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Wednesday 5 February 2020

We're Glad to Be Grey: Results of the Is This Mutton? Survey

Women over 50, feel proud. You're happy to be your age, accepting of grey hair,  and doing your bit to try to reduce your carbon footprint and make greener choices.

Here are the results of the second Is This Mutton? survey - and fascinating they are, too.

Let's dive in. The majority of respondents were from the UK and Ireland with 13% from the US and Canada, and four per cent from rest of the world. 34% were over the age of 60, 31% between the ages of 55 and 60, and 24% aged between 50 and 55. 10% were aged over 70.

Key Goals for 2020

I left this question free style with space for comments. A lot of you said you wanted to lose weight,
get fit (or fitter) and drink less alcohol, but there were other goals too:
  • Go 100% whole food plant based, no oil, diet
  • Build strength and come off a medication
  • Greener choices, shop locally
  • Be happy /read more books, live life
  • Forgive wrongs and move forward. Find a project, do something new each month
  • Buy only a few pieces (latest clothes and accessories) that really work for me everyday
  • Write, learn, continue to share a message about plastic pollution, go on adventures, release a film, qualify in a new role
A recurring theme was making greener choices. This reader summed it up well: " Trying greener has been a priority to in our family since 2006! Just the little things, more to do with less waste of #food.

"Now in 2020 it's to try and rid ourselves of plastic, invest in good #tupperware #glass containers that will last decades to house our food, lotions and potions. Have noticed that liquid soap are more freely available in large rectangle sizes."

40% said they would avoid certain retailers and "fast fashion," while 19% said they didn't know enough about it to make a decision yet.  39% aren't worried about fast fashion.

How do we feel about being over 50?

Ladies, I take my hats off to you because you're a lot more positive ageing about than I am. The survey results are certainly questioning some of my own (deep) thoughts and fears, and I'll write an honest post about that. 

However, nearly 50% said they felt invisible with 27% saying they never did, and 24% saying they occasionally felt invisible. More than 80% of you are happy to tell people your age. When you don't, it's because it's no-one else's business! 

The question "are you still a head turner?" confounded some, with one respondent telling me she had never been a head turner. To me, it's less about looks than a certain confidence, or sense of style, that  commands attention when we're at the top of our game.

The good news is, half of us say we can turn heads occasionally.

The idea of "tweakments" - botox and fillers - was rejected, with 55% saying they would never try them, even if money wasn't an issue.

Grey haired women in her 50s. Image courtesy of Pixabay

On the grey/gray hair question, the majority - 25% - have grey hair and are happy with it.  But the rest of us, well, very mixed views. 14% are thinking about going grey. 18% say they will never go grey. Four per cent said they wouldn't consider it until they're retired.

Lots of comments:
  • I'm over 50 but not one grey hair yet
  • I may do it but not for a while. I don't have much grey yet
  • Happy with highlights
I'll be writing a follow-up post about going grey. 

Views on the menopause

Of those who have been through the menopause, 35% said they were glad they no longer have periods. A pleasing 31% said they were enjoying this new phase of their life.  14% said they were sad they were no longer fertile. Quite a few comments: 
  • I do think the menopause can change you as a person
  • I am in the midst of it and cannot wait for it to be over
  • I wish the tiredness and hot flushes would stop
  • I'm 53 and no symptoms yet
  • Full surgical menopause at 39 and still suffering
  • Had an early menopause at 38 and was definitely sad even though my family was complete
  • Came as a shock! Felt my body had let me down
  • Couldn't live without HRT patches 

What we dread most about getting older

The biggest worries are being a burden,  followed by losing friends and family, and third, aches and pains. 

Encouragingly, there's less criticism of women for what they wear 

In the UK a lot of the weekly magazines, the Mail Online and a couple of the other dailies, spend a lot of time being critical of what older women are wearing, particularly if it's anything that challenges a particular perception of how a woman over 50 should look. Madonna in particular gets a lot of stick for having the audacity to display her toned, slim body in revealing clothes. 

