An Open Letter to Fashion and Beauty: Why Do You Ignore Me and My Peers?

Dear Beauty and Fashion Industries:

Why do you ignore me?  For years and years I’ve been a faithful supporter and consumer.  My relationship with both of you started when I was an awkward pre-teen.  I would look through Seventeen and Mademoiselle Magazines and imagine that I was Colleen Corby or Terry Reno.

These were the looks I aspired to as a pre-teen and later a teen.  Look at the NATURAL beauty of the models.  Look at the simplicity of the clothing and how uncomplicated the looks are.  Colleen Corby, Left, and Terry Reno, right were my two favorite models!

I would imagine my skin without pimples and my eyes without the awning of a unibrow.   My happiest fashion days of those years were the days when the mailman would deliver my monthly issue of Ingénue. And the best—the absolute best issue was the September issues of Glamour and Mademoiselle—that yearly college issue was better than the Glamour  “Do’s and Don’ts” throughout the year! At over an inch of fashion thickness, I was filled with hope that I, too, would be as well-dressed and well- tressed as Sybill Sheperd , then of Hunter College was.  She stared back from the pages at me and her eyes told me that I could achieve that same look as hers.

cybil-shepherd-college-issue-1969

No gimmicky looks here. I still dress like this.  It is a timeless fashionable look that will remain classic!

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Tell me, will THIS look from London Fashion Week remain classic? And who will wear these frocks other than the perhaps well-monied young girls with indulgent parents? Can we design for older women please?

I would imagine myself as a vision either in plaid, or stripes or a cute baby doll dress.  Those images shaped the style I would continue to have into the present day of my 61 years.

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Yes. This is a look that I continue to wear in my 61st year…

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..and it never gets tiring!

It was so simple back then. Clothing was worn by modelsFashion models. They specialized in the fine art of selling clothing without speaking and without being a Z-list celebrity.  Models back then were discovered on trains, at school—even walking down the street.  Fashion ads back then were a bit more realistic in the use of age appropriate models.  Just a tad—which is better than what we have in the present.

Today, the fashion industry puts Z-list celebrities who were discovered through sex tapes shilled by their mother.  Yeah. Anna Wintour. I’m talkin’ to you.   Although I loved thumbing through Vogue purely because of Grace Coddington’s fabulous editorial spreads, I divorced myself from your magazine when you splashed Kim and Kanye West on your cover.  Your obsession with celebrities and your ageist tone is a disgrace.

When did the fashion industry go from catering to the “ladies-who-lunch”—women who were older and chic and oozed elegance from every orifice of their slender bodies, to catering to the younger generation who’s only link to journalism is Instagram and Snapchat.  At one point, the fashion industry was well-aware of the woman who was purchasing the  designer clothing. They were not the Gigi’s and Karli’s of the world.

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Versace believes that all  moms look like and  dress like Karli Kloss and Gigi Hadad.  Karli is 24 years old. Gigi is 21. Gigi sure was sexually active to have two kids AND to have enough money to dress like this while carting her kids around at such a young age. MOST moms are wearing t-shirts stained with breast milk leakage and coffee stains.  Who is Versace kidding with this shit?

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At least fashion ads of the early 1960’s stuck to more appropriate age limitations! These women are not 21 year olds wearing clothing for women a bit older!

 What happened to true fashion journalism? Fashion journalism has been reduced to collages of outfits—purely visual with descriptions of “Sooooooooooooo Cuuuuuuuuuuuuutttttteee” rather than an in-depth read about construction, fabric and fit.  Yeah. That would be too much to concentrate on and actually read.

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Mr. Karl. Take a look at the people behind you. They are from the fashion press. I’m sure they would love to write an in-depth article about you. I know I would! They are not young. You ain’t young either.  Why don’t you stop catering to the young and start paying attention to the older, more seasoned journalists rather than the 2-second attention-span Snap Chatters and IG Bloggers?  Trust me, I am an IG fan, but an IG photo isn’t journalism.

