The Guardian have an ongoing series called Fashion For All Ages which both excites and irritates me in equal measures. Although it is wonderful to see models who are over the age of 40 in the fashion pages of a national newspaper, this series is not what it seems. If it was truly “fashion for all ages” it would acknowledge the fact that our bodies change shape as we age. Very few women in their 60s have flat abdomens. Few women in their 40s have slender upper arms. These things happen and we have to change what we wear as a result if we want our clothing to remain comfortable and flattering.
Dressing a 70-year-old model in fashionable clothing for a photoshoot does not automatically mean this is fashion for all ages. You usually need to have the proportions of a model to carry any of these looks off. I realise that many fashion shoots inherently come with the caveat that you must be slim to wear these clothes, regardless of age, but I would have thought that a series which acknowledges older women would make more of an effort to consider their needs. I’ve spoken to women over 40 who look stylish dressed in harem pants or Issey Miyake pleats, adding a sharp fashion edge to their look whilst – at their own admission – being more forgiving of the way their figure has changed. As with all fashion shoots, a greater variety of body shapes is needed here. Perhaps The Guardian’s columnist who writes about fashion for older women, The Invisible Woman, could advise them?
Image from jamelah‘s Flickr photostream.
Since writing this piece, I have realised that it is a good thing that The Guardian even features older models at all. It is so rare in the fashion media that this could be encouraged! (See http://www.allwalks.org/)