How to dress to impress – and appropriately for your age

The Dubai-based professional image consultant Julie Price speaks to us about her about her design label and consultancy services, which include styling and wardrobe planning.

The fashion designer and stylist Julie Price at her home on Dubai's Palm Jumeirah. Sarah Dea / The National
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Julie Price believes that there is a distinct lack of clothing shops that cater to women over 30. She, therefore, decided to step in and design her own clothing line – JustJules – to try to address this problem.

How did you get started in image consultancy?
I started off my career as a hairstylist so I have been working with women on a one-to-one basis for many years. When clients were having their hair done for a special occasion I would always ask them to bring their outfits into the salon so we could put the whole look together. One afternoon, one lady said: You should do this image thing properly and add it to your business. Six months later, I found an image consultant trainer in London and enrolled in an intensive course.
You have said that there’s a huge gap in the market for clothes for 30-somethings that you feel isn’t being met – why do you think this is the case? And is this a UAE-specific problem?
The 30- and 40-somethings of today aren’t the same as the 30- and 40-somethings of years past. We are not a generation that is content with just being comfy and covered and I don’t think this is a UAE-specific problem at all; it’s a women-specific issue everywhere. We face many issues that contribute to our shape changing once we reach our 30s. Pregnancy, hormones, menopause, cellulite and thickening waistlines may not be the best topics of conversation, but these issues are real and I feel that they are not being catered for. The fact is that we all want to look stylish, have the not so good bits camouflaged and be comfy.
What is the biggest mistake women over 30 make style-wise?
Women in their 30s are usually bringing up the kids and need quick, comfy and practical clothing. This is often the time of cargo pants, flip-flops, ponytailed hair and no make-up. Unfortunately, you can be nearly out of your 30s before you realise it. Many of the ladies I see on a daily basis fit into this bracket and they come to see me to help them find their way back.
What’s the best piece of style advice you can offer to a woman who is making the transition from her 20s to her 30s? And her 30s to 40s?
Twenties to 30s is often career time so make sure the image you are portraying is the correct one for you and your career path. Remember to dress for the position you want, not for the one you hold. Thirties to 40s is often the best time for a wardrobe edit. Remember you are as important as everyone else in your life and that there are comfy, practical, stylish clothes out there.
Can you tell us a little bit about your clothing line?
The JustJules clothing label is made in our own factory in Nepal. This not only ensures a good-quality garment but also covers any ethical concerns. Our factory is small but offers good working conditions, normal working hours, holidays for staff, overtime and equal opportunities. The clothing range is suitable for all ages but has been put together with the 30-plus age bracket in mind.
From where do you draw inspiration to design the clothes of your line?
A lot of my inspiration comes from talking to women. I’m always interested in what they love or hate, or what they’re looking for but never find. Last year, all the colours we used came from one landscape I drove past while I was in Cyprus in the summer.
You’ve said that women don’t have to be incredibly skinny or rich to look fabulous, as the media would have us believe. Can you tell us how women can achieve this?
I believe you can aspire to be whatever you want to be, but you can still look and feel great right now. Dress for your body shape in colours that make you look vital and your very best and keep cost per wear in mind when you are making your purchases. Most women will happily spend more than Dh3,000 on a dress for a special occasion but wouldn’t dream of spending Dh1,500 on a well-cut pair of jeans. To me, this is backwards, as you should spend your money on items you will get a lot of wear out of. Mix cheap fashion items with your classic investment buys and shop wisely.

How to always look your best:

1 Know which colours suit you best – the wrong colours worn around your face will age you.

2 Know your body shape and dress in line with this – balance is the key word.

3 Always have your make-up, hair and feet done and you will look groomed, polished and together no matter where you are. Now I know this isn't always easy – I'm human, too – but sometimes the difference between unkempt and groomed is as simple as using hairspray to tame the flyaway strands when you tie your hair back.

4 Think wardrobe maintenance. If your heels are scuffed, clothing is stained or in disrepair, then no matter how much you love it, you should not be wearing it.

5 Be confident and dress for yourself, not for your husband or your friends. And smile.

• For further details on Price’s image consultations and to find out more about her clothing line, visit Alternatively call 04 361 8391

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