– This video is brought to you by Squarespace, an all-in-one platform for building your brand and growing your business online. Hello, my name is Mina. Welcome to my channel. If you’re new here, welcome, welcome. If you’re old here, also welcome.

And if you’d like to support my work, I have a Patreon and also a podcast. Today we’re gonna be talking about old ladies (chuckles). (audience applauding) – Old. – Old? – Old.

(gentle music) – [Customer] You said she was a spinster. – I never used the word spinster in my life! – If you’ve heard of the term spinster, you’re probably aware that it’s a negative stereotype of an unmarried older woman.

The term came to prominence throughout the 17th century because there were many more unmarried women than ever before. In part because at the time in England, many eligible men were off to war.

During 17th century England, the term spinster was also applied loosely, so you could be called one even if you were in your mid-teens because I guess being in your mid-teens means you’re an adult. – How old are you? – 13. – Ah. – But I’m an old soul.

– Originally the term was relatively neutral. It derived from the labor that women often did around the 1660s, which was spinning. However, Amy Freud makes the argument that during the growth of industrialization in the 17th and 18th centuries, single woman of means could rent property, offer credit, pay taxes, and engage in philanthropy which was threatening to the patriarchy. You may be wondering how could a single woman acquire means during this time period? And the answer is they were mostly born rich.

Women who came from wealthy families, had a head start in life, they would get inheritances, and the majority of these women were able to inherit their wealth once they reached adulthood, which again ranged between ages 16 to 21. Rich men on the other hand, commonly inherited in their mid twenties. So there was increasing concern that some well off single woman might decide that they didn’t wanna live a life of servitude to their husband and in turn, stay single forever. To be fair, these fears were not completely unsubstantiated. In England, there was this common law practice called coverture, which meant that once married a woman was considered property owned by her husband.

If he died, she could be left without anything.

As in the case with a lot of like Jane Austen literature where the husband dies, the father dies, and then the wife and all of her daughters are penniless because some far off cousin gets to inherit everything. And in the case of your husband just being a cad and still being alive and leaving you, he could also just come back and claim any of the money you made when he was gone being a scrub. However, an unmarried adult English woman was considered a legal individual and had more rights. Amanda Vickery’s “The Gentleman’s Daughter,” notes that marriage was sometimes even avoided by women because the likelihood of a good spouse was deemed too poor.

And spinsters of the Georgian period, which is like 1714 to 1830, appeared happier, unmarried. – I’d rather be a free spinster and battle my own canoe. – But I think we’re all aware, especially with our childhood fairytale programming that older women are viewed pretty negatively in today’s society.

And rather than rambling on that subject for the next like 30 minutes or so, I wanna narrow it down and talk about the way older women are expected to dress in the 20th and 21st centuries. I kind of touched on dress codes for younger girls in a previous video, but I think it’d be cool to now center old women because we so often do not.

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com/minale to get 10% off your first purchase of website or domain. (fast upbeat music) (timer ticking) Why is it that as we age, we feel more restricted by our available clothing choices? Well, first, there are negative connotations in the culture to being old, especially as a woman. On a very general level, these negative biases stem from the link between a woman’s worth and her reproductive value. A woman is considered old when her childbearing years are completed because her role in the survival of the species is over.

Men of course, do not suffer from this limitation as seen by the likes of Charlie Chaplin. (fast upbeat music) What we’ve produced culturally is the rampant fear present in almost every woman that she will look old.

And so it’s no surprise really, that throughout history there have been piles upon piles of advice, books and magazine features that address these fears. What’s important to note? Much of this anti-aging advice has the hidden agenda of selling products.

(chuckles) For example, this 1939 cartoon from the Australian Woman’s Weekly alleges that an older woman’s body odor is to blame for lack of affection she might be receiving for her husband.

But if you look a little lower, you can see that it’s actually an ad (chuckles) for a soap company. Not saying that all advice columns are bad, there is some truth in why people might need advice as they age, because as you get older, you do undergo physical changes which can affect for instance, the way that clothes fit you. And so it makes sense, like you would seek fashion advice to fit new proportions that you haven’t worked with before. The Canadian Home Economics Journal reported in their winter issue of 1997 because of the body changes typical with aging forward head and neck angle, forward shoulder roll, back curvature, increase in girth, decrease in height, 92% of older women have problems finding clothes that fit well.

