Health & Fitness

Aging Matters: Who designs for the not-so-young, not-so-thin woman?

If clothes make the man, what do they do for the woman?

I have a couple of issues with the fashion industry. Leading designers have no empathy for us not-so-young and not-so-skinny women. Most ladies wear features bare midriffs and scooped necklines — a combination guaranteed to provide two sets of cleavage. That might be acceptable for the young, thin generation, but it sure ain’t purty on the rest of us.

Why don’t they cut pants higher in the back? More depth in the seat would make the difference. When I used to make my own and made that little pattern adjustment, it worked.

As if the pants problem weren’t enough, all the cool tops leave that vulnerable (excuse the term) “small” of the back exposed to both the view and the elements. Whenever the wearer is seated, pants top and tops bottom can’t keep company, so instead of meaning cute, “cool” just means an icy chill.

A few companies recognize the vast market of “plus size” females. Some shops even offer stylish, colorful styles that actually fit. A couple of mail-order catalogs cater profitably to a fat seniors marketplace, although their photo models seldom exceed the size 12 that we once considered almost too fat.

Turns out, what we wear may influence how well we do our work, according to research at Northwestern University. When one of the test subjects wore a white lab coat they thought was a scientist’s or doctor’s garb, they did much better than average on a perception test – enough better than uncoated subjects. Another test group was told the same white coat was an artist’s smock. They passed the test but didn’t rise above average. This research, reported in the March 23 Eagle, seems to indicate that perception is reality and could maybe improve our productivity on the job.

If we who no longer work for pay maintain pride in our appearance, will that improve our level of contentment? Likewise, if we let ourselves get sloppy in our public apparel, might that bring our spirits down?

So here’s to flattering colors, longer tops and pants that cover our tails. We may be old, but we can still have our pride.