GETTING older is something everyone has to try and come to terms with - but it needn't mean changing the way you think and feel.

Mum-of-two Claire Hall began writing her own blog as she contemplated her milestone birthday four years ago.

She hoped to created an online community for women like herself and a club everyone can join with advice on style and fashion being at its forefront.

Club Forty, her blog and Instagram page, now have thousands of followers and even a range of sweatshirts, hoodies and t-shirts bearing the logo which have been snapped up by fashion conscious readers from as far away as Australia.

Claire challenged herself to write down how she was feeling and to share her style tips with fellow 40-somethings after facing the premature loss of both her parents by the time she was just 42.

"My dad died when I was 40 from Motor Neurone Disease and then my mum lost her eight-year fight with cancer and she died when I was 42.

"It was a real time of reflection for me, finding myself an orphan, albeit an adult one, at a relatively young age and I took a sabbatical from work and took some time to re-evaluate things.

"It was a time of reflection really and I thought for a long time about my future and what I was going to do with the rest of my life.

"I had always been interested in fashion and I am not necessarily good at sharing my feelings and so I thought a blog writing about my personal challenges as I hit my forties would help me do that.

"I had always been interested in fashion and then I was wondering one day if I was too old to buy a pair of dungarees, which had just come back into fashion. (I deleted a line here as it didn't make sense?)

"And then I thought, if I am feeling like this then maybe others my age are too," she explains.


It didn't take long to catch the eye of other fashion-forward women facing the middle years of their lives.

She began to upload images of trends that had caught her eye and also of what she was wearing and where she had bought it.

"There is a bit of a gap in the market really for women of our age.

"If you do go to the brands meant for middle-aged women they are often not very affordable or not so fashion-forward.

"I have been contacted by so many women who have seen me in the things from H&M or Top Shop and really like them but said they just would never think of going in there because they thought it was just for people in their 20s.

"I hope I am giving them the confidence to realise they can wear what they want.

"I love it when I get feedback from people to say they went for something and were glad they did.

"A lady got in touch to say she had never thought about wearing red boots before, but she bought some after reading one of my posts and since then whenever she wears them she gets great comments and feels really good.

"That is what I wanted to achieve and comments like this make me very proud" says Claire, who lives in Brightlingsea with her husband Justin and their children Lucian, 12, and ten-year-old Estelle.

They are all hugely supportive of Club Forty.

"Estelle actually takes most of my pictures that I upload to Instagram," she laughs.

As well as high street shopping tips and advice for the fashion-forward, 40-year-old Claire also likes to share her love of pre-loved clothes and picking up bargains online.

“Fashion is very cyclical so it might even be that something that is coming back into fashion might even be that item you already have at the back of the wardrobe.”


She plans to build on the community of Club Forty to provide holistic support and even hopes to one day organise a retreat.

“I love the idea of giving advice and help for all areas, looking after yourself inside and out so I would like to offer a holistic side to things too and run workshops with expert speakers.”

She says a lack of confidence can often be a major aspect of uncertainty for women in their 40s.

"I think we can all get support from each other and confidence can come from just putting on a bit of lipstick or finding the right pair of jeans for you," she adds.

Having always been interested in fashion and being creative with her own style, Claire began to create and sell a small range of clothes with her Club Forty branding on.

"I have actually only been doing it since the summer but it has really taken off.

"I like a good logo and the trend for wearing slogans was coming about again and I thought it would be a good idea and they have been really popular.

"It has got a lot of attention and I love the idea of women around the world wearing them and embracing being 40 because that is the whole point of the blog," says Claire, who works in human resources in London.


She says around 15,000 have visited the site already and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

"I haven't had any trolls or anyone say anything but positive things and I think like a lot of people, that would be something that would put me off, if people were mean.

"It is entirely a hobby at the moment, I had never written anything before but I found I love it and I would love to see where it goes from here," she says.

In the past few years blogs on the subject of raising children and being a woman in general have proved hugely popular - catapulting some of the writers to fame and even, in the case of several, to a top ten debut novel.

For now Claire is concentrating on building on the success she has achieved in just 18 months and in continuing to reach out to other like-minded fashion-conscious women in their forties.

“I think it is all about being at that mid-life juncture where you start to look back and I want to look forward and help others do the same.”

Find Claire on Instagram @clubforty.claire and at