My Grey-dar is always on high alert and this week it went, ‘Peep, peep, peep,’ on the appearance of Hunger magazine’s ‘Through the ages’ fashion shoot. I like the tone of the editorial, too, ‘Fashion stands as a universal form of communication that has the ability to welcome all ethnicities, shapes and ages. Our attitudes need to reflect this and there is a dying thirst for representation rather than novelty tokenism and faddishness.’

It’s taken far too long but advertisers and fashion brands have woken up to the power of the Silver Spend. Let’s hope they all realise that age is not a fashion fad.

The grey-haired model in is Stefanie from Mrs Robinson Management who I met backstage at 50-plus Fashion Week.

TOP Red Valentino. JACKET and TROUSERS by Dsquared2.  SHOES by Aquazzura

First photo: DUNGAREES by Red Valentino. JUMPER and SCARF are Vintage. BAG by Paula Cademartori

Digging the fancy boots.

 

 

27 thoughts on “Age is not a fashion fad

  1. Hearing you say this and seeing more older women in advertising just makes me so incredibly happy!!
    I knew that this is a good age to live in! And on top of that, it was the perfect time to start my blog with my mom (as my 70’s model) and my step mom (as my 60’s model)!!
    Thanks for being on the fore front of this Alyson!
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

  2. Alyson I too agree that age is not (and should not be!) a fashion fad – though as mentioned by Nikki of Midlifechic recently, there seems to be the 20-something models and then there’s the older models with the silver hair… Those of us around the 40-something mark who don’t yet have the beautiful silver hair rarely see any models our age (unless you count the ex-supers like Christy and Linda, etc). There’s still a massive gap there that’s not being represented in the media, and it’s one with a lot of spending power…!

    I do love the beauty of this campaign though, Stephanie looks amazing and that last outfit is just stunning 🙂

    Catherine x

  3. I totally love this! She is gorgeous! I let my gray hair grow out, naturally curly, then I caved & colored it. Totally regretted it & am now starting over. My hair is naturally red, so mine isn’t beautifully all white, it’s dark cinnamon & pepper as I have been told. Thank you for this!

    1. I had natural red hair prior to going grey, I too am still fairly mixed and call it ‘sugar and spice’

  4. I know what you mean, I’ve wondered the same myself because I can’t believe my luck to be 50 right at a time when “middle aged” women are finally be noticed in the media!
    It’s not a fad, I’m not a fad & I’m sure as hell not going to disappear any time soon 😉

  5. I’m 60+, former redhead, though now mousy brown and still waiting for the beautiful white of both grandmothers. Lost my colorist a few years ago and no one has neared his skill so staying mousy brown. But had a great comment from a millenial this past week. I was wearing a tobacco & black striped swing top over black leggings with tobacco suede shoeties and black jewelry. “Wow,” she said, “You are living proof that women over sixty do not need to wear embroidered sweatshirts and sequins!” I have to thank all of you in blog land for helping me look at my clothes differently and dress with more style. That being said, I’d never wear embroidered sweatshirts with sequins-I’ll leave that to my 92 year old mother in law!

  6. These days the reality is that the individual rules! It’s just about being who we want to be at the age we are. There are no rules any more. Thank God for that! Sending love to you all. Xxx

  7. I love that the beauty of older women is finally being recognized! After seeing all the gorgeous grey-haired models in advertising, I’m in the process of growing out my hair which I’ve kept short since my 40s (I’m now 64). It’s been going grey for the past 20 years or so. I often wish that I could just wake up one morning and discover that it’s finished that process, but in the meantime I’m embracing my silver highlights.

  8. Ok, bit of a rant coming. I’m delighted to see a broader range of women depicted within the visual load we absorb every day. However and it’s a big however the fashion industry still does not want to even acknowledge the existence of the majority of its consumers – slightly chubby, short to medium height people of all ages! As a slightly chubby woman in her very late 50s with short (periodically dyed) dark hair I don’t relate to whippet thin women in their 70s with long grey hair any more than I relate to skinny teenage models with long flowing hair. Unfortunately I feel that the industry is simply creating a new character in its lexicon of acceptable women (the old, long haired thin one). When taking to a friend in the media about the pogrom of middle aged women presenters/actors etc from our screens she said “the problem is we remind all these middle aged men in charge of their ex-wives and the young one of their mothers”.

    1. Interesting. I would only differ with you by saying that we remind men of themselves rather than their ex-wives. Hundreds of novels and movies feature the middle-aged man going through crises of self-doubt who find renewed strength through romance with young women. Then, there are those dreadful male performance drug ads in which the older man is paired with a young woman. I do not intend any animosity towards men, only to say that middle-age and old-age can be difficult to accept for any gender.

  9. I agree with your rant, MaureenC, because it was exactly what I thought, looking at the photographs of Stefanie above. She is obviously whippet-thin, with fantastic bone structure, and would turn all heads when walking down the street, whatever her age.
    I am 67, I am slim, but a bit tubby in the middle, and around 5’4 ( I have shrunk from 5’5 and a half, but refuse to accept it.)
    Seeing women like this, lovely as they are,is no different to seeing pictures of gorgeous young models, it’s just replacing one image with another. Staying positive gets hard enough as you age, so we need to, at least sometimes, see more women that look like most of us ! And it worries me, how do they stay so slim, could under-eating be the way ? Not very good for our bones !

