I'm having a hard time articulating my thoughts about the Lonely Lingerie campaign featuring 56-year-old model, Mercy Brewer.
No one wants the intimate apparel industry to pay more attention to older women more than this 60-year-old lingerie lover. I've written about these frustrations and even stripped down for a lingerie photoshoot last year to underscore this point.
The Lonely Lingerie campaign images, in my opinion, are stunning. Ms. Brewer is gorgeous and photogenic, and Lonely's styles fit her beautifully. The model and the brand complement one another. Obviously, their advertising mission is to make their designs look good---as well as celebrating an older woman in lingerie advertising.
But I'm also disappointed. Lonely, like other brands in recent years, chose yet another tall, thin, long-legged professional to make a point about beauty having no age. It's like using a "youth filter" on the camera lens. Yes, Ms. Brewer has lines on her face and gray hair, but most would find it difficult to tell her chronological age from the neck down.
The word "ageless" in the beauty and fashion industry is code for enjoying a more youthful appearance. It's all about not looking your age. Frankly, I'm tired of being accosted by department store salespeople trying to sell me the latest age-defying serum. No, I don't want the number of your fabulous Botox doctor either. I'm fine if other women enjoy these products and services (it's been my choice in the past). But it's not how I'm living my life today. I'm working on growing out the years of red hair dye in search of whiter, more natural roots.
I can't speak for all women of a certain age. But I know what happens to our bodies when we grow older. Hormone levels drop, and our skin becomes thinner and wrinkled. Tummies with stretch marks and scars from childbirth become high and wide. Muscles, even when we lift weights, begin to atrophy. Upper arms and thighs are dimpled and flabby. Boobs become heavier or grow bigger, and bums drop. We're soft all over. Short of full body surgery or winning the DNA lotto, it's inevitable.
The odd part is that I don't feel any different on the inside. I still think of myself as a young woman, both in mind and spirit. It's when I walk past the mirror---or look at proofs from an underwear shoot---that I remember how many decades have passed. Of one thing I'm sure, those strappy Lonely lingerie designs would look ridiculous on my senior body. I'd be pouring out of every cut-out seam.
Maybe I shouldn't complain. After all, I was never part of the one percent of women born with the narrow set of physical attributes allowing them to succeed in the fashion world. I never once saw a reflection of my younger self in beauty and fashion magazines. And I'm sure the number of working models in my age bracket is even smaller. So kudos to Ms. Brewer for looking and feeling fabulous. I was just hoping that when I hit my "golden years," the beauty standards might shift away from celebrating the few to the many.
Here are a few images from the Lonely Lingerie campaign with Mercy Brewer:
What do you think of the Lonely Lingerie ads? Do you think it helps, hurts, or doesn't matter to most women?
All Images: Lonely Label