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At Miu Miu. Check out the average age of the women watching this. You can rest assured they are old-school fashion editors.  This look is another one that would not be flattering on an older woman. So who would wear this anyway? Can you imagine wearing this after a big meal?  The buttons on the skirt would pop right off!

But mostly, why do you abandon the group of women who are over 50 and 60 and older?  Do you realize that we still love to look our best?  Are you aware that we, as a group, spend an enormous amount of money on clothing? Do you realize that many of us have salaries that afford us the luxury of purchasing well-made and well-tailored clothing?   And for the woman who is on a limited budget, she can look to your clothing to get ideas of what to look for during a sale or in discount shops.

You have taken us out of your demographic. Oh yes. You have!   Look through any magazine and you will see young celebrities-as-models putting their best come-hither look while wearing clothing that an older woman can adorn with panache!

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Lower the hem a bit and ANY older woman would look smashing in this beaut of a dress. I would wear this out to dinner with a pair of nude Repetto flats. Then I could drink and not worry about falling on the street.

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Mr. Karl.  THIS dress would be perfect for the older woman. The cut of the sleeves, the shape of the dress. So why do you think showing a young model wearing it is going to make the woman it was made for wear it. And the sneakers look pathetic.  Just. pathetic. 

Longchamp! Shame on you! Although the nylon LePliage is incredibly popular with Sorority Girls and Soccer moms, your main buyer is the older woman. I know this. I sold a ton of Longchamp leather bags to women my age.  I own three cuir Longchamp bags and eight LePliage bags of various sizes.   Stop using Alexa Chung as your spokesperson and go with someone older. Lauren Hutton perhaps?  Better yet, maybe you can get Terry Reno or Colleen Corby out of retirement and back to where they belong–modeling as mature women.

Longchamps

This is just a sampling of the many Longchamp bags I own.  Proof that moms and older women are the Longchamp demographic…

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Alexa Chung, as cute and adorable as she is, along with her peers are not your number one demographic.  Can we have a Lauren Hutton or Colleen Corby please? I have that bag! I love it! I’m an old lady!

Same with Brahim bags.  Stop with the younger models. Your main buyer is the older, way older woman.  I never, ever sold a Brahim bag to a woman younger than her late fifties.  So stop being delusional.  Get your customer in your ads.

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I have never, NEVER, sold a Brahmin bag to a woman who looks like this.  Enough said!

And Mr. Karl—don’t think you are getting off scott free either.  I saw Signe Chanel three times. I own the DVD.  The older women who work for you—they all love and adore you.  From what I saw of the film, you are quite fond of those older women as well. So why don’t you have an ad campaign praising the older woman???  You design beautiful clothes. You are a  genius. Why do you insist on using only young almost pubescent models in your shows?  Come on, Mr. Karl. You have aged 11 years since Signe Chanel was filmed. Start using women your age and a decade younger.

signe-chanel-one-of-the-greatest-docs-about-haute-couture-fashion

Regardless of Mr. Karl’s insisting on using young women as models, this was one of the best fashion documentaries of all time. You really get an education on what goes into a haute couture collection. AND Mr. Karl’s seamstresses are all older women. And they rock!!!!

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Mr. Karl’s mature workers are incredibly loyal to him. Nice thing is that he truly loves these women. Mr. Karl. I love you too but you gotta start using older women as models!

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Mr. Karl.  All these YOUNG models look miserable. None of them are smiling. That is because they would never wear these outfits. OLDER women were made for these pant suits. Can you give me one? I like the suit Cara Delevigne is wearing. Make the pants a bit slimmer though. And the jacket more fitted. Thank you Mr. Karl.

These days my fashion icons  are a 97-year old Frenchman who happens to be my better half’s father and the style of Bardot—and she’s 81! I also have a new icon. The Lady In Green!

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My fashion icon. Dany Lartigue the 97-year old Frenchman who happens to be Bonaparte’s dad! Do we see a pattern here?

Ste. Maxime. Best dressed woman in France.BLOG GOLD

The Lady in Green.  Click to read more about her. THIS is the woman who should be modeling for all fashion houses. She is true fashion! She is older!  She is awesome!

