Does the High Street cater for you?

by Bonnie

For many of us, it's hard to find the right clothes that fit our shape while not making us look like extras from Last of the Summer Wine or X-Factor rejects.

For many of us, it's hard to find the right clothes that fit our shape while not making us look like extras from Last of the Summer Wine or X-Factor rejects. Just why is it so difficult for the High Street to cater for us over-50s?

This was the finding from a new Mintel poll, which revealed that almost three-quarters of women aged in their 50s believe major retailers ignore their age group and design their clothing for younger customers.

Despite champions of older women trying to draw attention to this gap in the market, such as TV presenter and retail guru Mary Portas, it seems many of us still struggle to find shops that combine fashion nous with the ability to think about how certain trends will look on older consumers.

Mintel senior fashion analyst Emma Clifford commented: "In placing so much importance on youth, the fashion industry is alienating older consumers, many of whom feel they no longer belong to this rather elitist industry.

"Using mature figureheads in advertising campaigns would help to persuade this demographic that they are valued shoppers, with a place in the fashion arena," she added.

Of course, treating us over-55s as a homogenous mass is where the problem starts – no, we don't all hate our legs, some of us still have pretty decent upper arms and the lucky ones among us can continue to show off a flat stomach, so what's the point in designing clothes that make us look like we're embarrassed of our bodies and need to cover them up?

Indeed, the poll found that more than one in three of us stands by our trusty jeans and almost a quarter likes to experiment with bright colours instead of fading into the background in a palate of black, grey and sludgy browns.

So come on High Street – sort it out. Otherwise we'll be forced to raid our daughters' closets again, and no-one wants that.

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One Response to Does the High Street cater for you?

  1. Trishagoodwin says:

    No, I don’t think the high st does cater for us. I am 57 years of age, 5′ 8″ tall and a size 12-14, so not huge and quite tall. I did find it easier a few years ago when a size 10-12, so some of this must be related to being older plus being bigger. I feel I could get away with leggings if still that smaller size, but don’t look good now with large curvy hips and an older face. There seems to be nothing between this look and the very dressy, mumsy stuff on the top floor of department stores. Its all either messy, badly cut with bits hanging off everywhere or stiff and mother of the bride looking with loads of pastels and awful prints and embroidery/beads. I teach art and design and like an edgey but grown up look, but can’t find what I like except in, for instance, Kenneth Cole, Donna Karen or other expensive, mostly New York brands I buy from sales when heavily discounted – as on a low part time salery working for an ed charity. Otherwise its H &M which you can find things in if you really search. M&S is awful, Per Una is disgustingly bad in terms of fabric quality and design nowadays, Monsoon is going really mumsy and wet, wet, wet. As for Boden, Joules etc, little England at its worst and cutsy, again not for grown up women.

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