Just Because We Can Dress Like Our Daughters, Should We?

A British fashion journalist was quoted this month saying that, while previous generations of mature women may have looked to their mothers for fashion advice, today’s older women are more likely to copy their daughters.

mom and daughter

The statement was made in an interview with the Daily Mail for the story, The Helen Mirren effect: The mature stars inspiring women to wear EXACTLY the same clothes as girls years younger.

The article had all sorts of pictures of Mirren and Meryl Streep and others wearing identical or similar things to their younger counterparts. Sometimes they looked amazing, and sometimes, not so much.

I don’t want to be the fashion police in any way, shape, or form and I believe 100% that a woman should have the right to wear anything she wants. I know plenty of women who absolutely rock the same outfits worn by younger counterparts or who raid their daughter’s closets just as much as their daughters raid theirs.


And why not? Fashion should be fun!

BUT, I do wonder if  some of us midlife and older women look to our children for fashion advice, not because we always love our daughter’s look so much but more because we don’t know how to find that “just right” sweet spot between “too young” and “too old”.

Because there are so few midlife models used in clothing ads, we don’t have any relatable role models. So yeah, we do tend to look to our children (or our mothers) and try to modify the things they wear to suit us. It’s hard.

And, while we’re on the topic, why is it so hard to find clothes for midlife women? There is a plethora of twenty and thirty-something clothing stores and brands and maybe a shop or two that caters to a clientele older than us, but where are sophisticated, elegant, chic, fun clothes that are right for the in-between woman?

Maybe that’s why we’re shopping where our daughter’s shop – it’s because there’s nowhere else to go!

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8 thoughts on “Just Because We Can Dress Like Our Daughters, Should We?

  1. I was heavy for so many years, and now that I have finally lost weight,t plus being able to wear some of my daughter’s clothes, I am enjoying the ability to wear styles I couldn’t remember when I was heavier. I think the whole thing is to gravitate towards the basics and quality fabrics…and they are ageless. I find she and I differ widely with our accent pieces…the jewelry, scarves, etc.
    I don’t wear super short or super skimpy styles.

  2. My daughter is 34, and I am 56…we are not in the same fashion category. On rare occasions, she may suggest a necklace or scarf that would look good with what I am wearing, but that is the only time we share clothing.
    I agree wholeheartedly; there is a shortage of clothing options on the market for midlife women. I get so frustrated trying to shop somewhere in between the junior department and the very mature women’s clothing. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a sparse wardrobe!

  3. And the few shops that cater to 40+ women take advantage when it comes to pricing. I’d like to see more stores with quality clothing for women on a budget.

  4. I do believe in the age-appropriate dressing! My daughter (20) and I (51) have the same size and often share our clothes. However, we always stay true to our age, and I’d never wear her miniskirts or a cutout dress. Also, I am not a fan of distressed jeans. That doesn’t mean that she only wears a teeny style, and I am the frumpy one ;-) It just means that we know what works for us. It is all about the right balance, and I love my feminine and classic style, but I mix it with trendy pieces. My daughter wears a young style but keeps it classic.

    Annette | Lady of Style

  5. I agree about finding clothing for midlife or older women. Where are dresses with sleeves that at least reach the knees?

  6. I don’t think it is hard to find shops selling clothing suitable for midlife women! The trick is to choose things that look best on your body regardless of where you find them. Most women can look at trends and styles and find adorable outfits that flatter them. Indeed, there aren’t that many midlife and older models in ads, but there are plenty of role models for us to be inspired by. I also think there aren’t stores that cater to midlife women because we aren’t all the same and don’t want to dress alike. Being over 40 doesn’t automatically mean that we should look in a particular way. Kind of hard to “cater” to such a diverse population of sizes, shapes, and lifestyles. We’re old enough to choose what we want for ourselves by looking at all the sources out there and coming up with our look.

    1. And the woman in the “mom fabulous” photo looks like she’s trying WAY too hard to be “appropriate and stylish” simultaneously! Throwing a jean jacket over that awful floor-length thing she’s hiding does NOT make it chic.

    2. Hear, hear. I looked at the pictures in the article referenced, and all I saw were women wearing flattering and appropriate clothes. Good taste is timeless…

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