Date: June 1st, 2009
Today’s seniors are blowing old-age stereotypes out of the water and redefining what exactly it means to be “old.” This is a generation that can expect to live longer than past generations, tends to be better educated and more financially secure, and has a long history of independence. We’re already seeing changes in the lifestyles and typical images of seniors, and with the baby boom generation approaching their senior years, we’re sure to see even more.
Outside the Box
Many of these individuals are living outside of the boxes that society has traditionally put them in. For starters, they are working to an older age and delaying their retirements. Many are even heading back to school and starting new careers. They’re getting involved in their communities by volunteering, taking public interest jobs, and teaching young adults the value of giving back. They’re also taking an active role in their aging—learning how to prevent disease and disability and to live even longer.
They’re even taking on serious issues like ageism—advancing important debates and reshaping perceptions of what it means to be a senior. And changing their futures by building better long-term care options and by staying independent longer.
But don’t think that they’re all business! Today’s seniors are also making an impact on some of life’s less serious issues like relationships, sex, and even fashion.
Marketers in the fashion world are increasingly targeting seniors with the latest styles—seems like they’re finally realizing that people want to look and feel good at all ages. The fashion industry is also recognizing that while some individuals over 65 may have retired, others in the workplace are looking to give a professional edge to their wardrobes.
While the average fashion model is still quite young, some designers are using older models to sell their fashions—even casting them in their runway shows. Seniors have become the latest rage and more and more of them are gracing the pages of fashion magazines and selling style at all ages. Style icon Vogue even does an annual issue, the Ageless Issue, which features models at all stages of life.
Some attribute this new trend to a documentary that features “the beauty and eccentricities of an extraordinary woman—93-year-old actress Mimi Weddell.” Hats Off showcases Mimi’s amazing life as an actress and trend-setter, who many people feel changed the face of modern design. Fashion forward and strikingly beautiful, she was even named one of the “50 Most Beautiful People in New York” by New York Magazine—at the age of 90! She’s still going strong and is making “90 the new 40.”
Also exciting are the seniors that have perfected their styles regardless of what the magazines had to say—proving that you can not only have style with age, but that in many cases it actually gets better. One “street style” blog—a blog that highlights the fashions of average people off the street—has surfaced that taps into the unique stylings of seniors. Advanced Style chronicles the way older people are dressing and includes great photos of colorful, daring, and one-of-a-kind outfits.
Most of the individuals featured are New York City natives, but pictures and stories do come in from around the globe. Ari Cohen, style blogger for Advanced Style, has enlisted friends from around the world to send in pictures of their favorite senior fashion gurus. Cohen then puts them together with an interesting and witty narrative.
Much of the blog’s appeal comes from the overwhelming sense that these seniors aren’t trying to prove anything but are just having fun with their fashion. They’ve seen trends come and go and have found their own trademark sense of style. One commentator described the refreshing appeal of Advanced Style as combining “a lifetime of experience with a refusal to let anyone tell you how you should look.”
Hats off to the men and women who aren’t afraid to be themselves and are sharing their flair for fashion with the world!