For decades we have been barraged with younger women dominating the runway and fashion magazines. Just recently though, a handful of fashion brands have decided to break the mold and are championing the older woman. Yves Saint Laurent has announced Joni Mitchell (71 years old) as its latest model, and Joan Didion (80 years old) was revealed as the face of Céline. Last fall, 69-year-old Helen Mirren was announced as the new face of L’Oreal, joining fellow Oscar winner Jane Fonda, 77, in representing the brand alongside notable women half — and even a third — of their ages.
Cindy Crawford recently made the news for a leaked, un-retouched image that showed her in all of her 48-year-old glory. Marie Claire doesn’t deny the authenticity of the photos, and said the images reveal, “a body that defies expectations — it is real, it is honest, and it is gorgeous.”
These women have one thing in common – confidence. Diane von Furstenberg, who has made a name for herself admittedly “selling confidence” through fashion. recently spoke at the fifth annual Women Entrepreneurs Festival. During her speech she said, “The most important relationship in life is the one you have with yourself. If you have that, any other relationship is a plus and not a must.”
The older you get, the more comfortable you are in your skin. As women step into their 40s, 50s, and beyond, they begin, often for the first time, to build a relationship with self. With that relationship, a woman’s confidence and authenticity come into play that she might have been lacking in her teens and 20s.
Suzanne Boyd, editor-in-chief of Zoomer Magazine was recently quoted as saying, “There’s a lot of mystique being taken out of fashion, and what these women have is mystique. They have their own style. They’ve never followed fashion. They’ve just been who they are and there’s nothing more stylish or chic than that — and they’re not playing in the same sandbox. To the fashion eye, it’s not about beauty or glamour — it’s about true achievement and authenticity.”
Women are often embarrassed to speak about their fears, yet in my own research I found nearly half of 1,200 women I surveyed (47%) were afraid of getting older. This fear correlates with perceptions of the aging process, including health behaviors, emotional and cognitive responses to stimulus words, abdominal (immune) health, confidence in self-care ability, and more.
There’s nothing wrong with getting older. Who among us would choose not to live longer? Celebrate these women who are removing the cultural stigma of aging, and let their confidence bubble over into your own life. Use the wisdom and authenticity that comes with experience, and march confidently into the boardroom or down the runway!