Dress and age

Authored by: Julia Twigg

Routledge Handbook of Cultural Gerontology

Print publication date:  June  2015
Online publication date:  June  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415631143
eBook ISBN: 9780203097090
Adobe ISBN: 9781136221033


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Dress has been a neglected topic in gerontology, which has tended to focus on areas such as dependency and frailty, and the social welfare approaches to these. Dress suffers—particularly under its guise as ‘fashion’—from being seen as lightweight and frivolous, something distant from the lives and interests of older people or the assumptions of those who study them. But dress in fact encapsulates a number of key debates within cultural gerontology: the complex interplay of the biological and the cultural in ageing; the changing definition and location of old age; the emergence of the Third Age; and the significance of fields such as consumption in shaping, defining and enabling its performance. The analysis of dress thus contributes to the wider project of cultural gerontology, helping to shift the debate away from the narrow focus that has often marked mainstream gerontology, towards a fuller, more plural account of later years, and one that explores the everyday embodied lives of older people.

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