Third Age Men's Experience of Fashion and Clothing

An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis


  • Anna Sadkowska Nottingham Trent University
  • David Wilde Nottingham Trent University
  • Tom Fisher Nottingham Trent University





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).

Author Biographies

Anna Sadkowska, Nottingham Trent University

is a PhD candidate and lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, UK. Her research explores the intersection of sociology and psychology with art and design practices. Her research interests span a variety of topics including fashion and aging, masculinity, phenomenology, and art and design research methodologies. Readers may write to Anna Sadkowska at

David Wilde, Nottingham Trent University

is a lecturer in psychology at Nottingham Trent University, UK. His research interests are predominantly in qualitative methods, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, health psychology, and the psychology of
anomalous experiences. Readers may write to David Wilde at

Tom Fisher, Nottingham Trent University

is Professor in the School of Art and Design at Nottingham Trent University, UK, where he coordinates research. He took his PhD at the University of York, concentrating on the role of plastics in consumption experiences. His work stresses the materiality of our interactions with things, and has led to funded research on sustainable clothing and on industrial heritage (AHRC). Readers may write to Tom Fisher at


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How to Cite

Sadkowska, A. ., D. Wilde, and T. Fisher. “Third Age Men’s Experience of Fashion and Clothing: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis”. Age, Culture, Humanities: An Interdisciplinary Journal, vol. 2, Jan. 2015, pp. 35-70, doi:10.7146/ageculturehumanities.v2i.130609.