What 50+ women really want from retailers!




JD Williams use real women in their latest campaign. The models in the shoot are styled by Caryn Franklin. They are mothers of well known daughters including models, singers and entrepreneurs.

JD Williams commissioned, along with YouGov, the first 50 plus female fashion survey.

At the end of last year I was privileged to be invited to a breakfast event where the survey was introduced to the press and where a panel of experts were available to answer our questions.

A few highlights from the report:-

53% of women aged 50+ feel that it can be hard to find clothing that suits them.

66% of mature women feel they would like to see more choice from fashion retailers suited to their needs.

Many of the women surveyed feel that the high street does not cater for their needs.

94% of us feel younger than our age.

We seem to feel more confident with our body and appearance than many of the younger women surveyed.

We love to be complimented, get our  haircut and buy a new outfit. Wearing high heels came fairly low on our priorities.

More than half of us dress to please ourselves rather than to impress others.

The good news is that we are feeling much more secure about our style.

This is only a small sample of the very comprehensive report. 

Do you agree with the above?  Please join the conversation and add any other comments you might have.

Below real women modelling the latest JDWilliams S/S collection.


JD Williams image 1



JD Williams 2











This is not a sponsored post.




  1. Wendymm
    7th April 2015 / 11:27

    How interesting! But not surprising, eh? I do find I wander around the stores, questioning if I like something, if I feel “I can get away with it” now, or how I would style it to suit me. It is very difficult. I love the models above – including you! – it is inspiring to see real women wearing real clothing! Besides your gorgeous blue, I am especially besotted with the woman in black and white. That is a style I could emulate!

  2. Susan Street
    7th April 2015 / 11:52

    Thank you for sharing this post. At 58, I dress to please myself also. It may not be the style of the moment, but I always feel comfortable, happy and dressed appropriately for the occasion.

  3. Pam@over50feeling40
    7th April 2015 / 13:22

    Love all of the information and I have to say you LOOK AMAZING in that jumpsuit! I started at age 50 to please myself…confidence trumps criticism every time!

  4. susan
    7th April 2015 / 13:37

    i really enjoyed this post and agree with all the conclusions of the survey. i have been watching with interest the controversy in france over underweight models on the runway. maybe we have finally reached a point where real women, in all their infinite variety, will appear in advertising and merchandising. yay!

    you do look amazing in the blue jumpsuit. what a great color for you.

    • 7th April 2015 / 18:06

      Hi Susan
      I do think there is a slow movement in the right direction. I do my best to promote brands that are using real women.

  5. Kathy
    7th April 2015 / 14:55

    The one thing I search for is quality garments in fabric, style and construction. It seems as if “fast fashion” has infected all strata of the garment industry. I remember loving to go into my mom’s closet and see her beautifully made garments. She didn’t have tons, but what she had were lined, had finished seams and cut impeccably. We weren’t rich but most garments were made this way. Now a finished seam means we serge it! I long for quality that is made to last.

    • 7th April 2015 / 18:05

      Hi Kathy
      I so agree on quality of fabric. I have some garments that are 10 years old and because the fabric is good quality they are still going strong. I always read labels to check the fabric make-up. My mother also had some beautiful clothes. Nowadays you have to search to find good value for money.

  6. Sandy
    7th April 2015 / 15:27

    I really enjoy your blog, and totally agree with everyone who has taken the survey. I’m over 60 and still love to dress nicely, but it’s getting more difficult each year. Thankfully, Chico’s here in the USA understands this problem and does have clothes that are cut for the more mature figure. It’s now all about comfort & style!

  7. Jodie filogomo
    7th April 2015 / 15:40

    Great post! Really that’s why I read blogs…I want to see “real” people with “real” bodies wearing clothes! jodie
    ps…that jumpsuit looks nice on you—it has good shaping at the waist!

  8. déjà pseu
    7th April 2015 / 17:01

    I’d agree with the survey results, absolutely! You wear that jumpsuit well, color is divine on you.

