The most helpful thing about getting older (in terms of our style) is that we know exactly who we are. We understand our own sartorial boundaries, the degree of risk we can take without losing the gamble and we’re (pretty much) comfortable with our bodies, which means we’re well versed in flaunting the good bits and disguising the bad bits. Most of us have a confidence in our forties, fifties and sixties that eluded us in our teens and was as transient as our relationships in our twenties and thirties.
But in our forties and beyond, something shifts, slowly but surely. Some degree of self-acceptance rears its unrecognisable head, and with it comes liberation. Who cares about looking “perfect”, how much better to look like an individual? Susan Sarandon is a woman who exudes this kind of confidence both on and off the red carpet. At the opening gala of Ismael’s Ghosts at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, she wowed the cameras in an off-the-shoulder velvet column gown. The Jessica Rabbit-style silhouette the dress created was balanced beautifully by the subdued shade of earthy green, the demure three-quarter-length sleeves and the elegant velvet fabric. Her unfussy hairstyle also acted as a nice counterpoint to the grandeur of the gown, while the sunglasses injected a touch of contemporary cool to her whole look. Sarandon looks utterly comfortable with herself and unapologetic about her own sexiness. There’s nothing more attractive than that. Age doesn’t come into it.
Sarandon understands that great style is about balance. She pairs this incredible fringed coat, below, with an otherwise paired-back Audrey Hepburn-style outfit. Tapered black trousers and a high-neck white shirt allow the coat to make the statement. Her very ladylike sandals add femininity to the look, while her chic up-style and pearl drop earrings inject elegance. The actress never looks like she’s trying too hard, or trying to be anyone other than herself (she’s never been overly girlish, at any age, so she sticks to clean lines and unfussy styles). She knows what works for her and is good at playing to her strengths.
Black is a big part of Sarandon’s style uniform, but she knows that neutrals can become boring if you wear them all the time. So she cleverly punctuates her style with colour every so often, without veering from the cuts and shapes that suit her best. I love this royal blue suit, below, which she’s worn in two different ways. Paired with a plain white T-shirt and flat white lace-up shoes, it’s the perfect example of how to do modern suiting. Beneath, she’s draped a fuchsia pink throw over the suit for a strong and confident take on colour blocking.
Sarandon also understands how to dress for her personality. We know she’s an articulate, brave, intelligent woman with a great sense of humour – watch any of her TV interviews – and I always think her accessories reflect these characteristics. The trainers in the above shot are a bold, fashion-forward choice, for instance. She uses interesting sunglasses to inject a bit of whimsy into her look (she doesn’t take herself or her fashion choices too seriously), while she often embraces one single standout accessory (below) to make a simple black dress entirely her own.
I don’t always love everything that Sarandon wears, but I love how she wears everything; with confidence, spirit and fun. She shows us that fashion should never stop being fun, whatever your age.