In a 2023 study, titled Consumer Psychology and Behavior of Women of Different Ages in Online Clothing Consumption, researchers in China, the US and Canada looked at how women between 20 and 40 and women between 60 and 80 shopped for clothing online.

Their research found that physical changes to the body shape after menopause. The research found that (chuckles). (tone beeps) The research found that physical changes to the body shape after menopause may drive women to dress themselves in different ways, like choosing dresses instead of blouses and pants. However, I think that while there are many practical reasons for why older women might seek advice on how to improve their style, as (indistinct) before, a lot of the time these style manuals and columns are rife with ageism and don’t really help to serve anyone.

The beauty and fashion industries even make it seem as though dressing for your actual age is like a heinous mistake. On the design competition show “Project Runway,” the word matronly is tossed around often to denote frumpy and uncool. – Let’s take something that already you feel dowdy in. Let’s make it feel even more matronly. – [Mina] But even as older women are bombarded with tips and tricks for looking younger, they’re also advised to not dress too young, less they appear silly, or as if they’re trying too hard to be something they’re not.

– I’m not like a regular mom. I’m a cool mom. – Please stop talking. – Because as everyone knows, the fashion industry is all about not looking like you’re trying too hard. This advice can be as specific as choosing the right color coat.

In December 1949, a “Harper’s Bazaar” published reader submitted fashion advice written by women over the age of 50. One reader submitted, “Ask me what I want for Christmas, a black mink coat, much more becoming to my white hair and blue eyes than the brown.” However, a lot of the time the line between looking too old or looking too young is very difficult to lay out and articulate.

the fashion industry hates older women

The October, 1902 issue of Harper’s Bazaar offers this very confusing advice for older women. “Older women should wear fuller skirts than younger women, but the fullness should be arranged becomingly and without regard to what is the style.

It is a mistake to choose a very marked or striking fashion. Like what the fuck does that even mean? Like could we be more vague? This confusing line of advice has led many women to feel like they’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t. For example, on the beauty front in “You Are What You Wear, What your clothes reveal about you,” published in 2012, Jennifer J.

Baumgartner explains, “In an effort to win back her allure and some screen time, the older actress turns to plastic surgery, weight loss, and a style makeover. Though criticized for these attempts, she knows that if she did nothing, she would be equally scrutinized for aging before our eyes.” And this is a conversation I feel like I’m constantly having with other people in the beauty and fashion space, like this double standard that we hold for celebrities and whether or not celebrities owe us an explanation for a plastic surgery, which can be very like deeply personal because of their influence, or if they don’t have to because as celebrity women their appearances are overly scrutinized anyway.

A 2022 study published in the Journal of Women and Aging dug into how older, more normal, non-celebrity women are riddled with this kind of anxiety too. Ruth, a participant of the study over the age of 70 told the researchers, “I worry about looking the best that I can and balancing that with being age appropriate.

I don’t want to appear to be a 70 year old woman who is sadly trying to look like she’s 15.” Claire, a woman in her sixties laments, “I do not want to look like mutton dressed as lamb.” As an aside the phrase mutton dressed as lamb, which is something I learned recently doing research for this video, refers to the idea of an older woman wearing clothes more suitable for a younger woman.

Hence, I guess, mutton and lamb. It’s derogatory, but for what it’s worth in 1811, around the time of its coinage, the phrase was actually used to praise MILFs.

Apparently a future king of England, George IV, who once, still a prince, was asked at a ball if he found a particular girl attractive. He snorted with derision, “Girl! Girls are not my taste, I don’t like lamb, but mutton dressed like lamb!” (dramatic music) Despite recognizing this fine line exists between looking matronly and looking young, many participants were unsure of how to walk set line.

For example, as Selena, a woman her 60 said, “I am still trying to find balance between not dressing too young or trendy and old and boring.

” This is all made even more confusing by the various and conflicting opinions by so-called fashion experts. In an August, 2015 issue of OK Magazine. The Today Show’s Kathy Lie and Hoda weigh in on risque outfits worn by older celebrities, Madonna, Janice Dickinson and Chris Jenner. Kathy Lie says, “It’s okay to wear whatever you want, but don’t be surprised when some people question the choices you make.” However, (chuckles) Hoda says, “Yes, it’s okay.

