Saturday 3 December 2016

New Age: Fashion for all ages

Published 15/09/2011 | 15:17

Cathy O’Connor, 50,
stylist, wears:
Coat, €124; dress, €104,
both South.
Shoes, €59; Bag, €39;
both Love Label.
Gloves; tights,
both stylist’s own
Cathy O’Connor, 50, stylist, wears: Coat, €124; dress, €104, both South. Shoes, €59; Bag, €39; both Love Label. Gloves; tights, both stylist’s own
Brid Morris, 61, model, wears: Coat, €134, Coleen. Blouse, €42; jodhpurs, €29, both South. Boots, €184, Clarks. Gloves, stylist’s own
Aisling Synott, 36, sales manager, wears: Top, €59; faux leather shorts, €42, both South. Bangles, €15. Tights, stylist’s own

Even the dogs on the street know most of our population — the people with money, who love style — are over 25.

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Yet, will the fashion industry change its ageist attitude, or stop using pre-pubescent, blank-gazed models to sell to women at least 20 years their senior? Not a chance.

At least with sizeism there is some honesty — the fashion industry admits it has a problem, though it won’t change. But, when it comes to age, the industry goes into full denial. Fashion’s fear of the word ‘older’ is huge. And in the industry’s fear, it is growing the problem.

“A generation or two ago, if you were a certain age, you dressed a certain way. Nowadays, the current generation of women is changing all the rules,” says Cathy O’Connor, a stylist, TV presenter and personalshopping consultant. “But fashion hasn’t kept up with the customer. They use too young models for older women’s products. They chase a young customer who moves from brand to brand.

Cathy elaborates by adding: “All my personal-shopping clients are women over the age of 35, and they all say the same thing — ‘what is there for me?’ They feel that fashion seems to pass them by. They don’t want to be mutton dressed as lamb. They think that the presentation of fashion is so young, from the choice of music, to the way things are styled, when they go into shops.”

I know that anytime I write about ageing or feature older women, who, according to ‘fashion’, are all women aged over 25, I am inundated with letters from grateful gals.

“This customer will stick with you if you serve them well,” Cathy states. “But there are not enough icons out there, ones where they see older women looking fabulous.”

Well, we have seven potential candidates today. Making a stand for womanhood: glamorous women who are not afraid of their age and loving where they are in their lives, their beauty, their sexuality, their success, their character.

Supporting them is Littlewoods Ireland, who have several exclusive labels producing strongly styled, quality clothes at good prices.

On our pages and very on trend are Coleen, co-created with Coleen Rooney, and South. Other exclusive ranges include: Elements/Amanda Wakeley, by the eveningwear maestro; Twiggy’s range, which is casual chic; Diana Vickers — I loved the vintage scarf-detail red dress; Fearne Cotton — her range is fun; Holly Willoughby — lots of great dresses for curvy shapes. In addition, So Fabulous is for plus sizes (16-32); Savoir is for mature ladies; while Love Label is for youngsters. L

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