British Retailer Hires Middle-Aged Models

Lindsay Ferrier
Beauty & Style

Debenham'sThese are the new faces of Debenhams, a British department store that's hoping its latest ad campaign will appeal to "the forgotten shoppers" -- middle aged women.

These models represent (and are) women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. Yes, it's true. One of these women is 66 (it's easy to guess which one) and one is 51 years old. Can you guess which one?

It's the blond, Caroline Josling. I KNOW.


Maxine Smith, the beauty on the right, is 41.

Uh, where were we?

Oh yes! An advertising campaign featuring middle-aged women!


"The days are long gone when hitting 50 meant you were relegated to dowdy cardigans and baggy knits," explains Michael Sharp, Debenhams deputy chief executive. "This group of women aren’t communicated to by the fashion press and retailers with models of their own age. We wanted to be the first to put this right."

Personally, I think this ad campaign is a fantastic idea. I love seeing clothing on women of every age, both in real life and in photos. I am just as likely to buy a fabulous coat that I've seen on a 66-year-old woman as I am if I see it on a 21-year-old.


In a similar vein, Harper's Bazaar features a "Fabulous at Every Age" series in each issue for women in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. It's one of my favorite sections of the magazine because it features real (notable) women with style in each age category. I find it inspiring to see women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s who still look fabulous and are on top of their fashion game.

It gives me hope.

As for Debenhams, this ad campaign is hardly a first. According to a news release on this latest campaign:

The move comes as a next step for Debenhams, who have been trailblazing inclusivity campaigns of late, carrying out activity involving national window campaigns featuring disabled model Shannon Murray, un-airbrushed swim models, size 16 mannequins, and plus size and petite models -- all since the start of 2010.

Let's hope other retailers out there begin to take notice.

What do you think of this "trailblazing" ad campaign? Would you like to see one like it here in the states? Do you think women here would "buy" it?


Images via Debenhams

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