously, that might also be why I started the blog. This way I can celebrate my style and really focus on it, try out new things. You can take the girl out of the city...

Always, always take a picture
Do you think it’s important to step out of our comfort zone?

Absolutely. I think that’s the issue we have as they get older – women aren’t always sure where to shop. But we can shop anywhere really, there are no constraints. My mum is 82 and I’ll style her in a number of brands she would never think to visit on her own, and she looks great.

So you’re all about encouraging people to be open-minded when it comes to their wardrobe?

Yes, completely. I actually really like the challenge of styling new things for a number of occasions.

For example, the office can be tricky for some people to dress for, but really it’s just about looking for shirts and blouses with unique details, or gorgeous jewellery. It’s a good idea to play with colours too – introducing new colours and prints can be done to great effect.

Finally, what style advice do you swear by?

Always, always take a picture.

*Editor’s note: For those unaware, ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ is a phrase coined to describe women who dress in clothes that are deemed to be ‘too young’.