Drawing on fashion theory and the first-hand accounts of designers, fashion editors and older women, this book offers the first systematic account of the relationship between dress and age.
Throughout history certain forms and styles of dress have been deemed appropriate - or more significantly, inappropriate - for people as they age. Older women in particular have long been subject to social pressure to tone down, to adopt self-effacing, covered-up styles. But increasingly there are signs of change, as older women aspire to younger, more mainstream, styles, and retailers realize the potential of the 'grey market'. Fashion and Age is the first study to explore systematically the links between clothing and age, drawing on fashion theory and cultural gerontology to examine the changing ways in which age is imagined, experienced and understood in modern culture through the medium of dress. Clothes lie between the body and its social expression, and the book explores the significance of embodiment in dress and in the cultural constitution of age. Drawing on the views of older women, journalists and fashion editors, and clothing designers and retailers, it aims to widen the agenda of fashion studies to encompass the everyday dress of the majority, shifting the debate about age away from its current preoccupation with dependency, towards a fuller account of the lived experience of age. Fashion and Age will be of great interest to students of fashion, material culture, sociology, sociology of age, history of dress and to clothing designers.
About the Author
Julia Twigg is Professor in the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research at the University of Kent. She is co-convenor of the BSA Body, Ageing and Society, and Chair of the Advisory Group for the Smart Clothes and Wearable Technologies NDA project based at University of Wales, Newport, UK.
We're all Fabulous Fashionistas now, if the press is to be believed. The baby boomers, who wore Biba and Mary Quant, are opting for the same colourful styles as their daughters. Yet this simplistic view is about to be challenged by Julia Twigg, professor of sociology at the University of Kent and author of Fashion and Age, an academic study of dress and later life. -- Anne Karpf * The Guardian *
[A] fascinating discussion of what happens to our sense of fashion as we reach later life. As [Twigg] puts it, "age is not just peripheral to fashion but positively erosive of it". Drawing on interviews with those who wear, sell and write about fashion, Twigg addresses a range of questions about how we negotiate fashion as we get older...This book is a welcome addition to an expanding field...The author's grasp of the nuances of interpretation of fashion, dress and clothing is excellent. -- Cheryl Buckley, Northumbria University * Times Higher Education Supplement *
I found this book absorbing and clever in its use of wide-ranging ideas and approaches ... It is clearly and articulately written, and I have no doubt that scholars from a wide range of disciplines will find it as stimulating and thought-provoking as I did -- Angela Partington, Kingston University of London, UK * Journal of Design History *
First-person narrations, testimonies and ... [interviews with] consumers, producers and publicists regarding fashion and old age give a three-dimensional perspective and a clearly added value to Twigg's study ... A valuable source of data. * International Journal of Ageing and Later Life *
An absorbing and imaginative book which opens out a new area of investigation in cultural studies and the sociology of age. Drawing upon interviews with older women and those working in the fashion industry, the research provides rich insights into the role of clothing and dress in shaping identity in later life. The book provides an exemplary balance of empirical, historical, and theoretical perspectives. This is an outstanding study deserving of a wide readership. -- Professor Chris Phillipson, School of Social Sciences, The University of Manchester, UK.
This innovative book provides a carefully crafted, rich and sophisticated account of the interplay between bodily and cultural aging through the lens of fashion and dress for older women. Fashion and Age explores central questions in contemporary culture, including how dress plays a significant part in the constitution of identities. By weaving empirical research with a breadth of theoretical ideas, this agenda-setting book is essential reading within ageing, gender, and consumption studies. -- Professor Sara Arber, Centre for Research on Ageing and Gender (CRAG), University of Surrey, UK.
Age studies makes a heady, liberating move into fashion with Julia Twigg's smart and entertaining book. Focusing her research on the intersections of feminism, cheap consumables, and women's individualized development of their own look in relation to "appropriateness," Twigg can explain how it is that (in spite of fashion's cult of youth), many more women of a certain age are finally dressing without pain. -- Margaret Morganroth Gullette, author of Agewise: Fighting the New Ageism in America and Resident Scholar at the Women's Studies Research Center, Brandeis University, USA.
Fashion and Age is a path-breaking book on the neglected topic of how later life and clothing function in today's society. Julia Twigg shows how older women, the media and the High Street all interact to create our understanding of both ageing and dress. In doing so, Julia Twigg has produced a key text for those interested in the operation of the fashion industry as well as those seeking to understand the links between the personal narratives of ageing and the contemporary nature of embodiment. Fashion and Age provides plenty of food for thought for students and researchers alike and is a valuable addition to the cultural sociology of ageing. -- Paul Higgs, Professor of the Sociology of Ageing, Faculty of Brain Sciences University College London, UK.
I: Introduction II: Clothing, Fashion and the Body III: Ageing, Embodiment and Culture IV: The Voices of Older Women V:Dress and the Narration of Life VI: Magazines, the Media and Mrs Exeter VII: The High Street Responds: Designing for the Older Market IX: Conclusion References