Ok, stand back. This is something of a rant.
Over the last few years, I’ve paid much more attention to content of magazines — and lately blogs — looking for images and stories about women my age and shape. I’m not thin and never will be — but I’m still shapely with about 5 extra pounds that I am working hard to shed using Weight Watchers.
Periodically, there are articles about models of a certain age still working. Recently there was one in Town and Country about Lauren Hutton. (Didn’t I tell you that I read a lot of magazines?) And she does some actual modeling in the article.
Of course, she looks great as does Carmen Dell’Orefice and Kristen McMenamy (see below) who because she is 47 is considered to be in the same group of “older” models as Lauren (69) and Carmen (80). In other words, not 18.
But it seems to me that this showcasing of older models is “seasonal”, rather then sustained. Although Harper’s Bazaar has a nice recurring feature showing styles on real women in their 20’s through their 70’s — Fabulous at Every Age — everyone is super thin and for the most part super rich. But, to their credit, their website, Harper’s Bazaar.com recently featured a real live person, not a model, and not skinny, in a great outfit.
I looked through Vogue’s website for articles on “older women” or even photos, but except for a couple of short pieces on English model, Kristin McMenamy there is not much. Here’s a link, Kristin McMenamy and a photo of Ms McMenamy, whose grey hair is gorgeous.
And speaking of grey hair, I started greying when I was 19, which was a blessing. That kind of greying actually produces snowy white hair with a great texture. I did dye my hair for a few years, but stopped, let it go white, and now get compliments on my hair all the time.
But I digress . . back to older models.
I looked it up. (Remember, I am curious about everything?) The median age of Vogue readers is 35.4 That means half the readers are over 35.4 and half are under. Compare Maire Claire (28.4), Elle (33.8), and Harper’s Bazaar (38.2) and even Seventeen (26). (Interesting, half the readers of Seventeen are older than 26??? Now that’s pretty thought-provoking too.)
So, looking to meet the needs of those 624,059 women who are the older half of Vogue’s readership, wouldn’t it be nice to see a steady presentation of clothes on models in their 40’s to 80’s? Not just a “special” article once in a while, but integrated into regular fashion presentations? Let’s say 1 out of 5 of the models in 3 fashion features per issue. I’d even settle for 2 features per issue. Not a lot to ask, no?
A couple of weeks ago, the New York Times had a short article — “Power in the Years” –about young designers being “obsessed with older models.”
But even the author had the good sense to “gasp” at the thought that these “older” models were in their 40’s.
Then the Times Style Magazine Fall 2013 had an even longer article by Andrew O’Hagen, about older women in general, praising their virtues. The only thing wrong with the article is that it was illustrated with photos of three women; none of whom were even 40! One, for sure, was in her 20’s.
I was not the only one to notice. One of my favorite blogs, The Simply Luxurious Life, also noticed the article, but didn’t comment on the photos.
Periodically there is a spate of articles about older models (assume older is in quotes), and the virtues of older women (ditto), but somehow the idea that this is nothing “special” doesn’t seem to stick.
So, I’m looking forward to a time when there are no articles about “older” models or how attractive “older” woman are. Because it will just be taken for granted and will neither be special nor newsworthy.
End of rant, for now . . .