Beautiful older women have always been in the vanguard of fashion.
But in a new report by the UK-based fashion magazine D Magazine, the first-ever online survey of the country’s oldest women reveals that they’re being forced out of the mainstream.
“We’re talking about people who were never going to be a part of the fashion world,” D magazine’s executive director of research, Sophie Hogg, told the BBC.
“They’re not a part who are going to wear designer clothing anymore.”
And for many of these women, it may not be because they are old, but because of societal pressures, the report says.
“The social norm of old women is not to be seen as attractive anymore.
We have this notion of what old women are supposed to look and how they should act,” Hogg told the programme.
“But as we’ve come to understand, a lot of the people we meet in the street have their own preferences.”
The survey of 7,000 UK women aged between 60 and 80 revealed that 60 per cent of respondents believed that older women were “not sexy enough” and only 28 per cent believed they were “attractive enough”.
But the women surveyed also said that many older women would not be able to wear fashion that would appeal to young women.
For example, almost a quarter of women said they felt that it would be “difficult to find clothes” for a younger female if they had a “lame” hairstyle.
“When you’re talking to young people, they don’t even realise that fashion is actually a really important part of their lives,” said Hogg.
“For them, it’s like a very big, important thing to have in their wardrobe.”
It was the same story for younger women.
“Women are being told that they have to wear things that are not trendy,” said one survey respondent.
“It’s the same thing that I have heard from my mother, who is 80 years old,” another said.
“My mother always told me that I should wear a dress or something, but that I shouldn’t do that for older women.”
And when it comes to the older women themselves, the survey found that most older women felt they were treated differently in the fashion industry.
“I think that they feel that older men and older women are treated differently.
There’s a perception that older people are being treated differently, and they don-t see themselves as being able to dress for their age,” Hagg said.
While many older people have always looked older in their day-to-day life, Hogg believes that the perception of “old” is slowly changing.
“A lot of people are actually not aware that they are older,” she said.
The UK-wide survey, which surveyed 8,000 women aged over 60, was conducted in January.
The results will be published on Tuesday.