Fashion doesn’t stop at 50

Blogger Hilda Smith spoke to thecity.ie about her fashion blogging success. Hilda created her blog, Over the Hilda, three years ago and now has over 3,000 followers on Instagram. 

On her reasons for starting a fashion blog, she says: “I realised that there were no bloggers catering to women of my age. It was as if only young people were interested in fashion. Also, I was tired of being sold skin creams and makeup that were not right for an older woman’s skin.

“In a moment of madness, I said I was going to start a blog myself. I am a technophobe, who even found it difficult to get into Netflix, so my family did not hold out much hope of success.

“I had plenty of life experiences to share … menopause, my interest in staying healthy and fit into midlife and older … so having laughed in my face at first, they finally got behind me.”

Hilda Smith Instagram @overthehilda
Hilda’s blog details her fashion tastes as well as elements of her personal life // Instagram @overthehilda

She said she has always been an over-sharer.  She writes her posts as if she is chatting to friends and telling them what she is doing. “It could be about how I am worried about my memory, how to survive 35 years of marriage and not kill him, or about the wonderful new lipstick I have found or the cream I consider is not worth the money.”

Before she got into blogging, Hilda was a secondary school English teacher at The King’s Hospital for 34 years. She has been retired for six years. She graduated from Trinity in 1974 and was involved in drama and hockey coaching.  

Hilda gets her fashion inspiration from magazines, other bloggers, and her daughter Courtney, who is regarded as one of Ireland’s top fashion stylists.

She says the main aim of her blog is to start a conversation with similar like-minded women of a certain age, “to discuss issues such as being ignored by the media because we are considered irrelevant”.

She said: “I suppose I really want to showcase that when we reach 50, 60 or 70, it does not mean that we have to go and hide away. I was always interested in fashion and I still am. I will not be told how to dress.

“I feel that women over 50 have been undervalued, overlooked and ignored by brands. It is as if when we turn 50 we are expected to start wearing granny clothes or elasticated trousers. Many of us are interested in fashion and looking good and we are not invisible.

“I love seeing older women rocking their leathers and ripped jeans. And I also admire those who wear beautiful elegant dresses and timeless pieces.”

Hilda Smith Instagram @overthehilda (2)
Though Hilda is not your stereotypical blogger, she believes her fashion sense is just as valuable as any 18-year-old influencer // Instagram @overthehilda

Hilda says that there have been so many articles recently stating that women should not wear jeans, bikinis or short skirts after a certain age, and they certainly should not show off their cleavage after 50.  She believes women should ignore these rules about dressing for your age and just wear what they want.

Hilda says she usually shops in Zara, Warehouse and H&M and has found items in Penneys and Topshop too.

“I like LK Bennett for something special and find Arnotts wonderful if I want to spend a bit more. I will shop anywhere and love browsing in boutiques too. I have only recently bought into the online trend, generally, I prefer to feel the material, but if I know a brand suits me I can shop online.”

Speaking about her style, Hilda says: “I am classic with a twist, I guess. I love boho but it doesn’t really suit me; however, I love it on others.  My style has changed and developed hugely. I am less afraid of trying something different. I have worn many of the trends before and love seeing them re-interpreted.”

Hilda says in order to create a successful fashion blog you either need lots of clothes, money or contacts in fashion or an amazing photographer who knows how to make you look good.

She says: “It takes time to build up a following and I have done really no self-promotion. But my name is getting out there now and brands are approaching me, although I want my blog to be about more than fashion.”

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