Third Age Men's Experience of Fashion and Clothing
An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
This paper is set within the context of the current shift in focus around aging from an objective to a subjective stance, placing the emphasis on individuality (Bennett and Hodkinson; Powell and Gilbert) and resulting in the emergence and development of cultural gerontology. Human biographies have the potential to be interpreted through the relationships between personal and structural factors, and individual and collective experiences. Fashion and clothes, as communicators and mediators between self and society (Entwistle; Craik) can therefore be seen as key factors in understanding aging identities.
Contemporary research on fashion and aging concentrates mainly on older women (Twigg). Whilst this research has told us much about how aging women experience fashion, it excludes the parallel considerations of aging men. This paper addresses this gap by presenting research that investigates how older men negotiate their aging bodies through the media of clothing and fashion. Data were collected via in-depth, semi-structured interviews with fve older men and were analyzed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). The fndings reveal the experience of fashion and clothing of fve older men who, during their lives, have actively engaged with fashion, considered in the contexts of time, space, and “others” (Kaiser).
Arber, Sara, Kate Davidson, and Jay Ginn. “Changing Approaches to Gender and Later Life.” Gender and Ageing: Changing Roles and Relationships. Eds. Sara Arber, Kate David son, and Jay Ginn. Maidenhead: Open UP, 2003. 1-14.
Arxer, Steven L., John W. Murphy, and Linda Liska Belgrave. “Social Imagery, Aging, and the Life Course: A Postmodern Assessment.” Aging Identity: A Dialogue with Post modernism. Eds. Jason L. Powell and Tony Gilbert. New York: Nova Science, 2009. 45-55.
Baars, Jan. “The Challenge of Critical Gerontology: The Problem of Social Constitution.” Journal of Aging Studies 5.3 (1991): 219–43.
Bennett, Andy. Music, Style, and Aging: Growing Old Disgracefully? Philadelphia: Temple UP, 2013.
Bennett, Andy, and Paul Hodkinson. Introduction. Ageing and Youth Culture: Music, Style and Identity. Eds. Bennett and Hodkinson. London: Berg, 2012. 1-6.
Biggs, Hazel. “The Ageing Body.” Real Bodies: A Sociological Introduction. Eds. Mary Evans and Ellie Lee. London: Palgrave, 2002. 167-84.
Biggs, Simon. “Age, Gender, Narratives, and Masquerades.” Journal of Aging Studies 18.1 (2004): 45-58.
—. “Toward Critical Narrativity: Stories of Aging in Contemporary Social Policy.” Journal of Aging Studies 15.4 (2001): 303-16.
Blumer, Herbert. “From Class Differentiation to Collective Selection.” The Sociological Quarterly 10.3 (1969): 275-91.
Breward, Christopher. “Cultures, Identities, Histories: Fashioning a Cultural Approach to Dress.” Fashion Theory 2.4 (1998): 301-14.
Cohen, Ari S. Advanced Style. 2014. Web. 8 Feb. 2014.
Craik, Jennifer. The Face of Fashion: Cultural Studies in Fashion. London: Routledge, 1993.
Crane, Diana. Fashion and Its Social Agendas: Class, Gender, and Identity in Clothing. London: U of Chicago P, 2000.
Dickson, Adele, Christina Knussen, and Paul Flowers. “‘That Was My Old Life; It’s Almost Like a Past-Life Now’: Identity Crisis, Loss and Adjustment Amongst People Living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.” Psychology and Health 23.4 (2008): 459-76.
Edwards, Tim. “The Clothes Maketh the Man: Masculinity, the Suit and Men’s Fashion.”Fashion in Focus: Concepts, Practices and Politics. London: Routledge, 2011. 41-64.
Entwistle, Joanne. “The Dressed Body.” Real Bodies: A Sociological Introduction. Eds. Mary Evans and Ellie Lee. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2002. 133-50.
—. The Fashioned Body: Fashion, Dress and Modern Social Theory. Cambridge: Polity, 2000.
“Eric.” Personal Interview. 20 May 2013
Evans, David. Grey Fox. 2014. Web. 30 Apr. 2014.
Fabulous Fashionistas. Prod. Sue Bourne. Channel 4. 17 Sept. 2013. Television.
Fairhurst, Eileen. “‘Growing Old Gracefully’ as Opposed to ‘Mutton Dressed as Lamb.’ The Social Construction of Recognizing Older Women.” Body in Everyday Life. Eds. Sarah Nettleton and Jonathan Watson. Florence: Routledge, 1998. 258-74.
