British women are queens of the radical reinvention as it is revealed we overhaul wardrobe TEN times before we're 60
Study found celebrity reinventions are behind women's growing confidence
Women today contrasted with those of the Eighties, who confessed to never reinventing their appearance
14:32 GMT, 17 May 2012
Celebrities who constantly reinvent themselves have inspired millions of women to dramatically change their appearance, according to new research.
High profile queens of reinvention – such as Madonna and Victoria Beckham – have influenced everyday women with an estimated 3.5 million changing their own look after seeing celebrities successfully do the same.
And mature masters of reinvention – such as Ann Widdecombe and Esther Rantzen – have inspired older women, who might have previously stuck to a tried-and-tested style, to undergo a complete overhaul of their wardrobes and appearance too.
Image overhaul: A sophisticated Victoria Beckham at the Oscars in February 2012, and right, in 2007, with crop, deep tan and push-up bra
Fashion changes at a faster pace these days than ever before, making it easier for women to reinvent themselves.
But for today's adventurous women, reinvention means more than trying a new shade of lipstick. Now it involves a complete departure from one look in favour of another.
Just as Victoria Beckham changed her blonde crop for brunette bob, and her club-style for ladylike chic, so everyday women are performing such sartorial one-eightys.
A total of 2.4 million over 50s will have rebooted their wardrobe ten times before they reach their 60s – ditching the clothes, shoes, make up and accessories associated with certain looks.
And it does not just stop at clothes. The study revealed that 3.8m women have radically changed their hair 11 times over the past ten years, experimenting with perms, fringes, bobs and everything in between.
A further 2.5 million have dramatically altered their hair colour 12 times in order to reinvent themselves, sporting shades of blonde, black, platinum, grey, red – even purple – in the name of fashion.
A study of 1,000 British women for online retailer isme.com found the average British woman experiences an 'eight-year reinvention itch', with 40 per cent of over 50s having changed themselves more in the last ten years than at any other time in their lives.
Reasons why women overhaul their image include the desire to escape a fashion rut, cited by nearly one in five of those surveyed, or to be taken seriously int he workplace, a reason cited by one in ten of those surveyed.
Queen of reinvention: Over the three decades she has been in the public eye, Madonna has tried every look going, from punk to grunge to ladylike chic
And in the early years: Madonna in the 1985 film Desperately Seeking Susan
However, 73 per cent feel the desire to reinvent themselves comes from fashion being so accessible and immediate nowadays – giving ladies more opportunity to continually change how they look regardless of age.
The top celebrity chameleons were Madonna (48 per cent), Victoria Beckham (29 per cent) and Lulu (28 per cent).
This Morning agony aunt Denise Robertson also featured on the list (10 per cent).
Figures also revealed two-thirds of mature women in the 1980s had never reinvented their appearance for the duration of their adult lives.
Harley Street psychologist, Ingrid Collins, said: 'When we look in the mirror, we expect to see a very familiar image, and we have to do this every day.
'Reinventing our image not only to makes other people sit up and take notice of us, but also allows us to express an aspect of our multifaceted personalities.
'A change of image can mark a milestone in our lives – spelling a renewed sexiness, a youthful attitude, sophistication, rebellion, high self-value; any number of messages that help people around us understand what is going on in our life before we've said a word to them.'
Jackie Lewis of isme.com said: 'Women's bodies go through three key phases of change – from adolescence to womanhood, once again when we have had families, and a third time as we pass our late 40s. This also drives the clothes choices we make, whether consciously or subconsciously.
'It's natural to like to experiment in our youth, but as we get older we develop a much stronger sense of personal style and understanding of our bodies.'
TOP 10 CELEBRITY MASTERS OF REINVENTION
1. Madonna (48 per cent)
2. Victoria Beckham (29 per cent)
3. Lulu (28 per cent)
4. Carol Vorderman (23 per cent)
5. Esther Rantzen (22 per cent)
6. Ann Widdecombe (19 per cent)
7. Sharon Osbourne (18 per cent)
8. Helen Mirren (17 per cent)
9. Anne Robinson (15 per cent)
10. Denise Robertson (This Morning agony aunt) (10 per cent)