  9. Pam n
    7th April 2015 / 17:30

    We are very lucky in the uk. We have a great high street with shops like Hobbs, Jigsaw, Jaeger and John Lewis which specialise in ageless style and well made items, often with a modern twist. As a woman of 49 I do not find it difficult to find clothes that suit me. Perhaps what is more difficult is finding clothes that are not the same as everything else on the high street. As an older woman with a good income I would like to see clothes that are between high street and designer in edginess and price.

    • 7th April 2015 / 18:00

      Hi Pam
      I agree we have some good high street shops and I like all your choices. However I do find that some of the styles are a bit too short and often have no sleeves. Maybe those issues come a bit later than 49.

  10. Rita
    7th April 2015 / 17:34

    I’m with Kathy on the quality issue, even fairly pricey brands no longer offer good quality.
    On the top pic, regarding the center model – I wonder why women are posed with a pigeon-toed stance? Is that supposed to look cute?
    Jumpsuits look lovely, but they’re HIGHLY impractical, especially if you’re going to be using a public restroom!

    • 7th April 2015 / 18:02

      Hi Rita
      Not sure about the pigeon-toed stance. I keep the wearing of jumpsuits to the evenings. I certainly would not wear one to go out all day. I did test one out recently and there is a knack to using the restroom, it was a bit easier than I had thought.

  11. Jennifer
    7th April 2015 / 18:02

    Such great points! BTW, that blue is stunning on you.
    No surprise about the high heels to me. It’s not worth the pain to be a few inches taller. Manufacturers need to change their fit models to represent and older womans body silhouette if they expect our business.

  12. Judy
    7th April 2015 / 18:07

    Love your posts and you look wonderful in that blue jumpsuit! We are indeed lucky in the UK, apart from those stores mentioned I buy quite a lot from COS as I love what can be done with their stark lines.
    Off to check out Lavadesign now – thank you!

  13. Jane Sanderson
    7th April 2015 / 18:11

    I love the silver skirt on the left of the photo! Any idea where that is from? I am 70 but don’t feel too old for silver!

  14. Jane Sanderson
    7th April 2015 / 18:14

    Sorry, my silly mistake! Of course,it’s J D Williams!

  15. kathryn rance
    7th April 2015 / 18:21

    I don’t know why British top retailers find it so hard to cater for our age group. They should just look at quality brands like Maxmara, Marella and many German brands for tailoring, quality and classic styling which is also up to the minute. We do need sleeves and hemlines to suit, but is it so difficult? We have money to spend and are discriminating but loyal customers if we find the right look for us.

  16. Annette
    7th April 2015 / 21:39

    You look fabulous in your jumpsuit! I look forward wearing mine again come spring.
    Dressing for ourselves and feeling comfortable doesn’t mean we don’t want to be invisible for others. I still love to make a statement with my style – which doesn’t mean I want to show off.
    I love a lot of clothes from brands like Mango or Zara, the problem very often is the length and I sometimes feel they sell tunics rather than dresses…

    Annette | Lady of Style

  17. Pam n
    7th April 2015 / 22:18

    I don’t wear short clothes and avoid sleeveless generally because of the climate but still find clothes I want to wear. That is my viewpoint. Wanting to look good as an older woman has to be less about concealing bits we are not so happy about, whether legs, arms and stomach (although that is important) and more about finding a style that is fabulous, chic and only stylish because it is worn by an older woman, not some toned down version of what Everybody of all ages wears. I agree with the comment on MaxMara here. I would be interested to know whether the survey captures this or just says ‘more covering please’?

  18. Libby Wilkie
    7th April 2015 / 22:34

    I am not particularly tall at 5’4″, but I too find that lengths are often too short. My solution is to wear lightweight capri leggings. Unless it’s very hot and humid, they are always appropriate and actually make me feel stylish and yes, younger! My thirty year old daughter (my fashion guru) approves… Sleeveless is, of course, another issue. Despite working out 3x/week for twenty years, the arms just are not what they used to be. It’s a hard call here where it IS so hot, but I struggle to find cap sleeves in summer clothes.

