Fashion for the aged
I’m 25 and currently obsessed with two faint lines on my forehead that no amount of The Ordinary granactive retinoid in 5% squalane solution seems to diminish, while simultaneously remaining highly concerned with: whether it is juvenile to wear a cropped jumper, skater dresses or similar; establishing and maintaining a ‘capsule and classic’ wardrobe; having too many trainers and not enough ‘adult’ shoes; and when/if I should stop wearing dungarees. And while it might seem a privilege to some to worry about dressing too/more young/old at the same time, I know it is only a matter of mere years before the pendulum will swing substantially to one side and the true anxiety of age will set in.
Even though that prospect is enough to drive anyone to the botox needle (I’ve settled on getting some before I’m 30) I’m noticing more and more that the women I find inspiring are not the nymph-like goddesses (as much as I would love their legs, hair, wardrobes, boyfriends etc), rather the, for want of a better word, mature women who have cultivated decades of fashion into a carefully honed style. It’s women like the one featured here at Milan Fashion Week, who project confidence and pride in their appearance, that throw the rules on what a woman should wear as she ages out the window.
However, there is still a universal fear of getting older, predominantly in fashion spheres, that isn’t helped by the endless cries to lose cellulite, smooth wrinkles, and boost collagen levels. The disparity between fashion relevance and getting older has always been vast, but if chic-Milan-lady (CML) is anything to go by, I can’t help but feel that the gap is closing.
Youth is often seen in colour, where age is seen in shades that fade into the background. Older women are often expected to wear bland, baggy, boring clothes, which is why the photo of CML captured my attention so. I just love her because she is demanding to be seen regardless of her age. Perhaps she doesn’t even consider her age save by the richness of knowing who she is and what she likes to wear. Knowing how to clothe yourself well is the all-important tool in the arsenal of older women, one that they wield with unfettered disregard for other people’s opinions.
I remember seeing a woman in the small French town of Arles who must’ve been in her 60s (chic-French-lady/CFL). Her makeup was flawless, her nails were done, she wore silver mules and a floral jumpsuit, her white hair was coiffed, she’d accessorised with a large necklace and silver sunglasses, and she posed just so, iPhone in hand, when asked if her photo could be taken, as if being asked for a photo by a stranger was a minor inconvenience she deigned to indulge. She looked incredible, and even more so to think she was probably just nipping out to do her food shop for the week.
The misconception is that once a woman is past 50, fashion is no longer relevant to her. Aspects of the fashion industry may not be fully open to the older demographic but fashion is seasonal; style is what remains when last season’s looks filter down to the sales racks. CML and CFL are real-life examples of this - older women can love clothes and still look equally if not more glamorous than their younger counterparts, because they take their style cues from the most fashion savvy - themselves.
The appreciation of (read, obsession with) older, stylish women is not just something I’m blithering on about - the instagram account @sciuraglam is dedicated to elegant Milanese ladies with impeccable sartorial taste. A Sciura is a woman from the city of Milan who is thought of as a style maverik, someone who has influenced and continues to influence the fashion industry, despite their age. The apt instagram tagline, ‘we make fashion’ encompasses the attitude of these elderly fashionistas. They enjoy fashion so why would they let their age stop them from enjoying it? Not just enjoying it, but challenging the norms with pride and authenticity.
Whether it’s going to the butchers, out for coffee with fellow Sciuras, or a meander by the beach, why not take a leaf out of the sciura handbook - whatever your age, dare to be bold, demand to be seen, and most importantly, wear whatever the heck you want.