Jackie O’Shaugnessy aged 62.

Older models are in the news and I’m wondering if this is a paradigm shift? Don’t think I’ve ever actually used that phrase before but even David Brent-style management speak can be useful at times. Could fashion brands and magazines finally be realising that we want to see clothes on mature women, not teenagers?

One designer who deserves praise for consistently embracing diversity is the fabulous Gudrun Sjoden:

The Swedish designer’s bonkers-tastic, bohemian style might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but look beyond the floral print smocks and polka dot harem pants and some of the simple jersey items and homewares are actually very good. The quality is excellent. I have a coffee-and-black stripey long-sleeved t-shirt from the autumn/winter collection that I wear all the time (I’d show you a picture but it’s in the wash). It’s very chic and so are my matching stripey bath towels.

At London Fashion Week recently, I was stopped a couple of times by
street style bloggers looking for older material. I blame the leopard print coat. It’s like cat nip to all those students lurking about on the
cobbles at Somerset House. Big Cat Nip. And then the Guardian ran a feature on older models at the weekend, I posted the link on Twitter, Facebook and Google + but if you missed it you can read it here. So. Is this a change in attitudes – out with the airbrush, in with the wrinkles – or are mature models simply trending? What do you think?

18 thoughts on “Are older models trending?

  1. I do think retailers are starting to realize that we don't stop shopping once we hit 50, and that they need to court us a bit. Smart, if so. Otherwise we'll just have to enjoy being the flavor of the month as long as it lasts. ­čÖé

  2. I always think it's hilarious that retailers/advertisers appear to view the young as the only audience to whom they need to appeal. It's a ridiculously narrow view of who spends money, and on what. I have to confess to a little scepticism, I think that maybe the current increase in use of older models is nothing more than a trend, which will come and go. I hope not. I'd like to see a wider variety of appearances being presented as beautiful too, age is only one variable. We'll see, but I won't hold my breath! xxx

  3. At 53 was recently stalked in Covent Garden and asked to attend a cosmetic commercial casting. Immediately viewed myself as the next Kate Moss and ditching the day job. Im not sure many middle aged women prance about to the strains of Pharrell after applying beige foundation,but correct me if Im wrong. Mortifying experience, a concept in is infancy perhaps.

  4. Aside from the issue that we "of a certain age" spend money, there's the number one thing that makes me laugh– these kids out there are so tame compared with us at their age, and far more tame compared to my older friends (and even my parents, who are in their 80s). Oh little old ladies and men– who were 60s hippies, or 70s punks, or 80s new wave/hardcore/metal folks, or 90s grunge/grrrrrrl rockers?

  5. anonymous 52 – you're not wrong.

    L.P – thank you, I hadn't seen Garance Dore's post, it's interesting, but Cambridge University carried out some research that says the opposite:


    Alex B – good point. We need to see more diversity in general: age/size/ethnicity. The lack of black/non-Caucasian models is a problem, did you see Hadley Freeman's feature on this in the Guardian last week?


  6. Here in the States, Ralph Lauren was a corporate sponsor for Downton Abbey on PBS. Although they'd never call it an ad, before the show there was an ad in a DA like setting with elegant gowns and a voiceover using the word women (I usually hit mute so I don't know what he was blathering on about). The funny thing was there is a close up of a model and she looked at most 13 years old. It looked like she was playing dress-up with her Mum's clothes.

    That would have been a perfect time to use an age appropriate model. How many 13 yo are watching DA? How many age appropriate viewers would buy the fantasy that they might look 13 while wearing his evening clothes?

    The ad actually struck me as creepy and Lolita-like. But OTOH, here I am talking about it so the ad did get my attention and that's what they want. They also want my money but they weren't successful there.

  7. I'm pretty much impervious to advertising, I buy nothing I don't need so, if it was displayed on a cat, a pre-pubescent or a pensioner it wouldn't make one iota of a difference.
    I like that Gudrun Sjoden stuff -I've bought a couple of tunics from jumble sales recently but the sizes are absolutely huge. xxx

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