Neon life: The naked truth from an over-40 style activist
Recently, in August 2019, Lu Featherstone had a little chat with the head coach of Portland Public Schools, where she’d been coaching cross country and track for the last four years. She was told that in order to continue working with the kids, whose safety and welfare had always been a priority to her, she would have to make her @luinluland Instagram account private, due to her posting tasteful semi-nude photos of herself.
She responded by quitting and posting a picture of herself, bare-assed, facing a glorious Oregonian mountain vista with the caption: “Oooops! My ass is in trouble again!”
If that doesn’t make you want to follow her immediately, and induct yourself into LuLand, you may want to re-think your life. Lu is the epitome of everything bad-ass little girls wanted to be when we grew up: Bad-ass older women.
She’s a 48-year-old married mother of a teenage boy, who moved to Portland 5 years ago from Brighton, UK. A fierce lover of the outdoors and all its fitness perks, she’s an avid hiker, runner, and CrossFit human. If you had her rockin’ bod, you’d post pictures of your ass, too. She is the woman who wakes up in the morning and makes the world shake. Lu is living in full color.
“My naked pictures have helped me feel confident and sexy, in a time of huge change in my body’s journey,” she explains Her photos aren’t full-frontal and always so tasteful. “I started to find if I posted a picture of my bum, it always seemed to start a conversation. I got so many overwhelmingly supportive and positive messages I started to do it more to inspire other women to be proud of their bodies — no matter what their age — and to show the young ones that life gets better as you get older! Don’t dread it — embrace it! Fuck It! Live life out loud! Throw caution to the wind and see how it feels.”
Lu also loves clothes, and has rock star stand-out style. “At any social event or dinner party, I am generally the most over-dressed. I do not want to get hit by a bus in a bad outfit, so I always make sure I’m stylin’ when I leave the house — just in case. Portland standard is tights or sneakers. Don’t get me wrong, I have those days too, but I do miss the glam and glitz of London fashion.”
She refers to herself as a recovering shopaholic, and at age 40, then a UK Social Services worker, made the move to change her spending habits for the better. Now, she works as a Sustainable Fashion Activist and Stylist, coaching people on harnessing their vintage confidence. Not to mention all the other great benefits that come from repurposing used, quality clothing.
“Style to me is an expression of who you are. It just needs to be truly you. It’s a way to have fun and connect with people. I love a style that tells a story! Shopping vintage and pre-loved clothes means all your outfit’s a history and a story to tell. They are unique. Just like you!”
And how does she feel about all the over-40 stereotypes? “My attitude towards trends and ‘age appropriate style’ makes my blood boil. Who exactly wrote the rules? Who says what you can wear and what you can’t?!”
Well put, Lu.
Wanna be like Lu? Here’s her advice: “Be yourself. Say yes to every opportunity. It’s ok to make mistakes and fuck up. That’s how we learn and became ourselves. Be kind. Be yourself, Stand up for yourself and for others. Make people sit up and take notice of what you have to say. The shit bits of life will come — they are the lessons that will make you tougher and braver next time. Expect them and hang on tight. Talk to strangers. Forgive people. Sleep with all the people. Use a condom. Have good stories to tell when you are 48. Travel. Trust people. Own your faults and admit when you are wrong. Work out! It’s good for you head and your heart and your confidence.”
And don’t forget to open your heart, which Lu so obviously does.
What’s Lu’s StylePower? How do you wake up in the morning?
If you had to choose one city/town/region/place to stay and never leave (not even for a day!), where would it be?
What’s one item you put on that makes you feel more powerful?
My pink sparkly Gucci sunglasses. They make people smile and stop me in the street to talk to me.
What’s one item you take off that makes you feel more powerful?
Advice for someone going through a difficult time?
Put on your pink sparkly Gucci sunglasses and go out the front door. Or go and workout.
What’s your superpower?
Being myself and being a good friend.
How do you use it? How does it benefit others?
It means I get good friends back — who love me. Even the bad bits of me.
Advice for the younger generation?
Be grateful for everything. Appreciate the older generations—they know stuff, important magical wonderful stuff. Listen to the stories. Get outside!
I sleep soundly when I…
I’ve had my vibrator out for 20 mins before I tuck down!