Thank God I’ve Never Been Mutton Shamed — Yet!


Isn’t the term ‘mutton shaming’ horrible? It seems to be a phrase coined from a New York Times article that started doing the rounds at the back end of  last year and I noticed an article  that referenced it again the other day doing the Facebook rounds although this one had spun the original on it’s head and features:

11 Older Women With Truly Inspirational Style

Back to the mutton shaming though. The woman in the original article that was the subject of the abuse was only 36 at the time — yikes!! I’m nearly 54 so no hope for me then.

Apparently, the guy she was with whispered in her ear — “There comes a time when old lady dresses are no longer ironic’. I can see why the article states he is a ‘former’ partner, can’t you?

What turned into an insult started out way back in in 1811 as a compliment when the future King of England was asked did he like a particular girl at a ball and he was reported to retort ” ‘Girls are not to my taste. I don’t like lamb; but mutton dressed like lamb!’

Ever since then though the Prince of Wales’ compliment rapidly degenerated into an insult for older women.

So it seems that women particularly as we get older are compared to sheep. But then again aren’t we derided all through life for whatever we wear or how we look?

All through life — and it starts young and works it way up to us as teenagers, when we become a mum,  through into midlife and probably to the grave — blah de blah de blah ….

‘That makes you look too old’

‘That’s too short — You look like a hooker!’

‘You should show your legs more’

‘You can’t wear that now at your age!’

Why aren’t men subject to this same dress code and looks scrutiny? Does anyone know? I even remember the story last year about a woman being sacked for refusing to wear high heels at work. When does it ever stop? It seems relentless for women.

I don’t care whether anyone likes what I wear. If I think I can pull something off then that’s good enough for me. I will be brutally honest and say I’m not even bothered what Mr Bbed thinks. Or it’s probably more that I chose a partner in life who loves me for who I am. Adores my quirkiness and is not made of the foul stuff that seeks to undermine women by making them feel insecure. I’m probably secure in myself because he enhances that part of my femininity. Who really knows? I just know I don’t care and neither should any woman.

I’m also realistic and know its not that easy for many women.

I hope that through writing this blog we can all inspire and support each other to be strong and hopefully build up our confidence. Mine gets knocked for other reasons — more on that another time — but not for what I choose to wear or how I colour my hair or that I love bright red lipstick.

Talking about red lipstick — note to self I must buy this that I saw the lovely Leah from Devoted To Pink modelling recently.

There really are no rules and if the worse thing I can do in life is dress for me then I will end up a very happy old lady and as one of my favourites, Helen Mirren once said …

“Growing old is not for pussies – you’ve got to have courage. But then, you’ve got to have courage in life anyway.”


I’d love to know your thoughts. Is what you wear governed by your age or worse still have you ever been mutton shamed?




  1. February 23, 2017 / 7:05 am

    Another facet of being a woman in a patriarchal world. Men are seen to get ‘sexier’ as they age but women should be shamed. It’s disgusting and really makes me mad.

    • Sinclair Williams
      February 23, 2017 / 6:00 pm

      I hear you, Nyomi – all those silver foxes, eh? It’s relentless for women!

  2. February 23, 2017 / 7:34 pm

    The great thing about getting old is that we are less like sheep: we know our own minds and we’re not so bothered about what everyone else thinks. Hence my blog “Is This Mutton?” which, like a lot of blogs for over 50s women, encourages we older ladies to carry on experimenting and having fun with clothes.

    • Sinclair Williams
      February 23, 2017 / 8:26 pm

      Go you!! Great to connect with you, Gail. I’ll be experimenting til the day I die!!
      I’ll be having a good mooch over your blog 🙂

  3. March 4, 2017 / 3:54 pm

    It’s been so enlightening in this blogging journey, Sharon. Realizing that clothes are just clothes—why not have fun with them and use them as tools?
    I’m so glad you joined us in the Fierce 50 Movement!! Go US!!

    • Sinclair Williams
      March 4, 2017 / 5:44 pm

      Thanks for stopping by Jodie. I’m glad I found the Fierce 50 Movement, too — looking forward to connecting with like minded women 🙂

  4. The Village Diva!
    March 4, 2017 / 4:23 pm

    Oh goodness….My answer is absolutely not am I governed by age. Obviously there are some items I won’t wear but not because of age , because it’s a style I don’t feel comfortable in. Probably wouldn’t have when I was 20!

