AARP Eye Center
While the newly energized women’s movement has put the spotlight on a lot of serious issues lately (#MeToo, the gender pay gap) there’s one you may not have noticed: the right to dress stylishly and affordably , no matter what your size.
Until recently, few fashion retailers wanted to admit they had an older customer, or an ample one — which is surprising given that the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education reports that the average American woman now wears between a Misses size 16 and 18.
AARP Membership — $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal
Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine.
Women over the age of 50 have been hit with a double whammy when it came to clothes shopping. Not only did designers ignore them because of their age, but often because of their size, too. A 2017 research report from IBISWorld noted that "Women between the ages of 46 and 64 have the highest concentration of plus-size women and the most purchasing power of any other age group," making them a group that marketers should covet.
There were exceptions — notably Lane Bryant and Talbots on the affordable end of the spectrum, and Eileen Fisher and Marina Rinaldi at the higher end. But stylish pickings for curvy women were slim, to say the least.
But all that is changing, and we may have some younger women to thank for it.