Are women in their 40s and 50s the new ‘ageless generation’? We certainly think so.
'Middle age' has been a term used for far too long, and it is now a description that many women reject. In fact, a study by the Telegraph found that 96% of 40-plus women don’t feel middle-aged at all. Middle age comes with a host of stereotypes that we are refusing to accept. In fact, a large percentage of us feel as though we are in the prime of our lives.
So, when I read the term ‘perennial’ as an alternative expression, I fully embraced it. A term that means indefinite or ever-lasting, but when interpreting it as referencing a generation of women, it made me feel entirely relevant and empowered. I’m not the only one who feels this way – take a look at the badass women from the Perennial Project. We feel vibrant and more self-aware than ever. We know ourselves better than ever before. We know what we like, what we don’t.
As we get older, we don’t necessarily feel like we’re aging; many of us don’t feel more fragile or weaker. We don’t use being in our 40s or 50s as an excuse to “let ourselves go.” We’re not all in ‘crisis’. And many of us are not merely retreating into the quiet comfort of our lives and just waiting for retirement. Many of us have now built the courage and confidence to follow our passion and live more bravely – like Brenda, who is behind BeKeane activewear. Brenda started her business after building her courage at one of Margie Warrell’s ‘Live brave’ weekends.
As the founder of Es Una, I know how she felt. Launching a new business is daunting; especially in an industry that you are unfamiliar with. Yes, we have bought clothes our whole lives and maybe we follow a style of fashion blog or influencer, but taking the step towards launching your own fashion brand is …. scary!
For me, I’ve thought about women my age from the very start; the difficulty of finding appropriate AND fashionable clothing that we can use as a took to enhance our confidence – because, after all, that’s what fashion should be, something you embrace to make yourself feel uplifted. I thought about all the incredible ever-blooming perennials in my own life who are still living their best lives and not slowing down. And I thought of some of my best friends who wanted to be more active but held back because options for those who are 'middle age' were so limited.
I thought of my friend, who has raised three children on her own. In her forties, she has kept fit by regularly swimming and has maintained a fabulous figure. Encouraged by her daughters, who have done some modeling of their own, she decided to give modeling a try herself with Es Una – and she looks great in our Racer Back Rashie Dress.
I thought of another friend who has a beach house but doesn’t step a foot onto the beach with her kids. Having hips, while advantageous when younger, has made her feel disadvantaged now – especially when it comes to style choices. She wanted to cover her hips but bare her shoulders, so spent any time on the beach fully dressed and not being able to splash around with her younger daughters. Not being able to find beachwear to cover what she wanted to cover and reveal what she wanted to reveal was her main concern each Summer – there wasn’t beachwear out there to suit her figure and goals.
And then I thought of another friend, who has been one of my best friends my whole life. When I talked with her about starting Es Una, she reminded me (yet again) just why being sun smart is so important. She was the inspiration for one of my designs – the Cover Up Rashie Dress. Her husband had a melanoma that changed their whole family’s approach to Summer. Now they all wear rashies and they all get annual skin checkups. We don’t practice sun protection for ourselves exclusively; we practice it for our families too.
These beautiful women in my life each, in their own way, have inspired Es Una. They made me realise that a big reason why too many women in the past felt that they were ‘middle age’ was because there weren’t enough products out there that uplifted their spirits and empowered them be active. Brands simply weren’t making clothes that were relevant to them – clothes that fit well or came in styles and colours that a woman, not a young girl, would like.
Few brands were considering the woman who isn’t keen on parading around in her bathers and recognises just how important sun protection is. How many of these otherwise vibrant and active women have had held back from having fun in the sun and sand with their families and friends because the options for rashies were so limited?
Es Una intends to change all that. Not only do we want women to cast aside their body insecurities and get sun smart, but we want to see them continue blooming.
Most importantly, we don’t sit in regret about the life we could have had because we are still living it!