  19. Kari
    8th April 2015 / 03:47

    Nice post- i love all the opinions and viewpoints!

  20. Tish Jett
    8th April 2015 / 14:42

    What a great post. It’s interesting that retailers who certainly know the buying power of our demographic still don’t really get it.

    It’s not that complicated as you have pointed out so well here.

    You are lovely btw.

  21. The Style Crone
    8th April 2015 / 15:12

    I agree with the opinions expressed in this report and LOVE how beautiful you look in your jumpsuit with the necklace made of stones.

  22. Sharron
    8th April 2015 / 16:16

    Ok. Is there room here for some crankiness?
    I agree with the survey and the comments on the scarcity of quality. And yes, some Eurpean companies like Eskandar & Max Mara do a great job on all counts. But I found this campaign disappointing.
    I give them a C- or a D +.
    A C- for the two gorgeous woman out of five who are representative of how many women over 50 look. The others look like conventional examples of models. Yes they are lovely & the clothes look great on them, but that’s neither inspirational nor aspirational for the many of us. Hardly revolutionary.
    C+, also because they took the time to ask us what we want.
    D+ for the heels. If we have said we don’t much care for wearing them, why do their outfits require them ( or that is the presumed rationale for their presence)? They ask, then ignore.
    It feels “more of the same” and patronizing. Another campaign that persuades me not to ” patronize ” them.

    • 8th April 2015 / 16:42

      Hi Sharron
      I take some of your points and I am in no way representing this particular brand or receiving any financial reward for the post however I do feel that they did take the time and trouble to do the survey, of which I have a copy and it was more comprehensive than the excerpts I published. I also attended the breakfast meeting which included a panel of women who were definitely our age group and all shapes and sizes including Jo Swinson our minister for equalities which encompasses “body image”. It was a lively discussion where I was able to raise the issue of photoshopping models.
      Rome was not built in a day, as they say, however I do think step by step brands are beginning to take notice and go in the right direction, which should in my opinion be encouraged.
      Advertising in some respects will always be aspirational and I feel we are old enough and wise enough to take it with a pinch of salt and adapt looks to suite ourselves and our individual lifestyles.

  23. Sharron
    8th April 2015 / 17:35

    I agree with you. They are going in the right direction and progress is inevitably slow.
    I believe that it is the eloquent and articulate voices of woman bloggers such as you, that have made a difference in rendering the “invisible” older woman, visible to the world of retailers…and to the world in general . Your shared conversations have generated awareness and spurred them into action .
    That being said, as a woman over 70, a survivor of earlier feminist battles, I do admit to a deficit of patience. Or, to put it another way, “crankiness” is a consolation of age!
    So, now, I’ll get off my soapbox and leap onto my bike for a long ride…and calm down.
    Enjoy your day.

  24. M-T
    8th April 2015 / 22:54

    Yes, yes, yes to all of the survey questions. I’m definitely on board. I love all the outfits pictured, particularly the checked top with the print trousers. Mixing prints can be tricky, but she has pulled this off beautifully.

    Speaking of beautiful, that jumpsuit is stunning on you. Great color for you. I used to wear jumpsuits when I was younger. One quick question…..do you have to take the whole thing off to go the lavatory? I hate to be indiscreet, but at our age, we need to be know these things.

    Cheers, M-T

  25. Shirley
    15th April 2015 / 20:44

    The most difficult thing for me is I LOVE fashion and I like to try new looks. I am careful with lengths of dresses but I constantly find things I love that are sleeveless. What is up with that? Seems everything is sleeveless these days.

    • 16th April 2015 / 14:33

      Hi Shirley
      I so agree the the sleeve issue. This year seems to be much better than last year when I was searching. I am planning a post on dresses with sleeves so do stick around.

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