But the good news is, while 35% of you said there's too much focus on what older women wear, 36% said it 's improving. 

Attitudes towards fashion

Thinking about when we were 25, 62% observed that they're less fashionable but more stylish.  I would whole heartedly agree with that.  I shared some of my dreadful outfits from my 20s here. At 25, we're still inclined to slavishly follow trends, even if they don't suit us  (and I didn't have much understanding then of what styles and shapes do suit me). As older women, we've learnt what flatters us and we're prepared to go for comfort over fashion occasionally.

I gave a long list of clothes items that are often considered "challenging" for older women:  mini skirts, leather trousers, bikinis, low cut tops. The majority - 33% - were most fearful of a bikini, followed by an even more nervous 31% who wouldn't wear ANY of those items. Applause for the brave 11% who said they would wear anything. 

We're not set in our ways: brands take note! 

47% of you like to change your appearance occasionally with a new hairstyle, a different look or new makeup.

When it comes to buying makeup, 45% are influenced by reviews, 21% by seeing something in-store, 13% by magazine reviews and 11% by blog posts. 

What makeup items could you not do without?

Mascara is the single most essential item in the makeup bag. 17% like to wear everything: I listed foundation, concealer, mascara, blusher, mascara, lipstick. But a surprising 26% of you never wear makeup at all.  I'm not in that category - as a bare minimum I wear a concealer and blusher, and for work I add some eye shadow and mascara.  For evenings, below, it's the works plus lipstick.

Over-50s woman with blonde hair, glitter eyeshadow and bright pink lipstick

Stop lumping the 50-80 age group together!

There wasn't a survey question about it, but one of the topics guaranteed to get hackles rising on Twitter is how "the media" tends to lump everyone between the age of 50 and 85 in one homogeneous age group. This is the equivalent of showing a baby picture to represent "young people" up to the age of 35.

Any story about people over 50 who are still working  (which in itself is an insult, given that the pension age is rising to 67) is often accompanied by a lazy stock image of a pair of very wrinkled hands clutching a walking stick. Here's one below. Look familiar?

Pexels image of elderly man with walking stick

Articles about the menopause usually feature women looking frazzled and never vibrant or energetic - although a lot of menopausal and post-menopausal women put younger people to shame with their energy and fitness levels. 

Finally a new survey by healthy ageing supplement brand LUMITY has more positive news for us:  women over 50 said they felt happier and healthier than ever and had discovered a brand new inner and outer confidence.

Thanks to everyone who responded to the Is This Mutton survey. Look out for my follow-up posts over the next few weeks. The first one, featuring two women who have grey hair and love it, will be published on 26 February.

Sharing this post with Claire Justine, #iwillwearwhatiwant at Not Dressed as Lamb, Top of the World Style at High Latitude Style, Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style,  Turning Heads Tuesday at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish; Style with a Smile at Stylesplash; Chic & Stylish at Mummabstylish, Linkup on the Edge at Shelbee on the Edge, Red Carpet Link Up at Glamadventure, Muttonstyle, Fancy Friday at Nancy's Fashion Style #BloggerClubUK or #AnythingGoes at My Random Musings Thursday Moda aElegance and Mommyhood

Now it's time for #WowOnWednesday

Last week's readers' favourite (most clicked) was Karen from Lady in Violet with her post Maroon Sweater. 

Fashion blogger Karen in maroon sweater and jeans

My favourite non-fashion post was by Laurie from Vanity and Me and her post  FF Trinny London v By Terry CC Serum.  In this honest review Laurie compared the two products. I've heard great things about the Trinny London range, and Trinny herself is an inspiration - so will be checking it out.

Blogger Laurie Bronze compares two products in a beauty review

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  1. Well done Gail..I'm surprised more were not concerned about the fashion industry and waste. Isnt it horrendous that 50 -85 is one age group for marketing. So 10 and 45 should be! Er no. So why shoukd we.

  2. On the question of "should we tell people our age?", even if we don't mind being our age, I think that others often make prejudiced assumptions and preconceptions about us based on our age. So I agree that it's not their business!


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