If you’ve got it, flaunt it. So despite all the conflicting advice out there in the literature, let’s attempt to generally define what western society means when it talks about a mature style.

– Kathy. Now remember, give Kathy a chance, – [Student] Kathy takes too long – Within the context of the aging body, society pressures older women to render themselves culturally invisible as evidenced by the Hollywood trend of retiring female actresses once they hit their forties. – [Castor] Uh, we’re looking for someone a little younger.

– Meryl Streep even told the Wall Street Journal in 2016, “I remember I was hovering around 40. I thought each movie would be my last, really. And all the evidence of other 40 year old women at that time,” this is 27 years ago, “would lead you to believe it was over.” – Women aren’t sexy when they’re old.

– It feels like times are slowly changing but let’s look at the hard data.

Robert Fleck and Andrew Hanssen conducted a study looking at IMDb data on domestically produced films from 1920 to 2011. And the data revealed that the median age for leading female film roles has been about the same, around 32 or 33 since the 1950s. That means that half of leading ladies are older than 33 and half are younger. Among male actors, 40 represents the midpoint of their careers. About half the leading film roles for men go to actors over 40.

So men have a good seven years (chuckles) more than women do. Backpedaling a bit in time, but considering nothing has really changed for women between 1950 to 2011, I think this is worth mentioning. In Bette Davis’s memoir “This ‘N That,” she explained how it was very difficult at first for Director, Robert Aldrich, to get financing for the movie “Whatever happened to Baby Jane?” – Money, please? – Oh no, no, there’s no money – A movie she and Joan Crawford starred in.

In part, because she and Joan were older actresses at the time. Let’s not forget, both were incredibly accomplished actresses by this point with Academy Awards and long and extensive filmographies. Davis writes, “In 1962, Joan and I were not considered Box Office, we were not bankable. “Recast it,” Aldrich was told, “Get some box office names and we’ll give you whatever you want, but we won’t give you a dime for those two old broads.” Which if you’ve actually watched, “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

” you would understand that’s an insane request because the whole point of the story is it’s about two aging actresses.

Anyway, “Whatever happened to Baby Jane?” is considered a hagsploitation film by some critics because it’s horror is derived from our aversion to older women. And probably like the most hagsploitative scene is this scene when Betty Davis dons on makeup that her character wore as a child. And it’s like very gaudy and heavy and it is unsettling.

And I wanna explore why we think it’s unsettling and part of it definitely is because it’s kind of clown-like, just like the the layers that she’s wearing. But also in like 1920s movies, we see female actresses wearing this kind of like heavy face paint.

I think what makes it especially chilling is because her over-the-topness contrasts with the social narrative that older woman should be as invisible and neutral as possible. And it’s also unsettling, in part because her heavy makeup indicates that the character has some like pathetic level of vanity, which again is a quality that is not approved of, especially in older woman. Robert Aldrich actually wanted Betty to tone it down, but she refused.

(chuckles) – Hello Daddy. – The reaction we have against this makeup look actually reminds me a lot of attitudes towards older women in Europe in the 18th century. During this time period, there were many satires poking fun at the aging spinster, especially at her attempts to fit in with current fashion, including wearing heavy makeup. In this 1777 satirical drawing captioned, “A new fashioned head for young misses of three score and ten,” the Artist, Philip Dodd, picks a seven year old being fawned over by two hairdressers. She is bald, wrinkled, withered, far from her youthful bloom, but her attempts to engage in the latest French fashions is viewed as laughable to men and a cautionary tale for women.

There’s also, however, the reverse situation because you know women can’t win with anything, where young girls are criticized for dressing too old for their age. More recently a makeup feature titled, “Then and Now” in the first issue of Sassy Magazine from March 1988, illustrates this concern. “16-year old Elise walked into the studio looking more like a long lost relative of Tammy Faye Bakker than the pretty girl with good skin she really is.” Mark says, “No one under 25 should be caught dead with mascara on lower lashes.” And in a Wall Street Journal article actually published last month, titled, “How Young is Too Young for a Crop Top?

” Markey Hutchinson, the founder and CEO of Proper Lexington Kentucky’s children’s wear line, the Beaufort Bonnet Company said she would never make a kids or tween crop top because quote, “Our customer base would question our brand integrity and identity if we did something like that.

