Fashion websites have been falling all over themselves to celebrate the latest advertising trend: women over 50, 60, and even 80, fronting for brands in the fashion world. Joni Mitchell, Joan Didion, and now Twiggy, are the current hot senior commodities selling stylish designer products.
I love to see older women celebrated and honored in this way. Now in my late 50s, I’m content, and even more in love with life. But I’m curious to know what these mature models are wearing underneath their outfits. Are they still able to find pretty, feminine, and well-fitting lingerie?
Look at any bra brand — including those championing diversity in lingerie — and you rarely see a model who looks over the age of 30. It’s great for younger women, but it doesn’t do much for those of us who only see our daughter’s bodies reflected in these ads.
I aged out of Victoria’s Secret push-up padded bras sometime between the birth of my second and third child. None of their styles seemed to fit my post-baby body. Soma, and other companies, have stepped in to serve the 35 year-old and up customer. But their products are geared to achieving an “age-defying” bra look. That’s not my goal anymore. I’m okay with where my breasts rest on my chest. They match everything else that’s gently given into gravity.
There’s no effort made to design or sell lingerie to post-menopausal women. The few older women one sees in lingerie ads are either modeling shapewear or pocketed mastectomy wear. A 50-something woman in her bra and panties is an attention-grabbing anomaly. But it’s more of a gimmick and not a long term plan to cater to this group of consumers.
Here are 4 reasons why the lingerie industry should pay more attention to female baby boomers and consider designing for and catering to our lingerie needs:
1) We’re not hanging up our bras anytime soon.
Women my age haven’t lost their desire to wear stylish clothes. Given my genetics, it’s likely I’ll be buying lingerie for another 30+ years. That’s more than a decade longer than my regular visits to Victoria’s Secret (including shopping for my teen daughter). The silver-haired, lingerie loving, generation is a lucrative, untapped market. The only difference between my younger bra wearing self and my older bra wearing self is that I have more disposable income and a willingness to pay for quality garments.
2) We still feel, and act sexy, but in a whole new way.
Our bodies may not be youthful, but surveys show older women live happy, active sex lives. It’s less about wearing tight dresses or necklines to our navels. Plunge bras or ones that push boobs up around my neckline give me “creasage,” not cleavage. I want pretty, feminine designs that won’t dig into any part of my softer flesh. Forget trendy strappy looks and sell me elegant styles with fabulous trims. Give me underwires wrapped in soft fabrics and hardware that doesn’t dig into my body. Heavily padded cups aren’t necessary because this senior doesn’t care about “nipping” out.