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7 ageless style lessons from Helen Mirren as she turns 72

By Bethan Holt | China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-12 09:07

Helen Mirren has indisputably become a national treasure; she's our de facto stand-in for The Queen, a glossy but brilliantly British presence on the red carpet and an admirably honest and outspoken advocate for very modern issues like social media pressures which you might not expect a septuagenarian to become involved in.

Style-wise, the Calendar Girls star - who celebrated her 72nd birthday last month - has the knack of always looking polished with an inherent ease and joy to her look, whether it's a sharp suit or full-skirted gown. Here, we break down the building blocks of her ageless, sophisticated look.

1 Find your desert island designer: If Mirren had to choose one designer to wear forever, then we feel confident in assuming that she would bundle up her wardrobe of glamorously flattering Dolce and Gabbana and skip off into the sunset. The Italian design duo's cheerful florals and witty prints are rendered on dresses with cinched waist and romantic flared skirts which Mirren turns to for photocalls and premieres.

2 A quirky accessory will enliven a classic look: Exhibit 1. The black turban which Mirren topped her outfit with at the Power of Women awards in October last year.

Exhibit 2. A patchwork pouch bag which Mirren slung over her shoulder for a party at Versailles.

Both these offbeat accessories were paired with quite polite looksa black suit and a white lace dress respectively-but transformed them into something unique and memorable.

3 Confidence is your greatest asset: "There isn't a tip or piece of advice that works for all. I think 'fake it' is a good one, but going to the gym isn't bad either. Exercising is a very good way of controlling your mind. Yoga is all about meditative practices," Mirren told The Telegraph earlier this year as she discussed mental health at a L'Oreal event.

A quick glance at any shot of Mirren on the red carpet reveals this 3 'Fake It' (or maybe she's made it already?) approach; she's all dazzling smiles, jolly poses and perfect posture. It makes any outfit she wears look infinitely more fabulous.

4 Don't be afraid to go barefaced: When Mirren announced at the height of Christmas party season last year that she thought it might be time for us to begin going bare-faced, the statement did raise some eyebrows. "I think it would be wonderful if it became a fashion (to go barefaced)," she admitted. "Things are always cyclical, so I suspect we might've reached saturation with the whole selfie thing and maybe we're moving in another direction. It would be great if we are, without being puritanical, because I love make-up, dressing up, so I don't want to be 'Oh we've all got to go without make-up'."

I think what she is saying here is that we shouldn't consider a full-face of make-up the only option for looking and feeling good.

5 Suit up: While feminine dresses are Mirren's go-to look, she is also savvy enough to know that one cannot live on florals and frippery fabrics alone. So her other go-to look has become a sharply tailored suit which she teams with crisp shirts, slicked-back hair and sometimes a swipe of red lipstick. It's a complete step change but works just as brilliantly.

6 Rules are there to be broken: On the whole Mirren toes the lines with her fashion choices, striking a sophisticatedly modern rather than daring tone. But she does sometimes remind us that mixing things up is rarely a bad idea. See the time she wore her beautifully embelllished floor-sweeping skirt with the most simple cashmere jumper.

7 It's all in the hair: Close analysis of Mirren's style reveals that often the key to the effortlessly chic impressions of her looks doesn't necessarily lie in the clothes (as well judged as they are) but how she wears her hair. Sometimes it is styled into a glossy blow dry, sometimes it's tousled curls and others it's glamorously swept back. But it's always a style which would look as great on a 20 year-old as a 70 year-old.

7 ageless style lessons from Helen Mirren as she turns 72

(China Daily 08/12/2017 page24)

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