You just wanna preserve the magic of childhood” I’m really surprised that the companies are rolling this out and wanting to profit off of just hitting fast-forward on childhood.” I’m not personally one to associate a crop top with a loss of childhood, but all of this is to emphasize that older women and girls are influenced to stick to a certain set of dress codes. Generally throughout the 20th century, advice for older women rely on the same sort of enduring style elements, including darker/duller colors, looser longer cuts, and more covered up self-effacing styles. Advice columns featured in magazines like Vogue are there to help/reinforce these codes.

In March of 1949, Vogue introduced the character of Mrs. Exeter, an elegant and awry older woman. As an excerpt of her advice from October 1st, 1951, “For us, the beautiful shoe, the tapered opera pump in satin or polished calf or inky suede. For us, the glittering buckle or if the foot is thin, the broad instep strap.

Not for us the platform shoe, the ankle strap and ankle lacing.

And, not for us, well at any rate, not for me, the sheer, sheer stocking. My legs are apt to get quite veiny and sometimes my shin bone looks dreadfully sharp and bumpy. Whether or not you agree with Mrs. Exeter, the refreshing thing about reading her advice columns is that she is, at least, unapologetically frank about her age.

Vogue writes, in 1949, “Approaching 60, Mrs.

Exeter does not look a day younger. A fact she accepts with perfect good humor and reasonableness.” This is in marked contrast to the dominant discourse today where the aim is to look 10 years younger than your actual age. Rebecca Huval wrote for Ranked, “After a nearly 20-year run, Mrs. Exeter vanished in the mid-1960s along with the sophisticated styles reserved for older women.

Before girls aspire to wear the sexy draped dresses only deemed appropriate for over 30 women who could handle the consequences of showing off their cleavage. Today, if you were to read some women’s magazines at face value, we’re left with nothing to look forward to past the minimum age of renting a car.” It’s true that in the early 20th century there was a certain je ne sais quoi about the older lady.

Much advice written by the likes of Mary Brooks Picken, Grace Margaret Morton, and Alpha Latsky equated maturity with an air of smartness and chic. For example, the Woman’s Home Companion in 1937 reported, “The French say that all perfectly dressed women are over 40.

” That is because they know that a smart appearance is the result of study and experience. – I am fifty-fuckin’-two and I will rock this dress! – These advice columnists touted the magic of the éminence grise, literally translating to gray eminence, which refers to an elder of wisdom and distinction. Attitudes towards older women took a dive however, in the 1960s, with a youth quake, as market shifted to accommodate younger people’s taste over older people’s.

Sociology Professor, Diana Crane, argued in 2000 that youth has replaced class as the engine of fashion.

She suggests, “Instead of the upper class seeking to differentiate itself from other social classes, the young seek to differentiate themselves from the middle aged and the elderly.” As trends diffuse to older age groups, younger age groups adopt new styles. So now looking older is considered to be looking out of style and this can be easily seen in modern period dramas where they always dress the older women in the movies in dated historical fashions, as if these women, no matter their economic status, just in general, stop buying new clothes once they reach age 40 and somehow also still fit into the clothes they wore when they were in their twenties.

the fashion industry hates older women

In addition, the body is much more visible today than in previous historical eras when women were expected to wear multiple layers. So revealing more of the body, unfortunately opens it up to more social policing.

As sociology Professor Julia Twig writes, “Failure to look fit, toned, and slim here becomes a new sign of moral laxity. Evidence of failure to exert proper discipline over the body. Aging adds additional pressure with the visible signs of aging becoming a mark of personal failure and particularly for women letting yourself go.” And in addition to all of that, is the fact that life expectancy has gone up, which has led to a belief that older people are in some sense younger than in the past.

So let’s take a look at some of the clothing elements coded for younger versus older women.

(light music) So here we have three beautifully well-dressed ladies and we’re gonna be focusing on the hemline because a lot of guides back in the 20th century, especially what today too, focus on the hemline and definitely discourage older women from wearing, I’m literally pointing with my finger when I have a stick.

