55-plus? We’ve got style for you
Jan Shure (left) and Cyndy Lessing
This Sunday, Anna Wintour, the legendary editor of American Vogue, star of recent frockudrama The September Issue, and arguably the most powerful woman on Planet Fashion, will reach her 60th birthday.
I think we can all safely assume she will not be casting off her Prada and Burberry, donning an elastic-waist velour track suit and putting her feet up with a mug of cocoa and a copy of Saga magazine.
For Wintour is part of the baby-boomer generation of women born between the end of the Second World War and the mid-1950s, women like Lulu, Twiggy, Jane Birkin, Baroness Susan Greenfield, Joanna Lumley, Anne Robinson, Maureen Lipman, Lynda Bellingham and the designers Betty Jackson and Nicole Farhi. They belong to a generation who consciously or unconsciously helped shape the 20th century zeitgeist, who not only lived through the “swinging sixties” but helped define the latter half of the 20th century, who helped make equality in the workplace a reality, who stepped up to have careers as well as babies, and who are not yet willing to subside into the background or be defined merely as a “grandmother” or “pensioner”.
Every one of those women demonstrate that greater life-expectancy, lifelong health and fitness regimes, scientifically advanced beauty products, cosmetic procedures and medical advances can allow women to remain attractive, fit and vital into their 60s and well beyond.
The difference between those women and women from the same age demographic who have lived their lives less in the public eye is often uncertainty about how to dress appropriately and to look fabulous at that age and beyond.
Which is why I (aged 59), as JC fashion editor, and my long-time friend, Cyndy Lessing (60), an award-winning image consultant, decided to create an online fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazine called 60andSensational, which we launched this week.
In all the focus groups we held while creating the site, the one thing women consistently told us was that they wanted to find clothing that was stylish and fashionable, but didn’t make them look as though they had stolen their daughter’s clothes. The word “frumpy” came up over and over again. They did not want frumpy clothing they told us, but they also do not want inappropriate items that caused a mutton-alert. They told us they knew there were clothes out there for them, but they either didn’t have time or desire to trawl the high street to find what would work for them.
The clothing we are showcasing comes from all price ranges, from the high street to top-end designers like Bruce Oldfield and Burberry, and includes clothing for petites and plus-sizes. The site also reviews make-up and beauty products and procedures with women of 55-plus in mind, and offers advice on hair health and styling — for instance, the dilemma to go grey or continue colouring. And if you have something to say about too much Lycra or unfriendly assistants, there is a forum for a lively exchange of views.