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Clothing for Older Women: Why Not Design Based on Lifestyle, Not Age?

Summer is finally here and, like many women, I am ready to refresh my wardrobe. There’s only one problem. Most clothing for older women is just plain, well… plain.

I’m honestly not sure why designers have such a hard time creating clothing for women over 60. It seems like, instead of trying to understand our lifestyle goals, they create clothes based on stereotypes. They believe that all we want is comfy flat shoes, longish skirts, baggy sleeves and stretchy pants with elastic band waists.

This is neither accurate nor fair. Older women still love fashion. We want to express our dynamic and vibrant personalities with new designs in beautiful colours, shapes and textures. However, we are also making clothing choices that reflect a dynamic and active lifestyle.

We are living longer, traveling, staying fit and looking great well into our 80s and 90s. We want clothes that are individual, interesting and reasonably priced. Our lifestyle is adventurous, curious and bold.

Designers need to respect our intelligence and life experience. On trend marketing cannot seduce older women who just know better.

Where is the Flattering, Comfortable Clothing for Older Women?

Perhaps part of the problem is that designers live in a world of trend development. Most teenagers care more about what other people think about their clothes, than whether the clothes themselves serve a purpose. Older women want to look elegant and stylish, but, not necessarily trendy.

They want clothing that supports their lifestyle, but, not necessarily clothing that communicates their lifestyle. It’s a subtle, but, important distinction and one that designers would do well to pay attention to.

Simply put, older women no longer care about conformity. Our desire is to look great in clothes that are comfortable yet stylish. We want styles that flatter our changing body shapes and reflect our true selves.

In my recent article, “Why Are There No Fashion Weeks for Older Women,” I asked why the fashion industry is so oblivious to the fashion opportunities for older women. After all, we represent a huge, and fast growing, market. The truth is that designers will eventually figure out how to create clothing for older women that we genuinely love. We just need to give them a push in the right direction.

What’s your take on this? Do you feel that designers and retailers should be creating clothing for older women based on lifestyle not age? Please leave your comments below.

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The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at

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