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Pardon my French, but I’m feeling ever-so-slightly excluded by exclusivity. At what point in our lives do we cease to care what we look like and begin to embrace comfort-wear and gravitate toward beige? It depends, I suppose, on how important it is for the individual to believe they still look attractive. A lot of us, passing age 40 get stuck in the time-warp of fashion prevailing in our formative years, continuing to choose the styles and colours in which our youthful selves felt attractive, trendy, and sexy, but failing to perceive that what looked cool on a slender lad or lass now looks faintly ridiculous on the figure of a maturity. But, whether the fashion industry likes it or not, we, the 50, 60 and 70 year-olds, form a significant part of a new fashion subculture who have time, disposable income and vigour, and still want to look good. The need to clothe ourselves is fundamental; after the basic essentials of warmth, and modesty are satisfied, the sentient human being naturally seeks enhancement, this is normal behaviour and should not be viewed as eccentric unless carried to excess.
Looking fashionable is not the exclusive preserve of the young (although one has to admit they do have the edge, as we did in our time!), no, fashion should be open to everyone. The middle-aged and the fit elderly are poorly served by an industry failing to acknowledge a massive untapped market in their midst. Indeed many of the movers and shakers of the industry actually belong to this invisible generation themselves, yet are seemingly fearful of recognising that advancing years has a mellowness and freedom based on the wearer’s character and personality rather than nebulous trends.
So this invisible generation needs high-profile champions of style to display their elegance across all the gender and body-shape groups. Ladies have many icons such as, Joanna Lumley, Helen Mirren, Audrey Hepburn, Lauren Bacall and Felicity Kendal, but these ladies have always been beautiful. What about the more normal and eclectic women with whom we’ve identified through the years, without the genetic advantage of these icons? What about older men too? Our icons; Pierce Brosnan, George Clooney, Clint Eastwood, Sean Connery, and Colin Firth, are rightly recognised, but we too need examples of the more common, less glamorous, but still attractive men to champion the cause.
Fashion should not be exclusive, but it should be unashamedly stylish, honest, and accessible. We can’t all wear catwalk creations, but we can be lifted by a well-chosen outfit that enhances that which should be enhanced and masks that which should be hidden. The older devotee of Élégance Vestimentaire (Sartorial Elegance) should know the rules and follow them until such time as he or she ceases to care, which, with the ‘feel-good factor’ of a well-chosen wardrobe, could well be quite a long time.
Fashion industry – Wake Up and smell the mothballs!!