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Fashionistas Over 50 – Interview with Kim France, the Founding Editor of Lucky Magazine

Fashionistas Over 50 – Interview with Kim France, the Founding Editor of Lucky Magazine
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BY NAAKAI ADDY

Our societal fear of female aging involves pervasive stereotypes of mature women as dowdy matrons who lack a relevant understanding of style. Among the many flaws in this perception, of course, is that true personal style benefits from time, experience and introspection. So, we interviewed three successful and undeniably stylish female bloggers in the fashion and beauty realm who prove those sexist stereotypes to be unfounded at best. For part III of this series, renowned editor Kim France talks about her experience in the fashion world, her fascinating second career as a blogger, and whether the fashion industry will ever overcome its youth obsession.

Kim helped launch Lucky magazine in 2000 and is now the editor of Girls of A Certain Age, a beloved website showcasing chic style, feminist musings, and the beauty products actually worth buying. Her years of front-and-center editorial experience in fashion have lent themselves beautifully to her second career, where she inspires, informs and entertains countless readers every day.

Q.  After an incredible career in the magazine world, what were the differences and similarities as you made the transition to blogging?

A.  Thank you for the compliment and the differences were many! Less daily stress, no pressure to please advertisers, and a much more intimate relationship with my readers, which I love. That’s actually the main and best difference—you know in a much more immediate way what they’re responding to and what’s not resonating for them. Plus, I’m a team of one now, which presents its own unique set of advantages as well as challenges. As far as similarities go, there is only the fact that I get to indulge my love of clothes

Q.  What was the initial response to Girls of a Certain Age? How has your readership grown, and who are your readers today?

A.  The response, from the very beginning, was just fantastic. So many women were happy to discover a site that was created just for them. I grew readership by some very nice press, other bloggers linking to me, and a whole lot of word of mouth. As for my readers, it’s been interesting to see the incredible age range. I’ve heard from readers who are 26, and I’ve heard from readers who are 70.

Q.  What are some of the prevalent style challenges for women in middle age and above?

A.  As one reaches middle age, the overarching changes boil down to a few: an enthusiasm for longer hemlines, an aversion to sleeveless, a desire to find clothes that camouflage what we view as our flaws, But I am very much against the idea that age should dictate how you dress. If you’re 54 and can pull off a miniskirt, go for it!

Q.  How has your own perspective towards fashion changed over the years, if at all?

A.  Interestingly, I think I probably have a better sense of style than I did when I was a fashion magazine editor. I wear what makes me feel comfortable, attractive, and happy, and—like so many women—have a much more acute sense of what works for me now that I’m a little older.

Q.  In an industry that can still be rather youth-obsessed, what would be your advice to designers, industry experts and editors regarding the representation or inclusion of women in their 40’s, 50’s, and above?

A.  The fashion industry is youth-obsessed and always will be, sadly. Even though women over 40 are the most likely to be able to afford their clothes! But I’d tell any designer who’ll listen to think about providing women with clothes that flatter any number of bodies. And I’d love to see more designers address the plus-size market.

Q.  Who are a few of the designers or retailers that you feel offer great options for mature women?

A.  I am a huge fan of Maria Cornejo; women in their 70s can look as good in her dresses as women in their 20s. I think for classics, J. Crew can’t be beat. Theory is another good one, as is Vince. I think Nordstrom provides a fantastic selection for women of all ages.

 

 

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Naakai Addy
Naakai Addy is a freelance writer focused on fashion, food, and lifestyle topics. Originally from California, she is now based in New York City.