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Old 01-31-2018, 04:05 AM
 
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To start, this is NOT to bash older women, 40+ isn't even close to "old", heck, my wife is 43 lol. What I am curious about is looking at pictures/watching movies from much more in the past it always seemed as if women that were 40+ the kind of fashion was always horrible, pretty much made to make them look way older than they were; from their hair, to makeup, to clothes etc. Nowadays it's quite common to see women that age (including my wife, shameless plug lol) look very attractive, hot, cute, sexy you name it.

Obviously that kind of horrible fashion has gone out the window and of course I am happy. And of course I realize that in the past women of a certain age was not supposed to look as so many do now. But my question is, when it comes to clothes/makeup/hairstyle etc. etc. that women in that age range would typically have from the past, what was it in particular that made them look so much older/unattractive? Again, not saying they themselves were, just it all seemed to colmulate in the exact opposite of attractive. Like, even an otherwise model 20-something couldn't wear the clothes and do their hair and makeup in the same way and still look good lol.

Just kind of curious from an old obsolete fashion standpoint, as obviously biologically nothing has changed with women since yet clearly in the past a woman my wifes age (I, myself am 30).
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Old 01-31-2018, 05:57 AM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
39,567 posts, read 38,186,007 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nubbin778 View Post
... what was it in particular that made them look so much older/unattractive?
Limited beauty products
Limited access to healthy lifestyle options
Limited expectations for middle-aged women (To age is to disappear, since most men believed and still believe a woman is at her peak in her very early 20s)

Middle-aged women got tired of being frumpy and squelching their self-expression and empowered themselves to look (and feel) better.
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Old 01-31-2018, 09:15 AM
 
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Quite frankly, even some of the very young women in the past looked "frumpy and older" due to fashions and hairstyles of the time. Just watch some old movies from the 1950s.
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Old 01-31-2018, 09:24 AM
 
Location: Boonies of N. Alabama
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I've wondered the same. And one angle might be.. they were older.. in a way. Lifespan was shorter and marriage happened earlier. There were different rules of propriety... (women over 30 shouldn't have long hair, dresses had to reach here...etc) and most of those 'rules' probably tended to age one.
Styles have now progressed to intentionally keep one looking younger, back then it was intended generally (I think) to convey a certain panache.
Young girls still want to look older when they're 12, 13, 16... only older now still has a youth appearance and in their quest to be older, now, its not only looks.. it's behavior. 13 yr olds trying to do what 20 yr olds do.
Once upon a time a little girl was a little girl. Then she reached a certain age and suddenly she was a young lady and I don't think there was very much in the way of transition time or fashion. She either dressed and fixed hair like a little girl or suddenly, like the ladies. Not much in between.
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Old 01-31-2018, 10:06 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
21,570 posts, read 22,872,373 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BirdieBelle View Post
Limited expectations for middle-aged women (To age is to disappear, since most men believed and still believe a woman is at her peak in her very early 20s)
And there was more of an expectation that once a woman snagged a husband, she didn't have to go to so much trouble with her appearance. She's a wife and mother, so she should be practical.
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Old 01-31-2018, 02:35 PM
 
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I think there has always been a "standard issue" older-woman unofficial dress code (and sometimes, one for men, too). Across cultures, some have been open and specific about this and other dress "codes" (for marrieds v. unmarrieds; mourning; status; all sorts of stuff). In the past, once you hit "a certain age" you wore your hair differently and dressed differently.

Because that way of "differently" was a throwback, it "marked" you officially as older. That's why it has contradicted itself. For example, after the 20s, "older" would have meant longer hair, pulled back. A few decades later, "older" meant a short poodle cut. And so on.

Today, those lines are blurring, at least in certain cultures (I'm assuming we're focusing on the U.S. here). We don't feel as boxed into "categories" anymore so why throw away fun and exploration with our look for some general issue older person look just in case we might, horror of horrors, not be marking ourselves in the, say, 59+ category?
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Old 01-31-2018, 03:49 PM
 
Location: Southwest Washington State
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This is an interesting question.

In my younger days-much younger- women were old at fifty. In general almost everyone had shorter lifespans. I think expectations were that respectable older women would dress older. Affluent older women could afford clothes and cosmetics, but the expectation was that they would dress in an older way. There weren’t many ways for women to stay fit either. And many women had multiple children. 5 kids in a family was pretty normal. There are always exceptions, but it is hard to retain a slim figure after multiple pregnancies.

The old women that I remember from my early childhood wore matronly dresses and clunky Cuban heeled oxfords. They could find dresses that fit more easily than some of their granddaughters though, because manufacturers made half sizes. Half sizes were shorter waisted and had larger waistlines. Older women tend to lose height as they age because of osteoporosis. Nowadays we pretend that doesn’t happen.

I also think that hairstyles were not flattering for older women. Many old women put their hair up. But some that I remember wore that awful poodie cut that did not look good on anyone.
And if they wore glasses, there were no flattering frames to choose from, either. Imagine a 65 year old with mature figure sporting a poodle cut and cat eyed glasses. Or, from about a decade before, with hair pulled up tight under a hat, and wire rims.

Of course there were always exceptions to everything. Not every old woman dressed in a matronly way. And the 1960s changed everything for everyone. It was a pivotal decade in many ways, including in the way we all dressed.
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Old 02-02-2018, 04:56 PM
 
Location: Bay Area, CA
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I'm 41, and I think the problem during my childhood ('80s) was a combination of BIG shoulder-pads, bad hair dyes that only came in a few colors, and women figuring out "work professional" wear after we started becoming executives, etc. The businesswomen of that era were trying to look "hard" and almost manly, wearing these awful pants/skirt-suits that did ZERO for their figures. I guess they thought if they appeared too feminine and/or sexy, they wouldn't be taken seriously? Think Melanie Griffith in "Working Girl," or that woman from "Secret of My Success." This was what they had to deal with, and yes, it made women over 30 look MUCH older.

Here's what I'm talking about:





So glad we have more attractive options today! I frequently get mistaken for much younger (even a colleague apparently thought I was 32), and that's fine with me.
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Old 02-02-2018, 06:06 PM
 
13,865 posts, read 12,730,404 times
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^

Ah... er... No.
This is a weird look for the eighties I think ( and it's not about those over-sized blazers with padded shoulders, but rather those grayish colors and a bow (!) combined with those blazers. Totally weird, in poor taste, and totally NOT in spirit of the eighties.
Back in the eighties women's clothing actually looked like fun and didn't make women look frumpy or older AT ALL.
It was probably a case in the 70ies as well.
But going back to the 50ies and 60ies - yes, women's fashions were much more matronly, because ( I am making a guess here,) they were much more FEMININE.
Once women's clothing became more unisex like, it stopped looking matronly, and thus women stopped looking older (being dressed this way.)
That's my take on it.
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Old 02-02-2018, 06:13 PM
 
Location: Bay Area, CA
28,317 posts, read 43,686,779 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erasure View Post
^

Ah... er... No.
This is a weird look for the eighties I think ( and it's not about those over-sized blazers with padded shoulders, but rather those grayish colors and a bow (!) combined with those blazers. Totally weird, in poor taste, and totally NOT in spirit of the eighties.
Really? Because I am old enough to remember the '80s (born in 1976), and saw PLENTY of women dressed like this! It was mostly the "business woman look," so yes, not quite as fun as the casual wear... but when a woman back then was trying to look professional, this was usually the result. I think my mother actually had that bow-tied shirt, lol.
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