According to an article in the Evening Standard, River Island Global Holdings are launching a new online range for women over 40.
On the one hand I’m thinking ‘YES! This is fricking awesome’ because it’s great to see women over 40 being recognised more in all areas of life. And, hopefully this will also mean we have women over 40 modeling these clothes, which is a HUGE plus as older women are still woefully under-represented in this area.
But, on the other hand I can’t help wondering if this somehow plays into the irritating idea that women over 40 should dress a particular way? That we should no longer be wearing some styles or brands because we are now ‘ladies of a certain age’ and it is somehow innapropriate to show our legs or our arms etc. in case we offend some poor delicate youngster.
I struggle with this idea that there are fashion rules we are supposed to follow, or clothes that are more suited to us, just because we’ve enjoyed 4+ decades in the world (during which time we presumably managed to dress ourselves just fine!). I don’t think any of us should ever feel too old to wear anything. My grandmother was still wearing high heels in her 90s and had such a timeless style that after she passed away her clothes were shared out between three generations of female family members (from her daughter to great-grandaughters). Fashion is simply an expression of who we are, a chance to be creative and have some fun - surely that is something that should never be constrained by a few extra turns around the sun.
Plus, so often brands launch something for the ‘more mature’ woman that pretends to be positive and empowering but still at the heart of its marketing is the message that somehow we are less than and need to 'fix’ ourselves. Okay, you’re right, that happens in all maketing for women regardless of age!
So, do we need our own fashion brands after 40? I don’t know. Yes, I want to see women my age represented in the advertising and fashion industry. And when I buy clothes I’d like to see women my age in some of the photos, but I still don’t want to to feel as if I’m being told what I can and can’t wear so I for one will be waiting to see how this line is launched and what the finished line is like.