Julie Ford, 69, refuses to wear outfits that conservative dressers might deem "age-appropriate."
She said her favorite clothes include figure-hugging skirts with sexy slits.
Ford told Insider that she always keeps things stylish — and doesn't want to look 40 years younger.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Julie Ford. It has been edited for length and clarity.
When I got married two years ago at age 67, I wore a fitted wedding dress with a halter neck and a scooped back.
It was figure-hugging and — though I wore a cape outside — was sleeveless. Some might say I was breaking the rules as an older bride.
But I'm confident enough in myself — and in my body — to wear clothes that make me stand out. I don't want people to look at me for the wrong reasons, so I'm always stylish. I know where to draw the line.
I'm toned because I work out
I've always been in good shape. I've been a physical-education teacher since 1976, so exercise is part of my job. I think my best features are my shoulders, back, and stomach. They're toned because of my workouts.
Between my teenage years and my late 40s, I was desperate to have a good suntan. I live on the south coast of England and would cycle around in shorts, little skirts, and crop tops to get as much sun as I could.
Then, when I was 50, I looked in the mirror and thought, "Who's that?" Suddenly, my short, frilly skirt didn't look very good anymore; it was scary how quickly it happened.
But I wasn't the kind of person to cover up completely. I bought clothes that played up the parts of my body that I liked. I'm happy to wear cropped pants, crop tops, and long dresses that hug my waist and hips. You can look sexy if you've covered up your body with tight-fitting clothes.
I have arthritic knees, but I disguise them with flattering skirts and pants
Even if you're young, it doesn't pay to show off your boobs and your legs at the same time; it doesn't leave anything to the imagination.
I've found ways to minimize the things I'm not so keen on. I've got arthritic knees, but I wear long skirts with side slits that give a glimpse of thigh instead. In the winter and fall, I feel great in shorter skirts, thick tights, and over-the-knee boots.
Meanwhile, as you get older, the skin on your arms starts to not look so toned — I get around it by wearing slightly see-through sleeves.
I also love color. It's not necessary for older people to wear black and other dark shades. I'm always in red, cerise, pink, turquoise, and orange. It's linked to my bright and cheerful personality — I enjoy life.
I'll never wear Crocs
But there are things that I'd never want to be seen in. They include Crocs and baggy fleece. I enjoy hiking, but I won't wear unflattering active wear such as leggings and sweatpants.
I recently invented a neoprene foot stirrup attached to a resistance tube with handles. I make sure that I look good when I'm demonstrating the device — called the InStepp — on my daily walks. Your silhouette is important, so I'll choose sports jackets that are nipped in at the waist.
I'm turning 70 in February. I'm five-foot-four, a size four to six, and weigh about 120 pounds. I'm looking forward to many more years of dressing well, and I don't plan to stop wearing my bikini on the beach.
I'm a grandma, but I don't have to dress like one
There are people who think those days are behind them. "I need to cover up because I've had lots of children," they might say.
Well, I have two adult kids, a 2-year-old granddaughter, and a second grandchild on the way. None of them has given me the excuse to look — dare I say — "Momsy."
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