MANDI Beacham has always loved dressing up, no matter if it was for a night with friends or for work.
However, after the menopause caused her mood swings and insomnia, and she gained weight, she lost her love for her wardrobe.
Many outfits were too tight, or uncomfortable. So instead of wearing a suit or a dress, 56-year-old found her way to jogging bottoms and baggy T-shirts.
Enter Fabulous fashion director Tracey Lee Sayer, who was gracious enough to assist Mandi in our Challenge The Stylist series.
Mandi, who works in medical sales and lives in Winchester, Hants, says: “Two years ago I started having menopause symptoms including mood swings and insomnia.
“Covid hit and I wondered if it was lockdown getting to me. Then the hot flushes began and I realized that I was now menopausal after talking to friends.
“During lockdown I developed what I call my ‘kangaroo belly’. I’ve put on at least a stone since then. I’m only 5ft 2in, so every pound shows. A lot of the clothes I had didn’t fit me any more and I felt incredibly unattractive.
“I had no need to go out anywhere, so I fell into wearing joggers and T-shirts because they are comfy and warm. By the time things opened up, I had no desire to go out. If I had to, I’d wear a black A-line dress but I looked old and frumpy. I had really lost my fashion mojo.”
Size 12 Mandi, a retired teacher and education officer, has lost all interest fashion.
She said: “I’d always loved bright colours but I felt they were ageing me. I lost my eye for picking up bargains and throwing outfits together.”
Mandi stated to Tracey, “I want to be trendy but not trendy.” “mutton dressed as lamb”.
She said: “Tracey really listened. She took into account my height and areas I was conscious of.”
Mandi’s favourite outfit was the beige faux leather trousers and ruffle blouse. She says: “The experience has opened my eyes to what is possible. I’ve got a spring back in my step.”
The mom of three adds: “I’ve gone back on HRT, I’m exercising and feel better than I have in months. Menopause doesn’t have to steal your style.”
Lunch is for ladies
Tracey states: “It is easy to feel invisible as you hit the menopause. You don’t know what suits you any more. Your skin, shape and hair might have changed, which makes it even harder to know what works. I watched Mandi come to life in this gorgeous floral dress. The vibrant print really lifted her skin tone.”
Tracey states: “Mandi looked quite shocked when I suggested she try on River Island pleather trousers but once she put them on, she absolutely loved them. The high waist cinches Mandi in, elongates her legs and skims over her tummy, which she thinks is her problem area.”
Blouse, £38, trousers, £45, boots, £65, bag, £40, all River Island – Click here to buy
Tracey states: “After working from home for so long, many of us have lost our way with workwear. Mandi’s been shying away from colour so it felt great to put her in a bright yellow ‘look at me’ coat. This pop of colour will elevate her neutral workwear while looking smart and chic.”
Coat, £59.99, M&Co – M&Co; top, £29.99, Reserved – Click here to buy ; trousers, £38, and boots, £65, both River Island – Click here to buy