I wanted to raise the question of age and its negative connotation in fashion terms, but also to try and wrangle some sort of positivity from it. The fashion and beauty industry is obsessed with making women look younger, there is no question about that.
The industry plants the idea in our heads that youth equals beauty and the older you get the further away from beauty we are. Then, we are provided with products that claim to make us look more youthful, so therefore playing on insecurities that they themselves have nurtured in us.
The men’s industry is of course, catching up but it is nowhere near as prejudiced as the women’s section which does not allow for a woman over a certain number to be regarded as beautiful. Take a look at the closest fashion magazine, television show or film, the leading lady is often below 30 and of course, very beautiful. The male counterpart is however, allowed a little leniency when it comes to age and appearance.
The creams, serums, oils, scrubs and peels are made with the promise to make us look more youthful and the models for any fashion shows are rarely over the age of 29. The truth is, many of the models and celebrities over 40 who look like they’re under 30 have had work done.
Being a girl (i’m still a girl in my head) of 25, I can understand the draw of looking younger at 55 but I can also see the attraction of being older. The more mature friends and family I have seem to be more together, more sure of themselves and ultimately, more confident. And who wouldn’t want that?
The beauty industry obviously don’t want us to find out about the positive effects of ageing but instead of looking to media, look around you and take note of the fantastic qualities and beauty of older people made invisible by marketing.
One lady who I keep coming back with regard to fashion and age is one of my all-time satorialist icons, Sarah-Jessica Parker. She dresses in fantastic clothes but also and importantly, has her days off. SJP doesn’t seem to have gone under the knife to reverse the natural ways of the world and for that I think she is to be admired by women who are heading into the next age bracket.
She is constantly criticised for her unconventional looks, something which must be hard to bear. Her ageing is also a major topic of debate in fashion circles but she battles on being herself and doing it fashionably and beautifully.
One of my favourite things about her is how she chooses her clothes: adventurous, chic but age appropriate too. A balance which I imagine is a little hard to strike given the ageist nature of fashion. Sarah Jessica manages to look classy, dress well and inspire us ladies, without ever opening her mouth. Have a little look at how she does it…
There’s beauty in everything, even age.