A recent survey by isme.com has revealed that almost half of all older women in the UK start changing their dress when they reach the age of 50. Fearing judgement for dressing youthfully they are migrating towards more dowdy and shapeless clothes and are probably rendering themselves invisible as a result. I read this information with great interest as I am 50 myself but I don’t feel old and the only change I have made is to become more liberated with my choice of clothes than before!
Like it or not we are all judged on our personal appearance. People form hasty opinions which may be unfair but make them they do. For this reason, if for no other, I refuse to dress in dowdy fashion as I am sure this will result in everyone treating me like a boring old fuddy duddy when I am anything but. Whilst clearly for some women age brings reticence about their clothes for me it has delivered an even greater sense of freedom. I find that I really don’t care what anyone thinks and any vestiges of that youthful need to conform have completely disappeared.
Don’t get me wrong I haven’t suddenly decided to turn into a latent punk and started to walk the streets in bondage trousers and chains although I would if I felt like it. I just wear things that appeal to me and I am not bothered if the fashion industry created and marketed them with younger women in mind. I don’t wear very short skirts but that is because I don’t have quite the slender legs that I used to not because I think older women shouldn’t flaunt it.
Some days I am to be found out and about in a pair of brightly coloured jeggings from River Island and on another my favourite skinny camouflage pants from Zara. I can also be found relaxing in a loose fitting tunic by Adini or a colourful dress from Per Una. I buy what I like and that does not include twin sets, frumpy skirts and nylon trousers! Nobody has yet made any comments or had a look of shock on their face when I arrive. Indeed most people seem to think that I am younger than I am which is probably because of an optical illusion. People seem hard wired to believe that the over 50’s dress in a certain way and so if you don’t look like that you must be younger!
I have often wondered if some of the older generation who have had difficulty getting a job may be letting themselves down at interview without realising it. If you walk into a company where most of the staff are younger and you are dressed like a frump you may be giving the impression that you will not fit in. If you look the part, however, it may not occur to the interviewer that there could be a problem.
Come on mature women everywhere. Don’t let age push you into the background. Use your clothes as a form of personal expression and if some people don’t like it then the problem is all theirs. Find interesting clothes and throw in some bright colours. You may find the odd idiot who objects but you will find many more people who just think you look great and won’t question your age because it hasn’t occurred to them that it is an issue.
Article by Sally Stacey