Okay, (chuckles) especially discourage older woman from choosing the miniskirt because of its association with youth. And also plaid miniskirts have an association with school girls, which is a definite no-no for an older lady. And you would think that instead, she would be told to pick the maxi skirt, but actually she’s told to pick no extreme and to go for the midi skirt. I’m not actually sure why older women are not supposed to go for maxi skirts other than I guess it looks like it’s more of a fashion statement and older women are just not supposed to make any kind of fashion statement whatsoever.

(light music) Now we have these three beautiful ladies and I’m sure you can tell which one is supposed to be the older women in this group of women with the same faces. Okay, so showing skin is something that’s also discouraged as you get older. When you’re younger you can get away with the showing decolletage and arms and legs, but as you get older, you’re supposed to cover up more of your body.

So wear sleeves, actually wear gloves ’cause we’re in the 20th century and gloves were all the rage. Nobody wants to see the skin of an older woman apparently, so have her covered up as most as possible.

Also, if you notice the colors here, as we age, we just get grayer, drabber, less colorful, less patterned. Whereas when you’re younger, a lot of fashion guides will tell you you can go for something pastel, you can go for something highly patterned and it will look nice. But for older women, you gotta look a little sad, sorry. (light upbeat music) These details are pulled from women’s apparel advertisements in “The Modern Priscilla,” from October, 1907 and Eaton’s Catalog from 1916 demonstrating items advertised to younger and older clientele. And oftentimes these advertisers are very plain and very forward with who they’re trying to advertise to.

So this hat here worn on this beautiful young lady (Mina chuckles) was advertised as the Misses New Rolling Brim Sailor. This hat worn in on this beautiful older lady was advertised as the Stylish Matron’s Hat. (light upbeat music) So here we’re like in the mid 20th century, I was losing track of time for a second. And the bolero on the right here actually adheres to Edith Head’s Three C’s system of fashion for the older lady, coverup, conceal, camouflage. And the simplistic purse that she’s also carrying is something that would probably be encouraged by Mrs.

Exeter because it’s a classic non splashy piece. She is also wearing (indistinct), a small hat. These were elements that were encouraged by Harper’s Bazaar and the like. So if you notice, because we are in like the 1950s, these two ladies, despite having the same face and being different ages, also have the same haircut. And that was done purposely by Ella who made these slides, thank you Ella, because in the 1950s, this haircut was stylish for young women and for older women.

Nowadays this kind of old lady perm is stereotyped as being a choice for older women. But back then it didn’t really matter as long as you styled yourself in your lane, in your age lane. (chuckles) (light upbeat music) All right, now in the book, “How Not to Look Old: Fast and Effortless Ways To Look 10 years Younger, 10 Pounds Lighter, 10 Times Better,” by Charlotte Krupp. This book advises women to lighten their hair, ditch their granny glasses, get bangs, get rid of matching sets, throw away these baggy cardigans, and instead learn to love the classics, and just elevate the classics. So here we have a nice slim fitted, bold colored cardigan and some tailored slacks.

Not much creativity, but that’s just the life, the life touted by these magazines for for older ladies, so things we got to look forward to everyone. (light upbeat music) Something important to bring up in this conversation is that in many cultures there are coming of age traditions that alter a woman’s self presentation, bringing her from child to adult.

While there are undoubtedly some people who disagree with their own culture’s expectations, there are also a number of people who willingly partake in these rituals and celebrate them. For Maori women in New Zealand, the traditional female lip and chin tattoo Moko Kauae represents their true identity. Many women consider their personal Moko to be something that has always been inside them.

Historian Michael King notes in his book, “Moko Maori Tattooing in the 20th century that the Moko was a rite of passage marking the passage between girl and adulthood. Today, Maori women choose to get this tattoo whenever they feel an internal calling. For example, former New Zealand Minister Foreign Affairs, the Nanaia Mahuta’s Moko, marked the anniversary of her father’s death.

Being a cultural marker, Moko Kauae, therefore challenges the invisibility that some older women might feel navigating society. However, unfortunately, many Maori women also report experiencing racism from white New Zealanders over their facial tattoos.

Marriage, which has traditionally signified the changing of girlhood to womanhood also comes with its own set of clearly defined guidelines for self presentation for many women of many different cultures, whether that means donning a hair covering or brandishing a ring. This hand, (chuckles) a ring. For Hindu woman in South Asia, the Bindi has been a marker of marital status for centuries. The body decoration has religious significance, enhancing concentration by being placed over the third eye or anja chakra on a woman’s forehead. This practice has also spread to other religious groups in India ‘ with some Muslim, Christian and Sikh women embracing it as well.