Fashion designers need to realize that most women  have larger, saggy titties. We need a lift! Boning in clothing can help achieve that perky appearance.  Are you listening?  We have ass. God-given ass. We have ass that bounces and ass that jiggles. We have rounded asses. Not flat ones.  Why don’t you design for women with womanly curves?  Perhaps you can add a bit of old-school girdle material into the front panel of dresses .  Have the panel start below the breastline and above the origin of the world. It would help to suck the fluffy softness achieved over the years without cutting our bodies in two!  Are you listening to me?

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This page is ripped out of my latest issue of “In Style”.  Queen Bea has a curvy body but is covering her curves with this hideous monstrosity of non-fashion. What a victim. Look at Dakota Whats-her-name. She has the bottom half of a schoolboy.  

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In Style’s only saving grace is this showcase of Iman. But the magazine needs to focus more on older women. They do a pretty good job but need to do a better one!

You designers of the fashion industry could do great things if you only started thinking about the women you threw out to pasture like a bunch of cows.

cows out to pasture

Say hello to my fashionable friends.  I’m in the pasture with you girls!

I’m done with you. I’ll rely on my memories of  the 1960’s and old Frenchmen for fashion ideas.

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I will still follow this look–but without the bow…

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Better yet, I’ll stick to iconic simplicity that is true timeless fashion!

Don’t even get me started on you, beauty industry. You have no idea of  the amount of money I’ve spent over the years on all things beauty. Ski n care. Creams, serums, mousses that looked good enough to eat—which I most likely did do after the mousse failed to work on my face!

You lie, beauty industry. You lie. In fact, I’m sure Donald Trump looked to your industry for guidance in his never-ending trail of false promises.

Anti-aging products? No. You cannot stop the process of ageing.  We all age. We will all lose hydration. We will all be shriveled up raisin faces at some point in our lives.  What will the long-term effect of all those fillers be?  The only way to keep the aging process at bay is surgery. The infamous face and neck lift and 99.9 percent of us women cannot afford that kind of surgery.

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Read more about how I feel –just click . You have no idea how ads like this piss me off.

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THIS is the face of ageing. It is MY face. And even with cosmetics you can see the lines. I just look a bit more polished!

Why do you continue to have ads showcasing the visage of a younger woman in your anti-aging campaigns?  And you Photoshop the younger women to make them appear even more youthful!! Do you think we are stupid? Do you think we don’t know Photoshop and airbrushing?

Do us a favor. Tell us the truth. Tell us that your potions and lotions won’t turn the clock back twenty or thirty years. But do tell us that the creams can hydrate at best helping us to look good over the span of eight or ten hours.

The foundations? Please.  No matter how inexpensive up to the top of the line super pricey, all give us the promise of dewy , glowing skin that won’t cake up or show fine lines.  That. Is. Not. True.

All foundations will creep into fine lines. Whether you use a sponge, a brush, or your fingers to apply, they will get a tad cakey.  Instead of lying, try a different approach. Tell us how to best apply the foundation so that we older women can enhance what we do have and cover redness and blotchiness.

Lines, drooping lids and redness. They won’t go away, but I can help disguise them and take the emphasis off them with cosmetics. That is a good thing and the beauty industry needs to be honest about this.

These days my eyeshadow may not glide on as smoothly as it did in my younger days. And that’s ok because I’ve learned through trial and error how to work around my drooping eyelids. I’ve learned to not bring attention to my crow’s feet, which get deeper by the day.

Mascara won’t make our lashes longer. Fiber Mascara will give us the appearance of longer lashes, but regular mascara won’t. So stop telling us that we will have more lush, luxurious and lengthened lashes with the swipe of your brand’s wand as it comes out of the tube.  Most of us older women have lost the many lashes we once had.  Just tell us that your mascara will darken our lashes.  Clumpy mascara works wonders. I think you know that already but don’t want to say that!

Bella Rose Lash Extension One coat

I’m a huge fan of Bella Rose fiber lash mascara. It does what it says it’ll do. Kudos to you Bella Rose!

