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Mea Culpa: Rethinking How We Write About Women’s Fashion

Sheri Radel Rosenberg responds to your feedback and vows a new approach to writing about and celebrating women's style

A New Point of View

I turned 51 a week or so ago, and with it came yet another lens to focus on what style looks like for those in our crowd. 

In a recent post for AGEIST, I wrote about back-to-life clothes and showed photos of women that would not turn 50, let alone 40, for a long time. I got a lot of feedback from readers that they were tired of looking at photos of young women. And how underrepresented anyone from Gen X-on is when it comes to fashion. And though it’s true, we don’t do a photoshoot when I write a piece, and that I am at the mercy of imagery brands provide on their sites and social profiles, I can do better. We can do better.

That’s why I’m shifting gears.

My goal with this platform is to share style tips and recommendations that I love and hope you will love, too. Some are aspirational, others a bit more accessible. But I can promise you that you will no longer see women that have not ever thought about menopause or how to embrace a more pro-aging stance. I may not get Zara to feature more mature models, but I can take responsibility for what I share and, from this point on, that’s what I’m going to do. That doesn’t mean I’m suddenly going to wax on about sweater sets or sensible shoes, mind you. I’m going to keep my sense of style intact but be more sensitive to what’s happening around us.

I like the idea of “style” as a broader term that includes everything from clothes to beauty to that great new hotel in New Orleans

I’ve been thinking about what that will look like and how it will feel. And I like the idea of “style” as a broader term that includes everything from clothes to beauty to that great new hotel in New Orleans. On a walk with my pup the other day, I thought of the fact that even though I have never felt more fit, inspired, and ready to shout from the rooftops, I’ve been rendered invisible by not just the fashion industry but society at large. At 51, I am no longer afraid to express my opinions, share my hopes, dreams, and fears, and live life on my terms in a way I never thought was possible. I hope many of you are reading this and feel the same way. I have said many times you couldn’t pay me to be 25 again. I have never felt happier or more in tune with this thing called life.

That said, I’m looking forward to rethinking what I share in this space. Whether it will be women or men I admire or things I love, I’m challenging myself not to perpetuate the marketing hoax that we don’t matter. I love how women like Stacy London break barriers and make menopause more mainstream and less something we whisper about in the dark. It’s honestly mind-boggling that it seems like anti-aging sentiments are the last frontier. I am thrilled to see conversations around gender, sexuality, and body type forcing change. Our time needs to come, too. And I certainly would rather not be part of the problem. So, I hope to use this column to move the needle towards a solution. I recently spotted this Tiffany ad, and it hit me hard. As the ultimate legacy brand, to dismiss an entire demographic that made you famous in the first place is ludicrous. Not to mention, the headline is beyond clichéd and, in my mind, lazy.

Here’s to celebrating style on our terms

Moving forward, I’ve accepted the challenge many of you were so gracious to inspire with your comments and thoughts. I can’t wait to share what’s next and look forward to crafting content by us and for us. And as always, feel free to reach out with any thoughts, inspirations, or comments.

Here’s to celebrating style on our terms. I can’t help but think of Patti Smith, pictured here. Her rock-and-roll spirit and rebellious soul feels perfectly aligned to the stars. Because the night (and day) truly does belong to us. XO

18 COMMENTS

  1. Cheers to you for writing this – finding great style images of women over 30 is near impossible. I appreciate your honesty and commitment. I’ll keep reading whatever you write.

  2. Having just turned 51 myself, I just want to thank you for the public “wake up” call. Maybe in the spirit of the digital world we live in, we share our own “photo shoots” of style for future needs?!

    The Tiffany ad pissed me off…as do most these days. I know TONS of active, healthy, wise, beautiful women in their 50’s. AND let’s acknowledge this: of my many 30-40 year old friends…ALL of them comment often, “Lynda, I don’t look as good as you do now…I can only hope to look as good as you when I’m your age.” Id’ be happy and honored to put my fit but slightly used and wrinkled body, wise mind and face, up against any youngster any day. I’m proud of every last piece of wear showing both inside and out!

  3. The adverting industry is full of young people who don’t see older women as worthy of a visual platform. They may feel they are very politically aware and politically correct but they and the companies they represent ignore older woman as relevant or worse as token gesture.
    So why not do an article on the marketing of brands…. Why an influencerrr is 20…
    Also are part of the problem…. a picture of patty smith at 50+ is still rock and roll.
    We need to be vocal and demand a change.

  4. Sheri, I love that you accepted the challenge to lean into the wants, needs, inherent beauty and exciting possibilities of our demographic! It does seem like there’s a real shortage of good style images of people over 50. Speaking of, I don’t know if David is the one shooting the cover models for Ageist, but every person (whether in their 50s, 60s or 70s) looks amazing. I find these photos so inspiring. I would love to see more. And I can’t wait to read your forthcoming articles!

  5. I agree with you Sheri Radel Rosenberg. I’m 52, and I laugh to myself when I see this these young women with their selfie addictions and comparison traps. I am so glad to be past having to tell myself, I’m good enough! Damn right I am! Every laugh line has been earned and let’s have a glass of wine to make a few more!

  6. Being Patti Smith: Musician, poet, memorist, activist, and so much more
    Brava Sheri! If Patti Smith is an indication of your new direction then I’m
    your # 1 fan.
    Who better to exemplify style? It’s her style of writing, singing, living, being and yes, her sartorial style as well that all blends together to make Patti Smith. Now that’s inspiring.

  7. Hey Sheri,
    As a male in this space I would love to hear your views as a woman on dating/relationships/style for men. I often describe myself as a 40 yr old trapped in a 60’s body. I’m fitter and fresher than I was 30 years ago but feel looked over because of my chronilogical position in life.

  8. Hey Sheri: Thanks for the course correct. I think it’s important that we women take responsibility for the messages we put out there about ourselves. Some of the most ageist comments I hear about women are said by other women. Women have been trained to parrot the myth that women over 40 should just well…disappear. As a woman over 50 I’m always on the look-out for role models and there are many! Sharing that I was in Soho, NYC, in one of those cool new skincare boutiques and this young fellow walked up to me and asked me to name one of my influencers – I said Lauren Hutton. I don’t know if he knows who she is but I sure hope he googles her. Again – thank you for taking this on. And I’m loving all hip chicks rocking silver locks. It’s up to us to clear the path for younger women so that when they are our ages, they feel good about themselves. Ciao!

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Sheri Radel Rosenberghttp://sherimavenblog.com/
Sheri Radel Rosenberg has spent a life in advertising. Currently she's a freelance writer focusing on women at midlife and the power of reinvention. She regularly writes on her own blog and also works with brands to develop content in the areas of women's health, wellness, fashion, and beauty .She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and a ten pound ball of doggie fluff called Khan.

 

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