In Defense of “Extreme” Older Female Fashion Icons
The other day, I shared an article about 88-year-old fashion icon, Baddie Winkle, who recently appeared in a television commercial for Millennial-focused fashion brand Missguided. In the article, I argued that women like Baddie are doing a service for older women everywhere by challenging aging stereotypes and living their own way.
For the most part, the women in our community agreed with me. That said, one woman offered an alternative opinion… one that really got me thinking.
Why Are Older Fashion Icons So Darn Bold?
I’m paraphrasing here, but, in essence, she said “I appreciate what Baddie is trying to do here, but, why is it that older female fashion icons need to be so extreme? Are faux fur coats and lots of bling really necessary for challenge aging stereotypes?” Watch this video and you see what she meant.
In a way, this is similar to the argument that one of our guest bloggers, Andrea Pflaumer, made in her article “Fashion Over 60 Doesn’t Require You to Wear a Costume.” In it, she pointed out that many of the styles popularized by Ari Seth Cohen’s Advanced Style Blog are neither flattering nor practical for the average woman. She also pointed out that, when it comes to fashion for women over 60, sometimes “less is more.”
For a while, I really struggled with this topic. Are women like Baddie Winkle really doing us a service when they sport such extreme costumes? Or, are they creating a new stereotype that older women need to dress in extreme ways to be noticed? Eventually, I came to a conclusion.
We Need “Extreme” Older Fashion Icons to Cut Through the Noise
Our society is so unbelievably youth-obsessed that older women, no matter how fashionably dressed, go unnoticed. This makes it easy for fashion “experts” to make ridiculous claims like “Wearing denim should be left to those aged 52 and under.”
While most of us would feel silly wearing the outfits that Baddie Winkle displayed in her Missguided commercial, they still serve an important purpose. Beyond the obvious benefit of making Baddie happy, they are so bold that they cut through the noise and challenge aging stereotypes.
In other words, by being louder and bolder than most of us have the guts to be, “extreme” older fashion icons set a new upper limit for what is acceptable for older women.
Look at it this way:
When women like Baddie wear faux fur and bling, they make it more acceptable for the rest of us to wear jeans.
By the way, I am perfectly aware of how ridiculous this last statement sounds. Of course, we don’t need anyone’s “permission” to wear jeans at 50, 60 or 70. But, just because we don’t need people’s permission, doesn’t mean that challenging aging stereotypes is useless. Women like Baddie change society’s perception of what is “normal” and that can only be good news for the rest of us.
So, whether or not you like Baddie’s fashion sense, let’s take a moment to thank her – and all of the other older female fashion icons out there – for showing the world that women over 60 are not invisible.
We are vibrant, intelligent, dynamic women. Many of us are grandmas, but, we are also business owners, explorers, volunteers and even DJs. We are unique and precious, every single one of us.
Do you think that older female fashion icons are playing an important role in smashing aging stereotypes, even if we would never the same clothes as them? What do you think of Baddie Winkle’s style? Please join the conversation.