Estee Lauder has always been a more “mature” cosmetics company with Clinique as their younger sister. Estee. You lost me when you hired Kendall Jenner as your spokeswoman. I, as do the older women we all know, have absolutely nothing in common with this young woman. Why on earth would I purchase cosmetics that you are rebranding for the young?

It’s sad. It is incredibly sad and disheartening that the beauty industry feels the need to place the emphasis on youth rather than celebrate maturity.  The beauty of the mature woman should be celebrated by this industry.  We have character. Our faces tell our life story.  We deserve to be treated with respect. And you need to respect us by telling the truth in advertising and using older women in your ads.

And by older I mean from 50 to 80 years old and up.

As a consumer I won’t stop buying clothing. And I won’t stop buying stylish clothing.  I won’t stop my cosmetics or skin care purchases. But I have stopped reading fashion magazines. My boycott is the lack of older women as models—I’m not talking the patronizing kind either. I’m talking about using older models on a regular basis.

I won’t stop purchasing cosmetics either, but will be more careful about what I do purchase.  Lauder is off my list because they blatantly started a more youthful campaign.  I’m also leaning more toward drug store brands these days as well because many of the brands are just as good as high end. It’s all about packaging and “branding” these days. And less about product!

Notice that I have an Estee Lauder foundation. No more. I refuse to purchase any Lauder item.  But take a look at a small sampling of the many cosmetics and skincare items I own. And I love my cosmetics–but am tired of the way the industry ignores the older woman!

I’m being open and honest with you fashion and beauty industries. Please be honest with me. Please start to recognize and respect the older woman.  Learn to celebrate us rather than patronize us.  You are missing out on a great opportunity!

“Don’t You Forget About Me” by Simple Minds. Because the simple minds of these industries HAVE forgotten about me and us!

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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29 Responses to An Open Letter to Fashion and Beauty: Why Do You Ignore Me and My Peers?

  1. Bravo! Hopefully if people like you shout loud enough they will listen!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Cindy. I have a big mouth. But sometimes people just don’t listen! But now we have more “older” women being more and more vocal. Hopefully, the industries will take note and realize who their loyal consumers are. It’s ridiculous. That is why I put myself out there. Wrinkles and all. I AM the average old lady and am trying to be a voice for all of us…I can only hope…XOXOXOXO!!!

      Like

  2. Bernadette says:

    True, true and more true. It is amazing that the women who have the most disposable income are completely absent from fashion. The editor of More Magazine said it folded because the advertisers were still advertising to youth and couldn’t figure out why the readers of the magazine were not purchasing their products. Duh!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Catherine says:

      HI Bernadette. Yeah. I really don’t know any college students or young women in the professional world who can purchase a Chanel suit. Older women are more brand-loyal. I’m flummoxed as to why advertisers just don’t step up to the plate. As far as More magazine goes, I think they closed because of a number of reasons. I tried to love More but just couldn’t. It was inclusive of the uber-successful woman in that 1% and was excluding the rest of the population. The magazine was sort of in-the-middle with a strong bent toward the 40-something and somewhat dismissive of the true older woman. And always editorialized diseases. It’s a magazine. It needn’t have taken itself so seriously. It’s too bad because we need publications that focus on fashion and beauty for the older woman. If I had the funding, I would start my own! XOXOXOXO!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Helena Zenia says:

    Great! I’ve had the same thoughts a zillion times – especially Vogue covers and interviews. I”m bored to death by the interviews with 21yr old models and singers.

    Where do you find the mascera you mentioned?

    Thanks for your writing…I look forward to it!

    Best, Helena

    Get Outlook for Androidhave

    Liked by 1 person

    • Catherine says:

      Henena. Right?? I don’t need to read about Selena Gomez. at 24 giving object lessons on life. For crissakes, gimme a break. Grace Coddington, in fact, cannot stand the fact that Vogue has celebrities on the cover and she’s been quite vocal about it. Go Grace!
      It’s awful. I don’t read these rags anymore at all.
      The mascara is called a lash extension kit. I get it on Amazon. It’s Bella Rose, the seller is MAS-LLC. I got it for $14.95. I’m on my second set. And it won’t be my last. I truly love this but you have to apply it correctly!! XOXOXO!!!

