DO British women really let themselves go as they age?
Last month, 56-year-old Nancy Dell’Olio boasted that she looks 20 years younger than her age and claimed British women do not make enough effort to look sexy as they grow older.
Getty – Contributor Glamorous Nancy Dell’Olio looks great at 56 in a daring black dress and jacket
The US-born, Italian-raised lawyer and former partner of football manager Sven-Goran Eriksson said: “I do think British women should make more of an effort.
“Some people are born old, while some people are getting better and better and I’m on that side.
“I was born young and beautiful and I keep intact.” She continued: “Staying young is in your mind.
“Sexy is not a concept that comes with age.”
Getty Images – Getty Causing a stir…Nancy’s comments about British women not making enough effort have definitely ruffled feathers
The comments drew an angry reaction from many middle-aged British women.
Jenny Francis and Johanna Bell speak to four 56-year-old women who say, ‘How dare Nancy tell us we’re not sexy!”
‘Trying to stay looking young is a full-time job’
Belly-dancing teacher Nuala says staying young is a full-time job. She works out five times a week and does regular juice cleanses.
Nuala lives in Chelsea, South West London, with retired oil trader husband Richard, 57.
David Cummings – The Sun Sweet and sour…Nuala, who juice cleanses, says Nancy is ‘totally out of order’
She says: “Nancy is totally out of order. Of course I can still look sexy in my 50s – and there are plenty of other women around still looking glam at my age and older.
“I wouldn’t say I’m obsessed with it, but trying to stay looking young is a full-time job.
“I teach belly dancing as I believe in women showing off their bodies and feeling sexy – it’s empowering.
“I work out five times a week as I think it keeps me young. I also look out for good skin creams.
David Cummings – The Sun That’s tum great figure…belly-dancer Nuala says looking young is a ‘full-time job’
“I’m human so I like to have fun as well, but if I’ve had a naughty weekend drinking or staying up late, then I’ll do four or five days of juicing.
“Sometimes I think I look tired and I hate that.
“I might be full of energy and raring to go but I have to fight against my appearance telling a different story. I make an effort to look on the outside how I feel on the inside.
“I don’t wear a skirt that shows my bottom like some 20-year-olds, but I like my leather skinny pants and wear them a lot.
“I don’t understand people who say women my age shouldn’t wear sexy outfits – the minute you tell yourself you shouldn’t look sexy is the minutes you lose your sex appeal. Sexy is a state of mind.
“Women who are self-assured ooze sex appeal whatever their age.”
‘Once the kids left, I felt like a woman again, not just a mother’
Mum-of-four Debbie says she feels sexier now that her children have grown up and moved out.
It has left her with more time and energy to reignite the passion in her marriage – and to shop for clothes.
David Cummings – The Sun Sex in store…Debbie has time to shop and rekindle passion now the kids have left
The exam invigilator lives with project manager husband Ian, 52, in Box Hill, Surrey.
She says: “Women my age who have children get their sexiness back once the kids have moved out. I no longer feel like I’m just a mum, I’m my own woman again.
“I also have more time to go to the gym to keep fit and to shop for clothes that suit me and make me feel good.
“My husband has more time to himself too and, of course, that means more intimate time for us both without risk of being disrupted.
David Cummings – The Sun Pretty in pink…Debbie says women need time to look and feel sexy
“That sense of privacy has also given me more confidence, which in itself makes me feel more sexy.
“I still have an active sex life in my 50s. Of course it helps if the man you’re with is sexy too, but it’s great to still feel good in bed now.
“I kind of agree with Nancy that some women in England don’t make much effort compared to women in some other countries, but it’s definitely not the case for everyone.
“I don’t think we should all dress and look like her all the time, but I’m not scared to put on a sexy dress and show off my figure.
“I hope she realises she was wrong to generalise about British women.”
‘My mum still wore her leopard-print leggings in her 70s’
SOUND engineer Tina Shaw says British women in their 50s look far better for their age these days than they did in the past.
Tina, who lives in Kings Cross, central London, with her partner of eight years Lez, 56, a performer, has a group of friends who call themselves the Mature Sexy Kittens Lunch Club.
David Cummings – The Sun Simply Ma-vellous…Tina says her sexy mum was a brilliant role model
She says: “How dare Nancy tell us we need to make more effort? I disagree with what she has said entirely.
“Mature women take more pride in themselves nowadays, especially when you compare us to women in their 50s when I was growing up.
“However, I was lucky – my mum was a great role model for me and was still wearing her leopard-print leggings well into her 70s. If that’s not fun and sexy I don’t know what is.
“I have a group of friends who meet regularly for lunch. We call ourselves the Mature Sexy Kittens Lunch Club.
David Cummings – The Sun Late bloomer…Mature Sexy Kitten Tina says her sexiness comes from within
“We’re always talking about younger male celebs we fancy, and how we keep our relationships intimate and exciting.
“It’s not that we’re clinging on to youth, we’re clinging on to life.
“Why shouldn’t you make the most of yourself – for yourself, for other women and not just for the men in your life but other men, too.
“It makes you feel better about yourself.
“And that sort of confidence is important. So much of my sexiness comes from within.”