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Research aims to understand the changing nature of ageing in modern society through fashion and dress

A new study by Professor Julia Twigg at the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, University of Kent, aims to understand the changing nature of ageing in modern society by exploring the views and experiences of older women about fashion and dress.

The study, which is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, will be based on interviews with older women (aged 55 and over) and aims to learn why, in an era when older people not only represent a significant proportion of the population but also have considerable disposable income, many women in their fifties, sixties and beyond who are interested in clothes claim they have difficulty finding ‘something to wear’ in retail outlets.

People in the fashion and media industries will also be interviewed about their perceptions of this group, with Professor Twigg wanting to know how and to what extent they cater for this market.

Professor Twigg also aims to report on what and how women aged 55 and over – many of whom were part of the generation that pioneered youth culture and mass consumption – feel about fashion and dress in the 21st century, as their views about becoming older may be very different from those of previous generations. The study also aims to explore the role of consumption in the changing culture of ageing.

Professor Twigg said: ‘I am interested in understanding how the experience of ageing may be changing. Patterns of dress and behaviour that were characteristics of our mother’s generation no longer apply. But how should we dress as we get older? I am very interested in what people think about this.’

Gary Hughes | alfa
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