      Like

  4. hipchick66 says:

    I so love this article, and wish it could be widely distributed! You would appreciate my outfit today: striped navy and white shirt, gray capris, navy flats and a blue zip satchel. The same timeless style from the 60s that I have always loved and worn. Keep being you Cathe, I’m certain you inspire people!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mary says:

    Cheers, Catherine, for saying what we all think. I’m hardly buying any mags these days. None of them are of any help to me. And what ghastly pairings they dare to call fashion! Things I would never even hang together in my wardrobe! I was n the fashion business myself some many years ago and came in touch with the greats like Melanie Miller and Sheila Whetton at Vogue. They really knew their stuff and would knock spots off today’s offerings. I don’t bother with what’s supposedly ‘in’ anymore. I just wear what I think suits me, which incidentally, includes Breton t-shirts. Viva M. Latigue!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Catherine says:

      Mary. Have you seen the J. Crew Style Guides lately? They are awful!!! And I’m a HUGE J.Crew consumer! Most of my wardrobe is J. Crew–an they style their clothing like shit! You were so lucky to have been a part of the fashion industry when it really meant something. I think it’s great that we can all influence ourselves than rather to rely on the magazines that are fixed on youth and youth only!! Those Breton shirts!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

      Like

  6. 100% spot on. Thank you for telling it like it. I think YOU could definitely model for all fashion houses. You have an enviable figure, you’re a smart woman with life experience, you’re beautiful and you’re full of life. If I were a designer, I’d beg you to wear my dresses and I’d shower you with handbags and silk scarves. Catherine, I can picture you on tv, sitting next to Jimmy Fallon, telling him the most enteraining stories of half-brained recruiters, nasty customers and the likes.

    Seriously, there must be some kind of department store fashion show event near you. I remember my mum dragged me to all of these local mall fashion shows when I was a kid. I think they used to do these four times a year (they probably still do). Try to find out if there’s anything near you, find out who casts the models, and go for it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Catherine says:

      Oh Miss Strawberry Blonde you are wayyyy too generous in complimenting me. But–I’m dying over the Jimmy Fallon mention. My son works for him! I CAN imagine me on his show and doing nothing but looking over at my son and winking and smiling at him! Mommy loves you! But it’s true. These industries need to change and take stock of their customers. It just gets me so crazy!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

      Like

  7. Marianne says:

    You.Nailed. It.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. JulietC says:

    Fabulous!!! I don’t know who these advertisements speak to – certainly not me and certainly NOT the 21yr old daughter. I don’t want to look younger than I am – I have earnt every single one of these wrinkles and I am damn proud of them, OK the droopy stuff can go – but wrinkles are part of me and I don’t get why they aren’t celebrated. The daughter doesn’t find this sort of thing appealing either – she is one smart, intelligent and independent young woman – if you want to sell her something at least make the models look smart! I do not know these young women, they may all be wonderful and clever people – but why, why oh why oh why do they all look so samey and so dim??? what is with the hanging lower jaw and the vacant eyes? Along with age, wisdom and attitude – why can’t we celebrate and portray intelligence as something to aspire to – are the fashion industry so scared of smart, opinionated women or what???? pfffffffft!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Catherine says:

      Juliet. I honestly think these advertisers and magazine people and fashion and beauty people are speaking to themselves in their never-ending attempts to boost their egos. That HAS to be it. I remember a time when magazines were published to a specific audience. Teen, Igenue and Young Miss were geared to the young teens., Seventeen, Glamour and Mademoiselle to the older teens-through-college. Harpers Bazaar and Vogue to the more sophisticated and older woman. Not more! The magazines that ARE in publication are catered to those young bloggers with a ten-second attention span. Forget fashion journalists. It’s sad because there is such a vast genre that is interesting to women of all ages..and the older ones are ignored…….XOXOXOXO!!!

      Like

  9. Sue blaney says:

    You Rock!
    Laughed out loud when you wrote of a 97 yr old man and the lady in green as your new fashion icons….and you are absolutely right!

