Ab Fab
Scene from Ab Fab where Patsy goes through ‘the change’

“It’s too mild, I’m menopausal … you just want a cold wind up you,” said the divine Kathy Burke on Have I Got News For You, last week. We had the hottest October on record and Burke was voicing what every woman over the age of 50 has been thinking for the past four weeks. When oestrogen has left the building, this unseasonably warm weather means that both our internal and external equilibrium feels chaotic. This autumn is a full-on, hot-flush fest; the temperature inside and out just doesn’t feel right. At the swimming pool the other day, I noticed a woman about my age sustaining a handstand underwater; it might have been synchronised swimming but I’m convinced it was the only way she could think of to cool down.

Jigsaw sleeveless jacket1200
Sleeveless jacket, Jigsaw available HERE

What to wear to avoid looking like a hot menopausal mess is a subject that’s been bothering me for the last few weeks, I’ve been taking my clothes off (layering), tying my hair back, living in this lightweight jumpsuit from Hush and even considering the sleeveless jacket. I’ve written a feature for the Guardian HERE.

J Crew earrings_NA6489

Though it’s never too hot for a pair of statement earrings. Spotted this gorgeous pair in J. Crew yesterday.

28 thoughts on “How to avoid looking like a hot menopausal mess

  1. I know what you mean about the weather messing with menopause but I’m also stressing about climate change (now a misnomer obvs) because what will follow this freakish warm autumn? Meanwhile I’m wearing my jbrand jeans cut off above my ankles with snake skin ankle boots! Lovin the “slither of skin” .

  2. I swear by the pashmina. Though you can look a bit mad, on-off, on-off all the damn time. It was on the news yesterday about “diagnosing” the menopause…we aren’t ill, people. So let’s not behave as if we are. It will pass, just as puberty did.

    1. Unfortunately for some of us, it does not pass! Having had an hysterectomy 21 years ago, I have suffered every day since. It may not be an illness as such, but everyone goes through a different menopausal journey and requires different “treatments”. It can be extremely debilitating for some women, as it is for me so I really don’t think using the word diagnosing is a problem!

  3. After almost 4 years, dressing for hot flushes has become second nature to me. It’s almost harder in the winter because you go from the cold outside to the overheated interiors. I wear cotton shirts more often now – they’re loose, and the long sleeves can be rolled up if necessary, and back down when the flush passes. Also, I always have a vent somewhere – shirts are only tucked in if I’m wearing a skirt with no tights. In fact, no tights ever! Cotton leggings, but with no socks or short socks so there’s a vent there, also.

  4. Unfortunately when women are experiencing a hot flush they tend to get agitated and start fanning themselves furiously, taking jackets off and on, etc. In other words being energetic which makes them feel warmer.

    The best thing is to concentrate on your breathing; breathe in on the count of 4 and breathe out on the count of 4; in other words match the in-breath with the out-breath. If you concentrate on your breathing, you will automatically breathe slower, it’s automatic. Think of the ‘hot flush’ as a ‘hot flash’. As you breathe imagine it passing through the body and allow it to pass through.

    I taught my sister in-law the above technique and I think it did help. I hope it did anyway. Give it a try.

  5. I find it hard to listen to people complaining about a natural bodily process ,we have to feel grateful we are well and frankly I don’t know what all the fuss is about .
    I love the hot flushes, I’m always cold and welcome them . Bring them on.
    Also I find changes in the body that are not morbid fascinating , having lost some dear friends in our late forties I celebrate each day as a gift.

  6. I just wore a lot of loose sleeveless tops & loose gauzy skirts & light cotton pants & sandals, meditated a lot & did breathing exercises (Lorna above has some great advice), and reminded myself I was lucky because in centuries past women never lived long enough to have menopause (and in too many places in the world today still don’t). Nights were the worst. I just got handy at showering in the middle of the night & changing the sheets & sticking my feet out from under the bedding until I cooled off, then snatching them back under before I got chilled. Sex helps. No, seriously! It keeps your lady bits healthy because of the extra blood flow & regulates your body’s entire chemical & hormonal balance & makes you happy & you’re hot & sweaty anyway so never even notice a hot flash if it hits at an inopportune moment (I had a woman doctor tell me an orgasm a day is infinitely better for you than that historic daily apple!). And I think I’ll leave it at that 😉

  7. Well, Zanna, some women are naturally sensitive to heat and when menopause hits, it’s like we’re living in a kiln at full tilt boogie, ‘mkay?

  8. Ok, I’m forty seven so not in full on menopause yet – but I have been trying on Mango boots recently and notice that they nearly all have leather insoles – which makes them very comfy without socks. Just a thought, as my mother in law would say. I’m going to (try to) remember that breathing exercise though, thanks!

  9. I agree with Val – the winter can be brutal as you dress for the cold outdoors then DIE when you walk into an overheated office or store. The copious amounts of sweat are what’s so difficult, especially on my face and around my hairline and scalp. There’s no way to wear makeup or keep your hair fixed nicely, and people pitifully look at the water running down your face. I think they think I’m either deathly sick or recovering from a night of excessive alcohol consumption!

  10. In the interest of completeness, I have to say that not every woman experiences extreme menopausal symptoms. I never had hot flashes.

  11. Just came across your site, recommended by a friend, it’s lovely – a very cool and refreshing view of life. I’m going to share this article on my own site My Second Spring as this is great information for my audience, I’m in the zone of informing and inspiring women to flourish in the second half of life. I like your style!

  12. I’m sure you said the sleeveless jacket was to be avoided at all costs! Have you had an epiphany ? Can let you off though as I love your blogs and IG and you know us all so well

  13. Having just bought your book, immediately signed up for the blog. Amusing writing and good pictures of real life women “une certain age”. But…most of the fashion shots are of thirty somethings. Disappointing. At odds with your message.

    1. Thank you for buying my book and signing up, Twyla. I try my best to feature relevant images but it is a bit tricky with fashion shots, even though, the industry is finally taking notice of older women only a handful of brands use older models. The model in the photo here is younger, but the outfit is ageless and illustrates my point.

  14. hello my fellow menapause sufferers. I am a lady 56 years of age and have been in menapause for 12 looonnnggg years . Each day is pretty much the same, I suffer terribly from the heat no matter what the season. i prefer to buy loose fitting cotton clothes as I like the feeling of my body not being caged into my clothes. the trouble I am having and have had for years is where to buy good quality 100% cotton clothing. can anyone suggest a website of shop. I live in Australia

    Thankyou in anticipation


  15. I am 56 years old and have had hot flashes for 5 years. I have many hot flashes during the day and night….strangely. …I never sweat… I simply become very hot then turn bright red…even my hands. When the hot flash is over. ..I return to my normal color. I am not sure why I am not sweating during the flash. I am getting pretty good at noticing when I am about to have a hot flash even before I begin to warm up. I can usually take off a layer of clothing as soon as it is beginning and I am thinking that I could be shortening the duration of my hot flash by noticing it so quickly which is why I dont sweat? I do know that certain foods and stress can aggravate my hot flashes and I try to avoid things that trigger my hot flashes. Although I am not enjoying my hot flashes…I am happy to be 56 and healthy and I just love that I am a grandma. …grandchildren definitely make aging feel like a blessing. : )

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