Older Men’s Experiences of Fashion and Clothing: Mirroring, Peacocking and Dis-comforting

Ania Sadkowska, Katherine Townsend

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding

Abstract

This paper draws on the first author’s doctoral research, that used fashion and clothing as a lens to explore the embodied experience of ageing for five older men. It presents three qualitative themes: “Mirroring”, “Peacocking” and “Dis-Comforting”, which reveal the participants’ various subjective experiences of fashion and clothing as they grow older. These themes indicate the inherent complexities in the relationship between older men’s negotiation of their own embodied masculinities and practices of making their bodies fashionable. Consequently, in this paper we argue that for the study participants fashion and clothing have become integrated into their strategies for (re-)negotiating and (re-)constructing their (ageing) masculinities.

In spite of the growing academic interest in the topic of fashion and ageing, research on older men and fashion is still limited. One reason for that might be that this topic seems to intersect two narrow stereotypical assumptions: firstly, that men, are not interested in fashion; secondly, that fashion is all about youth and beauty (Twigg, 2013). Another factor might be the relative difficulty in recruiting older men as study participants as compared to older women (Humphries and Gordon, 1996; Lomas, 2000; Sadkowska et al. 2016). The purpose of this paper is to address this gap by examining a small sample’s of British mature men experiences of fashion and clothing as they grow older.

The methodology was informed by Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA: Smith et al., 2009). IPA is a qualitative approach to research concerned with participants’ personal lived experiences. Finlay (2011: 140) identifies three “touchstones” of IPA: a reflective focus on subjective accounts of personal experience; an idiographic sensibility; and, the commitment to a hermeneutic approach. The study used semi-structured in-depth interviews and personal inventories with a small and homogenous sample of five older British men, all of whom have actively engaged with fashion and clothing during their lives. Although limited in size, the study offers an original contribution to wider debates on ageing, masculinities, and fashion and clothing, and has the potential to shed new light on the under-researched area of mature masculinities and fashion and points towards further research within it.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of The International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institute (IFFTI) 2018: Fashion Futures Conference; 9-13 April 2018, Donghua University (DHU), Shanghai China
EditorsLi Jun
Place of PublicationShanghai, China 200051
PublisherDonghua University, Shanghai, China
Chapter4
Pages319-329
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)978-7-5669-1385-2
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2018
Event20th Annual Conference for the International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes - Donghua University, Shanghai, China
Duration: 9 Apr 201813 Apr 2018
Conference number: 20
http://www.iffti.com/annual-conferences-general-council-meetings.php
http://iffti2018.csp.escience.cn/dct/page/1

Conference

Conference20th Annual Conference for the International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes
Abbreviated titleIFFTI
CountryChina
CityShanghai
Period9/04/1813/04/18
Internet address

Keywords

  • fashion
  • clothing
  • ageing
  • men
  • masculinities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Psychology(all)
  • Arts and Humanities(all)

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  • Cite this

    Sadkowska, A., & Townsend, K. (2018). Older Men’s Experiences of Fashion and Clothing: Mirroring, Peacocking and Dis-comforting. In L. Jun (Ed.), Proceedings of The International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institute (IFFTI) 2018: Fashion Futures Conference; 9-13 April 2018, Donghua University (DHU), Shanghai China (pp. 319-329). Shanghai, China 200051: Donghua University, Shanghai, China.