Older women still feel cultural pressure to tone down

September 5, 2013, University of Kent
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: How Swedes feel about health, culture and recycling of clothes

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.

Related Stories

Happiness: it's not in the jeans

March 9, 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

Nanoscale Lamb wave-driven motors in nonliquid environments

March 19, 2019

Light driven movement is challenging in nonliquid environments as micro-sized objects can experience strong dry adhesion to contact surfaces and resist movement. In a recent study, Jinsheng Lu and co-workers at the College ...

OSIRIS-REx reveals asteroid Bennu has big surprises

March 19, 2019

A NASA spacecraft that will return a sample of a near-Earth asteroid named Bennu to Earth in 2023 made the first-ever close-up observations of particle plumes erupting from an asteroid's surface. Bennu also revealed itself ...

The powerful meteor that no one saw (except satellites)

March 19, 2019

At precisely 11:48 am on December 18, 2018, a large space rock heading straight for Earth at a speed of 19 miles per second exploded into a vast ball of fire as it entered the atmosphere, 15.9 miles above the Bering Sea.

Levitating objects with light

March 19, 2019

Researchers at Caltech have designed a way to levitate and propel objects using only light, by creating specific nanoscale patterning on the objects' surfaces.

1 comment

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.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.