    I am also a Colleen Corbly groupie…loved seeing her photo again!

    Thank you for this read…it baffles me too why we (I turned 60 this year) are invisible to them. Even Eileen fishers models seem to be getting younger, taller and skinnier…I thought she was one of us 😦

    Again, thanks! And if you ever make it to Cincinnati to see your daughter I’ll buy you a coffee 🙂

    Sue Blaney

    Liked by 1 person

    • Catherine says:

      Sue. OH. OHHHH. It’s great to have another Colleen Corby fan! I am still obsessed with her! She had to be one of the best models of all time. Her face. Her poses! OMG–nobody could compare to her. I need to stop! You know, I’ve never been an EF fan due to the boxy cut of her clothing but she, along with Talbots are sporting younger models in ads and why? Why? When I visit Cincy, we will have coffee. Oh. Yes. We will! XOXOXO!!! PS. She’s moving to a great apartment downtown. She’s in corporate housing for now and she is so happy to be back in Cincy!

      Like

  10. bitsofflash says:

    You are dead on, sista! I have let all my magazines subscriptions expire for the same reasons. The one page we get for “Fashion at Every Age” is not enough for me. This week, I am experimenting with going to a Mac counter for a Fall look. We will see how excited they will be to work on this 63-year-old face. And I totally agree with you about the Woman in Green. She looks fabulous!

    Like

  11. calensariel says:

    That group of three girls looks like they threw up fabric all over each other. THAT is not fashion. I don’t know what that is. You know, you really ought to send one of your posts off to a couple of these magazines and see what kind of responses you get back. Just for kicks. Who knows? You might get hired as a journalist! 😀

    Like

  12. doodletllc says:

    Spot On. I am so tired of the frump-a-dump clothes for “older” women…yuck. I want to look jazzy and put together and classic and spotlight chic without my skirt barely covering my butt. I must admit, for work clothes I finally gave up and I design/sew my own. Simple lines with fabulous fabrics…like your Lady in Green. In fact You and the Lady in Green are great role models…keep on highlighting this issue for All to See. Perhaps One of these Designers Will Get the Hint. Love your Style, Catherine. Oh, and the Teen Fashion Magazines from the 1960s…Loved Glamour Dos and Don’ts…Secretly, I was always afraid that I would see myself on those pages. You are a Hoot. Keep Hooting! Are you sure you didn’t live around the corner? 🙂

    Like

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Jean! Right?? We are a lot different than the “mature” woman of years gone by. We are a more fashionable and more cosmetic savy than many of our moms were at our age. You’re lucky you can sew your own clothing. I’ve done a ton of halloween costumes and window treatments over the years but I’m afraid to sew anything for me! I wish I could find half those magazines I used to read. Those teen fashion mags were great!! XOXOXO!!!

      Like

  13. tvonzalez says:

    I stopped buying fashion mags as it was too distressing – never seeing ANY of my peers as models.
    The fashion industry is in crisis and doesn’t know it. The population is aging and a woman who has been around for awhile is not going to buy the fast fashion, cheap fabric, poorly constructed crapola being offered for sale. Those that truly love clothing spend a lot of time searching for the amazing pieces most likely found secondhand or on consignment.

    Like

    • Catherine says:

      Thank you TV! You nailed something that I was thinking but couldn’t find the words. The poplulation IS aging–and the fashion and beauty industries need to see and take note of this. The thing that sucks about where I live is that consignment shops know the affluence of Mainline Philly and there are no bargains at those shops around here. When I lived in NJ I would hit pay dirt at thrift and consignment shops all the time! Thanks so much for your thoughts! You are spot on baby! XOXOXO!!!

      Like

  14. Margaret says:

    That London fashion show photo looks like Little House on the Prairie gone wrong. When are these knuckleheads going to wake up and realize that they could make so much more money if they made clothes for us? Mr Karl’s seamstresses are older women, yet he doesn’t design for older women? Shame on him. I wonder what all these designers’ mothers are wearing.

    Like

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