I was fortunate this month to chat ageing and motherhood with everyone’s favourite ‘Mum’ (and Grandmother-to-be), Made in Chelsea’s Jane Felstead.
We are all about strong female role models of all ages and we love you for your ‘firm-but-fair’ approach. Where does that come from?
I’ve had many female role models over the years and as a result, I’ve – emerged (great way of making growing up sound more butterfly like don’t you think!) with a far greater understanding of how to handle certain situations, especially as an older woman.
These women taught me how to keep things light, how to listen more than you talk and about grace and elegance – a lesson I think we sometimes forget in this day and age when everything is about ‘now’.
My mother was one of these women which was why she was so adored not just by me – but by my children and all my friends.
She was such a lady and always knew how to be courteous and mannered, but she’d also laugh, and play stupid games. She had hilarious stories of the past – and kept my children entertained endlessly with her terrible cheating at cards. She was a great example of being fun, but graceful with it.
You recently took part in a protest at London Fashion Week, against ageism. What made you get involved?
I love fashion and clothes and am fortunate to be in the public eye, surrounded by people who help to shape my fashion choices but women of my age group are still hugely overlooked as a whole.
To feel invisible at my age is just awful and I wanted to do something about it. I don’t think it’s right that the industry assumes we aren’t interested in what we wear, or don’t want nice things – we do and it’s important we see role models who look like us to make educated choices about our style.
Where do you get inspiration in terms of style?
All over the place. I love a bit of tough edge to my clothes and I’m a secret biker chick at heart – Debbie Harry has been a favourite for years. I do like a classic finish though (Oscar De La Renta is a great choice for this btw) and you can’t beat Joanna Lumley for that ‘classically’ stylish look.
I’m also not adverse to stealing bits from the girls. I love jewellery – the more ‘statement’ the better and I must admit, certain pieces do get ‘shared’ around.
As well-known Mother, what beauty lessons have you passed down to your daughter
Always take your makeup off at night – ALWAYS go to bed with a clean skin. Don’t spend a fortune on skincare. Just keep yourself moisturised – you can never spend too long moisturising. SPF’s are wonderful – don’t get sun damaged, my mother forbade it completely. My mother was a model and very beautiful and she preserved her skin. I once had a skin analysis in Harley Street and my skin was very young. It’s because I don’t bake.
Do you think there’s a big difference between you and the girls?
Yes, I’m much on it then they are. The girls think they’ll always look like they do – my approach is 100% better than my kids. I think it might be a generational thing. My generation was much more rigorous in our approach to beauty – my mother’s certainly was!
What is the main beauty problem you have found with age Jane, and how have you dealt with it?
I don’t think I am ageing that badly, so I quite enjoy it, but I am troubled by dark circles. I deal with this using Laura Mercier secret brightening powder.
I put concealer under my eyes, dusting the white blurring powder to set. I always use foundation, and I still love a skin coloured face powder – especially for night-time. I also like a lot of blush as I’ve found I lost colour in my skin as I’ve aged.
Do you think we need to change our beauty routine as we age?
My beauty routine has always been the same. I love Ponds Cold Cream. I started using it at fifteen – I introduced it to my mum and aunt and they loved it and now both my daughters use it.
I then use serum and moisturiser. Very occasionally I use Liz Earle ‘Cleanse and Polish’ as a skin treat – it leaves my skin feeling really fresh and toned and great to put makeup on.
What changes would you recommend to help with the effects of ageing?
Concentrate on your neck. Necks don’t care what you give them they, just want something – a well-moisturised neck is a happy neck. Ignore it at your peril.
It’s hard to look in the mirror and accept the signs of ageing. Do you think your mental attitude is important in coping with it?
Yes – sometimes I feel so old and look in the mirror and think ‘oh gosh’. I see the lines under my eyes and I’m really surprised. A positive mental attitude is vital and for me I think the key is in giving yourself more time – to get ready and prepare for the day ahead.
As an older woman, I simply cannot jump out of bed and rush at the day any more – I feel rubbish when I do. I need more time to get myself into the right frame of mind and then I’m good to go.
Do you follow a strict exercise and diet routine?
Yes. I do Pilates. I make sure I do stretches every day and I swear by it for maintaining fitness – and I’m a big believer in the wellness benefits it offers me. I have fibromyalgia so have to keep everything stretched.
What do you have in your makeup bag?
I must say I love, LOVE Studio10 Lip Pencil – I put the creamy liner on first and then follow with the coloured end and it really is fantastic – amazing. I also love an Armani foundation that you recommended Grace, and I buy a lot of Bobbi Brown colour. YSL Top Secret is lovely – I like products that are quick and effective. I don’t have a lot of time daily so anything that makes my look great quickly stays. My trouble areas are top lip and under eyes. I still love Boots No7, I use their advanced ageing range and they’re just fantastic.
What would be your ultimate Mother’s Day treat?
I’d like a really, excellent reflexology treatment. Someone who truly understands the foot structure, because it works on spiritual level as well as physical and is such a lovely, relaxing luxury.