Homemaker Meena Pawar told the New York Times in 2005, “Sometimes it is essential as when I visit my native village.

Sometimes it is a fashion statement, as in a social gathering in Delhi. At others it is symbolic, as when I go to the temple. A bindi today could be anything, essential, fashion or symbol, depending on who you are and where you are.” While hair covering is practiced by Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Hindu women across the world in different manners and for different purposes, a defining similarity is that the act of covering one’s hair denotes maturity and piety.

For Orthodox Jewish women, hair covering begins with marriage. Some married women cover their hair with a religious wig or a sheitel in Yiddish, while others opt for a tichel headscarf. The practice can symbolize respect to one’s husband or a public display of faith.

The authors of Religious Identity Challenge, And Clothing: Women’s Head and Hair Covering in Islam and Judaism write, “Jewish dress codes regarding hair covering are widely said to derive from the biblical verse, Numbers 5:18, in which the hair of a married woman suspected of adultery is uncovered by the priest. From this, it is inferred that uncovering the hair of a married woman involves shame.

– [Interviewer] Was it hard for you to wear wigs? Not so much for me. I know it can for some people ’cause it’s hard to just kind of lose that connection that you have with your hair. But for me, I felt a lot more confident once I started wearing a wig. I felt like I had a facelift every time I put it on.

I had it freshly styled, I got to color it and cut it exactly as I liked. And if you have more than one, you can be a different person any day you like, so I found that really fun. – That’s cool – Yeah. – Hijab has become a catch-all phrase in the west to describe head coverings for women in Islam.

But other types of head covering garments include a semicircle of fabric called a chador, the body covering and mesh faced burqa and the abaya, which is typically worn in Saudi Arabia with the face covering niqab.

Instead of donning these head coverings at marriage, Muslim women typically begin wearing them when they reach puberty. A hijab-wearing woman’s self testimony in Religious Identity, Challenge and Clothing: Women’s Head and Hair Covering in Islam and Judaism, says, “Wearing hijab makes one more aware of God on a daily basis and hopefully become more practicing as a Muslim in many other ways.” 19-year old Siddiqah Amatullah, spoke to Teen Vogue in 2022 about her choice to wear any cop. I noticed that I was becoming a little vain, so I was like, “Okay, if I cover my face, it gives me more room to work on other traits that I see in myself that I don’t like as much.”” So I think it’s important to recognize in this conversation that in a lot of cultures growing older is a positive and celebrated achievement marked by rituals that some young girls actually look forward to.

(gentle music) Unfortunately, many women are still plagued with low confidence, sadness, and regret when it comes to aging. Julia Twig interviewed a number of older women about their relationships with fashion and found that many of the women had enjoyed dress earlier in their lives, but felt that they no longer could. For them aging represented a form of cultural exile from femininity. One 79 year old woman named Olive lamented, “I mean, you’ve got to hide yourself a little bit when you get older, otherwise you look yuck. I find it difficult when you’re older you know, to get things to fit you properly.

You’ve always got a big tummy when you get older and there’s nothing you can do about it, nothing at all.” But not all the interviewees held this view.

Joanne, a 59 year old goth who I would actually love to be friends with, said, “Even if my belly gets bigger and my waist gets bigger, I’m still going to have a figure when I go out. I’m not going to be a box or a rectangle.” Regardless much of the reason why there’s so much ageism present in the fashion and beauty industries is because there’s very limited positive representation of older women in these industries.

Twig interviewed three fashion editors who worked at magazines aimed at older women. These editors explained they had difficulties borrowing samples because manufacturers believe that older women weren’t considered a market. One editor said, “I think they thought at a certain point in a woman’s life she didn’t go out and buy clothes.” Even more significant was the fear that the clothes would be identified as aged if shown on an older woman’s body. And editor explained, “There is a tearing worry at the brand manager’s level that their brand could be associated with this age group.

So they didn’t wanna be seen in it, and certainly didn’t want me to put it on older models.” An editor of Vogue corroborated these ageist attitudes. “I don’t think people do really want to look really at older women as kind of exemplars of fashion and beauty. I don’t think they find them as such.” You could say, “Why?