Finlay, Linda. Phenomenology for Therapists: Researching the Lived World. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.
Gilleard, Chris, and Paul Higgs. “Ageing Abjection and Embodiment in the Fourth Age.” Journal of Aging Studies 25.2 (2011): 135-42.
—. Ageing, Corporeality and Embodiment. London: Anthem, 2013.
—. Contexts of Ageing: Class, Cohort and Community. Malden: Polity, 2005.
—. Cultures of Ageing: Self, Citizen and the Body. London: Pearson Education, 2000.
—. “The Third Age and the Baby Boomers: Two Approaches to the Social Structuring of Later Life.” International Journal of Ageing and Later Life 2.2 (2007): 13-30. Web. 4 July 2014.
Goffman, Erving. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. New ed. London: Penguin, 1990.
“Grahame.” Personal Interview. 24 May 2013.
Hearn, Jeff. Series Editor’s Preface. Unmasking Masculinity: A Critical Autobiography. By David Jackson. London: Unwin Hyman, 1990. ix-x.
Hebdige, Dick. Subculture: The Meaning of Style. London: Methuen, 1979.
Hefferon, Kate, and Elena Gil-Rodriguez. “Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.” The Psychologist, 24.10 (2011): 756-59.
“Henry.” Personal Interview. 30 May 2013.
Holmund, Maria, Anne Hagman, and Pia Polsa. “An Exploration of How Mature Women Buy Clothing: Empirical Insight and a Model.” Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management 15.1 (2011): 108-22.
Hurd Clarke, Laura, Meridith Griffn, and Katherine Maliha. “Bat Wings, Bunions, and Turkey Wattles: Body Transgressions and Older Women’s Strategic Clothing Choices.” Ageing and Society 29.5 (2009): 709-76.
“Ian.” Personal Interview. 5 June 2013.
Iltanen, Sonja, and Päivi Topo. “Ethical Implications of Design Practices. The Case of Industrially Manufactured Patient Clothing in Finland.” Nordes 2007 - Design Inquiries. Proc. of the Second Nordic Design Research Conf., Konstfack, Stockholm, 27-30 May 2007. Web. 4 July 2014.
Jett, Tish. A femme d’un certain age. Web. 30 Apr. 2014.
Kaiser, B. Susan. Fashion and Cultural Studies. London: Berg, 2012.
Kampf, Antje, Barbara L. Marshall, and Alan Petersen. Aging Men, Masculinities and Modern Medicine. London: Routledge, 2013.
Kawamura, Yuni. Doing Research in Fashion and Dress. Oxford: Berg, 2011.
“Kevin.” Personal Interview. 5 July 2013.
Krekula, Clary. “The Intersection of Age and Gender: Reworking Gender Theory and Social Gerontology.” Current Sociology 55.2 (2007): 155-71.
Kvale, Steinar. “InterViews: An Introduction to Qualitative Research Interviewing.” London: Sage, 1996.
Langridge, Darren. Phenomenological Psychology: Theory, Research and Method. London: Pear son, 2007.
Leontowitsch, Miranda. Introduction. Researching Later Life and Ageing: Expanding Qualita tive Research Horizons. Ed. Leontowitsch. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2012. 1-6.
Lurie, Alison. The Language of Clothes. London: Bloomsbury, 1992.
McCann, Jane. “Design for Ageing Well: Improving the Quality of Life for the Ageing Population Using a Technology Enabled Garment System.” Advances in Science and Technology 60 (2008): 154-63.
“Older Women and Style; Women’s Unemployment; Politics of Sex Work.” Woman’s Hour. Pres. Jenni Murray. Prod. Louise Corley. BBC Radio 4. 24 April. 2013. Radio.
Paulson, Susan, and Carla Willig. “Older Women and Everyday Talk about the Ageing Body.” Journal of Health Psychology 13.1 (2008): 106-20.
Peters, Cara, Jeremy A. Shelton, and Jane B. Thomas. “Self-Concept and the Fashion Behavior of Women Over 50.” Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management 15.3 (2011): 291-305.
Powell, L. Jason, and Tony Gilbert. “Phenomenologies of Aging: Critical Refections.” Aging Identity: A Dialogue with Postmodernism. Eds. Powell and Gilbert. New York: Nova Science, 2009. 5-16.