  10. How about those of us who don’t even HAVE hair due to menopause, female baldness and other issues. I’m wigging out right now because there is more than “Gray-dar”. Beauty in age surpasses that gray area.
    That being said, women of ALL ages should be in advertising–I do not know what is worse. Being ignored or being patronized.

  11. I agree with so much of your comment, Maureen C.

    Another gripe I have is that so many models’ pix are retouched. Charlotte Rampling’s image in a recent ad (I forget for what) made her look like a waxwork. In real life, her face is lined but full of character and attitude.

    I think the first two images of Stephanie above are lovely but the third one worries me a bit. I don’t think this ‘sexy’ pose, often adopted by adolescent models, really comes off. She looks a bit uncomfortable, as if she’s keeled over and isn’t sure how she’ll get up! A shame, because she’s a stunning model and with the right pose could have projected sensuality and experience rather than attempting teenage-sexy, which is a look best left to teenagers.

    1. Do you know, Anna K – that’s exactly what struck me about that semi-reclining shot! Did she have someone to help her up afterwards? As a none too flex 66 year-old, I found her pose faintly ridiculous. And, if you peer closely, so is the makeup – too harsh, too clownish. (The pictures Alyson didn’t publish were…..well, ludicrously lurid in the slap department). I don’t however, mind that she’s slim. I could do with refining my less-than-healthy waistline – as my GP pointed out last time I had an OAP MOT – so models like Stefanie offer some inspiration, especially since so many of my once-adored size 14 garments hang lonely in the wardrobe now. But I do agree with other comments here about keeping images of older women real. It’s great to be acknowledged, but age certainly isn’t a fashion fad. Sadly, too many shoots involving older women are directed by 20-somethings who simply can’t envisage what being over 50 is all about. Time after time, the message beaming out from those pages seems to be ‘See, nothing changes. My granny’s a hipster like me.’ Er, no! It’s exactly this jejune denial that the TNMA FAB (Fifty And Beyond) team aim to avoid with our ‘This Is My Style’ shoots. Our manifesto is to represent our (very stylish) contemporaries in a way that’s not only do-able, it’s inspiring – and that goes for the makeup too. Watch this space…..

    2. So funny! I did just that last week on my birthday of all days. Got all dressed up and face painted just so to go to lunch with my son and his girlfriend, swanking down the street to the restaurant feeling “wahay – 59 today but check me out” and plummeted to the ground flamboyantly outside the restaurant in front of people eating outside. Me – embarrassed????? Spent the rest of the day in A&E. Lesson to learn Never Take Yourself Seriously!!!!!

  12. The confidence and sense of personal style that comes with age is particularly appealing……………I’ve got the age, but just need a touch more style and confidence. Life is a never-ending quest!

  13. Some interesting comments here as usual on this topic. The new grey haired models I’ve seen recently tend to be very slender with good cheekbones and either flowing locks or short angular bobs. Like that of Accidental Icon. They do look good when styled with contemporary clothing. They would look good in anything. I prefer them to be out there than not. I too fall into the category of shorter, rounder and more full bosomed than when I was in my prime. One has to work with this. I have always loved clothing and cared what I wear. I try to dress stylishly and look as attractive as I can within these parameters.
    As for the hair, trying to grow out the dyed brown hair, it looks pretty awful. I have some lighter bits, some auburn bits and it’s nothing like allover grey or white sadly. Just consulted a colorist about what to do next. Solution for now : a trim, maybe some streaks to make it all look more purposeful and less ageing woman messy. Any advice welcome.

    1. Cut it off. I got a modified short back and sides to transition. I and others barely noticed the colour change because the cut was so radical. Time passed very quickly and my hair was back below shoulder length before I knew it.

      1. I have a short (dyed brunette) crop and am currently growing out my natural colour in a chunky streak at the front. I am 14 weeks in and its now very visible. I am a lot less bothered by it than I thought I would be. However, not sure I would be so relaxed about it if it was an ‘all over’ look – I am easing myself in gently! Natural colour at the front appears to be white and silver (I’m 45) – in line with the other women of my family (mum, sis and gran). My colourist has offered to strip the colour from the streak and colour it a grey/silver when I get too fed up with the in-between stage but I am okay at the moment (fingers crossed).

    2. Keep on top of the trims, maybe go a little shorter to get rid if the old colour and really focus on shine and condition. It will be worth it to be free of dye. Mine is far from all over silver but looks better than it did dyed

  14. I am 40 and over a year ago I decided to stop dyeing my hair. Due to “bad” genes and an autoimmune illness I am 70% grey. It felt like a big step, but after a while I stopped caring and actually started to like, no lóve my colour. Women compliment me on how “brave” I am, say I look great, and I just smile. Now that I am grey, I don’t understand anymore what the fuss is about. It’s just grey hair. And it’s actually gorgeous 🙂

  15. Thanks for all the hair advice. Today I had the shoulder length hair cut into a sharp looking bob. Looks better already and more deliberate. Advice from hairdresser keep growing colour out. Next move maybe a few lighter streaks or not. Shorter hair should be better for all the swimming I plan to do and if it gets warmer. Got to be less self conscious about letting grey hair show and embrace my age : mid-60s

  16. So many excellent comments here….It seems we all agree it would be wonderful to see realistic yet inspiring photos of older models. After all, the point of aging gracefully is accepting the process, not denying its inevitability. Being older and wiser should come with the benefit of not having to pose like an 18 year old model, or trying tirelessly to hide the signs of aging. I’m so pleased to see Iris Apfel as a counterpoint to ad campaigns such as the one above.
    http://www.beastofstyle.com

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