As with most industries, it seems like as soon as a woman hits 40, she's no longer deemed relevant to fashion. Clothes are no longer made for her, campaigns don't reflect her image, and she is shut out of the conversation — in the dominant narrative, at least. Look a bit more closely, though, and you'll see that the new floral Whistles dress looks as contemporary on you as it does your 60-year-old mom, and that H&M's deconstructed white button-up is as appropriate for your office as your grandmother's Sunday get-up.
"One thing has become abundantly clear: the common wisdom on what is appropriate to do, say and wear over-40 is no longer relevant," fashion journalist and author Alyson Walsh tells Refinery29. "Having rocked out to the Rolling Stones and pogo-ed to the Sex Pistols, baby boomers are never going to be told what we can and cannot do. We’ve grown up breaking and remaking the rules — gone are the days when hitting 50, 60, 70, or beyond meant conforming to a ubiquitous look. Looking good rather than looking young is the new mantra. It’s not about age it’s about style."
One scroll through our Instagram feed and Walsh's words come alive — we're looking as much to women twice our age as we are to 20-something influencers for styling tricks, body confidence advice, and shopping tips. Sure, you can adore Joan Didion in the Céline spring 2015 campaign, or admire Lauren Hutton on Bottega Veneta's spring 2017 catwalk. but it's time to follow the real women repping style through the ages — we've a lot to learn from them.
Ahead, we spoke to seven older women about personal style, confidence in aging, and representation in the industry.
Welcome to MyIdentity. The road to owning your identity is rarely easy. In this yearlong program, we will celebrate that journey and explore how the choices we make on the outside reflect what we’re feeling on the inside — and the important role fashion and beauty play in helping people find and express who they are.