Throughout history certain forms and styles of dress have been deemed appropriate - or more significantly, inappropriate - for people as they age. Older women in particular have long been subject to social pressure to tone down, to adopt self-effacing, covered-up styles. But increasingly there are signs of change, as older women aspire to younger, more mainstream, styles, and retailers realize the potential of the 'grey market'.
Fashion and Age is the first study to systematically explore the links between clothing and age, drawing on fashion theory and cultural gerontology to examine the changing ways in which age is imagined, experienced and understood in modern culture through the medium of dress. Clothes lie between the body and its social expression, and the book explores the significance of embodiment in dress and in the cultural constitution of age.
Drawing on the views of older women, journalists and fashion editors, and clothing designers and retailers, it aims to widen the agenda of fashion studies to encompass the everyday dress of the majority, shifting the debate about age away from its current preoccupation with dependency, towards a fuller account of the lived experience of age. Fashion and Age will be of great interest to students of fashion, material culture, sociology, sociology of age, history of dress and to clothing designers.
Julia Twigg is Professor in the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research at the University of Kent. She is co-convenor of the BSA Body, Ageing and Society, and Chair of the Advisory Group for the Smart Clothes and Wearable Technologies NDA project based at University of Wales, Newport, UK.
I: Introduction II: Clothing, Fashion and the Body III: Ageing, Embodiment and Culture IV: The Voices of Older Women V:Dress and the Narration of Life VI: Magazines, the Media and Mrs Exeter VII: The High Street Responds: Designing for the Older Market IX: Conclusion References