The other day there was a minor furore on Twitter decrying the fact that high street shops don’t cater for over 35 year olds. The article that instigated it was this from The Pool. Here’s an exert for your perusal:
I have so many problems with this article, tbh I just want to faceplant the keyboard, repeatedly. But I’ll try and articulate some issues I have. Firstly, what exactly are women over 35 supposed to wear? We are not homogenous. We don’t hit 35 and suddenly all want to wear the exact same things. Fashion and more importantly style is about individualism, it is the driving force of capitalism after all. “Age-appropriate” clothing is so tedious. Wear what you want and what makes you feel good. It really makes me sad to read a woman saying that her arms should never be on show because they’re not toned enough and breasts and stomach should be “firmly encased”. That’s some low-key body hating right there. Moreover that seems to have just gone unquestioned, instead 100s of women replied affirming this message. I’ve never felt ashamed to show my arms but should I be? I don’t exercise them and I have a form of dermatitis that leaves blemishes all over them. Maybe I should just hide them away, I am over 40 you know.
Or alternatively, how about we say fuck it to those ridiculous notions and instead let’s look at something like Advanced Style to see how joyous and empowering fashion can be. I can see the dreaded cold-shoulder on what looks like an over 70 year old! Gasp! And just below that beautiful picture I can see bare arms!!
Secondly, I’m not entirely sure what specific shops were visited but they don’t appear to be ones on my high street or Internet. Or indeed The Pool’s very own fashion page, which shows exactly the kind of clothes the author is after. I’m 40 and I have absolutely no problem finding clothes from the high street or online. One shop I’m often in is Topshop. I’ve pulled together some of my favourite items and I think you could wear these over and over again (I have the light pink blouse on the bottom left, it’s so nice). There’s actually a comment from a 50-something on the beautiful lilac High Neck Drape dress lilac (top right) about how much she loves it. This isn’t a faddy dress. The cut, shape and colour is something you could wear time and time again. Also note all the sleeves! Something Hughes claims there’s none of. See also high rise jeans, both the high street and Internet is full of them! ASOS for example has twice as many high rise jeans as they do low rise. Sigh.
In fact, there are possibly more options than there ever has been. What the high street is sorely lacking is clothes for larger women. Topshop stops at 18 online and I don’t think I have *ever* seen a size 18 in a shop. I can’t think of any decent high-street shop that stock above a 20 (do please correct me if I’m wrong) but if you are a size 8-14 the high street is your fashion oyster, especially if you have money. Never has there been so much available.
One thing I will concede to is the issue with fabric. Many of the man-made fabrics prevalent on the high street exacerbate over-heating. As a slightly hormonal lady this causes me no end of problems. However, cotton production has a HUGE environmental impact. Looking for organic cotton may help although there are some amazing man-made fibres mimicking cotton now. Both H&M and Zara for example have more environmentally sound ranges.
That aside, I was just astounded by the article. Of course there will always be current trends such as the cold shoulder in the stores. People of ALL ages like to play around with fashion trends but there is a multitude of stores offering good, solid styles that you can wear year in and year out. I’m going to list some just in case you are stuck for something with more longevity in it:
Uniqlo (has the most brilliant basics)
New Look (they have some surprisingly nice items)
Office (for shoes)
etc. etc. etc. (yes, that is a link to the wonderful Yul Brynner in The King and I)
If you’re stuck for some inspiration, maybe check out some of these brilliant accounts for all ages and sizes: The Fashion Lift, Not Dressed as Lamb, Forever Amber, Dress Like a Mum, Megan Ellaby and Arched Eyebrow. This is just a very small sample of women embracing fashion and style regardless of age or size.
Wear what you want and makes you feel good. Please don’t be suckered into some warped societal idea of “dressing for your age”. If you’re ever in doubt have a look again at Advanced Style. Oh and to answer the title of this post: whatever the fuck they want.
(Contains affiliate links)