Why does 40+ style not feature ONLY women above 40?

by Sylvia

fabulous 40 plus women

40+ Style is especially created for women over 40 and many women love that! So much so that they sometimes get annoyed or wonder why there are so many thin and young models featured on here.

I understand the confusion and frustration, but unfortunately I’m largely dependent on the images that are available to me. If I want to feature the new trends or new items in the stores, then the only images I have are those provided by the cat walk shows or by the brands.

It is still a reality that only very few brands reach out to the older women by featuring 40+ models in their campaigns.

Of course I dream about creating my own editorials with good photographers featuring 40+ models. But I don’t have the budget of Vogue just yet. Nor will I have it any time soon as I have discovered that there is a reluctance from big brands to work with ‘older’ bloggers like me. Many of the main brands, although very popular with women in my age group, simply don’t want to associate themselves with the 40+ woman, even if they tend to buy most of their clothes. Without big brands advertising or other major streams of revenue coming in, it is simply impossible to create a team of editors and photographers and create our own fashion spreads with the clothes and models that you want.

Of course all this does not stop me from featuring 40+ women whenever I can! I have featured many of you in my style interviews (like Stephanie), highlight 40+ women’s street fashion (as in this fabulous New York street style feature) and encourage you all to submit your own photos for the dressing challenges (as Ana did for the how to wear white challenge).  I feature fabulous 40+ women whenever I see then and you find them in the What You wear section of this site. I also welcome you to send any photos you like or post them on my Facebook page.

But I am limited to what images I can show from around the Internet. Images cannot just be copied and pasted on this site since most of them are copyrighted. This is why I prefer to use either my own photography or use the images that you send to me. I always welcome good images from fabulous 40+ women showing a sense of style!

I will continue to use images of younger models to highlight  certain trends, point to good buying options or highlight a certain style. I cannot be limited to only a few brands that use older models or brands that are especially created for the 40+ woman.

So I hope you can look beyond the young and thin models and see that many styles can be adapted to our age group as well. I will continue to do my best to feature as many diverse women as possible, especially those over 40!

Are you able to translate fashion shown on younger models to your own style?


1 Joelle

I’m 40+ and you can use any of my images on my site – just credit me with a link to my site if you need to.

2 Sylvia

Thanks Joelle!

3 Ana from Mrs. American Made

Thank you, Sylvia. I agree that it is difficult to find style icons our age in the media, but I am happy to have found groups like this – where we can inspire each other.

4 Sylvia

Yes, I think we found quite a few in this community!


Another good post, Sylvia. I never focus on age for style (or anything else, really), as I stick with designers whose clothing transcends that. For me it’s simply a non-issue. To answer your question, “are you able to translate fashion shown on younger models to your own style”, I think the photo you posted of me here (huge thanks! again!) answers that question. 🙂
I’m surprised there would be anything on your blog that could possibly annoy anyone! I never feel confused or frustrated seeing features with models (young) pictured. But that’s just me. 🙂
You’re doing a great job here!

6 Sylvia

I received a few ‘complaints’ which is what prompted this post. It will be easy just to point them to this article to explain:) I feel the same as you Stephanie. I don’t just wear anything I like anymore (because I don’t want to look like a 20 year old) but I do pick and choose even from ‘young’ brands. You are a perfect example of how to look young and hip!

7 Greetje Kamminga

I get your problem. Keep up the good work though. Some day we might get there: older and less thinner models. The only brand that I know who also uses older models is Annette Görtz (German brand).

8 Sylvia

Great. I choose have a look at that brand.

9 Carla

I am 50+ and its hard to imagine what the cloths that those skinny young models wear would look like on an older women and are they age appropriate? That is why it is so great when you have a style blog like this one to help us see what it would look like and to give us hints when we may be straying from the since able to the not appropriate. And help us look good wearing the fashions, not like our grandmothers did 50 years ago. Keep up the AWESOME work

10 Sylvia

Thanks Carla. I will do my best. I will try and do more runway look ‘translation’ posts as they are fun and practical!

11 The Style Crone

I enjoy your every post, Sylvia, and appreciate your advocacy for women as we age. You have been very supportive of Style Crone and intergenerational energy. Thank you!

12 Sylvia

Thanks Judith. You are one of my biggest inspirations!

13 Lorraine

I think there are very few of us (of any age) who EVER looked like the models featured in ads and on catwalks so we have grown accustomed to translating those images into what we can wear ourselves (often by trial and error!). Hats off to stores like M&S who recognise who is actually buying their clothes and feature ‘real’ (albeit well known) women in their ads.
The great thing about this site is we are ordinary women with shared fashion problems and judging by the ‘views’ on the forum, we like to see what ordinary women are wearing.

