Armed with vaccines and boosters, post-pandemic party planning is back in full swing. Not only are women eager to dress up for weddings, showers, birthdays and holiday gatherings, but people returning to in-person employment are also ready to step out of their work-from-home comfort clothes. But women over 40 or 50 have until recently had a hard time finding stylish, quality and classic fashion that fits well and inspires confidence walking into a room.
As women age, their bodies may change, but as the oldest of the millennials enter their 40s, the fashion industry is finally making moves to steer away from bland, shapeless offerings for the older woman. According to a recent Fast Company article, data shows that women over 44 are willing to pay more for quality, durability and sustainability in their purchases.
By investing in well-made garments, with natural materials and classic shapes, women and men can get the most out of their spending dollars while embracing their personal style. After years of trial and error, most older adults know the cuts and colours that work best on their body type and with their colouring. Rather than chasing trends, women over 40 tend to gravitate to vintage designs that are stylish and durable – a tailored little black dress and pearls will never be out of fashion.
Women wield significant spending power, and research from NPD found that women over 40 purchased 56 percent of the clothing in 2022, and this trend is increasing. Not only are middle-aged and older women dressing themselves, but they are also making purchases for their children, their spouses, and often their aging parents.
Older women are no longer content to fade into the background and let the younger generation enjoy all the attention. More 50-something women are working at the peak of their careers, enjoy an active social life, and want not only to look and feel polished – but to be noticed. As women move into their retirement years, they want stylish, comfortable and flattering garments that travel well. Watch for more legacy brands like J. Crew, Everlane, and Abercrombie and Fitch to change and grow with the aging of their target market.
Searching for some classic pieces that will keep you looking and feeling your best? Who What Wear suggests starting with a straight-leg jean, a modern blazer, a white blouse and black boots. Add a cozy sweater, a power suit, a leather jacket, a trench coat and a classic handbag – voila, the makings of a versatile wardrobe. As the weather warms, adding a mid-length skirt with a white tee, and a colourful sandal or tennis shoe extends the utility of these core items.