We Need to Talk about the Menopause
It’s safe to say that we can’t stop talking about the menopause. Whether it’s articles on how the menopause can age women or increasing access to care and treatment during this period, the conversation is buzzing and we’re here for it.
For years, we have been met with seemingly endless articles about periods, pregnancy, childbirth and raising children. But up until now, menopausal women have been a somewhat overlooked group.
Despite the fact that this is a time in women’s lives that can have a huge negative impact on our health, wellbeing and relationships, the subject has been very much taboo up until now. As we come to terms with the end of fundamental bodily functions that we’ve had since our teens or earlier, women have been generally expected to keep calm and carry on. But now things are starting to change.
The Rise of Femtech
Every time we open a newspaper or magazine, there are more and more feature pieces tackling this topic, and it’s making headlines too. The so-called “femtech” market is expected to reach $50bn by 2025, with general awareness of the menopause and its impact on women increasing all the time.
Mariella Frostrup broke the menopause taboo for a thought leadership piece in The Times, while the Telegraph have recently completed their How to have a Better Menopause series, answering key questions that some people may be afraid to ask. Key example - “Does your body return to some sort of normal, or do these symptoms last the rest of your life?”
With the menopause all about change, it comes as no surprise that many women choose to re-evaluate other areas of their lives during this time. When the issue of body image gets pushed to the forefront and many of us begin to reconsider how we look at ourselves and our bodies, our style can be something that helps us maintain our identity when we’re going through so many changes.
How to dress for menopause
When we consider how to dress for menopause, there are both practical and aesthetic factors. Hot flashes are one of the most common symptoms and body odour is another unfortunate side effect that many women experience. We would advise layering up for easy relief should a hot flash suddenly come on – think a vest topped with a cardigan or blazer and a scarf in cooler weather.
Think about the materials too, as this can make all the difference. Lightweight, breezy fabrics such as bamboo, cotton, silk and linen help the skin to breathe. Many knitwear items are also super-breathable while we recommend keeping a lookout for natural fibres that are kind to body and skin.
Opt for stretchy clothing for ultimate comfort – you don’t need to compromise on style here as stretchy can still be fitted. Elasticated trousers, buttoned shirts and floaty yet structured midi skirts will do the job nicely. Night sweats – the nocturnal version of hot flashes – call for breathable pyjamas.
We love that some of the most iconic names including Michelle Obama, Oprah and Gwyneth Paltrow have chosen to speak out about the menopause, and how it doesn’t need to, as Glamour magazine say, “stop you from being your fabulous self.” Gone are the archaic stereotypes of sweaty, stressed menopausal women and shapeless clothing – instead, this is being shaped as a time in our lives where we have the opportunity to wear pieces that make us feel empowered, confident and beautiful.
Balancing Style and Comfort
Another unfortunate but common side effect of menopause is that our metabolic rates slow down and many women are more susceptible to both bloating and weight gain especially around their middle. A long blazer or long cardigan can work wonders and is especially good if you generally prefer to cover up. An oversized T-shirt with bamboo leggings or an oversized jumpsuit is always on trend and will help you feel comfortable. Glam up the look with statement earrings and detailed pumps.
With stiff, aching joints another common symptom, one of the best ways to keep things loose in every sense is to consider feminine silhouettes. Again, a sleek jumpsuit will keep you looking and feeling good without any need for tight, uncomfortable clothing – in warmer weather, opt for a sleek slip dress.
A pair of leather leggings will also work wonders. This timeless wardrobe staple will grow with you and stay flattering even as your body goes through changes. If you’re going looser on top, try something fitted on the bottom and vice versa. This will avoid appearing too baggy in an overall look which can have a negative impact on your confidence.
The blend of timeless wardrobe staples, elegant silhouettes and soft, sensual fabrics all combine to help you feel like your best self during this time. You may find that you wish to change up your style either to help your body adjust to the menopause side-effects or simply to have a change during this significant stage of your life.
Either way, stick to the tried and tested style rules including choosing pieces that will make you feel confident whatever your mood and flatter those parts of your body that you feel good about.
Our Top Outfit Ideas for Menopause
Our go-to outfit for menopausal days is a long shirt dress teamed with bamboo leggings or leather trousers. We also love the classics! One example is breathable jeans, a simple vest top, cosy knit (like this beauty from the Shush collections) and a leather jacket with a classic trench on top. This is a fail-safe ensemble whatever the weather and whatever your mood.
For the transitional months, a classic silk tank top or blouse (Phillip Lim have the perfect piece) will work beautifully with a knitted cardigan, patterned skirt and lightweight loafers.
As always, use your accessories to make a statement! Many women opt for statement earrings during the menopause as necklaces can feel a little cumbersome when you’re frequently hot and sweaty. We love these Irene Neuwirth dangling earrings made from diamonds and unique green Chrysoprase stone that can range in colour from mint to lime. Above all, never lose your sparkle!