Older women still feel cultural pressure to tone down

Sep 05, 2013
This is Fashion and Age: Dress, the Body and Later Life. Credit: Bloomsbury

New research by one of the UK's leading sociologists shows many older women still feel under pressure to tone down their dress.

Others, however, are taking advantage of cheap casual clothing to stay fashionable, as well as remaining integrated in mainstream society through shared lifestyles.

These are among the key findings of research presenting the first detailed analysis of the links between fashion and .

The research, contained in a new book titled Fashion and Age: Dress, the Body and Later Life, by the University's Professor Julia Twigg, shows how clothing and dress can shape identity in later life - particularly for women.

It highlights that many women still feel they become 'invisible' as they've grow older - but points out that others are buying clothes from High Street retailers that are moving to meet the fashion demands of the ''.

Professor Twigg said: 'Fashion and age sit uncomfortably together. Fashion inhabits a world of youthful beauty, of fantasy , of allure.

'In contrast, age is often seen by people as a time of greyness with a toned-down, self-effacing presentation.'

The research found that women over 75 now shop for clothes as often as those aged 16-34 did in the early 1960s, suggesting that engagement with can form an important part of continued integration with mainstream culture.

Professor Twigg said: 'The freeing up of age-related codes of dress has brought new freedoms and pleasures for older women. But it has also imposed new demands and new disciplinary requirements that they remain fashionable.

'Clothes are about a great deal more in the lives of older women than simply the attempt to meet or transcend rules about how to behave in relation to age. For many , dress remains, despite the cultural limitations imposed, a source of enjoyment and a site of aesthetic pleasure.'

Explore further: British Vogue tells teens: fashion shoots aren't real

More information: Julia Twigg is Professor of Social Policy and Sociology within the University's School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research. Fashion and Age: Dress, the Body and Later Life is published by Bloomsbury.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Happiness: it's not in the jeans

Mar 09, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- You may throw on an outfit without much thought in the morning, but your choice is strongly affected by your mood. And the item of casual wear in almost everyone’s wardrobe – denim jeans – ...

Recommended for you

Congressional rift over environment influences public

2 hours ago

American citizens are increasingly divided over the issue of environmental protection and seem to be taking their cue primarily from Congress, finds new research led by a Michigan State University scholar.

Decoding ethnic labels

Jul 30, 2014

If you are of Latin American descent, do you call yourself Chicano? Latino? Hispanic?

Local education politics 'far from dead'

Jul 29, 2014

Teach for America, known for recruiting teachers, is also setting its sights on capturing school board seats across the nation. Surprisingly, however, political candidates from the program aren't just pushing ...

First grade reading suffers in segregated schools

Jul 29, 2014

A groundbreaking study from the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) has found that African-American students in first grade experience smaller gains in reading when they attend segregated schools—but the ...

Why aren't consumers buying remanufactured products?

Jul 29, 2014

Firms looking to increase market share of remanufactured consumer products will have to overcome a big barrier to do so, according to a recent study from the Penn State Smeal College of Business. Findings from faculty members ...

Expecting to teach enhances learning, recall

Jul 29, 2014

People learn better and recall more when given the impression that they will soon have to teach newly acquired material to someone else, suggests new research from Washington University in St. Louis.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Squirrel
3 / 5 (2) Sep 05, 2013
Fashion is the ultimate vanity folly -- the old should drop it simply because they have grown too wise for such nonsense.