“, although I think it’s quite obvious really. “Let’s just have a look. You can’t see many pictures there that wouldn’t look really slightly ridiculous. This, pointing to a shoot, would look horrible, not just strange, absolutely hideous, I think. This which looks rather lovely on a very young model, would all look rather sad and tired on an older person.

You know,” shrugs, “that’s life.” – Why don’t I just wear a sign that says too ugly to live? – These attitudes are even more interesting to read in light of the viral Loewe Spring Summer 2024 Pre-collection Campaign featuring none other than 88 year old Dame Maggie Smith. The campaign was shot by Jeurgen Teller, who has a history of mostly working with top young talent.

This is not the first time high fashion has worked with a senior woman.

77 year old Charlotte Rampling was featured in the Fall Winter 2023 Massimo Dutti Campaign. 88 year old Mary Berry worked with Burberry just last month, and Martha Stewart appeared on this year’s issue of Sports Illustrated at 81 years old. I think Maggie and all these women look absolutely stunning and seeing these images could encourage creative exploration among women of their age group. However, it’s also worth noting that most seniors in fashion campaigns are white and almost all of them are also separately famous. And so it can be interpreted less as a general statement for senior inclusivity in fashion, more as like a fan service to see beloved celebrities crossover with fashion brands.

Similarly, Kyle Macauchlan and Michael Imperioli got buzzed for participating in Marc Jacobs Heaven Campaigns.

Evidently with Maggie’s Campaign commenters were posting on Loewe’s Instagram page “100 points for GRYFFINDOR” and “Professor High Fashion” because she’s like most popularly known as portraying Professor McGonagall in Harry Potter. – That was bloody brilliant! – Oh, thank you for that assessment, Mr. Weasley.

– And at the end of the day, unless clothing is also designed to accommodate the needs of older women, no campaign will really feel that inclusive. As I’ve said before, bodies do change as they age and it would be reasonable for brands to develop mature lines that accommodate these changes.

However, the other problem that comes out of designing a mature line is that because so much of fashion is dominated by youth trends, tagging something as mature makes it uncool and a lot of women would probably be embarrassed to purchase from it. And then all these manufacturers would be like, “No, see, old women don’t actually buy clothes. They don’t exist as a market.

” So yeah, I think that would be a potential problem that would arise from that. So I actually think the only solution would be a cultural upheaval of how we view older women. And while that may seem impossible with the rise of Botox and plastic surgery. On the flip side, there have also been a few aesthetics popular among young people that are based on older women’s styles. For example, the coastal grandmother aesthetic and the granny chic aesthetic.

Coastal grandmother was coined by TikTok user, Lex Nicoleta and champions the cream colored breathable linen outfits as seen on Diane Keaton in the movie, “Something’s Gotta Give.” Granny Chic is a style characterized by floral patterns, soft fabrics, frills, high necks and long sleeves.

I – I remember this hat, this was during your little baby phase. – But does this point to an increased comfort with the idea of aging? Yes and no.

The appeal of Granny Chic style is not necessarily about celebrating old people and more about having creativity and courage to go against the fashion norm. Granny chic challenges the idea that good style is expensive, youthful, sexy, et cetera. Maria McKinney-Valentin writes about how granny chic is a vehicle for a younger woman at the end of the day.

However, a positive side effect of granny chic is that it subconsciously celebrates the positive aspects of aging, elegance, a sense of style, an air of authenticity, these are all positive. And in doing so, it avoids negative stereotypes such as like frailty.

I would argue that it’s important to recognize all aspects of aging though and not to over glamorize it because that can lead us once again down the pathway of celebrating the healthy fit old people and rejecting the weak ones for letting themselves go. I think what’s more important than the young people adopting coastal grandmother and granny chic are actually older woman fashion influencers like Lyn Slater, Grece Ghanem, Iman and Lynn Yeager. There’s also a book called “Chinatown Pretty,” that documents the street styles of seniors from different Chinatowns across the world. They also have an Instagram page, but it’s not as active anymore.

And on TikTok, there’s the Ladies of Madison Avenue account, which chronicles the looks of older women living in upper Manhattan.

