Stella Doumanis is an over fifty, fabulous fashionista and, contrary to her Instagram handle, she is not ageing disgracefully.
Stella’s style tips, in both fashion and interior design have been lighting up her Instagram page @ageingdisgracefully over the past few years. She is pioneering the way for women over 50 to embrace their age, their ever-present silver locks, and their place in society as style icons.
Greek City Times was able to chat to Stella about all things Hellenic, fashion, evolving style, and why your 50s are your best fashion years.
Name: Stella Doumanis
Occupation: Real Estate, Business Consultant, Home interiors
Hobbies: Renovating, Wellness, Travel, Cooking
Where you are from in Greece: Piraeus and Lesvos
Where your passion for fashion started: My passion comes from my late father. He had an innate sense of style, had his suits made by a tailor and as a child would take me to a seamstress to have my clothes made.
Get to know Stella:
What coffee do you drink? Long black or almond flat white
What do you never leave home without? My lipstick, tissues, mobile, earphones.
What would we find in your handbag? Way too many things….all of the above plus baby wipes to instantly clean stains, hair clip/elastic because I get hot easily, a notebook because I still like to make notes on paper
Favourite go-to make-up product?
- Chanticaille Just Skin tinted moisturiser. I use this as my foundation as I don’t like a heavy made-up look
- Chanticaille mascara with serum
- Tom Ford and Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks
- Too Faced eyebrow shaper & filler
Favourite Travel destination: Spetses Greece. It is where I go to completely unwind, enjoy fabulous food and amazing beaches
Current fashion obsession: Have too many to list but love a great monotone 2 piece suit
Worst fashion trend: Big shoulder pads
Favourite Australian fashion label: don’t have a favourite. I like to mix it up depending on the range each season
What will we never catch you wearing? Head to toe designer labels
What Greek singer would we catch you singing to, in the car? Am I showing my age when I say Anna Vissi?
What is your favourite jewellery accessory (that you own) & where is it from? A Dolce & Gabanna marble cut thick cuff in bluestone which my daughter bought for me from Milan.
What is your favourite Greek food? Homemade cheese and spinach spanakopita
What do you prefer - heels or flat shoes? That’s easy…heels
What is the best way to impress your mother-in-law? I don’t try. I am who I am.
How would you describe your personal style and where do you draw inspiration from?
My personal style can change from day to day depending on my mood, my attitude and what I am doing. In general I would have to say my style is mostly effortless, chic and definitely not trendy. I like to pick up elements that are trending however I am not a slave to a particular trend.
I love unique accessories that make an outfit individual. I also love to mix a few vintage pieces into my look.
Have you found that your fashion sense has changed throughout the years and how has it evolved?
Definitely. I was a slave to brands and trends at one stage in my style evolution, however, I now purposely seek out new and evolving quality brands which are not mainstream, are quality workmanship and I know that not everyone will be wearing.
What's your philosophy on the high low mix? What’s the best way to style these pieces alongside each other? What are some of your go-to approachable brands?
I am a big fan of mixing high street with key pieces. Whether it’s a great pair of jeans and a white t-shirt with a designer jacket and a great bag with a statement piece of costume jewellery or an expensive watch layered with pieces that are personal to you. Another look that I love is a high street outfit with a pair of fabulous designer heels
Some of my favourite brands include:
T-Shirts: Bassike and Zadig & Voltaire
Bags: Kallista, Tom Ford, Celine, Jerome Dreyfuss
Shoes: Aquazurra, Saint Laurent, Louboutin, Ancient Kallos
You’ve recently gone through a hair transition. How did your hair journey to grey/silver start? Can you share any tips and tricks/products? What advice would you give to other women contemplating or starting such a transition?
Making the decision to go grey took a while but once I decided to do it, that was it. I had been tinting my hair every 3-4 weeks as I started to go salt and pepper grey from my mid-30s. One day while sitting at the hairdresser for my usual 2-3 hrs it took to tint I made up my mind to do it and never looked back. I have always been open to changing up my hair over the years so for me, this was another change in my style journey….although a permanent one.
