Style and Confidence Is An Attitude Not An Age
The Albino Chameleon - The Things That Make You ‘You' Can become Your Superpower’
We sit down with writer and career coach, Kirsty Anne Ferguson, to talk about her fabulous book,
40+ career women and of course, pants (for the taller girl).
I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to spill the beans straight away, you are 55! Your entire book ‘The Albino Chameleon’ is about owning your you-ness. Is that one of the benefits of maturity, you know who you are?
Absolutely, no apologies, this is me and I’ll never be younger than I am today so why stress about it. I wrote an article called ‘The I Don’t Give a Shit-ed-ness Of Ageing’ because age can be really empowering. You know who you are, you know what make-up, what fashion, what perfume works for you and you own it. I was speaking at a national conference last year for Women in Aviation and my talk was straight after the Deputy PM - no pressure! The Moderator grabbed me and said ‘can you spice it up a bit we need an energy boost’ so… I tap danced onto the stage and no, I cannot tap dance.
I love your hashtag #usewhatyougot - how do you apply that in your life day today?
I try not to look backwards, that’s not my reality now. I take the good memories from the past and try to build on those. I admit that I have at times struggled to accept some of the physical changes that come with age, like I started at 175cm and now I’m only 173cm! No really, there is weight gain post-menopause, mood swings during it and my never fabulous jawline has now developed some chipmonkish sags. So I have to keep reminding myself, what am I going to do with what I’ve got now… part of that is investing in others, getting out of your own head, that’s what gave birth to The Albino Chameleon. I also love a good podcast; an injection of Simon Sinek or Brene Brown first thing in the morning usually gets me feeling the love. I have a podcast coming out myself, because… why not?
The Albino Chameleon is available on Amazon!
You are a pants and jeans kinda girl - that’s obvious. You told me that you mostly chose pants over a dress for meetings, speaking gigs and events. But are they always appropriate?
As long as you rock them then, heck yes! At a recent posh birthday party I wore a fabulous sliver glittering stretch pant, who cares if everyone else was in a dress - not me. Back in the 80’s it was impossible for a ‘tall girl’ to find a long leg pant, they just didn’t make them. I even remember having to order men’s jeans. As a lanky 175cm I was apparently outside the normal women’s sizing. What a relief when fashion leaders like Andiamo came out with length and comfort, by which I mean ‘stretch’ - loving all things stretch!
As a job interview coach, I’m sure a lot of people ask you what they should wear to an interview. Do women still feel that ‘professional attire’ means a skirt or dress?
My answer: I don’t believe in conforming to a norm. Wear what you feel comfortable in, what aligns with your style and suits your shape. Of course, what is appropriate for the role as well. Get the basics right, neutral Tees, Tanks and Shirts that you can mix and match. Some employers embrace office casual so know that ahead of time. If you try to wear something that is not ‘you’ you will feel uncomfortable and less confident right from the start. Let them see the real you.
You have a whole suite of career confidence and interview skills programs for women based on the book, can you tell what sort of things you cover.
I call it the “Women’s Unpack” as we unpack a whole range of topics relevant to women 40+. I cover topics such as: “Doing what I know is no longer enough, so what’s next?”, and showing employers the value of maturity. Women that go through the program learn valuable skills, from identifying their 'work style' 'personal style' and ‘management style’ to how to articulate personal goals, purpose and career plan effectively.
Check out Kirsty's website to find out more about her 40+ career women products!