As a woman over 50 are you a bit fed up with seeing all these celebs over 50 flaunting their fabulousness?
Seeing all these celebs looking fabulous over 50 is supposed to make us all feel more confident. But does it? Or does it, instead, make us feel less confident? Does it make us feel even less certain how to look and what to wear at ‘our age.’
We ask, because the awareness that we over-50s can sometimes falter over fashion choices or feel less confident about our wardrobe, is how SoSensational started….
Way back in 2009, when the High Street was still fixated on 20-somethings, we were constantly being asked by friends and acquaintances where to shop for fabulous fashion that was on-trend, not frumpy but also did not look as if it had been pinched from a passing 19-year-old.
At the time, one of us was a fashion editor and one of us was an image consultant, so friends and acquaintances turned to us for fashion guidance because their perception was that the High Street had nothing for them.
Yes, there were independent boutiques, but somehow that type of shop wasn’t offering exactly what our 50something friends wanted. And, yes, there were online sites (well, a few, back in 2009), but how many 1000s of unsuitable, inappropriate dresses did these friends have to look at on the High Street or online before finding one that seemed right?
Also, we knew many women of our age had lost confidence in making fashion choices – it can be very daunting dipping your toe into a whole new look, especially if you’ve got out of the habit…We realised this was more likely if you are no longer in the workplace, where the need to look sharp, and perhaps to compete with younger colleagues, helps to keep us fashion-focused and aware of trends.
So, it is 2009, the High Street has not started to think about women over 50. In fact until around 2016, the High Street continued to believe women over 50 had fallen off the planet or wished to dress in a beige sack!
But we knew two things with absolute certainty: One was that there were great pieces on the High Street including in ostensibly ‘young’ brands, that women over 50 would love to wear if they could easily find them.
And the second thing was that by providing Style Advice and How-to-Wear-It tips thoughtfully written for the age-group, we could give back to women over 50– give you back – fashion confidence…
We did not claim this from arrogance, but because we were the same age. We weren’t 20-somethings trying to guess what a 56-year-old woman wanted to wear. We were the same age so we innately understood issues like how to work a trend at 56 without looking ridiculous and we understood what it means to have a 58-year-old body (e.g. that our bodies have a nasty habit of looking different from how they looked 20 years ago, despite endless Pilates classes or gym visits). We knew, too, that chic 50-year-olds wanted a dress or skirt that covered what needed to be covered but did not wish to wear a sack!
Also, we truly understood that women in their 50s did not wish to be patronised or treated in a tokenistic way – you know, when one 70-year-old struts the catwalk or is featured in a glossy ad, alongside a dozen shimmeringly gorgeous 17-year-old models!
We’d like to say that we set the agenda when SoSensational launched, and got people talking about age. But that would be immodest and not entirely truthful, though we definitely picked up early on the zeitgeist and we definitely got the conversation going.
It has taken 7 years and a lot of market-research and focus-group for the High Street – oh yes, and some newspaper fashion pages – to come around to the idea that women over-50 are still here and have an appetite for fashion.
As a result, you can now find more dresses with sleeves and more clothes in an appropriate length (and, of course, those very annoying tokenistic ads). But still no-one else pulling in the best of all the brands. And by ‘best’ we mean on-trend, gorgeous and appropriate, so that you don’t have to trawl the High Street or search 100s of websites…