Fashion that plays to your strengths
Got a part of you that you’d rather downplay (err, yes!), or an attribute you’re happier to flaunt? Check out the-bias-cut.com, an online fashion boutique I discovered recently with a clever filter system that helps women play to their strengths.
What’s more it’s aimed at over 40s not by patronising us with safe styles, but by curating some lovely pieces from across a range of labels that tick the boxes of what real women have told the founder they’re looking for.
I saw a selection of the-bias-cut.com’s clothes and met the lovely (young) founder Jacynth Bassett – and some of her ‘normal’ models – at a recent pop-up in Hove. The first thing I noticed was how tactile the clothes on the rails were – we’re talking a snuggly faux fur coat, cashmere jumpers with fun motifs like stars and sequined elbows, and some gorgeous double sized silk scarves – including one that cleverly twisted into three different designs. Everything looked good quality and made to last and Jacynth told me this is the plan.
I was delighted to see one of my favourite indie labels too – Sika which mixes Ghanaian fabrics with modern and retro designs. I used to live near its original Greenwich shop and have a couple of the dresses myself. Best of all, Jacynth is just 23! So she’s got an eye out for women older than herself but with the style consciousness of youth – which is probably why she has plenty of younger customers too.
Being sickeningly multi-talented she graduated from studying law at Cambridge in 2013, but then decided to set up her own business. It was her mum’s frustrations at trying and failing to find something stylish to wear in shops that were supposed to cater for her age group that inspired her to found the-bias-cut.com.
I checked out the website and love the tick system where as well as colour, occassion (business, party etc) and fabric type you can select your body shape… pear (oh yes), petite, curvy etc then choose under another filter to ‘celebrate my….’ Or ‘hide my….’ with options for bottom, waist, legs etc. Jacynth told me there’s an assumption that older women feel unhappy with their arms or their décolletage but that isn’t always the case so she lets you do the deciding.
I wondered what would happen if I ticked all five of the ‘hide my’ options – would I be suggested a burka, or a course of therapy to raise my self esteem? In fact, quite rightly you’re only allowed to pick one for each. To further help, the models on the site are the-bias-cut.com customers (including Jacynth’s mum!) and their height and dress size is provided so you can work out how the look they’re wearing would suit you.
Jacynth and her team only work with ethical brands, most of them British made. Being passionate about her cause she also has a Facebook forum called Ageism is Never in Fashion you can check out, where she and others talk about the relative invisibility of older women in the fashion industry. (Have you noticed how The Bias Cut is a clever play on words, eh?)
Rather fittingly the same week I met Jacynth I found myself at Waterloo station admiring the style of a woman wearing a simple black shift dress, statement necklace and pumps. When I looked up I realised she was in her 80s. Kind of proves a point that you’re never too old to cut a dash.