14 Sylvia

Very good point Lorraine. You are totally right. We have been ‘translating’ looks most of our lives!

15 Heather

I agree with you Lorraine – there was never a point where I was 6 feet tall ! Not to mention size 0 …… to me, this is the best part of Sylvia’s blog: seeing what other “ordinary” women are wearing and what makes them stylish, and how to take the best of the fashion trends and interpret them into something wearable in daily life.

16 Amy

What thoughtful posts! I am feeling guilty, as I feel I may have inadvertently been one of the critical ones you are referring to. Just my (bad) way with words! Lorraine and Heather capture my feelings very well. It is hard to ‘translate’ from available media and that’s why I value this site so much. I look forward to reading all your content and seeing all your images. Thank you Sylvia!

17 Rebecca

There is a wonderful English style writer, Caryn Franklin, who also addresses this issue. She has developed a program called Diversity Now which goes into schools and tries to impact the fashion industry to show people of all colors, shapes and ages.

Your blog is a wonderful forum for those of us over 40 who want to look and feel great at this point in our lives. So you definitely are doing a great job and are making headway in addressing this important topic.

18 Sylvia

What a great initiative! Thank you for the kind words about this blog!

19 Emily

Thank you for posting the picture of the beautiful woman who is way over 40. I find that too often, women depicted on sites for us women of a certain age are barely into that group — say 42 or 43. I am in my early 60’s, wear a size 2, and love looking nice. My lifestyle is casual, so a lot of jeans, but no baggy mom jeans for me. Recently I decided to let my hair go natural, and as it is wavy I can hide the line. I am getting more compliments on my hair than ever before.

20 Sylvia

Thanks for your comment Emily. I love featuring the ‘older’ ladies too! Especially when they look as great as the lady above. Unfortunately, there are fewer women bloggers of that age although there are a few spectacular ones (like The Style Crone) and they tend to be more shy when sending images or wanting to be photographed. You are always welcome to send me your pictures or upload them to the style forum!

21 Heather Fonseca

Sorry you’ve been getting complaints, but what a positive way to deal with your readers concerns! I think you do a great job balancing images of 40 and up bloggers and women with fashion industry approved models. Keep up the great work!

22 Sylvia

Thanks Heather!

23 Lisa

I completely understand what you are saying. All of us inhabit a world of limitations. You do a good job threading your way through, Sylvia, or we wouldn’t keep reading.

I’m actually more concerned with one body type for showing off clothes than anything else. Not only the frightening and dangerous thinness of the models, but the total lack of curves. How can someone petite, or with hips or a large bust figure out what might look good on them from these models? I’m not saying all models must be “Plus sized” although there should be that too. I just would like to see some variety so I can figure out what works for me. In that sense, celebrity style is often more helpful than runway models because they are a shade closer to “normal.”

Part of the problem is also us. If all women over 40 (or larger than a size 0) intentionally shopped with brands that featured older models, or models that are a size 6 instead of a size 0, we’d create a demand for that sort of marketing. So part of the problem is our own complicity. Be the change you want to see in the world.

24 Sylvia

You make a very good point Lisa. Companies are of course interested in selling their products. If they discover that more people will buy it when it’s shown on young, thin models, then that is what they will continue to use. I’m not sure though if they have ever done any real tests with using older and shapelier models.

25 Highland Fashionista

This is the second of my fellow forty-plus bloggers sites that I have been on and commented on a thread had to have started with someone’s observation that not all of your women featured are forty or forty-plus. Personally, I feel it is a mistake to only look to one’s peer group for inspiration. Certainly, every woman of any age or size wants to look at fashion images and see something that she can relate to, but I think part of the fun (or the challenge, depending on how you look at it) of fashion is finding your own ability to see these images for yourself and identify what might work for you personally, which I believe is exactly what you are doing in showing these images to us.

I think it is a mistake to think that you have to change anything, or no longer engage with what is going on in mainstream fashion simply because one or two people can’t see around the model in the picture. Fashion is all about interpretation.

As for the skinny model thing…..this is an ongoing thread that seems to always pop up in fashion. Sure, there are plenty of models who are starving themselves for the runway, but how much of a societal impact does it really have? A recent study points to the fact that in 41 US states, the obesity rate makes up 25% of the population. In my own job practicing in a hospital, I can vouch for the fact that it is not self-starvation that is hampering the system. That is not a condemnation of anyone’s opinion, just a statistic. At the end of the day, I just think fashion can sometimes JUST be fashion, and does;t necessarily have to mean anything other than a fun medium of self-expression.

26 Sylvia

Yes I agree. That is why it’s also important to understand your body type and to know what works for you. I see it as a challenge too to see what works for me. And yes, fashion should just be FUN!

27 Fashion Omi

so beautiful♥♥♥
greetings from germany

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