Age positivity and why we believe every woman can wear a bikini - guest post in association with Cotton Traders
You will have seen from my posts in the past that I am all for wearing the bikini and for encouraging and promoting body positivity. I don't believe there should be an age limit to what we choose to wear, I am certainly not going to be too hot and not get a tanned tummy because 'someone' says it isn't the done thing to wear bikini post 50. So as many of you set off on your summer holidays this year I hope you will find these encouraging words helpful. whether you decide to rock a bikini or enjoy wearing a super-flattering swimsuit, relax and enjoy it!
In 2016, Nicola Griffin became the oldest woman to appear on the front cover of Sports Illustrated’s Swimwear Edition. At 56, she rocked a gold bikini with complete confidence, highlighting that beauty doesn’t have an age limit.
This landmark moment in fashion proved that the ‘golden years’ aren’t for shying away from our bodies, refuting the narrative that says body confidence is reserved for the young.
Since then, the body positivity movement for all women has gone from strength to strength. From websites like Fierce Beyond Fifty to the creation of the #AgePo social media movement, we’re slowly but surely starting to see changes in how women over 50 are portrayed in media and advertising.
However, there is still a gulf between real women and their depiction in the media. 46% of women over 50 believe that women are not represented authentically in advertising and on television, and 59% believe there are negative stereotypes surrounding the way older women are seen as a whole throughout society.
How expectations have changed
When the bikini was first introduced in 1946, it was widely rejected by the public as obscene. In fact, it was completely banned in Italy and Spain, countries we now think of as being ‘beach body’ ambassadors.
Nevertheless, it made a splash. People slowly got over their fear of the midriff, which paved the way for new body confidence for the women that embraced it.
In the 21st century, that confidence is slowly being reclaimed by older generations. When lingerie brand Pour Moi asked over 2,000 women to share what they felt was the most iconic celebrity swimsuit moment, Helen Mirren’s 2008 scarlet bikini — at age 62 — ranked highly at #14.
Pamela Anderson came in at #1. Now in her 50s, she’s still creating amazing swimsuit moments on her Instagram account, with nearly a million followers.
Recently, retailer Cotton Traders (who specialises in clothes for the over 50s) reached out to some champions of body positivity for older women to find out what the fashion industry is getting right — and where there’s still room for improvement.
A long way to go
Though the fashion industry is making headway in recognising older women, many believe there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
“I do feel that although body positivity has come a long way, there is a still a stigma attached to certain body shapes or ages which prevents women from feeling good in a bikini,” says Natasha Henderson, Editor at British Style Society. “Often the people casting judgement on what you look like have personal insecurities they need to address for themselves.”
Katie Taylor, the founder of women’s online midlife community The Latte Lounge, thinks that older women are still an easy target for body positivity naysayers. “I get so frustrated by the fashion industry and the media constantly ‘telling us’ what we should or shouldn’t wear over 40, 50 and beyond,” she says. “Women should wear exactly what they want at any age.”
Katie says that midlife is “the time in our lives when we hopefully have accepted ourselves for who we are. We want to be allowed to get on and be comfortable in our own skin.”
There's hope yet
Earlier this year, organic intimacy product experts YesYesYes found that older British women defied taboos about what they ‘should’ and ‘shouldn’t’ be wearing over 50, with 84% of women surveyed saying they would happily still wear a miniskirt.
When asked whether or not they personally still felt sexy, an overwhelming majority (70%) responded saying yes, they did.
If older women are more body-confident than they’re often depicted, it begs the question of whether the industry is failing to keep up.
“Brands need to realise that women want to see themselves reflected in what they have to offer,” says Victoria Kennedy, Confidence and Image Coach at The Fairy ClothesMother. “I’d say that whilst there are ‘small inroads’ being made towards more representation of a wider selection of body shapes, ages and abilities within women’s fashion marketing — the recent Nike mannequin being a prime example — there’s still a long way to go.”
Cotton Traders believes that everyone should feel body-confident on holiday — after all, being comfortable in your own skin is key to true relaxation!
To help women feel great in the sun, Cotton Traders put together this swimwear guide to flatter your figure and have the beach holiday you deserve.
What do you think? Will you embrace confidence in whatever you choose to wear on holiday this year? I still love to wear a bikini for sunbathing on holiday but a swimsuit can look and feel equally amazing! Don't hide!
My other bikini posts you might enjoy ...
Should I still wear a bikini if I am over 50?
Choosing a bikini for my holiday that flatters my figure and gives me confidence
Disclaimer: this is a guest blog post in association with Cotton Traders, it is not a sponsored post.
Welcome to Fifty & Fab, a lifestyle blog celebrating women. I am a blogger with a passion for writing about style, beauty, health and fitness with a focus on the over 50's. I am based in Marlow but work across London and the South East.
Hi, I’m Michelle and my blog Fifty & Fab is all about my journey into and through my fifties. I share style tips, health and fitness inspiration, I talk about my holidays and days out and I tell you about my beauty regime and my lifestyle. I hope you might pick up a tip or two and get some inspiration!
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