Russell, Cherry. “What Do Older Women and Men Want? Gender Differences in the ‘Lived Experience’ of Ageing.” Current Sociology 55.2 (2007): 173-92.
Schreier, Barbara. Introduction. Men and Women: Dressing the Part. Eds. Claudia Brush Kidwell and Valerie Steele. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1989. 1-5.
Shove, Elizabeth, Mika Pantzar, and Matt Watson. The Dynamics of Social Practice: Every day Life and How It Changes. London: Sage, 2012.
Simmel, Georg. “Fashion.” Georg Simmel on Individuality and Social Forms. Ed. Donald N. Levine. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1971. 294-323.
Slevin, Kathleen F., and Thomas J. Linneman. “Old Gay Men’s Bodies and Masculini ties.” Men and Masculinities 12.4 (2010): 483-507.
Smith, Jonathan A. “Beyond the Divide between Cognition and Discourse: Using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis in Health Psychology.” Psychology and Health 11.2 (1996): 261-71.
—. “Evaluating the Contribution of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.” Health Psychology Review 5.1 (2011): 9-27.
—. “Reflecting on the Development of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis and Its Contribution to Qualitative Research in Psychology.” Qualitative Research in Psychology 1.1 (2004): 39-54.
—. “‘We Could Be Diving for Pearls’: The Value of the Gem in Experiential Qualitative Psychology.” Qualitative Methods in Psychology Bulletin 12 (2011): 6-15.
Smith, Jonathan A., and Mike Osborn. “Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.” Qualitative Psychology: A Practical Guide to Methods. Ed. Jonathan A. Smith. 2nd ed. London: Sage, 2003. 53-80.
Smith, Jonathan A., Paul Flowers, and Michael Larkin. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis: Theory, Method and Research. London: Sage, 2009.
Tarrant, Anna. “Grandfathering as Spatio-Temporal Practice: Conceptualizing Performances of Ageing Masculinities in Contemporary Familial Carescapes.” Social and Cultural Geography 14.2 (2013): 192-210.
Tiggemann, Marika, and Catherine Lacey. “Shopping for Clothes: Body Satisfaction, Appearance Investment, and Functions of Clothing among Female Shoppers.” Body Image 6.4 (2009): 285-91.
Todorov, Tzvetan. Mikhail Bakhtin: The Dialogical Principle. Trans. Wlad Godzich. Minne apolis: U of Minnesota P, 1984.
Twigg, Julia. “Clothing, Age and the Body: A Critical Review.” Ageing and Society 27.2 (2007): 285-305.
—. “Clothing, Identity and the Embodiment of Age.” Aging Identity: A Dialogue with Postmodernism. Eds. Jason L. Powell and Tony Gilbert. New York: Nova Science, 2009. 93-104.
—. “Dress and the Narration of Life: Women’s Refections on Clothing and Age.” Auto/Biography Yearbook 2009: BSA Auto/Biography Study Group. Ed. Andrew C. Spark es. Nottingham: Russell, 2009. 1-18.
—. Fashion and Age: Dress, the Body and Later Life. London: Bloomsbury, 2013.
Veblen, Thorstein. The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions. 1899. Reprint. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009.
Walsh, Alyson. That’s Not My Age. 2014. Weblog. 8 Feb. 2014.
Weber, Sandra, and Claudia Mitchell. “Dress Stories.” Not Just Any Dress: Narratives of Memory, Body and Identity. Eds. Sandra Weber and Claudia Mitchell. Oxford: Peter Lang, 2004. 3-9.
“Weekend Woman’s Hour. Older Women’s Style; Margaret Hodge MP; Ana Moura” Woman’s Hour. Pres. Jane Garvey. Prod. Rebecca Wood. BBC Radio 4. 27 Apr. 2013. Radio.
Wheeldon, Ceri. Fab After Fifty. Weblog. 30 Apr. 2014.
Willig, Carla. Introducing Qualitative Research in Psychology: Adventures in Theory and Method. Maidenhead: Open UP, 2001.
How to Cite
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
From issue 6 (2022) onward, the journal uses the CC Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 license. The authors retain their copyright. For articles published in previous issues (1,2,3,4 and 5) the authors retain their copyright to their articles. Readers can download, read, and link to the articles published in issues 1-5, but they cannot republish these articles. Authors can upload them in their institutional repositories.