It has been a remarkable year for older women in fashion. The 106-year-old tattoo artist Apo Whang-Od and 82-year-old Miriam Margolyes have graced the covers of Vogue, showcasing their unique styles and personalities. The first one proudly shooted with her amazing tattoos, symbols of the Kalinga tribe – signifying strength, bravery and beauty -, the second one adorned with pearls and a rakish veil and embracing her nakedness with joy, playfully placing iced buns over her bosom.
Similarly, Isabella Rossellini, who has recently graced Vogue Italy’s October cover, radiates elegance and charm. Unretouched, she proudly shows her wrinkles reminding us that yes, we can finally have a more honest representation of beauty.
And what about the advertising campaign for the fashion house Loewe featuring Maggie Smith? It’s captivating, isn’t it? The styling, clothes, and bags in Juergen Teller‘s pictures are impeccable, and Smith (88 years old) looks stunning in every shot. What’s remarkable is that she looks her age, but still manages to exude glamour and elegance.
Martha Stewart, 81 years old, also has encouraged older women to “look good, feel good” smiling on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit and stealing the title of the oldest to pose for the publication from Maye Musk, who appeared on the 2022 cover at age 74.
Clearly, something is changing in the Media. Magazine covers, in particular – which are often criticized for editing photos to the point that they create impossible beauty standards, especially among women – are slowly becoming more inclusive.
It’s great and certainly encouraging to see each of these icons defy age stereotypes and prove that beauty knows no bounds. Smith, Margolyes, Rossellini and others have experienced menopause, life-changing losses, drama, health issues and ultimately, the difficulties of ageing in such an ageist world. But still, they have persevered and even pursued opportunities like Vogue shoots or ad campaigns.
Their presence serves as a soothing balm and an inspiration for all of us who, in the middle of a midlife crisis, hardly believe there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Jonathan Rauch, author of ‘The Happiness Curve: Why Life Gets Better After Midlife‘ was probably right when he said: “Midlife is a normal transition, like adolescence, that leads to a more stable, positive stage of life“. And what better time than the Golden years to make a virtue of our age and strive for success irrespective of societal expectations?
These icons are showing us that it’s only getting better with time. By embracing the diversity of beauty and rejecting unrealistic standards, we can foster a more inclusive and accepting society that values individuals for who they truly are.
Did you know? The phrase "Golden Years" is often used to describe the time in someone's life when they are retired and no longer working. This phrase implies that this time of life is a time of relaxation, enjoyment and freedom from the responsibilities of work. It is often associated with the idea of having more time to do things that people enjoy, such as travelling, spending time with family and friends, and pursuing hobbies and interests. In addition, many people find that as they age, they have a greater sense of wisdom and perspective, which can bring a sense of peace and contentment. Late adulthood tends to be the most satisfying time of life, a time of emotional re-boot as our values, expectations, and even our brains shift our goals away from chasing status and achievement – toward building connections and community with others. Old age certainly comes with challenges like physical complaints for example, however, love, meaningfulness, and power of connection don’t stop just because we get old. This is also a time to shine and use all those “terrible learning experiences” in life to your advantage, Gerontologists call this the paradox of old age – that as people’s minds and bodies decline, instead of feeling worse about their lives, they feel better.