    • Sinclair Williams
      March 4, 2017 / 5:49 pm

      Glad to hear it, Colleen. Woman after my own heart! <3

  5. March 5, 2017 / 2:01 pm

    I like your mantra! If you like what your wearing and feel good in what your wearing nothing else matters. So good to find another UK blogger the same age as myself. I enjoyed reading this.

    • Sinclair Williams
      March 5, 2017 / 2:20 pm

      Thanks, Laurie. Good to find you too — I’ve followed you on Twitter & Insta so we can get to know each other 🙂

  6. Sara
    March 19, 2017 / 9:46 pm

    A friend of mine plays a game of trying everything on in front of her daughters after a shopping trip. It’s called ‘Dogs bollox or Dogs dinner’ and they are required to vote. It made me giggle but I’m like you, I don’t give a thought to anyone else liking what I wear. I dress for me! I know Mr. C dislikes every coat I own!

    • Sinclair Williams
      March 19, 2017 / 10:13 pm

      Ha! I like it Sara! I’d struggle with the bollox/dinner theory and just throw caution to the wind. I have a strange sense of liking whatever anyone tells me they don’t like anyway! 😉 xo

  7. RetroChicMama
    March 23, 2017 / 7:08 pm

    Fabulous post, I clicked over from Not Dressed as Lamb. I must confess I hadn’t heard the term “mutton shaming” so I had to actually say it a few times in my head to figure out the meaning. Oh dear, so old I’m behind on the latest phrases even. Hahaha!

    • Sinclair Williams
      March 24, 2017 / 8:18 pm

      Great to meet you Retro Chic Mama! Yes — unfortunately, there’s a name for most things that seek to undermine women 🙁 Off to check out your blog, too. xo

  8. March 24, 2017 / 11:00 pm

    Hi Sharon,
    I’m so glad to have found your blog!
    I have been “Mutton-Shamed” a few times in my life…as well as just plain “shamed” as a younger women.
    I laughed the comments off as the “shamers’ were never anyone who’s opinion mattered to me.

    I believe women have a hard enough time in the world without tearing each other down and I try to be positive and supportive.
    Us girls need to stick together!
    Lovely to have E-met you….I am off for a mooch around your blog now!

    • Sinclair Williams
      March 26, 2017 / 7:50 pm

      We really do need to stick together, Samantha. It does take allsorts to make the world go round but I just don’t know why people have to shame others for whatever their differences are. You stand out for your love of colour and from my point of view that’s what people will love you for — keep doing you 🙂 Thankyou so much for stopping by my new little blog. So glad we’ve connected now on Instagram, too. xoxo

  9. March 28, 2017 / 8:05 pm

    It’s never happened to me but I do think it tends to be other women who pull women down. It can be men though. Whether it’s a man or a woman the person who does this does it to make themselves feel better and they lack confidence.
    Wear what you want and look for people who give you compliments and be that person too.

    • Sharon Sinclair.Williams
      March 30, 2017 / 7:31 pm

      Totally agree, Kelly and the media — just look at The Daily Mail this week!!

  10. April 1, 2017 / 7:37 am

    Found you through Not Dressed As Lamb.
    I will be 63 in 15 days and I wear boyfriend jeans with sneakers. Skinny jeans and trousers are my favourite (so I am not pleased to hear they are slowly going out of style). I tuck most of my shirts and sweaters in at the front and yesterday I even wore black peeptoes with colourful socks in them. That was daring, even for me.
    Still, I think I am not much of a rule breaker and I have not been mutton shamed yet. Or perhaps behind my back? Lots of people have lots to say about me behind my back haha.
    I don’t care anymore what people say: the beauty of getting older and wiser. I feel happier than I ever was. And I just shrug my shoulders. Like water of a duck. Who cares?
    So I am with you, let’s have fun with clothes.

    • Sharon Sinclair.Williams
      April 1, 2017 / 4:36 pm

      Hi Greetje — I already follow you on Insta and I saw your peeptoes with your jazzy socks — they looked so cool 🙂 Totally with you on having fun and you look fab for almost 63! Looking forward to connecting with you some more xo

      • April 1, 2017 / 8:00 pm

        What fun. Blogger land is a network land. We all connect. So lovely.

  11. July 8, 2017 / 9:16 pm

    Thanks for the history!

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