Midlife Fashion: Littlewoods & Gloria Vanderbilt jeans?


I feel a rant coming on…

Why oh why is it, that everytime I look at fashion for the over 50’s I am bombarded with dull, pedestrian, functional and more bloody dull?!  I don’t want to wear ‘slacks’, sensible blouses or Gloria Vanderbilt type old lady jeans.  I don’t want to wear pointy-toed court shoes and the ubiquitous large, ethnic/geometric/whatever costume jewellery necklace that we’re supposed to carry off so well with our turtle-neck ‘sweaters.’  God!  Even the word sounds old.

I’ve been trawling through some midlife blogs and a lot of them concentrate on fashion and make up for the more mature woman.  None of these women look like me or any of my peers, for that matter!  They look as though they’ve just stepped out of a Littlewoods catalogue; perfectly pressed clothes (smart casual or just plan smart or dressy), perfect make up, hair sitting just right, just enough makeup.  Is that representative of what most midlifers aspire to look like? That critical information must have passed me by at some point.

Why can’t we be shown look casual in sexy stylish jeans – not like vintage Gloria Vanderbilt ones?  Why can’t we still be seen as alluring in a tatty jumper, boots, hair scooped up into an untidy pony or bun with a smudge of makeup to liven up those features?  Why when we’re in our 50’s can’t we just be casual without looking effortful?  Can’t we look sexy and scruffy too…or is that only the preserve of lithe 20-somethings, going out in their boyfriend jeans?

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I really don’t have a problem with any woman who wants to look good and wears kitten heels because that’s what they feels suits them.  What REALLY gets on my nerves is the insidious assault on my senses of how the media and others feel I should look as a 50something woman.  And it’s a very narrow focus.  Why do we always get shown wearing high heels (yeah yeah yeah because it will make my legs look longer just before I break my ankle tripping up the kerb), court shoes or unflattering dumpy shoes (usually coupled with tatty gardening clothes and dirty finger nails because we’ve given up, right)?

I hate fussy clothes.  I hate those horrible trousers which you get in M&S (which scream middle-age) and the fact that when you watch ‘This Morning’, Trinnie is always trying to make a statement with our clothes.  For crying out loud, can’t we just talk colour schemes?  Why does what I wear have to make a statement?

Do you remember ’10 Years Younger’ a few years back?  They had a run of repeats on SKY recently and I found myself watching them again with horrific fascination.  A lot of the women were in their late 40’s or early 50’s.  Granted they looked amazing after being primped, poked, dyed, veneered, pulled in, pushed out and generally turned inside out, however the thing that struck me the most were the clothes.  Matching dress and tights.  What?  When was that ever ok?  And I’m talking bright purple.  I’ve never seen a young woman wear that, so why would that be ok in fashion circles for the likes of us?

Dresses with large ‘feature’ belts pulled so far up the woman’s torso that they settled under the crease of her boobs.  Not a good look in my opinion.  The ubiquitous statement necklace.  The knotted chiffon scarf tied under the chin – old time air stewardess stylie – highly impracticle and not fashionable since the 70’s.

I don’t look ridiculous in my jeans – which aren’t boot cut as highly recommended for a woman ‘my age.’  I don’t have to wear ankle-breaking shoes to validate myself as a sexy woman (with short legs, fyi)!  I like looking good, but conforming to some stifling, old stereotype isn’t cutting it for me.

It seems we’ve moved at breakneck speed into the 21st Century in many aspects, but we’ve still got a long way to go as middle aged women, to feel good wearing just what the hell we want to!

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