Style lives on

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Tamahere’s Sharyn Cawood has a sense of style that has lasted through a few decades, qualifying her to feature in a trio of Waikato women acclaimed for ageing with attitude.

Sharyn Cawood - a sense of style

Sharyn Cawood likes the idea of a fashion story in praise of older women, wrote Denise Irvine in your weekend magazine recently (not online).

Cawood, 64, has a sure touch when it comes to style. It’s been honed over several decades as a fashion model, and many other public roles. And as she’s got a bit older, her style’s been adapted to incorporate comfort as well as chic.

Cawood is now a grandmother, she wears size 18, and she appreciates clothes that are cut for comfort as well as good looks, adding she’s not a fan of “sucky-in” under-garments. “You adapt to suit your shape.”

And circumstances. Cawood says she needs to be able to chase after the grandchildren. “I spent 50 years in four inch heels – that’s all over now. I wear comfy shoes.”

She pulls a few clothes out of the wardrobe of her home at Tamahere. There’s lots of black and white, soft floaty tops, sparks of colour and animal prints. Cawood shows a pair of leopard-print trousers she has had for about eight years. She has worn them umpteen times. “They are my all-time favourites. You can put them on and go anywhere.”

Today she’s wearing a new Mela Purdie top with clever sleeve detail over a pair of soft white cotton trousers. She adds a sartorial panama hat and funky black and white glasses for the photo shoot, contemplates a bold piece of bling, but no, that would be too much with the hat. Cawood knows what works.

Well, she admits, sometimes she gets it wrong. A while back she indulged in a purple outfit she liked. She wore it on an outing with granddaughter Lily, who was about seven at the time. Lily said to her: “Nana, do you really have to wear the bright purple?” Oops, thought Cawood, and she hasn’t worn it since.

You can’t imagine Cawood missing the mark very often, though, along with Hamilton women Erin Allen, 71, and Bobbie Jarvis, in her early 80s.

Cawood, Allen and Jarvis are joined by some mutual threads (no pun intended). They’ve all done fashion modelling and compering, they all have perfect posture and carry clothes well, they know how to style themselves, they keep adding new pieces to their wardrobes and they would rarely go out without makeup. “Only at the beach,” says Allen.

On the other hand fashion doesn’t rule them because they’ve each got a lot going on. Jarvis is a well-known real estate agent with Ray White in Hamilton, Cawood is involved in community work and sits on various boards, and Allen, who had a long career in broadcasting and fashion, maintains a busy life with family and other commitments.

Sharyn Cawood Style File

Top fashion tip: Go for the magic combination of style and comfort

Favourite makeup: MAC and Smashbox, and Cetaphil moisture lotion (from pharmacies).

Favourite labels: Paula Ryan, Mela Purdie and Caroline Sills; they do great cuts and are comfortable to wear.

Hairdresser: Erick at Devereux & Villiger, Hamilton.

Recent acquisitions:
Wide-brimmed panama hat and smart jeans from Sills Store, Hamilton.

A penchant for:
Animal prints. My first one was an animal print beret from Betty White Milliners in Hamilton; I bought it when I was about 18 and wore it to church on Sundays. There have been many animal purchases since.

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