I had my hair stripped of colour and toned which took about 2-3 treatments to achieve the final look. Since then I have just continued to grow my hair out and fill in with occasional ash grey/blond foils once a year to blend the grey in and brighten the hair a little. I am not a purist when it comes to grey and you need to achieve the grey look you are most comfortable with.
Grey hair which is not coloured has a slightly coarser texture and it is important to use a good moisturiser and apply hair treatment like Olaplex weekly and use a good purple shampoo to counter the effects of sun and the environment in general. Be careful not to overdo it. I have found the best trick is to mix a strong purple shampoo with another shampoo and increase the mix when you need it.
My biggest piece of advice is grey is a look and a style you need to own. Change up your makeup, define key facial features such as your eyebrows and eyes and charge up your personal style. Grey does not mean drab and old.
In the last few years you’ve been Mother of the Bride and Mother of the Groom, how did you pick the perfect dress for each occasion? What advice would you give others?
I chose to stand out colours such as red for my daughter’s wedding and yellow for my son’s wedding. Both dresses were statements in their own way by relatively unknown overseas designers, however, did not detract from the bridal party. The key is to keep embellishments minimal with these sorts of colours and focus on great fabric and cut.
Has Covid-19 changed the way you view fashion and the way you dress?
Like most of us, I too fell in the trap of wearing my activewear daily and sometimes all day but slapped myself out of the habit after a while and ensured I made an effort with what I wore. Covid has changed my attitude towards value for style. I don’t believe you need to spend a lot of money to be stylish. The focus on wellness over the last couple of years has grounded my thinking in this respect. I find ostentatiousness a turnoff and understated attractive.
What are the 5 essential items, every woman should have in their wardrobe?
- Great pair of fitting jeans
- White t-shirts/shirts
- Tailored jacket
- Quality belt and bag
- Fabulous heels/sneakers
What are your best packing tips, for a summer trip to Greece?
I am notorious for overpacking but we are going to Greece this summer and I have committed to keeping it simple. 2 swimming costumes, 1 pair of casual sandals, 1 pair of dressy sandals, 1 pair of heels, a couple of strappy tops, white linen pants, a 3 or so linen/silk dresses, sun hat, scarf, kaftan, and cotton/linen shorts.
My challenge is to have 1 medium size suitcase and 1 carry on travel bag.
What does feeling/looking your best mean to you now?
I strongly believe that the way you look determines how you feel during the day. I will always try and be groomed and dressed appropriately for what the day entails. I am a creature of routine in the morning and will take the time to look presentable. I worked in the corporate arena for many years and that 5 days week's routine of preparing for work in the morning is so entrenched in me that I cant work from home or get about and feel my best without making an effort.
My skincare routine can be summed up as preparing and protecting your face in the morning and cleanse and treat your skin at night. Spend on quality skincare products taking guidance from a good skincare practitioner.
Those who know me know that I love good food and I don’t believe in depriving myself, however, I am also a big advocate of intermittent fasting and eat only 2 meals per day. I try and eat only non-processed food and I follow a regime of supplements tailored for my needs.
Over the years I have undertaken all sorts of exercise but now focus on pilates and weights with long fast walks when I can fit them in. I don’t believe you need to be a slave to exercise if you eat well.
What advice would you give to women over 50s, who are wanting to change up their look and style but are lacking the confidence/ budget/ or direction ?
The 50s is a hugely liberating time in many women’s lives. In your 50s, women’s careers have been established and/or motherhood responsibilities are tailing off and you they have the wisdom of many things learnt over the years.
It’s a time in women’s lives to focus a little more on themselves. Menopause impacts women in different ways both physically and mentally during this time and it is important to change how we live our lives, focus more on wellness, charge up your personal style and stop worrying about what others think or do. Be who you are or want to be. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to improve or change up your personal style. Find women whose style you admire and observe key things they wear, their grooming and their attitude and use this as inspiration to achieve your own personal style.
We are so lucky to be living at this age at a time when there are so many game-changing female role models in their 50s to take inspiration from. They are breaking the ‘age ceiling’ and making it ok to break preconceived rules and social norms.
Most importantly, remember this is a new window of opportunity in life so own it and make the most of it!