Sunday, August 15, 2010

Vogue’s Issue with Age

The August issue of Vogue is titled the “Age Issue.” After reading through the issue, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Why did the editors bother?” Other than a handful of features about famous women, representing each decade from 20-70, there’s very little in the magazines 200+ pages that speaks to age—that is, the post-20 years.

The introduction to a fashion feature called “The Age of Consent” reports that fashion is moving away from the loud teenage girl stuff to “cool classics” with “adult attitude”—that is, garments that are sophisticated and subtle. “Fantastic!” I thought. “Maybe shopping for over 50 women will finally be a little easier.” However, I was more than a tad disappointed to find the same model—Kristen McMenamy, 43—on each of the subsequent pages. Silly me--I thought because it was billed as the "Age Issue," I'd be seeing models of different ages. I guess the Vogue editors figured a mid-life model would represent all women. Or, perhaps, they thought they were making a huge concession by using a model over 30, since they are normally all about youthful beauty.

I felt the same sense of disappointment when I turned to “Universal Coverage,” a feature on fall outerwear. The introduction teases: “Across the full spectrum of ages, there’s a fall coat—fur or military, brocade or printed—for everyone.” Exciting, yes? However, the coats on the following pages are all worn by 20-something models. How much more thrilling and meaningful the feature would have been if they showed the perfect fall coat modeled by women of varying ages!

Patti Hansen, former model and wife of Rolling Stone’s Keith Richards, is the issue’s 50-something representative. Her story is interesting, but not particularly insightful. I enjoyed the article about Lady Antonia Fraser, 78, but only because I’m a die hard romantic. Personally, I would have like to read what a handful of thoughtful women of every age—20-70—think about the aging process. They could have reflected on how age informs their fashion, beauty, health, well-being, vacations, career decisions—the full range of typical Vogue topics.

Other Age-related topics…
Danagene—a newly opened New York spa that will treat all your aging skin issues for a mere $1250 per appointment. Apparently, the owner expects her clients to be committed to the spa, making weekly appointments. Hmm—I guess I’m not the person Vogue is targeting its editorial to.
Up Front – A May-December romance (the woman is the ‘December’) is described. Haven’t we heard/read enough about these relationships?
Desk Set – What working women of various ages wear to work. Mildly interesting.

Fall Forward
Though not billed as a prelude to Fall 2010 fashions, there is news about fall’s…
“It” Color – all shades of orange—apricot, marigold, coral—will be in vogue this fall. The article says there’s shade of orange for every skin tone. As someone who looks absolutely jaundice in anything with a hint of yellow (including orange and lime) in it, I’d love to know what shade of orange they think people like me can wear.
Cape Craze – capes and “swing toppers” will be making a showing this season.
Return of Cleavage – Really? I didn’t know it ever left. Thanks, I suppose to Victoria Secret, cleavage has been a New York staple for years now. If it is making a comeback, there’s only one thing the over 50 woman needs to know: Don’t do it. Please. Go ahead and wear scoop- and V-necks, exposing every square inch of your chest above your breasts—if you like. But don’t, please don’t, scoop down to the cleavage.