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You wear it well – so ignore stereotypes, according to survey in Nairn

By Donald Wilson

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Vivian Laycock and Margaret Patterson will dress how they want.
Vivian Laycock and Margaret Patterson will dress how they want.

A charity for older people has proved although fashion ageism is rife we still have many ageing rockers prepared to buck the trend from the corduroy, beige and flat shoes brigade.

U3A day was marked in Nairnshire by the charity – which provides opportunities for people who have ended their working lives – by carrying out a survey of its members on the sensitive subject of dress sense and how older people in Scotland feel society has expectations of what they should and shouldn’t wear.

The U3A in Nairn (University of the Third Age) participated in the survey and 69-year-old Margaret Patterson said it showed older people were discriminated against when it comes to fashion because they were expected to ‘dress in a certain way’.

"Just because your clocking on in years doesn’t mean your consigned to drab colours, beige cardigans, flat shoes and corduroy trousers," she said.

"When you retire you still have a lot of living left to do and it doesn’t mean you’re going to dispense with baseball caps for bunnets and trendy jeans for elasticated trousers."

Nearly 6500 members over the age of 60 were asked to vote for their personal fashion icon.

The top 10 best-dressed Brits over-60 according to the over-65s were: Joanna Lumley, Dame Helen Mirren, Dame Judi Dench, Colin Firth, Prue Leith, Bill Nighy, Mary Berry, Carol Vorderman, Moira Stuart and Sir Lenny Henry.

"My personal choice was Tilda Swinton," Margaret said. "Not just because she lives in Nairn but because she is a very elegant lady.

"I’m more Marks and Spencer than Christian Dior in terms of budget but we have many nice shops locally where older people can chose fashionable clothing which is affordable.

"I reach 70 next year and some may say its time to go for the beige cardigan and get rid of the jeans. But I don’t think so."

Retired people across Scotland revealed two-thirds of older people in Scotland feel they’re expected to wear certain clothes by society.

Half of the wider public in the region admit they think older people should dress their age and should stop wearing miniskirts at 46 years old, skinny jeans at 49 and baseball caps at 58.

Fashions most commonly identified as being suitable for older people in the region were: socks and sandals (48 per cent), cardigans (64 per cent) and elastic waisted trousers (60 per cent).

Sam Mauger, CEO of the U3A movement said: "Older adults bring a richness of experience and personality to the world, and we don’t want to be fitted into a uniform stereotype, especially when it comes to fashion and style."

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