Meet the journalist, writer and age-old positivity site founder, this is not my age.
Alison Walsh launched the website Not My Age in 2008, and the style-focused site has since been built into a platform that boasts a shopper component, as well as podcasts. Here, journalists, writers and age-positivity advocates tell us more about her fashion influences, wardrobe favorites, and are never too late to express themselves through dressing.
What is your early style memory?
As a teenager, I was into music rather than fashion. It was all very DIY in the 1970s and often spontaneously substandard. I wore second-hand clothes and surplus pieces of army. I was still in school when the punk exploded and got a little too young – and uncool – to get behind the movement altogether, but it was a big influence. My younger brother and I used to buy NME New Musical Express every week, and I’ve always been a bit of a tomboy, so a lot of my icons were men. I was in a band like The Clash and Joy Division, and the women I admired were Debbie Harry and Patti Smith – artists who appreciated the importance of image and aesthetics as well as music.
Describe your approach to dressing.
My aim when I am getting ready is to be comfortable and faff-free – wearing clothes and then forgetting about them. So, flat shoes, belly shoes or sneakers are a non-negotiable. My signature look is big or elegant gentleman. Most of the time, I am very beautiful – in very short-haired inspired clothes. It is always good to throw a little Keith Richards into the mix.
What inspires your work?
Fashion gets a bad rap, but it can help people feel good about themselves. I know it’s more complicated than that, but just think about how you’re feeling when you’re wearing a sharp jacket or a favorite outfit – when the clothes are on your side. As a fashion journalist, I want to give style inspiration and, above all, useful advice to empower women. When I didn’t start my age 12 years ago, I wanted to see more diversity – more older women to whom I could relate – and to exclude that eraism and sexism, which still sadly continues today is. I wanted to celebrate mid-life and beyond – to show that beauty can be many things and not just associated with the young.
Describe your ideal day.
On a beach with Mr. That’s Not My Age and a good book – somewhere warm and sunny where I can swim in the ocean. It has been a year since London closed!
You think everyone should have a fashion item in their wardrobe?
A jump. I have achieved seven – in different fabric weights and with different degrees of slouchiness – which has seen a lot of action this year. There is a proper workwear version of the French brand Vetra which I call “Industrial Onesi” and then a supersized khaki version from Bliss & Mischief which I call “Military Onesi”. People are shut out for fear of toilet trouble, but I consider the time and effort they prepare in the morning to be saved as a trade-off for an extra time. Boiler-suit balance. Makes sense, no?