And actually Catherine DeLattre exhibition was up at Osmos Gallery in New York for the past few months featuring her photographs of older shoppers in New York City from 1979 to 1980, which are really cool because all those ladies are very fashionable. (chuckles) (gentle music) In more recent years, some have pushed to lessen the pressure put on older women to dress their age.

For instance, once a firm evangelist of dressing your age as a host of TLC’s “What Not To Wear,” Stacey London eventually walked back on her rigid opinions about the appropriateness of clothing for older women, as she herself aged. In a 2016 op-ed for Refinery 29, she said, “I didn’t really start to think about my age until I started to feel that all clothes were not appropriate for me.” Now of course, not all clothes and not all trends are appropriate for everyone.

I spent years and years telling everybody yes to this, no to that. But when I started to ask myself if a dress was too short or showed too much skin or the eyeshadow I wanted was a little too bright, I realized my style wasn’t in Kansas anymore. But there have been times when I worry this change won’t sit well with fans of my old look that I’ve ostracized them, that I’m no longer playing by the rules I prescribed to countless women over the course of the show.

More than anything, I don’t want people who have believed in my advice over the years to feel I’ve betrayed them by no longer looking the part. Fellow “What Not To Wear host, Clinton Kelly wrote “Clinton Kelly says you shouldn’t have to dress your age for women’s day in 2019, advising older women that they haven’t aged out of being stylish.

They’ve just become too mature to fall for passing fads.

You might harbor a little resentment towards the fashion industry because you think it’s forgotten you. Don’t. You have more power than you think. The fashion industry courts younger women because they’re more impressionable so they buy more stuff, even if they look silly wearing it.

You however have a better idea of who you are as a human being, so you’re not wasting your money on ill-fitting disposable clothes. I don’t necessarily agree with that. I think it’s an interesting take and I think that can work, that attitude, that opinion can work for some people. But personally I think that you’re never too young to participate in trends, and even if trends are not catered to you, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try them if it’s something that you really want to do.

Yeah, I don’t know, (chuckles) I’m not really into social roles, but it’s interesting because like I’ve noticed in the past year or so, since I’ve like entered late twenties, I turned 27 in September, so since I entered like my late twenties, there’s some silhouettes that I no longer feel comfortable wearing and these silhouettes tend to go towards like more youthful and it’s like an internal battle with myself, like an internal dialogue of me being like, “Is this something that I feel like I’ve actually aged out of, or is it something that I feel I was pressured to age out of and because of that I no longer feel comfortable wearing it?

” Does that make sense? It’s kind of like trying to figure out if I’ve been like psyoped by society, if something has happened in that realm subconsciously or if I’ve made like the conscious decision and had like more agency in determining that certain clothes don’t work for me anymore.

But I don’t know. Also, things might change in the future. So I’m just going through a specific style phase at the moment and trying to like be fluid with what the future has to offer.

But back to all this, I wanna be optimistic and say that the benefit of social media is that anyone can gain a following no matter what age, which allows older women to take up space and visibility in ways not granted before when the careers with sunset at age 40. I also think having looked at many fashion trends across the years, that we all do have the power to shift cultural views towards what can and can’t be worn.

For instance, in my Girl Clothing video, I talked about how bows were actually masculine accessories for many years prior to the 20th century. Nevertheless, I have always been a fan of confidence being the most important aspect of your personal style and that as long as you’re happy, silly fashion rules will always just be silly fashion rules and that the people who really understand you and who really love you and appreciate you as a person, will not care (chuckles) what you’re wearing, even if you look ridiculous. That’s what I’m gonna end on.

Surround yourself with good people and don’t let age limit you. I think that’s it might feel like a little bit stupid coming from me ’cause I’m still like on the young end of the spectrum, even though I’m sure a lot of TikTokers would love to call me old in the comments. (chuckles) Yeah, I think age is a social construct at the end of the day and we should all just be thankful that we have the the privilege to age as well.

On that note, thank you all so much for listening to me talk. I hope you have a lovely rest of your day.

Once again, if you wanna support my work, I have a Patreon and a podcast that I upload to every other week. All right, okay, I’ll see you guys next time, bye!.

Read More: Top Fashion trends for Spring/Summer 2024 (but wearable)

Susan Miller

I dream of having a big housе.


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